Maite Ramirez, Junior:
What’s your goal in highschool?
“Get good grades and be able to walk the stage. Also have fun with it because I feel a lot of people put pressure on themselves. We only have four years of high school, and it passes by really fast, I know it’s a big deal to get into college but I think we should also have fun and enjoy.”
What’s your goal in life?
“My main goal in life is to be happy. I know that there are some people that are successful and stuff but they aren’t really happy with themselves.”
“What has been the happiest moment of your life?
“One of the happiest moments of my life was when I was in middle school. I was bullied a lot and I made a friend and I realized that she was going to my friend for a long time and I was right because we are best friends ‘til this date. Realizing that I was going to have a friend there with me, that I wasn’t going to be alone forever, that was a very happy moment.”
What has been the saddest moment of your life?
“I was in middle school, my grandfather died. We had a really strong connection, he was genuinely one of my best friends. Him passing came very sudden, he had been suffering from cancer for a while and he was getting better. He was having a good day and everything, he took a nap and then he just passed in his sleep. I had come home from a good day at school, then we got the call and we had to rush to my grandparents house. That is definitely one of the saddest moments of my life.”
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
“My mom, I’ve seen her evolve and that is honestly really cool. She used to be kind of closed off and now I get to see her doing the work that she actually likes to do. She is happy with where she is in life. She is awesome.”
“What would you like other people to know about you?
“Something for sure that I would like people to know is that I have been struggling with my gender identity for a hot second, even when I was a kid. Just recently, I decided to come out as non-binary to people. I want people to know that I use ‘they, them’ pronouns and just to respect me on it.”
How has that affected you?
“So far not that much, because I just started coming out. It opened up a window and I got to see who my real friends are. Over the years I’ve heard people make slight comments about people with gender identity issues and pronouns. Now I know to not say anything to them or just ignore them. Other than that it had made the connection with my friends stronger because I’m getting to open up to who I really am to them and I feel really good.”
What made you decide your gender identity?
“I’ve always been bullied either because I was fat or I was too masculine and I’d always hang out with guys most of the time just because I thought most of the girls were kind of fake. In elementary and middle school I had never heard of something more than either you are a boy or a girl. I remember meeting someone that told me how they came out and how they were feeling at the time and I identified with their story. I started going to Oakgrove and that was a lot for me since there are many people that struggle with their sexual identity and gender and their influence impacted me to the point where I realized it was okay to be myself and to talk about it with other people.”
What advice would you give to other people going through the same situation?
“Don’t be afraid to be who you are.”