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.