Coming out to my family

How did my parents react when I came out to them? How are they now?

In short, my parents are incredible. They do their very best to support me and make sure I am getting what I need. Sure, there are falls and slips and fights, but in the grand scheme of things, they are unbelievably amazing parents.

In more detail: I was in residential treatment when I came out to my father. I had just attended a workshop that was about gender and the gender spectrum and I finally realized there was no way I could keep lying. So when he came to pick me up (he was in town visiting) I just sobbed into his chest, “Dad, I think I’m transgender…” He just hugged me and tried to comfort me. It was a bit of an intense night for both of us, but he handled it very well, just trying to hold and love me. When I came out to my mom she told me she loved me no matter what and that was it. We didn’t talk much about it. Surgery and hormones and altering my body made her incredibly nervous and uncomfortable. But as I made it clear top surgery was what I wanted, she shifted to support me. She has always done her best to love and care for me and letting go of who everyone thought I was is something I’ve been doing for years and I know it’s going to take time for her, too.

Has my process been difficult?

My process has been complicated, if anything. I haven’t talked much on social media about before I came out as trans* but I have a lot more of a story than just being transgender. I have been through a long journey recovering from an eating disorder among other things. But this isn’t about listing my problems and diagnosis, I’m just trying to say that it hasn’t always been clear and the path hasn’t always been visible. I was a very lost kid who didn’t understand why I spent my entire childhood being a boy but not really, and who focused intently on studies and swimming to distract from anything that came up in my mind. Anyways, my point is, my story is not simple, and it has not been easy, but with the support and love that I’ve been able to find and foster, it has been manageable.

I know I am young and I know I am so thankful for the parents I have and the people in my life. I am so grateful for how incredibly supportive and most of those around me have been.

Siblings?

My brother is an amazing individual who has done nothing but try his best to love and support me.

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August 26th, 2015: College!

Hey everyone! I’ve returned to blogging!!

Yesterday I moved into my dorm at Harvard and I’m super excited to be in the same place consistently for the next year. So, I finally made a new video on my YouTube channel — you can check that out here: https://youtu.be/gsrGPbnIcS8

To summarize the video, for those of you who don’t want to watch me babble for 8 minutes: I haven’t seen that much change over the past 85 days. The most noticeable changes are facial structure and voice. But here’s a breakdown —

CHANGES SINCE STARTING TESTOSTERONE —

  1. Increased anger – I was incredibly irritable and easily enraged, and I often felt cabin-fevery in situations that did not warrant that feeling. Ultimately, I found that removing myself from the situation or the people in order to let the emotions dissipate and calm down was the best solution. That said, sometimes yelling was the only way to break it down. The anger was the worst during the first month/month and a half but since then I’ve been better with being able to take it down and access the real emotions behind the anger. And, the easy irritability is lessening.
  2. Menstrual cycle – I had two periods after starting hormones. Both were considerably horrible. I’m currently 3 weeks late so I’m hoping it’s gone!
  3. Increased libido – self explanatory.
  4. More hair – My hair amount is definitely increasing all over. my leg hair didn’t change much the first month but since then it has been steadily becoming more and more dense. It also is creeping up my thighs a little bit. (But not too much, I don’t think I’m going to be very hairy anyways.)
  5. Growth – I’m not going to go into much detail, but there definitely has been noticeable changes in that region. (Email sb.pinkmantaray@gmail.com or kik me at pinkmantaray if you would like more information. I’m totally open to talking about it with you.)
  6. SWEAT – This is definitely the biggest and most annoying part of puberty take two. I sweat so much. Profusely. It’s actually a bit ridiculous. But it’s the way it goes. I don’t smell too different. (I’ve actually noticed no changes in smell so far, and neither have those around me.)
  7. Muscles – My muscles cramp a lot more easily than they ever have in the past. So there’s a lot of water-drinking and rolling out and stretching. I definitely feel stronger. I’m not sure if I’ve bulked up a lot but I do feel more sturdy and strong.
  8. Body shape – There really isn’t noticeable change in my hips or fat distribution so far. That’s probably the thing that makes me the most dysphoric about my body. I have noticed that my pants fit my thighs a little more tightly than usual and that my pants waist is either the same tightness or a bit loser. So perhaps my waistline/hips are changing, but who knows.
  9. Facial structure – My face is more angular/square than it used to be and I have more of a jawline which I’m really happy about.

