My story doesn’t start out much different than so many others. I was a happy kid with a decent life, great parents, and good friends. As I got older I realized I was transgender and it didn’t go over very well. I struggled with depression and suicidal ideation. It wasn’t until I landed in the ICU that I realized I needed to stop living my life just for other people, but instead live for myself. The look of sadness in my dog’s face as I left for the hospital was the turning point. It was the wake up I needed that something needed to change. I decided I was no longer going to be a statistic, I was going to be the change I needed. I was going to prove everyone who has doubted me and told me I couldn’t be something that they are wrong.

As I write this today, less than 4 years since my last hospital stay, I am now a Firefighter/ EMT for the very same fire department who drove me to the hospital after attempting to take my own life. The very people who told me in the back of the ambulance that day that no one decides my future but me, are now my chosen family and some of my closest friends. I don’t know if any of them realize the impact that they made that day or realize it was me they saved.

I’ve since decided to help end the stigma of transgender people within the medical and emergency community. I also want to help end the fear so many lgbt people have when it comes to being in a true emergency and afraid to call 911. Especially with the latest ruling from the Trump administration allowing transgender discrimination within the medical field. I want to show younger generations that the fight and the struggle, will be worth it in the end. The feeling of being able to help others is one I can’t describe, but it makes all the negativity from my past start to fade away. Within my department, I’m not the trans guy or the weird new guy. I’m just Damien and I get along well with all of my crew members. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at and I still have farther to grow.

This amazing story was shared by a human named Damien

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