HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community and recognize its struggles to achieve equal rights.
Central Texas students have planned their own pride event Saturday, and they’re opening it to the public for the first time.
A dog by his side and a video game in-hand, Greyson Rodriguez is a typical teenage boy.
But Greyson was born a girl who started protesting wearing dresses before he could read.
“I refused to wear dresses,” he says.
“I started ripping them off. It was impossible to keep me in one.”
Years passed, and his discomfort with his body grew until he heard the word "transgender".
“This makes sense. This is what I am,” says the 15 year-old.
Before turning 13, Greyson came out to his mom.
His only birthday wish was to be recognized as a boy.
“What if you were born a dog, and you knew you were human, but everyone around you told you ‘no, you're a dog’.”
“Even if you looked human, even if you acted human- you were a dog,” he explains.
He has used the analogy to detail his situation to others.
His mom was accepting and supportive, but his school wouldn't comply with a name change, and then came the bullying.
“That's the he/she or that's the "it" thing,” says Greyson, quoting how he would be introduced to other students by his peers.
“I was always worried that at some point, some new kid would find out or someone I was friends with would find out, or someone who didn't know who I was before would find out, and just not like me anymore,” he adds.
Greyson now takes classes online but is working to build community support.
He plans to find it at a Central Texas pride event from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights.
It’s organized by local students and also open to those wanting to learn more about the LGBTQ community.
"Come and learn and experience our culture because it's beautiful,” says organizer Greyson Lightbourn.
“We want to share the love and want you to know who we really are."
It's an invitation Greyson extends to his now estranged father and other families of those who have come out.
“Love them for who they are- it's still the same person, just a different name, a different look," he says.
He’s one of many showing up and hoping to connect with others brave enough to be who they are.