Chicago area family with transgender daughter helps co-found GenderCool Project

ByJason Knowles WLS logo
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Chicago area family with trans daughter co-found GenderCool Project
The GenderCool Project was co-founded by a family with a trans daughter from the Chicago area.

CHICAGO -- It's estimated that 1.6 million Americans who are 13 years and older identify as transgender.

One local teenage girl said her family has supported her journey since she told them she was a girl at age nine.

"By the time I reached nine years old, I was still feeling more feminine, gravitating more to stereotypical feminine things. And before fifth grade, I told my parents, I said 'Mom, Dad, I'm not just a boy who likes girly things. I am a girl.'" Chazzie Grosshandler recalled.

After she spoke those words, she said her mom, dad, siblings and her big brother Lev have embraced and celebrated her identity.

"I'm getting emotional, but I'm just so incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to witness her becoming the person that she is and being able to be inspired by that and have her make me a better person as her older brother," said her brother Lev.

"As soon as I was two, even if I didn't have the words for it, I definitely knew that I was more feminine than masculine. I would always put t-shirts over my head like it was hair and I would wear them to the store or to the park, or I would even sleep with them," Chazzie said.

But that didn't mean it was easy to tell her parents she is transgender.

"I think I was just so scared in the moment, because I was coming to the truth about who I am, and for me to have it kept in for so long because I was so worried," she said. "I said to myself, what if my family doesn't love me for who I truly am?"

"We took a deep breath, we believed her we told her we loved her and we told her that we were going to help her have the best life ever," said her father John.

"And I can tell you that every one of Chazzie's aunts and uncles and grandparents, my friends, there is unconditional support and love," said her mother Jennifer.

The Grosshandler family co-founded the GenderCool Project. Gearah Goldstein, a local trans woman is another co-founder.

"Transgender and nonbinary people don't choose whether to be transgender or nonbinary, what they do choose is whether or not to share that fact with others," Goldstein said.

GenderCool is a national program, helping millions of people understand that transgender and nonbinary children are just like all children; they have talents, hobbies, dreams and career goals.

"My main thing when I'm older is to be a news anchor. And study journalism," said Chazzie. "I just love telling and writing stories about all kinds of things that are going on in the world. At my high school, I'm a part of my schools broadcasting club where I anchor in both English and Spanish. I am a junior in high school now and I'm thriving."

Chazzie said she hopes to one day be right here on the set of ABC7 or another TV station. She also said she hopes to see more trans reporters and anchors on television.

You can hear more from Chazzie and other Transgender teens involved in the GenderCool Project in an ABC special "Who I'm Meant to Be." It's streaming now on Hulu. It will also air on ABC7 Chicago Sunday at 4 p.m.