“I left my house when I was 19 and keep trying to make it on my own. I’ve stayed in shelters where I have been harassed by both gay and straight people. And one time I was walking around the West Village with a friend and some cops asked for our ID. One cop said, ‘You have to clear up this thing, John—my birth name on my ID—in front of other people. It was really embarrassing.
“I decided to transition in November 2010. I had worked at a fast food place for a year and a half but as I transitioned, the changes were starting to show. When I came into work dressed as a woman, I got fired.
“My mother loves me, I know that, but she’s also worried about what other people think.
“I want to be a role model for the trans community and show the world we’re just people. Living my life as the true me—as Krystal—is not always easy, but I don’t think there is any other choice.”