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of peo­ple who don’t com­ment as of­ten as trolls, but when they do, they make your head turn. [Unedited]: “I wish you the best of luck & I want to let you know that I think you’re so brave for be­ing true to your­self in a town that makes that very hard for any­one who ex­ists out­side the com­fort zone of the more closed-minded among us. keep be­ing you!” “Nikki, con­grats to you and good luck on your jour­ney, our house­hold wishes you the best. Also, don’t worry about the neg­a­tive crap you see from peo­ple. There is al­ways some­thing worse hap­pen­ing or more im­por­tant hap­pen­ing in the world, but those don’t erase or negate ev­ery­one else’s is­sues. If their not in­ter­ested in help­ing or shar­ing a good word, then they should keep scrolling, if they seek you out and de­cide to spew filth, it only speaks true to their char­ac­ter.” “I dont per­son­ally know you, but I want to tell you I’m proud of you for be­ing your true self and wish you the best. As long as you are happy with your­self and be­ing the real you, that’s all that mat­ters!! No one needs to live their life not be­ing who they truly are. Just re­mem­ber you have to ig­nore all the neg­a­tiv­ity you will re­ceive, noones opin­ion mat­ters but your own!!” There are lots of ‘likes’ on the sup­port­ive com­ments. It’s these that Nikki takes com­fort in. “I am so happy that peo­ple sup­port me,” she tells me. “I didn’t re­ally ex­pect I would get that much, but I’m happy there are peo­ple out there who care.” She says she’s looked into the gen­der­re­as­sign­ment surgery with a spe­cific doc­tor in mind — Dr. Chris­tine McGinn of the Gen­der Well­ness Cen­ter in Penn­syl­va­nia. “I have a con­sul­ta­tion on March 4, 2019 with her,” she writes. “My mom is go­ing with me and I am su­per ex­cited.” “What hap­pens if you don’t raise the money?” I ask her. In her un­fal­ter­ing, up­beat de­meanor, she tells me she’ll: “Just keep on sav­ing up and one day, I’ll have it done!” If there be a true test of char­ac­ter, it’s be­ing able to weather the storm that cer­tain small minds in cer­tain small towns can ren­der. In pass­ing that test, some­thing tells me that one day, Nikki Ham­mond’s fu­ture will pan out ex­actly as she sees it in her mind. At the time of print­ing, only $70 has been raised to­ward her over­all goal of $25,000. To sup­port Nikki in her tran­si­tion, go to GoFundMe.com/zz6h6d-gen­der­re­as­sign­ment-surgery.

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