Trans Halifax student wants to share message with Ellen DeGeneres for his upcoming birthday

Kenny Cooley garnered international media attention for being first trans player on his high school football team.

Published on March 16, 2017

Kenny Cooley

©Jeff Harper/Metro

After a busy school year that included international media attention for being the first trans player on his high school football team, Kenny Cooley has his eyes set on another goal.

He hopes to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on or around his 18th birthday on April 27 to further spread his message of acceptance and encouraging people to pursue their dreams "no matter what."

“I don’t want people to just say ‘Oh that guy’s from the football team, the first trans guy.’ I want them to say, ‘Look, that guy follows his dreams so I can do it as well,’” Cooley said.

“I want them to say ‘That guy is making a difference. I want to do what he is doing.’ I want to inspire people to do things on their own. To not be afraid.”

The Halifax West High School student recently began hormone therapy, is enjoying his job at Starbucks, and is celebrating the fact his football team won the Tier II championship in November.

He said his friends have been reaching out to DeGeneres via social media and her website in the hopes of getting Cooley a spot on the show. He hopes those who agree with his message of acceptance will also put in a good word for him.

“I want to share that you have to remember there are always people out there who don’t accept (you), but keep your head held high,” he said.

“Many people…have reached out to me to say I’m inspiring. I don’t see myself as inspiring. I see myself as ‘This is my life. I’m going to do what I need to do to make myself happy.’”