Jenna Hall’s transition from high school to college was not just one of changing schools, but also gender.
Hall is a sophomore at Keene State College, double majoring in secondary education and English, minoring in theatre, and is also the Vice President and Secretary of KSC Pride.
Around December 2016 of her senior year of high school, Hall said she was struggling with school. This is when she first had thoughts of being transgender or non-binary
“…it clicked in my all head all of a sudden,” Hall said.
She identifies as a transgender woman and a lesbian.
On the day of her high school graduation, Hall wore a dress, which is when she came out publicly, and she said everyone there was super supportive.
Hall attended Keene High School (KHS) and said KHS “isn’t the most liberal high school,” so she said she thought it would make her last six months of high school easier if she waited until after she graduated to fully come out.
Hall has not made a medical transition yet, but after changing her gender identity, she said, “I’m just happier in general about everything.”
One social struggle Hall said she has revolves around using bathrooms.
“Going to the bathroom has always been an awkward thing for me,” Hall said. She said she always feels like someone is going to call her out for using the women’s bathroom.
Hall said she has never personally been targeted for using the women’s bathroom, and she said no one has been discriminatory towards her.
KSC junior Vivian Valengavich, who is also is a transgender female, is one of Hall’s best friends.
Valengavich said friendship helps during the transitional process.
“If you don’t have someone there who doesn’t directly understand what you’re going through…it can make it really hard to make it feel like you can trust the people around you,” Valengavich said.
Valengavich said she has a better idea of what Hall is going through because she is a transwoman as well, which has been very helpful to her.
KSC Program Support Assistant for LGBTQ Students Hunter Kirschner said he has known Hall since she was two years old.
Kirschner is a mentor and friend to Hall.
Kirschner said he was of help to Hall through her transition by simply just being there. He also connected her with LGBTQ resources and other people who were going through similar experiences as she was.
KSC Pride is a program at Keene State that offers programming, resources and support for the LGBTQ community. Hall took on leadership roles in KSC Pride early on, and Kirschner said that he thinks that “led her to be more driven to become visible and to help change things on campus for other trans folks.”
Another way Kirschner helped through Hall’s transition is by talking to her mom.
“Transition does not just affect the person who’s transitioning” said Kirschner.
There are certain changes, “like the words you can use to talk about a person” which is one challenge parents may face. Some parents have this idea of who their child is going to be, and in some situations, it can be hard to let go see them shift, said Kirschner.
Hall’s one-year anniversary of coming out to the public passed on June 2016. Hall said the most difficult part of transitioning was that she was “very self-conscious about presenting herself as feminine at first.” Hall said that while being a transgender isn’t easy, “it is less difficult at Keene State College.”