Civilities: This transgender person wants to help you understand her experience


I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Elizabeth Hadfield, a 21-year-old senior at Duke University, my alma mater, in Durham, N.C., who is majoring in cultural anthropology and psychology. She has a 3.7 GPA. Her parents and younger brother live in New Mexico. She is also transgender.

On Christmas Day last year, Elizabeth, who goes by Liz, posted two side-by-side photos on Facebook. On the left, she’s at the family holiday party in 2015, when she was still presenting as male. On the right, one year later, she’s now Liz. I asked if she’d speak with me and she agreed, “because the best way to help people understand what being trans means is to help those around me understand my experience as a trans person.”