As soon as she could pick colors. As soon as she could talk, said her mother, Jill. There are pictures of me with a buzzcut and plastic heels and a Barbie, Fenstermacher said. I just knew I wasnt born into the right body. Now 18, Fenstermacher is a petite and pretty blonde, demure, graceful and mature beyond her years. Living in nearby Long Beach, she found Olson-Kennedy at 15, after years of confusion and deciding she must be a gay male. I didnt even know transitioning existed until I was 14, she said. Everyone told me, We dont know what to do. Her treatment was further delayed by counselors who told her she had to undergo months of therapy before they would give her a referral to Olson-Kennedy. (While Olson-Kennedy said therapy is important, she said it should not be used as a roadblock to seeing a physician.) Fenstermachers transition was excruciating. She attempted suicide, she said, after enduring extended bullying through high school and dealing with issues like trying to find a bathroom she could use comfortably. A 2015 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found a majority of transgender Americans avoid using public bathrooms, even going so far as to limit their food and water intake when away from home.
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