FRAMINGHAM – “Always be true to yourself, don’t compare yourself or your transition to others,” said YouTube star and transgender activist to a group of students in Framingham last night.
On Wednesday, March 25, transgender activist and academic Chase Ross visited OUT MetroWest to talk to students ranging in age from 6th grade to 12th grade. Over 30 youth gathered at First Parish Church in Framingham to hear the talk.
OUT Metrowest is a Framingham-based program that offers “social, educational, and wellness programs for LGBTQ middle and high school youth.”
The 27-year-old Canadian discussed his personal journey on his transition and how YouTube helped him along the away.
Through his channel and his activism, Ross said he “[has] made it a goal to help people who are trying to understand himselves. There is a power in seeing other people who are like you.”
Ross began his transition in 2006, at age 15. At that time, YouTube was just beginning and there wasn’t much information out there. However, through the handful of transgender transition channels, he did discover, he found a sense of hope.
“YouTube was a savior for me. It was a breath of fresh air because I finally understood who I was,” Ross said.
Throughout much of Ross’ childhood, he felt that he was an outlier. He felt that he wasn’t understood.
“People never saw me as masculine or as male and that hurt me a lot,” he said.
In high school, Ross said that he repressed all of his feelings about being transgender. He kept them inside and just told others he was a lesbian, though that is not what he truly identified as.
During his struggle, the YouTube star planned on dropping out of high school once he reached the age of 16.
However, once he started his transition, everything changed.
“It was only after I came out to my friends and to myself that I was like, you know what, I have a future and want to do something with my life and go to university.”
In college, Ross majored in sociology. He found ways in which he could incorporate transgender studies into his projects and research.
In fact, he just completed his master’s degree, during which he wrote his thesis on the correlation between trans men identity and tattoos. His biggest finding was that most trans men who have tattoos have tattoos that they relate to their trans identity, whether it is directly or indirectly.
Ross will publish his thesis today, Thursday, March 15 and individuals will have access to all of his research.
The 27-year-old explained that he chose to have a transgender studies focus on his research throughout school to “give trans people a voice.”
With his following of over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, Ross feels “very blessed that [he] [has] this platform to do that research” and to share it with others.
His biggest advice to everyone?
“You are enough.”
PHOTOS BY SHAUNA GOLDEN