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Entertainment Zackery Torres Opens Up About 'Struggles' of Transitioning, 'Pressures' She Felt on Dance Moms

04:07  15 june  2021
04:07  15 june  2021 Source:   people.com

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Zackery Torres was just a child when she first appeared on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition , but that didn’t stop her from being bullied, even by adult teachers. "That was the first time I really understood what it meant to be bullied into dancing a certain way," she told Page Six about making the move to dancing on television. "I don’t really know whose fault it is. I think we have the system to blame, and I think that it’s something we all need to be aware of and continue speaking out about." Because she was the first contestant on the show to be assigned male at birth, the reality star said

Zackery Torres Claims They Were ‘Bullied’ While Starring On ‘ Dance Moms ’. ‘Loki’ star Gugu Mbatha-Raw picks her favourite episodes of the series. Lara Flynn Boyle Opens Up About Being A Tabloid Target: ‘I Have Weathered The Storm’. Jeremy Clarkson and girlfriend Lisa Hogan pack on the PDA I think we have the system to blame, and I think that it’s something we all need to be aware of and continue speaking out about.”The University of Southern California graduate first appeared on season 1 of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition in 2012 before joining the Dance Moms cast with instructor

Zackery Torres is opening up about the highs and lows of her transition.

a person posing for the camera: Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres © Provided by People Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres

The Dance Moms alum - who now uses they/them and she/her pronouns - recently spoke with PEOPLE about her transitioning journey and candidly shared how her adolescent years starring on reality TV impacted her outlook on gender and sexuality.

"We're in a day and age where I personally feel safe enough and feel that I have a strong enough support system to be as transparent as possible through the trans experience," says Torres, 22, who made history on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition as the show's first male-born contestant.

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Zackery Torres Courtesy of Zackery Torres /Instagram. While they met “a lot of really amazing people” while working on the Lifetime show, which came to an end in September 2019 after 8 seasons, the pressure was overwhelming. Though dance “is rooted in a lot of historic traditions,” they never really “There’s a lot of detrimental moments that really kind of set me back as a young person and being on that TV show,” Zackery explained. “It’s something that we all just need to be aware of. We all grew up this one way, maybe I was bullied into dancing this way … but then stop it there, don’t pass it down to

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a person posing for the camera: Zackery Torres © Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres

"It's not always easy and it's not always fun, but I want to show as much of it as possible just so that we can continue advancing towards a more open and fulfilling place for the LGBTQ+ community and especially transgender people looking to transition," she continues.

The recent University of Southern California graduate says she's on her way towards becoming her "full self" after having come out a few times throughout her life.

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"I was able to come out for the first time as gay, that was when I was like, 15 and then I think I came out as non-binary when I was 19 or 20. I can't really remember," Torres shares. "And then I came out for the third time - third time's a charm - with being transgender, very recently."

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Cheyenne Tozzi, 27, revealed she does not become affected by what critics think of her transition from modelling to singing. 'Every girl understands that swept up feeling , everyone's had it. John Barrowman breaks his silence as his 'place on Dancing On Ice hangs in the balance' after admitting 'I'm transitioning ': Dance Mom 's star Zackery Torres proudly shares 'life update' in new TikTok video.

Opening up in her caption, the brunette beauty highlighted that there 'isn't enough awareness around ED,' adding: 'They are not taken seriously enough.' She wrote in full: 'Sunday vibes and personal thoughts. I used to think I could never model lingerie for personal battles with my body confidence. 'To show them they are not alone and that the vicious circle can be beaten!! Despite these being lovely pictures by the amazing @nasibag , they represent so much more to me personally.' She concluded: 'You deserve to feel fierce, happy, confident and comfortable within yourself.'

In a TikTok video in May, days before the start of Pride Month, Torres excitedly shared, "I'm transitioning!" and explained to her followers, "That means I'm transgender if you didn't know."

Following her announcement last month, Torres says several of her former Dance Moms costars sent supportive messages.

a woman standing in front of a fence: Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres © Provided by People Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres

But although the reality dance series was what propelled her and her castmates into stardom, Torres admits her time on the show - from ages 12 to 15 - came with a lot of pressure, causing her to "hit pause" when it came to her feelings about her gender and sexuality.

"In that environment, I didn't really feel like I was able to grow and so I felt like I just kind of hit pause and then when I decided to leave the show and go to high school, I realized, 'Okay, I have some growing to do,'" the An Evolving Conversation on Gender author tells PEOPLE.

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  Dance Moms Alum Zackery Torres Announces They're Transitioning: 'Life Update' Zackery Torres made history on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition as the show's first male-born contestant.The transgender dancer and Dance Moms alum — who uses they/them and she/her pronouns — made the announcement on Sunday, in a spirited TikTok titled "Life Update.

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Torres says there was fixation around dating rumors, since she was the only male-born contestant at the time. "I was like, 'I'm literally 12 and 13. I have no idea what I like or what I'm interested in and I haven't even gone through puberty,'" she recalls.

She also says she faced "pressures" when it came to gender norms and expectations.

"There are definitely those pressures because I think the biggest thing I felt was people expected me to contrast my female-born counterparts," Torres says. "As a male-born contestant I was always intended to be more masculine, stronger at whatever, better at these certain styles …  all of these stereotypes that exist in the entertainment industry and dance as a whole."

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She continues, "It also didn't help that a lot of the choreographers I worked with there were also perpetuating that stereotype."

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"Although I'm sure a lot of them have grown, at the time it was definitely very detrimental and a lot of pressure for me as a young person to feel, especially on national television," the dancer admits.

a woman sitting in a car: Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres © Provided by People Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres

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Since making the decision to undergo hormone therapy, the Continuum Community founder says she's faced a series of "struggles" - both physical and emotional.

"One of the biggest struggles that I have encountered is just the emotional toll and all of the different logistical steps and barriers that happen through a transition process," she says. "I think the biggest [obstacle] is like, the insurance thing, finding doctors in your network, going over all the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy. Hearing your doctors tell you all the risks is scary, and going to all these appointments sometimes alone if your support system is doing their own thing. Those steps can get exhausting."

Torres has also hit a few medical roadblocks, which have slowed her transition.

"Sometimes throughout your transition you have to hit pause for certain, different medical reasons and I've had to encounter some of those pauses. That's something that, as a trans person, is not fun to go through," says Torres. "It's not fun to be told in a doctor's appointment that you have to stop advancing towards your full self."

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She adds, "There's so many different things that come up when you're trying to transition and that has just been something that's really hard for a trans person who's ready to go."

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a girl is sitting in the grass: Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres © Provided by People Taylor Upsahl Zackery Torres

But amid the barriers, Torres stresses how wonderful her support system has been.

"I think that's probably one of the best parts [of transitioning] is my circle has gotten a lot smaller, but it's also gotten so much stronger," she explains. "And I think that that's something that I will never take for granted because I couldn't most definitely not be going through this part of my life without the people that hold me up every day when I can't hold myself up."

Torres is also continuing to advocate for the transgender community through social media, where she announced her decision to transition.

With it being Pride month, Torres tells PEOPLE she wants "everyone out there to continue celebrating and continue embracing Pride, all year round."

"Although the month of June is extra special and extra fun and holds extra historical significance, that pride month should last 52 weeks of the year, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Pride month should be all year round. We should always be celebrating and uplifting on LGBTQ+ stories," Torres says. "We have a lot of work to do and that can't just be done in the month of June."

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