Would you sleep with a trans woman
10 questions to ask a trans man you would never dare ask
Jay-Liam, Jay for short, is a child of the noughties. In a world full of Britney Spears and Paris Hiltons, baggy pants and Nike sweatbands, he spent his childhood trying to find out who he was. Jay was born in Bottrop in 1998 - physically as a girl. He says that as a child he was more into "boys' things" and that he could never really identify with other girls. "At the time, I couldn't really classify the feelings," he says. That changed when, at the age of 13, he happened upon a documentary about transsexuality while zapping through. Jay started doing research on the internet and realized: This is all about me. I was born in the wrong body.
According to the Federal Justice Office, almost 21,000 people officially changed their gender in Germany between 1995 and 2016. "We are assuming that the number of unreported cases is significantly higher," said Andrea Ottmer from the German Society for Transidentity and Intersexuality to VICE. However, there are no exact figures.
Jay did his first therapy at 17. Twelve months later, his therapist referred him to the endocrinologist, with whom he began his hormone therapy. At 18, he officially changed his name and gender. Then he had his breasts removed. In his vocational school class - Jay becomes an event technician - hardly anyone knows about his transsexuality.
Jay is 1.87 m tall
VICE: How did you tell your family, I want to live as a man now?
Jay: I told my little brother first. I was about 13. I went up to him and talked to him about the fact that he must have already noticed that I am different from other girls and that I felt born in the wrong body. He thought that was totally cool. I didn't tell my parents about it until I was 15. Unfortunately, they didn't get along very well with it. My father was very skeptical and my mother just refused to admit it. I was particularly disappointed by my mother's reaction. Whenever I wanted to talk to her, she totally blocked off. When I was in the hospital after my breast surgery, she didn't even come by. The relationship with my parents was never really good. In the meantime it has gotten better and they accept me for who I am. The one who really surprised me was my grandma. I had never spoken to her about the subject and she didn't know anything about my surgery. When I was in the hospital, the door suddenly opened and my grandma stood there.
What was the worst discrimination you have experienced?
Even before I lived as a man, I always wore baggy t-shirts and acted like a boy. In school I often had to listen to sayings for this. When I was in ninth grade, I went up to my teachers and told them I felt in the wrong body. After I came out to my class, the stupid sayings stopped. As a trans man, I personally never experienced any discrimination afterwards. I was lucky. My friends got along really well with it too. Not much has changed for her, except for the deeper voice and the lack of a chest. In addition, my best friend is also transgender. Since he is one step further than me, he was able to answer a lot of questions and helped me a lot, especially in the early days.
Why do so many trans people commit suicide?
I can only speak of myself, and I have never thought about suicide myself. I think it depends a lot on your own living conditions. If someone has no family or friends to talk to and who support them, I imagine the path to be very difficult. In the beginning, many people cannot classify what is happening to their body. It is therefore important to have someone to talk to, regardless of the therapy. I'm on two Facebook groups for transsexuals. You can ask all questions and you don't feel alone anymore. I am also happy to recommend my doctor there. If anyone wants to see pictures of the result, I'll send them out too.
Which part of your body do you reject the most?
These were my breasts. During the day I could hide them with baggy clothes, but it was always incredibly difficult to go swimming. Of course I could have put on my swimming trunks anyway, but then everyone would have looked at me. I just didn't feel like doing that, so I avoided such situations.
You have not had sex reassignment surgery. Why not?
At the moment I find the results just too bad to have such a major procedure performed on my body. I do think I'll take that step at some point, but not in the next five years. The operation is quite risky. It always depends on how well the body copes with the operation and accepts the additional body part. A piece of skin is removed from the forearm before the operation. The penis is formed from this. Even if an orgasm is possible, many trans men feel nothing for a long time. It takes time for the head and body to associate the feeling.
Also at VICE: "Nouveau She" helps trans people to find their identity
Is your girlfriend gay or straight?
Heterosexual. We met two and a half years ago in our part-time job, when I was still a woman physically. We only got closer seven months ago, since my breast surgery was almost a year ago. It was good that she saw the process and knew that I was transgender.
When Jay's breast was removed, there was an incision around the nipple. "Today you can hardly see anything from the operation - only if someone knows and looks closely," he says
How do you have sex
For most trans men, vaginal sex is unimaginable. But since I haven't had sex reassignment surgery yet and don't need strap-ons, it's perfectly fine for me. The hormone therapy gives me an increased libido. I can't and won't do without sex because of that. For my girlfriend it was of course a change, but not a problem.
Could you imagine getting pregnant as a trans man?
No, absolutely not. This is not necessarily because I perceive pregnancy as typically female. I just don't want to feel that feeling. With this I of course rule out having biological children. But that's not a problem for me.
Does it offend you when they say you used to be a woman or were "born a woman"?
No. This is my story. I can't change that. So if a journalist wrote that a woman became a man, that would be a fact. I would find it more difficult if my old name were mentioned. But I haven't revealed it to anyone since it no longer exists for me. For my environment, the name change was of course a small adjustment. My soccer team in particular didn't always manage to call me Jay at the beginning. Back then I was playing in an all-women team. When I started taking the hormones, however, I had to leave them. Testosterone falls under doping. Today my old name should stay out of my life for good.
How do people react to you who last saw you as a woman and didn't know about your gender reassignment?
A lot of people who last saw me before the hormone therapy and before the physical changes actually didn't recognize me. At first it was of course a surprise for them to see me like that. Even so, most of the reactions were positive.
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