Transgender teenager invites camera crew to film her gender reassignment surgery


Eighteen-year-old Massachusetts resident Emmie Smith, formerly Walker Smith, first came out as transgender two years ago with a post on Facebook. With the support of her mother and twin brother, Emmie elected to undergo gender reassignment surgery this past summer — and even allowed a National Geographic photographer to film her and her family as she went through the process.

“When I first learned that my child was transgender, I couldn’t speak the word, I was so — I didn’t know, I didn’t know anything about it,” admitted Emmie’s mother, Kate Malin, a reverend at an Episcopal church. “I was the one in the know, and all of a sudden I didn’t know anything and it was frightening and it was other and I didn’t want my child to hurt or be hurt or be judged.”

The decision to allow cameras to witness the gender reassignment procedure, Emmie said, was to help raise awareness about transgender people — and to provide information about a process that remains relatively taboo to discuss. “I think people are fascinated by gender reassignment surgery. They also don’t know how to have a conversation about it,” Emmie explained.

Transitioning, Emmie added, allowed others to see her in the way she already saw herself. “Being closeted was one of the worst parts of my life. Being out, it’s not so much a personal change, it’s a social change,” Emmie said. “If I was not out, I’m not sure I’d be alive right now.”

Read the full story at The Daily Mail and watch the complete video at National Geographic.


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