That’s it for now! I’m going to be making more posts soon — I’m hoping to post pretty regularly.

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My Transition

I came out as transgender for the first time over the summer of 2014. I cite broad period of time because my coming out was a process. I didn’t just say to someone, “I’m transgender.” I was in therapy for various other mental health concerns and that’s where this conversation began.

That said, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a boy; I didn’t always have the words for it. I used to religiously define myself as a tomboy. “Hi, I’m Schuyler, and I’m a tomboy.” I wanted people to know that I wasn’t a girl. I was a tomboy. So had I been able to replace that word with transgender, I probably would have been a bit more accurate earlier on. But I didn’t know that I was allowed to or able to be a boy. That wasn’t really something I saw much of and there wasn’t much to compare myself to. I tried to relate myself to other “tomboys” but they all grew out of that “phase” whereas I never did.

On March 10th, 2015, I underwent top surgery with Dr. Charles Garramone in Davie, Florida. I got a double incision mastectomy with the incisions joined in the center due to the size of my chest.  As I write this, I am a little more than two months post op and incredibly happy with the results and the lack of breasts.

Left: day before surgery Right: 6 days after surgery

Left: day before surgery
Right: 6 days after surgery

I plan on starting hormones by the end of the month (by the end of May 2015) so I will have three months to adjust before I start college in the fall. I don’t plan on doing bottom surgery at this point, but if the procedures improve, I might reconsider.

**Update** On Wednesday, June 3rd, 3015, I got my first injection of testosterone!

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June 3, 2015: First T Shot!

Yesterday I got my first injection of testosterone! I’m starting with a .5mL dose of 1,000mg/10mL every week. My best friend went with me and filmed (https://youtu.be/AEyD774fpbI.)

2015-06-03 003

Check out my minion bandaid hehe

Check out my minion bandaid hehe

Although the shot itself wasn’t that exciting and I didn’t feel any different after, yesterday was a big day for me. Top surgery was never really a question — I was going to get it no matter what because it had no effect on my athletics. And it only changed my chest, a very concrete and simple change. But testosterone was a larger mental battle for me. There are lots of unknowns, lots of time-dependent factors, and it will change everything about my body. I knew I wanted the effects — the voice drop, the body shape, the muscle growth — but I had a lot of personal conflict with being essentially medicated for the rest of my life, as well as fear of what it would do to my swimming and the implications of taking a steroid in athletics. But I’ve worked through my fears and I’m learning every day how to accept myself more. Ultimately, I want to stop hiding my body from myself and that is reason enough that I am no longer pre-T!

Now I wait with open arms and a ready, but tentative smile, for the journey — in all of its defeat, triumph, tears, and laughter — to come.

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Thoughts on body hatred

2015.05.18

I hate my body? This is a response to people always asking me if I hate my body. Or what it’s like to hate my body. 

A lot of people seem to believe that transgender or nonbinary people hate their bodies. Hate is such a strong word, and I do not agree. You do not have to hate your body to be transgender. Hating your body is a horrible and lonely process that does not achieve anything. It is unproductive; it yields only pain and suffering and broken souls. And, in a world where transgender people are oppressed, murdered, and dehumanized, it is most upsetting that often times one’s biggest enemy and hater is oneself.

