My Transition Into Manhood

Nathan Nayor/Contributing Writer

As a transgender man now living on my own, the past several months have been revolutionary for me. I have multiple methods of binding my chest to make it appear flat, and I finally have a haircut that makes me look masculine along with self-administered, fortnightly testosterone shots that have deepened my voice so I now normally pass for male in public to strangers. It has been so satisfying to have the emotional struggle of misgendering, slander and slurs mitigated. I’ve also managed to become the treasurer of the Honors College Pride Club in my first year in FIU, and my mental health is stabilizing.  

Yet I still find myself reflecting on the past six years. I hadn’t realized it’s been so long since I realized that the lurking pain, disgust and dissociation I had towards myself had a name: gender dysphoria. There have often been times where I could not recognize myself in recordings or even the mirror. My appearance seemed so alien to me for so long. The feminine appearance forced upon me haunted me until now, and for the first time, I can finally see myself in the mirror.  

Now, and for the first time, I can finally see myself in the mirror.  

I try not to think back on middle school years, and the difficulty of accepting my identity.  It has resulted in me being involved in a tumultuous, toxic relationship in which I was convinced I could be a girl again by performing feminine acts for my partner. Clearly, this did not work. There is no way for a transgender person to become cisgender, and it took me years to accept this, and even longer to find pride in who I am.  

I was scorned and ridiculed for years. I had no outlet to express my anger and growing hatred for myself and those around me at the time, and I had no way to truly be myself until now. I do not recall much of those early years — and it’s best I don’t for all the hurt it would bring — I did not know how this would impact me in college.  

It was in high school I found acceptance as a transgender man and chose the name “Nathan” to alliterate with my last name. I had true, accepting friends for the first time, and found rare romances that allowed me to be myself and not have to lie and constantly fear rejection. I was able to wear masculine swimwear for the first time and go swimming for the first time in years without high distress.

I went to my current partner’s prom in my junior year with an old suit of his that he snuck to me, and for most of the night I didn’t have to wear the blue dress my mother had picked out. Though it was hard to fill in his shoes, it was wonderful to dance as myself. My Spanish teacher’s daughter also attended the prom, and we caught up and exchanged numbers to talk more.  She told me that talking to me had helped her realized she was transgender as well, and this would still be something that would impact me two years later.

In junior year, my biomedical magnet required us to present on a community and a disease, so I presented the statistics for transgender people and depression. These terrifying statistics involved, for example, that 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide, and 47% are sexually abused in their lifetime. I received criticisms for “depressing the class,” which ironically came from a student who would later criticize me for raising awareness in a positive way at all about Transgender Day of Remembrance the following year.

For Transgender Day of Remembrance last year, I got an activity approved to raise awareness about the things the transgender community goes through, with a table setup that had graphics and other informative resources. This also included an activity where students could leave positive notes of encouragement on post-its to be displayed on a wall for about a week. We used the colors of the trans and nonbinary pride flags for the post-it notes, and I was proud in how they turned out. Still, I could not help but remember a transgender student who had died in freshman year of an overdose. I wrote my own note, saying “Remember Peter,” and hoped others would remember him. His motive is unknown to this day.

A road is something you pave yourself.

It was in the latter half of my senior year where my transition could be pinned to begin. I (terribly) chopped off my long hair with safety scissors, and a therapist outed me to my dad. He hasn’t taken it well by a long shot, but it now meant I could do some things without question, such as finally wearing the aforementioned swimsuit to the poo as well as clothing I was comfortable with.  My school cancelled yearbook quotes for my grade, but I already had a quote in my mind since freshman year, and I had never wavered on it:  “A road is something you pave yourself.” 

I started attending FIU 19 days after graduating from high school, and finally having the age, time and money, I began my physiological transition. I acquired a letter from a psychiatrist saying that I was of healthy enough mind and have proven enough evidence of gender dysphoria to undergo hormone replacement therapy. I had to do a fasted blood test before getting approved for testosterone. Having no transportation in Miami summertime, it was a hard time going to and from the testing center on foot with no breakfast, but it was absolutely worth the months to follow.  

I moved onto campus in the fall, with my summer term being fully online due to COVID, and finally sought the goals I have been reaching towards for so long. I got a recommended haircut on campus in the first week after unpacking, and the people on my floor have generally accepted me with sincerity. I am not the oddball I was made out to be anymore — at least not for my identity. 

Turns out, the friend I made through my Spanish teacher was this year’s president of Out And About, and she invited me into the club’s group chat. One day, out of loneliness, I met up with a member of the server for an art event. I think of zhir as a dear friend now. When zhe invited me to be a member of the Honors College Pride Club, of which zhe was president, I gladly accepted, and zhe suggested my candidacy for Treasurer.  

Funny how connections can work.

While my transition is far from over, I’m currently looking over the next steps I want to take. There’s a lawyer who does name changes for free for low-income trans people, and I intend to get that done as soon as possible. While I do look forward to surgeries, it will be a while until life becomes stable enough to get that done. 

I hope that one day, I could raise enough awareness to decrease the stigma against trans people, and while I actively work on this through the HCPC and interactions with people, I can only do so much myself. But knowing I can change the minds of some to view us in a normalized or at least positive light — be it by a small or large amount — is enough for me to get through my day.

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.

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