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'I love a place that hates me': How two transgender teens navigate current events in Oklahoma

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU
Dominik (left) and M.J. (right) are 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 KOSU’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 KOSU’s Kateleigh Mills produced this story in partnership with Focus: Black Oklahoma. This story is 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.

This conversation was produced with support from the Education Writers Association. The mission of the Education Writers Association is to strengthen the community of education writers and improve the quality of education coverage to better inform the public.

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.

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Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
Kateleigh Mills is the Special Projects reporter for KOSU.