Glee Project contender Tyler Ford’s journey towards becoming the man his is today has certainly not been an easy one — nor has it been a journey that many people fully understand. Tyler is The Glee Project’s first-ever transgender contestant, and as such, his unique story has captured the interest of plenty Glee Project viewers.
GLAAD recently spoke with the 21-year-old Florida native about what his life has been like so far, and what he hope others can learn from hearing about his journey of acceptance.
“I want people to know that being transgender is a normal part of everyday life,” Tyler tells GLAAD. “Every person in this world has a story, and being transgender just happens to be part of some of our stories. I want to inspire people who feel like outsiders to pursue what they love, no matter how hard others try to stop them.”
When Tyler (who was at that point still known as Brittany) first came out as “a lady-loving person” four years ago, he says most of his friends and family were “unfazed” by the revelation. A few of his friends were uncomfortable with it, but overall, he was met with a great amount of support.
Coming out as transgender a few years later was “definitely a longer, more difficult process.” Tyler says he lost a lot of friends who “disagreed” with his identity. Most people in his family supported his transition, and he says the experience was able to distance him from “those who brought negativity” into his life.
If he does make it to the end of The Glee Project and win that coveted Glee role, Tyler says he would love to play a transgender character, especially one who is “trouble reconciling his feminine and masculine aspects due to societal pressure and bullying.”
He loves the messages Glee is sending, but does believe there is always room for improvement. “Glee has more LGBT representation than most shows I've seen, so that's awesome,” he says.
“The show is lacking in the "BTQ" half of "LGBTQ," but hopefully I can add some spice there! I would definitely love to see more trans* and queer characters - especially people of color. ”
As for his favorite character of the current cast, that’s an easy one. “Santana is my favorite character,” Tyler says, “because underneath her rudeness and defensiveness lies a very vulnerable, raw person who is dealing with her intersecting identities and insecurities. I've loved watching her story unfold.”
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