Monday, September 17, 2007

The Transtastic Men Calendar 2008

What is it like to be a man but to be born as a woman or vice versa? Yeah… we know them as transvestites. The definition of a transvestite is a person who dresses and acts in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Society has an uncertain view of these people and many a times, it takes bravery to admit to one’s real nature as doing so may also mean exposure to ridicule and sarcastic comments.

I hear this word Transtastic recently and was wondering what that word mean. Was not able to find it in any dictionary. So, turned to the ever reliable web and that was when I stumble across this site The Transtastic Men Calendar 2008. This is a project intended to raise public awareness of female to male transsexuals in the UK. I reckon we already too familiar with the male to female transsexuals. Hence, this proves to be a little uncommon. According to the statistics, there is 1 in 100,000 women in the UK trying to get a sex change, compared to 1 in 30,000 men getting a sex change.

I think that would be rather interesting and thought provoking. Here are the interviews of 3 of the people who appeared in the calendar. The interviews appeared in The Sun, UK.

Lee Gale, 27, office worker from Sheffield

I always thought there was something different about me.

I loved football and climbing trees, basically all the things that boys like.

When I was 10 I watched a programme with my parents about inter-sex and I remember hoping they were going to tell me something.

I fantasised about growing into a boy, because that’s what I’ve always been in my head.

After puberty I wore tight bras to try and hide my breasts, then in my early 20s I visited my GP to see if I could have them removed.

He referred me to the Sheffield Gender Identity Clinic, one of about 10 in the UK.

I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which means your body gender and mind gender don’t match.

About five years ago I began taking male hormones to lower my voice, give me a beard and increase the hair on my arms and legs.

The change is gradual and it’s a tough time – like going through female menopause and male puberty all at the same time.

Now I’ve had my breasts removed and I intend to have a hysterectomy too because that will mean I can lower my hormone dose.

My confidence has improved immensely since I made the transition from female to male.

Before I was a bit of a loner and couldn’t talk to anyone – that’s changed.

Trans men are usually very convincing so we don’t stand out in a crowd.

I did the calendar to show the public we exist, but that we’re just people like everyone else.

Jay McNeill, 28, from Wiltshire

As a girl I never really fitted in. At primary school I told my friends to call me Sam because I wanted to be a boy.

Because I was different I got bullied quite a lot.

Initially I thought I was a lesbian, but although that sorted out my sexual preference, it didn’t sorted out my mind.

I must have been pretty naïve as I didn’t hear about transsexual issues until 1999.

Everything fell into place then, and to be honest I was a bit traumatised when I realised what I’d have to go through to correct my gender.

I knew I had to act, because I was getting really depressed. Just hearing someone call me ‘Miss’ at work was devastating.

I visited a consultant in London who wrote to my GP advising that I receive male hormones on prescription.

At the moment I bind my breasts really tightly so they can’t be seen.

I’m in the process of saving up to have the breasts removed, which costs about £4,500.

Like most trans men I’m not getting a prosthetic penis because surgically the techniques aren’t really there yet.

Living as a man has revolutionised my life.

Emotionally I’m so much happier and I’m getting married to a woman next year.

I posed for the calendar because I wanted to show people that trans men exist.

We’re in relationships, have good jobs and make a contribution to society.

If you have to fight for something you learn a lot along the way.

But I’d like life to be easier for others who find themselves in this position.

Rob Nightingale, 24, lab technician from Sheffield

As a child I was a real tomboy and didn’t have the slightest interest in girl’s stuff.

I felt like one of the lads, but I wasn’t.

After leaving school I went to study geology at Luton University.

I absolutely hated being referred to as female, but when I tried to research females with gender identity disorder I couldn’t find anything.

Eventually I went to my GP who referred me to a specialist clinic.

It took me 18 months to decide I wanted to change my sex for good.

I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life hiding from who I really was, so in 2002 I began taking male hormones.

My voice dropped and I started growing a beard but I also wanted to get my breasts taken off.

I paid about £3,500 two years ago to have that done by a plastic surgeon.

Your chest gets re-contoured to appear more male and your nipples are removed and sewn back on again in a more appropriate place.

It feels great not to loathe myself.

For more than 10 years I avoided swimming because it meant people would see my body.

I hope the calendar shows that trans men are proud of who they are.

To show support for this project, click here!


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