Scroll To Top
Voices

TransTube

TransTube

Gender

On topics ranging from hormones to hair removal, trans kids are sharing stories on YouTube to make the transitioning process a little less scary.

"I don't think anyone's ever taken it for the first time on YouTube, so I thought I'd break a little ground here," 21-year-old Kyra Fisher explains on her video Web log. The self-identified male-to-female transgender youth has a bottle of water in one hand and an antiandrogen hormone pill in the other.

Kyra fumbles a bit and drops the pill on the floor. "I'm a little bit intimidated, a little scared," she tells her nearly 300 subscribers. "There's always a risk...it represents a radical shift.... Well, here we go."

She takes a gulp of water and swallows her first pill. "It tastes minty," she says with a smile. One YouTube user leaves her a note of encouragement: "Hahahah, 'minty' is everyone's first reaction. Yay for you."

Kyra is one of many trans youths who've started making video blogs, asking questions and giving advice about their transition experiences. Trans people using YouTube, who are diverse racially, find resonance in generational ideals--most are under 25--and the gender issues they share. While growing up transgender can still be a very isolating experience, the world now seems a bit smaller to trans kids thanks to the vlogs. "It's good to see you pass that milestone and when I get there I guess I'll have seen your experiences with the anti-androgens," one user comments on Kyra's vlog.

Kyra helps others and in turn seeks and receives advice herself. After fielding suggestions on hair-removal methods--"Electrolysis takes about 100 hours or so to complete, but a lot less if you get laser first. 4 months is a very optimistic goal hun, dont get upset if it takes longer"--Kyra weighs in herself: "Electrolysis sucks, just want to say that."

YouTube vlogs made by trans people are "the most efficient and highest-quality source of advice and guidance I've found, and this wealth of information is available 24/7," Kyra says.

Ritch Savin-Williams, a gender studies professor at Cornell University and the author of The New Gay Teenager, recognizes the positive impact vlogs can have on trans youths. "I think it's absolutely a revolution that trans youth are able to find people like them," he says.

"Online services allow kids the resources to find clarification of themselves."

Ray, a 22-year-old Canadian transgender man, speaks in his vlog about coming to terms with his gender identity, sharing that it "broke his heart" when in the second grade someone told him he wasn't a boy. In his videos the self-described "transdude" asks questions and shares fears about bottom surgery.

In one vlog entry, which has been viewed more than 1,000 times, Ray asks for advice on using men's restrooms. "Give some tips and advice to us urinal amateurs, please," Ray

implores. And fellow YouTube users come through, not only in text responses but in videos. A fellow 20-something trans man warns Ray, "Don't talk to anybody," and then advises him to be quick and confident: "I just go into the bathroom and use a stall, and sit or squat or hover over the seat...wash my hands and leave. Nobody ever said a goddamn thing to me about it. And if they ever did, I'd say I have a Prince Albert [genital piercing], because guys with those have to sit to pee...don't sweat it." Ray's thankful response is "That's totally helpful, I never thought of that. 'Prince Albert' is my new best friend."

Vlogging has made people like Ray and Kyra more confident and their worlds less frightening. "It's fulfilling to know I can help inspire other trans girls who were in the same position I was a few years ago," Kyra says. "We're one of the first generations of trans people who have a resource like this, a worldwide forum for our opinions, concerns, and hopes."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories