By Luke Kenton
It’s a real hallelujah moment for this transgender guy as he finally builds the courage to ask a girl to his first prom as a man.
Emmet Claren sits nervously laughing at his piano in Spanish Fork, Utah, USA, on April 16, ahead of publicly asking out lucky date, Tori Flores.
Adopting a refined approach for his proposition, by choosing to parody Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, Emmett changes the lyrics to the well-known song to document his own personal journey over the last few years.
Quipping that all his life he’s ‘lived a lie to fit in’, the emotionally profound confessional continues to pull on the heart-strings as Emmett outlines that the last time he went to prom, he was forced to ‘wear a dress and put make up on’.
Emmett, a spokesperson for the Transgender Mormon community, said: “The last prom I went to was in high-school and I wore a pink dress.
“Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to go to my first in a suit and tie as ‘me’, so I wanted to do it the only way I know how, through song.
“Before transitioning I used to sing all the time, but since then I became very self-conscious about my voice and how it crackled and squeaked.
“I was absolutely terrified, but I knew Tori [his date] would appreciate me being vulnerable, so I threw myself in the deep end and sang it on Facebook live.
“Amazingly, she said yes.
“I couldn’t be more excited for prom now.”
Realising his attraction to girls at the young age of five, Emmett struggled from severe gender dysphoria during his formative years as a woman, which lead to both depression and suicidal thoughts.
But at just aged 14, after his inner struggle became too much, Emmett attempted to take his own life.
He said: “As a child, I use to pray to god every night, pleading with him to change me into a boy while I slept.
“I just felt so uncomfortable in my own body, it’s often seen as a cliché but I really was a man trapped inside a woman’s body.
“I tried to over-compensate by wearing lots of make-up and ‘girly’ clothes, but this just made me more depressed and suicidal.
“It was hard to feel so different while everyone around you appeared to be ‘normal’, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
“It wasn’t until a few years later that I actually discovered the word ‘transgender’ and all that it meant.”
Growing up in a small, conservative town and as an active member of the Mormon church, Emmett’s decision to publicly confront his gender dysphoria in 2015, is one he recalls as being ‘very difficult’.
But now, as the man has prevailed from within, the 23-year-old troubadour is finally at home in his own skin and free to be the person he’d always envisioned.
Emmett said: “Transitioning was hard, I lost a lot of ‘friends’ along the way and to say the adjustment for my family was easy, would be an understatement.
“But I’m so grateful for all their love, support and patience through all of this.
“Looking in the mirror and seeing a man looking back at me is the best feeling in the world.
“My soul is finally at peace because it is matching my body more and more each day.
“It feels so good to no longer just be living, I finally feel alive.”
Tori said: “I was elated when he asked me.
“I’m honoured to be sharing this moment with him, as this marks the moment Emmett embraces who he really is.
“We’re both so excited, May 5 just can’t come soon enough.”