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
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.
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.
services allow kids the resources to find clarification of
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,
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