Texas Trans Teen's Friends Throw Surprise Party, Make A Moving Gift

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday February 12, 2020

The friends of a trans Texas high schooler made a special occasion of his 18th birthday - a party that riffed on the idea of a "gender reveal" celebration, complete with a life-changing gift.

And it was all captured on a moving video.

Yahoo! News reports that Andi Bernabe's friends sprang the surprise on him at school.

"They made this fake paper birth certificate and they all signed it," Bernabe recalled. "All the decorations were 'It's a boy!'-themed. The cake was strawberry and they put blue icing on top."

Added the teen, "The joke was, 'Oh, we accidentally made a pink cake for a girl but it turned out to be a boy.'"

But the real surprise was the gift Bernabe's friends had spent a month preparing, reports them.

Stepping forward, one of the teen's friends said, "Since you're a legal adult, we kinda raised enough money for you to change your name," and handed him an envelope containing the $300 it costs in Texas for a legal name change.

The video captures the moment that Bernabe, overcome, falls to his knees in joy.

Twitter users shared the video, as did users of TikTok.

Perhaps an even greater gift, though, has been the way Bernabe's school friends have consistently supported him. American schools are still rife with homo- and transphobia - so much so that GLSEN, a national advocacy group for LGBTQ youth, organizes a "No Name Calling" week every year. This year the dates for the week fall from Jan. 20 - 24.

GLSEN also publishes a National School Climate Survey. The latest such survey presents the findings of what LGBTQ youth faced in schools in 2017 - the year after the election that brought the current presidential administration to power. That administration has mounted unprecedented attacks on non-heterosexual and non-cisgender Americans, with trans-Americans being the hardest hit.

As text about the 2017 survey summarized: "Progress on safe schools for LGBTQ youth has slowed for the first time in years."

But Bernabe has been one of the fortunate ones.

"I came out about two years ago," Bernabe told Yahoo! News. "I've been out ever since and all I've gotten is support from my friends and teachers. My school is a really safe place for people like me."

News reports said that the teen plans to change his name to Andrew.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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