GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With 3.9 million followers and an equivalent amount of views on her videos, it’s hard to scroll past Zaya Perysian’s presence on TikTok.
“Millions of people have seen me blossom into the person that I am today,” said Perysian. “You don’t get to see that often with trans people, you don’t get to see the full process.”
At age 20, Perysian has put her entire life online and documented her experience as a transgender woman.
“People DM me every day telling me how much I’ve inspired them and how much they didn’t know what it takes to transition and how much of a hardship it is and what we go through,” said Perysian.
Perysian lives in Grand Rapids, but grew up in Lowell and South Haven.
In an interview with FOX 17, she said she knew from a young age she was a woman, but struggled because no one felt or looked like her in the area or on social media.
So, when Perysian began her transition two years ago, she decided to show others too, with the hopes that it may help them.
Her account took off as she posted videos of each step from getting her license to dealing with an unsupportive parent and more.
TikTok featured Perysian as one of their LGBTQ+ Trailblazers this past Pride Month.
“I was very transparent throughout the journey with all of my struggles I faced,” said Perysian. “How hard it was with medical insurance, all the hardships I went through; I had lots of ups and downs.”
Perysian credits her mother and a few close friends for helping her get through the last few years.
She says like many other trans youth, she struggled with thoughts of suicide.
“It took time,” said Perysian. “I went through rough moments, but now that I’m here, now that I am who I am and I’ve surpassed all of that, it’s so worth it.”
Perysian hopes to continue building her platform. She plans to advocate for legislative policies that protect transgender people in some of her future videos.
“There’s a lot to fight for,” said Perysian. “I recognize that I am one of the lucky ones. I recognize that I was able to fully transition, but it’s not that fair because there are so many people out there at risk right now.”
To watch Perysian's video's, click here. https://www.tiktok.com/@zayaperysian