By TYESHA VINSON, Student Life Editor
Transgender artist and educator Rebecca Kling performed “Trans Form” at the University of Michigan-Dearborn this past Wednesday.
“Trans Form” is a journey through the life of Rebecca Kling and her experiences as a transgender woman. She detailed growing up transgender, the struggle to find help and her life currently.
Kling startled the entire audience when she ran from the back of Kochoff pointing and screaming, “Look out! It’s over there.” She set the scene with a short story that was the start of her journey as transgender.
Growing up in a Jewish family, Kling felt that her life didn’t match who she wanted to be. Her whole life up until she started transitioning was based around the fact that she was a boy.
Kling said, “I was a boy. At least the world saw me that way. I had boys’ clothing, a boys’ name, a boys’ haircut. I wore swimming trunks to the pool, changed in the boys’ locker room, had a Bar Mitzvah. I wore suits and ties to important family occasions. I went to the boys’ bathroom and lived in the boys’ section of the dorms in college.”
For a long time Kling struggled with dealing with her history when in public places. When talking about her relationship with Judaism does she say she had a Bar Mitzvah or does she say she had a Bat Mitzvah?
When men are talking about they’re male experience does she share her own memories or does she quietly observe?
Kling brought to light a lot of the struggles transgender people endure with their mental health, their physical health, and having role models that they can look up to.
When Kling was growing up her role model was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Kling saw her as transgender because she didn’t transform into a woman.
She made several comparisons between her own life and Ariel’s life. They both knew who they wanted to be, but they could only get there by “a painful, physical and emotional transformation.”
After years of struggling with who she was and who she wanted to become, Kling finally got to see a therapist. She came out to her parents at the age of fourteen and to her surprise, her parents were very loving and supportive.
As time went on she decided it was time to transition and that led to one fight after the other. She spent months in court to legally change her name to Rebecca Kling and she had an even tougher time getting the state of Illinois to acknowledge her as a woman on her driver’s license.
Kling also talked about the dangers of being transgender and the need to want safety and to be treated like the woman she knows she is. Regardless of what people may think of her, Kling is happy with who she is and how she looks.
The thing about Kling’s experience as a transgender woman is that she doesn’t want to erase who she was. Her transformation is all about who she wants to become. Being transgender is not about hating who you are, it’s about knowing what you want and who you want to become.
Kling is on her way to becoming who she wants to be and for the first time she feels that she does belong. She is a proud transgender woman and she will continue to share her story so she can be someone else’s Ariel.