Here is to the start of a personal portrait series project acknowledging just some of the many LGBTQ person who have struggled to thrive as themself growing up in areas of NE Ohio where knowlege or acceptance wasn't always present.
Findley Coleman stands for a portrait in the development he grew up in Brunswick, Ohio.
“I was sure that I was comfortable with who I was but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to deal with the heartache. I honestly expected people to be like, ‘that’s weird,’ or ‘you’re a freak,’ because I never saw it before...I had one friend who was transgender and I never asked him what he went through.”
After Findley Coleman, formerly Becca Coleman, came out as transgender (female to male) to his dad, everything “normalized.”
Born and raised in Brunswick, Ohio, Findley, now 21, recalls staying out late and away from the house as a young girl. Becca (formerly) came out as bisexual, then a lesbian throughout middle and high school. After high school, she went on to play on the women’s soccer team at Cleveland State.
“I had my fair share of flings and dating in college, but there was this odd sensation that started when I hit the locker rooms. I was just really uncomfortable, and that’s when I started questioning: alright, at this age, why am I so uncomfortable with my body?”
The same discomfort returned after leaving Cleveland State to join a military program at The Ohio State University.
“They wanted to put me in a women’s uniform. It cut funny and didn’t fit right.”
Toward the end of Becca’s experience in Columbus, she realized she was he. With major support from girlfriend, Lana, mom and twin sister, Sarah, Becca began the transition to Findley.
“My main support system is here, so it’s gonna be easy,” he had said when beginning the transition.
“People need the ability to categorize and fit people into neat, little boxes. I think that’s the hardest part of trying to show the world this community,” he explained. “They assume you’re different. That you’re not going to have the same morals or virtues as they do, that you’ve completely let go of what’s right and what’s wrong. Sexual orientation and gender aside, if you’re a decent human being, you’re gonna be a decent human being.”