LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Kristian “Kris” Aponto

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

19 | Transgender Male | He/Him/His

Kris has known two truths about himself since a very young age — that he wanted to join the Navy when he was older and that he was transgender.

“I was 14 when I came out,” Kris says. “My parents sat me down and asked if I was transgender.”

Kris says at the time he was pretty tomboyish and had already come out as lesbian, so when they sat him down and asked he said it just hit him and he answered “Yes, I am.”

“They were pretty accepting and said no matter what we are going to love you,” Kris says.

Kris’ mom found the Zebra Coalition. After attending, Kris started to find understanding and acceptance at Zebra and it seemed like everything was starting to come together for him.

Kris was enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program at his high school and was preparing himself for a life in the U.S. military.

“Growing up I always liked structure; I like the discipline of the military, the organization of it,” Kris says. “I talked to recruiters and I was planning to do JROTC all four years of high school, so I was getting myself ready.”

That is until July 2017 when Kris and the rest of the world saw Trump’s tweet banning trans people from joining the military.

“Going into my senior year, Trump made that tweet and I had no plan for myself outside of the military. That was going to be my entire life. I was an emotional mess,” Kris recalls.

Kris took that emotion and channeled it into something positive. He began to share his story. With the help of the Zebra Coalition, Kris started to put a face to the trans military ban and speak out about its discriminatory nature. He shared his story from small groups at community events to massive crowds like the “Win With Love” rally at Lake Eola.

“I have this platform right now and an amazing support structure so I want to share that with people and let them know they are not alone,” Kris says. “I need to advocate for my community.”

Share this story: