Cameron looks into the mirror every morning and sees the same face he’s always seen — a face that belongs to a man. Stubble has grown overnight on his cheeks and chin, and he can see the dark, course and curly hair on his chest. He rubs a hand lightly over his body, feeling the pelt beneath his hand tickle his palm. Cameron is shocked every morning by the reflection, by the feel of his own skin. Every morning, he wakes up and sees himself, but the image he sees does not echo how he how he feels. On the outside, he looks like a man. On the inside, he feels frustrated that his own skin is a costume. On the inside, he feels like a woman.

Growing up, Cameron went to an all-boys Catholic school located in the suburbs of northern New Jersey. He learned early on that playing the role of being male and hiding his true self would keep him out of trouble, keep him from being bullied and tortured. What he learned later on, however, was that the torture of not being true to himself was worse than any torture any bully could have dealt to him.

“Gender Identity Disorder” is a term coined by psychologists and doctors who use the phrase to describe the conflicting feelings that people like Cameron have experienced for the majority of their lives. I wonder, though, if this label actually causes more harm to those who experience these inner struggles, despite that they are likely only meant to help those who don’t have gender assignment issues to understand those who do.

I’ve never known anyone like Cameron. I don’t know whether to say “he” or “she,” “him” or “her.” I've had my share of feeling one way on the inside, and being perceived another way on the outside, but nothing like the unbearable internal conflict many people like Cameron must deal with.

What I do know is that Cameron has learned to trust her heart, and accept who she is regardless of how she’s perceived by others. It’s been a long and arduous road for her, but Cameron has finally come to terms with who she is and she wears her true skin and true colors with pride and confidence.