Transitioning

by RANDI HUTTER EPSTEIN

Andraya Yearwood (left) and Terry Miller (right), two transgender track and field student-athletes, open up about their experiences facing backlash in an interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis. PHOTO/ABC News

Individual transgender lives track a wider cultural history of surgery, hormones and revolutionised gender identities

Mel Wymore started taking testosterone just before menopause hit. As it turned out, he and his son went through puberty together. His son developed an Adam’s apple and a deeper voice first. ‘I trailed him,’ Mel said.

Mel, an engineer and community activist in New York City, had been divorced for nearly 10 years when he made the decision to start transitioning his appearance. ‘I sat down with the kids, and I pulled out an album of my childhood. I said: “You guys know that I’m not the typical mom because I date women, and you’ve seen me cut my hair short, and I’m discovering there is a boy inside of me that I’ve been hiding. I’m going to let that boy out.”’

Mel switched to a masculine wardrobe, restyled his hair into a traditional man’s cut, and wrapped his breasts to flatten them. ‘One of the first things I did was bind my breasts. It was such a relief to get rid of the bras and to masculate my feminine qualities.’

His children were supportive; they were 12 and 15 at the time. But Mel said they had no idea what was to come. Nor did he.

Mel, like others in the transgender community, believed with a deep-seated conviction that his female anatomy did not conform to the way he felt inside. That is not the same as sexual orientation, which is about desire. People in the trans community like to say that sexual orientation is whom you want to go to bed with; gender identity is who you go to bed as.

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