After the tragic death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn this past December, 13-year-old Tom Sosnik finally found the incentive he needed to reveal his true self to his fellow classmates. And in an effort to help those struggling with the same inner turmoil find the same strength, he posted his powerful coming out speech to YouTube.
"[Leah's death] made me want to act on a subject that has been bothering me for quite a long time," Sosnik says, standing in front of a class full of students. "All of sixth grade, I struggled with my gender identity and I am now embracing my truth. For a while, I dismissed the fact that I hated my body. I pretended to be content with what I was assigned until, at a certain point, I broke."
After detailing his breakdowns from the stress of hiding his true self from the world, Tom (previously known to his friends as "Mia"), confidently announced the secret he could no longer keep hidden.
"I am no longer ‘me.' I never really was. And now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. I stand before you as a 13-year-old boy," he says.
If you thought the inspiring words from Tom made you cry, wait until you see his reaction to his classmates applauding after he finishes his brave speech.
Tom uploaded the video to YouTube as a dedication to Alcorn, who took her own life after her family refused to accept her transitioning.
"This is how I came out to my community as trans. Please share my story and my message with your loved ones," reads the description. "To all those struggling to embrace their true and authentic gender or sexuality, I want you to know that if no one else accepts you, I always will. Rest in power, Leelah."