Transitioning To Freedom: How Abby Stein Left Orthodox Judaism To Become A Woman

"If there's one thing I could go back and tell myself when I was six years's, 'Know there are other people like you.'"

Before gaining the courage to come out as a woman, Abby Stein felt all alone in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In a short film created by Great Big Story, a video network “dedicated to the untold, overlooked, and flat-out amazing,” Stein shared the tale of her journey toward self-acceptance.

She declared that the Hasidic community she grew up in is one of the most sheltered in the country, and she wasn’t even able to hold a conversation in English until the age of 20.

Growing up, she knew she was different but didn’t know where to turn for help or guidance.

“Every time that I tried to tell myself, ’It’s not that you’re a girl, it’s something else that’s the problem,’ I would start battling with depression,” she said. “It got to a point where I realized, ’Hey, this is not a life. I have to do something.'”

She found the courage to discover who she really is, but doesn’t necessarily see it as courageous.

“People tell me a lot, ’Oh you’re so brave. You’re so strong,’ and I always feel like, ’I don’t know, I only did what I have to do to survive.'”

Watch Stein’s Great Big Story below.

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.