Trans men reveal first time realising they were transgender
Six trans men have opened up about what it is like to be transgender in a new episode of First Times.
From the first time holding hands in public, to the first time realising you were LGBTQ, we all have a first time story. First Times is a PinkNews YouTube series, with each episode dedicated to a different identity under the LGBT+ umbrella.
In a recent episode, non-binary people shared their first times—and lesbian and bisexual YouTubers Rose and Rosie recently did their own First Times special on the first time they met, had sex and experienced homophobia.
First Times: Trans men reveal their stories
From having realisations as a five year old to beginning a transition as an adult, these six trans men share their stories on camera.
In this episode, trans men Kenny, Roshaante, Toby, Harry, Steffan and Cairo open up what what it feels like to realise you are a transgender man.
How did you know you were transgender?
Toby, who identifies as a bisexual man, realised he was a trans man after meeting his partner.
He explained: “I first thought I was trans when I met my partner actually and he was way more open-minded. He was the person who told me clothes had no gender.
“I had a cry in a clothes shop and was like: ‘Oh, this isn’t just something that I can just brush under the carpet anymore.’
“When I was little, I remember once getting a Polly Pocket castle with all the stuff inside it and I hated it. It was my big present one Christmas from an aunt—but Polly Pockets are ace, now I’m trans I can indulge in all those things.”
Harry said: “I can’t say I exactly remember because I knew there was something going on with me since I was five.
“I don’t think my parents ever imposed strict Greek value and gender roles on me—as far as I remember all the presents I would get would be mixed.
“A lot of people would say: ‘Oh, so and so is a bit boyish, such a tomboy’ and everyone was like: ‘Oh bless’ but I knew it wasn’t that.”
Can you be transgender and intersex?
Intersex means that you are born with sex characteristics and hormone receptor responses (this include genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
It is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations.
In some cases, intersex traits are visible from birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some traits may not be visible at all.
Being intersex is distinct to sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning an intersex person may identify in a number of ways, such as gender fluid, transgender, straight, gay, bisexual, lesbian, or asexual.
For Roshaante, his journey involved realising he was intersex, too.
He said: “The first time I realised was when I was in school and we were all getting changed.
“My towel got literally ripped from me—not in like a bullying way, just kids being kids but that quickly turned to: ‘What is that?’
“The thing about me is that I’m 1000 percent proud about being whatever the hell I am—be it human, be it alien, I’m comfortable.
“So the whole being transgender mixed with intersex and the whole thing colliding, it was always more of a push through thing. I’m just trying to help my trans brother and my trans sisters, anyone who’s going through a hard time with their body, and if there’s anyone to come to who’s had a hard time with their body, it’s me.”
Kenny, a trans activist who recently appeared in a trans-positive campaign about periods, realised he “didn’t fit in” when he started secondary school.
He explained: “I remember, when I was in primary school, never being dictated by gender, so no one [was] turning around and being like: ‘You have to get changed there because you’re a girl.’
“And then I remember going into a secondary school and everyone being like: ‘Right, you wear a skirt and everyone’s going to call you she.’ I was like what is this? I didn’t sign up for this,” he laughed.
How do gender and sexuality intersect?
Steffan Zachiyah first identified as lesbian before understanding more about the difference between gender and sexuality, and realised he is a straight man with a trans experience.
He told PinkNews: “Something in me switched and said: ‘No, you’re not transgender, you just enjoy having sexual encounters with women.’
“Later on down the line I realised that gender and sexuality are two completely, different things.
“Even though I was assigned female at birth, I didn’t feel connected to that gender when I was in relationships, or even outside of relationships or in social circles. I feel like a man and that’s the role I play in relationships, social circles and family settings is very masculine.”
After meeting another trans man in person, Steffan came to the realisation he is trans himself.
“It took at least four or five years before I actually made that solid decision, even though I had been researching people on YouTube,” he explained.
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“I was really scared. I feared the judgement of other people if I was ever to come out at that age of 18.”
Cairo explained it is hard for him to pinpoint just one moment of realisation that he is transgender.
He said: “I don’t think it was like one set day or one set experience, it was kind of over a long period of time.
“I just thought maybe everyone else feels like this but they don’t.”
Watch the video to see trans men share the first time they realised they were transgender on the PinkNews YouTube channel. Previous episodes of First Times include coming out as non-binary, men experiencing biphobia, and lesbian couples on the first time they said I love you.