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Skidmore College

Opening out

July 5, 2017

The college years are all about life transition and growth. But for Skylar Kergil ’13, the transition included his very gender.

Skylar Kergil '13
Skylar Kergil '13 (photo by Julia Luckett '12)

At Skidmore and ever after, he’s shared insights and experiences from his female-to-male transgender process in YouTube videos and other social media. Over the years, under his “skylark” and “skylarkeleven” handles, he has drawn tens of thousands of followers, who have expressed their gratitude for his friendly, candid, balanced persona and his eloquent reflections on many aspects of self and society. He’s enlisted friends and family for special Q&As, he’s opened windows into his life, and he’s simply discussed his views and thoughts on a range of gender-related issues from the medical to the mundane.  

While embarking on hormone therapy and other transition measures, Kergil majored in art, served as a peer mentor, helped lead Skidmore’s Pride Alliance, turned down some public-speaking gigs so that he could focus on his studies, and graduated with both academic and student-life honors. He recalls, “Skidmore provided me my first home away from home, a place where I was allowed to become whoever I learned I needed to be. It was there that I chose to live fully out as a transgender man, supported by my professors and peers.”

Also a musician (he was part of Beatlemore Skidmania 2012), Kergil has supplied background tracks for some of his videos, and he has spoken or performed at dozens of colleges around the Northeast. Now he’s an author as well, with his memoir Before I Had the Words slated for publication in early September. 

Kergil’s artist’s statement aptly distills his fundamental outlook: “One of the biggest acts of creation is that of our selves. I use painting to grow with, learn about, and be challenged by this world. Still learning, I push paint around to recreate the feeling of motion while standing still.” 

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