“I’m really glad to say that I’m grateful to be trans because I didn’t think that I was ever going to say that.”


Bright Lights/Young Lives is a special project within our Grateful Voices video series which aims to uplift the personal stories and reflections of young people, aged 16 – 30 years old. The series is made up of short-form documentaries featuring young adults from a variety of backgrounds talking about what it means for them to live gratefully, how they embody this commitment, how gratefulness was awakened in them, and why they believe it matters and can make a difference in our world. The intention of these stories is to demonstrate the reality and relevance of Grateful Living across a diverse, inclusive continuum, and to share the insights, grateful perspectives, and rich sense of possibility that so many young people hold. In this short video, we hear from Sawyer Palandro.

Video Transcript

If I had a superpower… See, when I was little it was always to fly because I think that would be so cool if I could just fly. When you look at the sky, how can you not want to be up there?

My name is Sawyer Palandro. I use he/him pronouns, and I’m 18 years old. I live in Philadelphia. Gratefulness for me is being aware of not just the obvious privileges, but just being present and feeling gratitude just for that joy for what you have. I like to write about the people that I’m grateful for. I like to write about the things that I’ve gone through in my life. And then I read those pieces back and I feel gratitude for what I was writing about, but I also just feel gratitude for writing in general because I really love to write and it’s my favorite form of art and a way to express myself. And just the fact that I can do that in and of itself makes me feel very grateful.

It’s a really big challenge for me because the whole thing of being trans is that I don’t really feel comfortable in the body that I’m in at this current moment. And it’s just a constant wanting to look different, wanting to move along this process. And it really is a challenge at times, but it’s also very much taught me to be grateful because, for a while, when I first came out as trans, I was struggling with this idea of how to be grateful for it. When I look in the mirror and I really do see myself the way that I want to, those are the moments that I wouldn’t give up for anything. Those moments I’m so grateful for. And I’m really glad to say that I’m grateful to be trans because I didn’t think that I was ever going to say that.

My hope for the world is that people can take a step outside of themselves and stop looking at situations with so much tunnel vision and such an individual perspective, and be able to look at these things as for their greater good in the community. People can expand that perspective and think more about people in their lives, and their neighbors, and the communities, and people in other countries, and just people everywhere and not just about themselves.

Bright Lights/Young Lives has been executed in honor/memory of the extraordinary life of Julia Burke, who lived her passion for life out loud.  Funding for the series came from The Julia Burke Foundation. The videos were produced by Greg Corbin and edited by Jordan Francis. The Grateful Living Team oversaw the project with grateful hearts.

Visit Grateful Voices to see more stories about living gratefully.

Bright Lights/Young Lives