A difference between sex and gender?

Dani Palmer

Pretending is something that many people do in high school. It can be as simple as pretending to have done the homework, be interested in what the teacher has been droning on for the last hour or liking a best friend’s new shoes.

But sometimes the act of pretending reaches an extreme, and we start to act like someone we aren’t. That was exactly the case for Destry Hanley.

Hanley is a freshman at USI studying English education, and in the semester and a half he has been here, he’s wasted no time getting involved and finding his group of friends.

A regular college freshman… but not entirely.


Hanley, who identifies as male, was born biologically female. In other words, he is a transgendered.

Hanley said his gender identity has always been male, as a child he always took on the male role in games.

“There is a big difference between sex and gender,” Hanley said. “Basically put, sex is what’s in your pants, gender is what’s in your heart.”

But living as a male was not present in Hanley’s life until recently. During high school he was never out as a trans man.

Hanley said that he was super girly in attempt to overcompensate. He didn’t want people to see that he was different.

But since moving to college, people started treating him like a guy, and he’s more confident and outgoing because of it.

Just because he didn’t let it show that he was “different” doesn’t mean that he didn’t know what he was.

Some people discover they are transgendered at early ages, while others don’t figure it out until they’re much older.

Hanley figured it out about three years ago. He said he only came to terms with it because it became an issue.

“In high school people started expecting me to wear makeup and flirt with guys and such,” Hanley said, “participate in normal girl things that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with.”

But before college, he had to decide whether or not to be openly trans.

He never wanted to be “that trans-kid;” he just wanted to be seen as a normal guy. But for many transgendered people of the same mindset, there are very few mentors for younger generations.

“There are so many people I know who have had it so rough in life because they were born trans, and it would have been amazing for them to have a mentor who had been through what they’re going through and could help,” Hanley said.

“I want to be there to help future generation that will have to go through this and may not have anyone else.”