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Oprah says anyone who's ever had to stand up for who they truly are will relate to Angelika and Jake, two young guests who say they were born in the wrong body.

"Would I have the courage to do what these people are getting ready to do today?" Oprah says. "I doubt if I would."

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of identities and experiences and is used to refer to many types of people, including transsexual people and cross-dressers. In its broadest sense, "transgender" encompasses anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside stereotypical gender expectations.

Angelika, a 21-year-old transgender female, spent the first 15 years of her life living as a boy. "Everybody knew that my mother had a boy, but I wasn't masculine," she says. "I was never masculine. I was more feminine than anything, and they saw that. … My mother was embarrassed by it. I was told that my family was embarrassed by me."

When Angelika was just 3 or 4 years old, she says she began to have conflicting feelings about her gender. "There was this one point in time when I was little that I looked in a mirror, and I was just wishing that I was a girl," she says. "I couldn't really understand why I had a boy part, but my mind was like a girl. I was so confused."

While other boys in her New York City neighborhood were interested in sports, Angelika says she liked playing with girls' toys and longed for girls' clothes. "I wished that I could hang out with the girls and play Barbies with them, but I wasn't really allowed to," she says. "It was very frustrating and upsetting for me."
FROM: Born in the Wrong Body
Published on September 28, 2007


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