Transgender 13-year-old comes out in this amazingly heartfelt speech (VIDEO)

Mar 23, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager who is different in any way is almost impossible. That's why this video is so inspiring. Tom, a 13-year-old who until recently had been known to his school friends as Mia, reads a heartfelt and open speech to his friends and family, announcing his true identity.

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"All of sixth grade I struggled with my gender identity, and I am now embracing my truth," Tom says. "I went through a series of horrible breakdowns, and I would stand under the water in the shower, crying.

"For some of you, this may come to you as a shock," he says. "I am no longer Mia. I never really was, and now I stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. I stand before you as a 13-year-old boy.

"I really hope that you will support my decision to embark on a harder route in life as the boy I really am. Any form of support is received with much gratitude."

What Tom has done is incredibly brave, and I am glad to see such a positive story about a transgender teen. Too many are stories like that of Leelah Alcorn, a person who clearly touched and inspired Tom. I hope this is the beginning of a different story for transgender individuals, one in which teens can share their stories with support and encouragement, and not rejection.

More stories about transgender issues

TLC's new transgender series: 12 Things you need to know about All That Jazz
Meet a courageous transgender 5-year-old
Transgender first-grader given girls' restroom rights

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