I do not hate my body. I don’t. I firmly do not hate my body. My body has done absolutely amazing things for me. I would never treat another living thing anywhere near the way I treated myself. Bulimia, anorexia, depression, OCD, and self-harm have taken a toll on my mind, but my body has somehow recovered in full. It functions well beyond any of my expectations and I am so infinitely thankful for my body. I wouldn’t trade my body for a cis-gendered man’s – because my body is mine. We have been through everything together and even though I couldn’t stand my breasts (that’s no longer a problem, thank you Dr. Garramone!) and I get dysphoric about the shape of my body and the pitch of my voice, I do not hate my body. One of the things I’ve learned over the past year is you can love something but still want to change it. I love my body but I still want to change parts of it.

I also want to address body image distortions. Like people with eating disorders (and obviously there is a lot of overlap), transgender people often seem to have problems with body image and body distortions. We obsess about how wide our hips are or aren’t, how flat or not flat our chests are, etc. And often this obsession can go way overboard and become incredibly unhealthy, as we pick on parts of our bodies, begging them to be perfectly “man” or perfectly “woman.” We must remember that we critique and notice things about our own bodies way more than other people around us do. For example, sometimes at swim practice where I now wear a men’s swim suit, I can’t help but wonder if everyone around me sees a girl body in a boy swim suit. In my head, my hips are as wide as the lane and my love handles spill over like an obese person’s. But I know that in reality, this isn’t true. I know that most of the other swimmers see a guy with some scars on his chest but don’t read any further. I’ve seen other guys on social media who’ve been on hormones for years say they still are trying to hide their small hands and hips every day but when I see their bodies I see male, I don’t see hips or small hands.

We need to stop picking apart our bodies. In a society that lets our bodies define our genders we must take a stand for ourselves: our bodies do not define our gender. Bodies are not meant to be hidden; they should not be objects of shame. The world of 7.2 billion bodies contains so much variation and difference, regardless of gender. Some men have hips. Some women are rod straight, no curves. Some men have more breast tissue or gynecomastia, and some women don’t have boobs at all!

Accepting your body doesn’t mean you can’t change things about it. In my process of learning to love my body, I have gotten top surgery and am on hormone replacement therapy. But I love my body. And every day I hide a little less. I smile a little more. There are bad days. But not like before. Not being at war with the home I’m living in has left a lot of space for other things – for people and hard work and sleep and hugs and laughter. So if there’s anything to take away from this post: do not hate your body. Your body holds you up, it walks you places, it cries for you… It is not your enemy. Your body is your home – your only home in a world of constant change and chaos. So seize this moment to stop and appreciate it.

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Coming out on Facebook

On May 10th at 8:30pm I came out publicly on Facebook to all of my friends. I did so for many reasons. I was tired of hiding and telling people individually, tired of being scared people would find out somehow and not from me first. I did so knowing I had an amazing core support of friends and family who already supported me, so if I lost anyone over Facebook, it wouldn’t matter as much to me.


This is what I posted, along with the following picture of myself:

coming out FB pic

IMPORTANT PSA: Please read this!

Hey everybody! So if you’ve been following me on social media over the past year, I’m sure you’ve noticed changes in my appearance, my clothes, my gender expression. I am no longer girly or feminine; my chest is flat; I wear ties instead of dresses. This post is to affirm your suspicions: I am transgender. For those unfamiliar with this term, it means that the gender in my mind does not match my body’s biological sex. I was born female, and Iidentify as male. I have medically begun my transition to male. If you have questions as to what that means, please ask me. I would much rather you ask than let your concerns and questions linger in your head. But I am an open book, not a punching bag. Please don’t be mean or hateful. If you don’t understand, ask. If you don’t agree with my decisions, please at least respect me. I am still a person. And I assure you I’m still the same goofy, nerdy, crazy Schuyler that you’ve known. I’m not changing who I am, I’m not changing my personality. I am only changing my body so it matches my insides and my feelings. And lastly, in terms of swimming: I will be swimming for [my college] men’s swim team in the fall instead of the women’s team. [My college]’s swimming as a whole has been incredible in this process, providing me with the amazing opportunity to be me and continue my transition.

