Skylar’s family was not the type to disapprove of an insufficiently feminine daughter. They divorced when Skylar was nine, and though the breakup was painful, Melissa and Chip remain aligned as parents, sharing a cheerful confidence about Skylar and his older sister, Dakota, now a sophomore at Pomona College. Later, the school counsellor asked Skylar to stop by for a chat.
“Skylar never wanted to wear a dress,” Melissa said. I’m not going to force my kids to do things that make them unhappy. Obviously.”Partly because of this attitude, and partly because little girls can get away with being boyish—in contrast to little boys, who still cannot easily get away with being girlish—Skylar did not have a hard time in elementary school. “I would just get confused when people didn’t call me a boy. I was way too much of a pacifist to ever do it, though.
Like many “trans” people of his generation, he is comfortable with some gender ambiguity, and doesn’t feel the need to be, as he puts it, a “macho bro.” He is not sure yet if he will have genital reconstruction when he’s older.
Skylar lives in an affluent, wooded town near New Haven, a liberal enclave where nobody seriously challenged his decision to change gender. As he explained in his application essay, classmates kept telling him, “This is the most fundamental essence of who you are, Skylar.
You can’t possibly get through an entire college application without bringing it up.
Teen-agers who identify as transgender appear to be at higher risk for depression and suicide.
Yet Skylar’s more seamless story is becoming increasingly common.
And plastic surgery, tattoos, and piercings have made people more comfortable with body modification.