Chase, 19, Brooklyn, NY
I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday. I’ve gotten seven since I’ve moved to New York. Tattoos are a showcase of my art and my passion. They’re so addicting.
The tattoo on my arm is my transition tattoo. I was blossoming into the person I am becoming, so I thought of orchid flowers. Pink and blue are symbolic colors for gender. The blue flower is bigger than the pink one, because it will never go away that I was a girl, but this is who I am now.
For a few weeks I wanted to go to the LGBT club at school. But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t want to be out. I feel like if I come out, there will be stigma attached to me. Like, “Oh, there’s Chase, the guy who used to be a girl.” Since moving to the city, I’ve been 100-percent stealth. I live with a few kids from high school and another trans guy. They’re the only ones who know, other than my trans friends. I don’t mind people knowing. I just don’t advertise it.
For most people, realizing they’re transgender takes a lifetime. For me it only took a year. Once I have an idea in my head, I run with it. I’ve never wanted to slow down with this.
A little bit over a year ago, I was in a relationship with a girl who introduced me to a world of gender I had never known before. It was interesting to see that transgender people aren’t the freaks everyone makes them out to be. I started experimenting with ideas in my head. Once I thought about it, the idea that I was transgender made so much sense. Dating back to when I was 10 years old and had such strange feelings, I had just never been comfortable being a girl. I identified as a lesbian for four years, from 8th grade to right before senior year. I identify as straight now.
I’ve had plenty of girlfriends. Sex is different now that I identify as trans. My girlfriend said when I started identifying as transgender I took a much more physical, masculine role. And since going on T my sex drive has changed. It’s increased. A lot.
Also, all sorts of things are changing down there. My clit has grown a lot. A lot lot. The sensitivity is a little much sometimes, but it’s cool. I wasn’t expecting this much growth. I think it’s a little abnormal. Everyone grows but I don’t think everyone grows two inches in four months.
The more it grows the better for bottom surgery. I’m planning on seeking lower surgery but not for another 10 years, because that shit’s expensive. But I want a penis.
I’m having top surgery in two months. My insurance covers 80 percent of it. I have really great insurance. I’m excited to not have to bind, and be able to wear tank tops and low-cut shirts. I don’t have to hide anymore.
Top surgery will make my life 1000 times better, but I’m not even that uncomfortable with my body. I’ve never had a confidence issue, which is kind of strange; I feel like most trans guys have a confidence issue. I bind for a reason, but I’m not uncomfortable. I’m just able to accept my body for what it is, and know I won’t have tits in two months.
As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Brooklyn, NY, 2011
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