Candis Cayne was living on the Hawaiian island of Maui and was being bullied by high school classmates.
The transgender actress and regular on the reality series I Am Cait recalled those dark days and how she survived them in a new It Got Better video unveiled this week.
‘I really was lost my freshman year of high school,’ she recalls.
‘I remember one time coming home on the bus and the kids were throwing gum at my hair and I was sitting there and I just wanted to get home and they were trying to cut my hair with scissors. And so I got off the bus (three miles from home) and I cried walking home. It just wasn’t bearable.’
To help ease the situation, her parents decided to send her to Los Angeles for her junior year in high school.
For about three months, it seemed like a dream come true. She was part of a dance troop, was in the school play and was looking forward to a U2 concert when it all changed in a day.
‘I get called into the office and they say, “You’re leaving tomorrow.”
‘I was devastated and I went back to one of the teacher’s house where I was living and she looked at me and said, “You know you’re getting kicked out because you’re gay. And what you are is dirty and what you are is evil.”‘
At that point in her life, Cayne had never uttered the words, ‘I’m gay’ so it all came as a total shock.
‘That was (a) big moment in my life where I saw first-hand the devastation of true homophobia,’ she says.
‘That time in my life is that time where you really feel like it can’t get better because there’s no way at that age to ever think that in three or four or five years you’re getting on a plane, moving where you want to be, and living your dream.’
For Cayne that dream involved moving to New York City, getting work as a dancer and drag performer and coming to the realization that she is transgender.
‘I think the reason why I kind of got through it was my parents were there for me – they have always taught me to be who you are and always be true to yourself.’