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‘I love a place that hates me,’ how two transgender Oklahoma teens navigate current events in their home state

Kateleigh Mills
Dominik (left) and M.J., two transgender teenagers from the Tulsa area who spoke with StateImpact at the Amplify Youth Health Collective in Tulsa.

StateImpact is on a listening tour with Oklahoma’s youth.

The first trip took StateImpact’s Robby Korth and OPMX’s Kateleigh Mills to Tulsa, to visit with a pair of transgender teenagers and some of their friends. The goal: Hear what issues they care about and how they navigate a barrage of headlines that they feel malign them.

M.J. and Dominik are friends from the Tulsa area. They’re both juniors in high school and they’re transgender.

The pair say they have a hard time keeping up with current events because it feels like they’re constantly under attack. But, they persevere thanks to relationships they’ve developed over time despite what they see in the headlines about which sports they can play or restrooms they can use at school.

StateImpact’s Robby Korth and OPMX’s Kateleigh Mills produced this story as part of the America Amplified initiative using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. America Amplified is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Special thanks to Amplify Youth Health Collective in Tulsa. The organization introduced StateImpact to M.J. and Dominik and we interviewed them at their Tulsa office.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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