On paper, Shapiro appeared to have it made. From a well-off family with homes in Manhattan and Florida, he was smart and athletic; he even had a $50,000-per-year tennis scholarship to a tony Connecticut boarding school.
But inside, he was suffering. He couldn’t look in the mirror without despising what he saw. He even considered lighting his body on fire to destroy the thing he hated most. He felt that he was a man trapped inside a girl’s body.
After his junior year, Shapiro cut off his hair and began wearing men’s clothes, which didn’t sit well with his religious, traditional aunt (who had taken him in after his mom died). “I adopted a daughter, not a man,” she said, and told Shapiro to leave. With no place to go, he negotiated a deal and started paying rent for the privilege of living in her walk-in closet during the summer, “like Harry Potter,” Shapiro says.
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