EVERETT — Liam Taylor, 19, finished his graduation requirements last week at Sequoia High School. He was a Rotary Club of Everett student of the month in January. He plans to attend Everett Community College in the fall to study welding. He wants to be an underwater welder.
Question: Why underwater welding?
Answer: It started out as just welding. I am kind of artistic in the sense that I like to mash things together. I like fire and I like melting things and bending them and sticking them together. Somebody said, “So you like sharks and you want to be welder. Have you ever considered underwater welding?” And I was like, That’s a thing?
If I can do welding and be underwater where there are sharks, that would be like living the dream. I’m not the greatest swimmer, so I have to work myself up to it. I am not afraid of sharks.
Q. What are you afraid of?
A. Abandonment. I’ve never had somebody stick in my life for long periods of time, except for my friends now and my mom and my little brother.
Q. Why did you choose Sequoia?
A. I used to go to Everett High and I had really, really bad grades and attendance and I didn’t have a great support system. I started falling really behind and not showing up for school. I was so unmotivated and down. Then I started going here and everything pieced together and my grades got better. I wouldn’t be where I am without being here. I am going to be successful.
Q. Favorite classes?
A. My history teacher Erin Hawkinson taught me interesting things I wouldn’t even think to think about. I would sit there mind-blown for the rest of the day. Bona Park has helped me because I didn’t understand math until I had taken a math class with her. She actually got me to the point to where I enjoy doing math.
Q. What do you do at Grocery Outlet?
A. Courtesy, which is bagging and getting the carts. I go around fixing aisles when there’s nothing to do.
I used to be a server and I had a lot of anxiety. I used to talk quietly because I was awkward and shy.
At the Grocery Outlet I made friends. I socialize a lot more. They worked me up to that.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I really like skateboarding. I like hanging out with my friends and going to parks and looking at nature and swinging. I have a lot of energy. There’s a hill that’s really fun to go skateboarding down. It’s very scary but it’s also very fun.
Q. Ever broken anything?
A. I haven’t, but I have some pretty insane scars.
Q. What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
A. Coming to Washington. I’m from Kansas. I was 12. My mom got a job here.
Q. Who is your hero?
A. Lil Peep (rapper who died in 2017). His music is about his struggles with depression and the things he’s going through. He breaks gender rules.
Q. What are three things in your refrigerator?
A. Cake. Salad. Mustard.
Q. What do you want people to know about you?
A. Being trans. I had a problem with my identity for a long time. When I was younger I used to be like, Oh, I’m a tomboy. It didn’t feel right, but I was young so I didn’t understand. I would research all the time, obsessively looking up things about being transgender. Questioning myself: Am I really trans? Or is this a phase? What is this?
I originally identified as non-binary. I didn’t want to jump right to conclusions that I was male. I wanted to come out, but a lot of my friends at that time had shown signs of not being supportive. I cut those people out of my life because they weren’t good for me. I came out and immediately had lots of support and people who wanted me to be happy.
For a while, my mom was iffy about it because she wanted to make sure I was actually who I thought I was. Once I turned 18 she said, “OK, I believe that this is who you are.” She has always supported me. She just wanted me to be sure. My mom got me on hormones about five months ago. And now I am as happy as I can be. I’m growing chin hair now, I have a little mustache and my voice is deeper.
Q. What would you say to other people?
A. Follow your gut feeling. Not to give up even if people tell you that you’re wrong. And to always love their self.