Please refer to me with he/him/his pronouns. I understand this will take time to adjust — I don’t offend easily, as long as you are trying. If you would like to see more of my journey and transition, contact me and, like I said, I’m definitely willing to talk and explain.

Also, I have been working on coming out to people individually but it’s been an overwhelming and slow process. At this point, I am tired of hiding and worrying that people will find out. Hence this PSA. So please don’t feel lesser or left out if I haven’t told you before now. Like I said, I’m still Schuyler.

Thank all of you who already support and love me unconditionally. A special shout-out to [my college] swimming, my parents, my brother, and my best friend who have saved my life repeatedly — by loving me and in turn, showing me how I can love myself. I wouldn’t be here writing this today if it weren’t for all of them. Thank you for taking time from your day to read this. Have a great day 🙂


I received overwhelming support and love and a plethora of messages from friends and family. It was a pretty incredible experience; eye-opening in many ways. I am learning to trust people and give them some credit as I learn how to love myself. I received many messages and love even from people I hadn’t talked to in years. It was truly incredible, and I’m so grateful for everyone in my life.

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All About Me (as of May 2015)

Competitive swimmer. Avid journaler. Adventurer. Skateboarder. Transguy.

I grew up in the DC area and I’ll be going to college in Boston, MA, starting in the fall of 2015. I’m really excited to start because I’ve been out of school for a year (I took a gap year). I will be swimming for the men’s varsity team.

In terms of transitioning, I got top surgery on March 10th, 2015, and I hope to start testosterone in the next month or so!

In general, I’m a super open, outgoing, active person. This blog’s purpose is to share my story and transition with you all, through my eyes. I hope you enjoy! Don’t hesitate to comment or tell me what you think! (Politely, of course.)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Terminology

  1. Transgender – an umbrella term that refers to a person who identifies as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth.
  2. Cisgender – a term that refers to a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.
  3. Sex – the biological genitalia a person is born with
  4. Gender (Gender identity) – the gender that a person is born with; this is in one’s mind, and is completely separate from biological sex
  5. Gender expression – clothes, mannerisms, behaviors; essentially how a person presents their gender aesthetically and behaviorally
  6. Transman – a person who was assigned (born) female at birth but identifies as male
  7. Transwoman – a person who was assigned (born) male at birth but identifies as female
  8. Transvestite/crossdresser – a person who portrays the “opposite” gender expression, but their gender identity is not different from their biological sex
  9. Cisguy/man – a person who was assigned (born) male at birth and identifies as male.
  10. Cisgirl/woman – a person who was assigned (born) female at birth and identifies as female.
  11. (Gender) Dysphoria – a feeling of disconnection and disassociation with one’s body because it does not match the gender in one’s mind. (i.e. feeling intensely uncomfortable with your breasts because in your head tells you that you are male and therefore should not have breasts.)
  12. Transitioning – this refers to the process of changing genders which can involve dressing differently, taking hormones, and getting surgery
  13. FTM – this stands for “Female to Male” and it refers to people assigned female at birth, who transition (however they want) to male
  14. Transmasculine – a person who was assigned female at birth but identifies on the masculine side of the gender expression (this is a looser, less boxy term than transman/transmale)
  15. MTF – this stands for “Male to Female” and it refers to people assigned male at birth, who transition (however they want) to female
  16. Transfeminine – a personal who was assigned male at birth but identifies on the feminine side of the gender spectrum (again, a looser, less boxy term than “transwoman”
  17. Top surgery – the masculinization of a female-bodied chest, basically a mastectomy
  18. Bottom surgery – surgery to change the genitalia of one’s body
  19. HRT – hormone replacement therapy (either taking testosterone for FTMs or estrogen for MTFs)
  20. T or E – common abbreviations for testosterone and estrogen, respectively
  21. Gender binary – the classification of gender into two distinct, separate, opposite forms of masculine and feminine (ex. as the stereotype says: women are sensitive, wear dresses, and are emotional; men are hard, don’t wear dresses, and are stoic)

VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE FIRST FEW TERMS

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