In a recent report called Injustice at Every Turn, put together by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, out of the 6,450 people surveyed, nearly all had experienced harassment.
According to that report, nearly 15 percent of the students who identify as transgender dropped out of school because of harassment, sexual assault or other problems at the school.
The report did show, however, that in the last 10 years the resources available to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students have increased. In Broward alone, there are 29 Gay-Straight Alliances, said Williams, with the school districts prevention programs.
Being a teenager is hard enough, said Seth Pardo who will soon get his doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Pardo, who was born a female and now lives fully as a male, said adolescence is difficult enough without the added layer of gender confusion and the social stereotypes that can go with it.
Theres so much a teenager has to think about as it is, he said. But for transgender kids there is so much more to deal with.
Pardo always felt like he was a boy. Growing up in Miami Beach, Pardo said he was lucky he had a strong family and a support group of friends.
By the time he was in high school, he was wearing button down shirts and pants all the time.
I knew early on that I hated girly things, he said.
But his identity never stopped him from joining clubs, succeeding in school and even becoming the valedictorian of Miami Beach Highs class of 1999.
I was really lucky, he said. A lot of kids do not get the support I had.
But it wasnt until he was 27 that he decided to transition. He had breast removal surgery and takes hormones.
Pardo described his life before the transition as if he was wearing a wet suit super glued to his body.
No matter what anyone did they couldnt really reach inside of me because of the wet suit, he said. Now I feel like I am free.
Pardo said the trick is being true to yourself.
Thats been the case for Andrew, who even as a child wanted to wear Cinderella dresses. At 7, she knew she wanted to be prom queen one day.
Even when a group of students started a petition to keep her name off the ballot, she hung in, and beat out dozens of competitors.
I didnt see why I shouldnt be allowed to have my dreams come true, Andrew said. Im so glad I went for it.