Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trans* Faces #1: A chat with Lyle G. of Munich Germany

By Sabrina Samone, TMP
Social media has its pros and cons but one thing it is certain to do; is bring people who may have never had the time to socialize, together. When the website Transmuseplanet, which later became a blog, was created as a place for me to just ramble, many suggested spreading what I had to say through other social media sites, like facebook, tumblr etc., so I started a Facebook page to post my blog post. Immediately I felt what in Kabbalah is called the bread of shame; that what I was doing was feeding my ego and not giving back in return, so I decided to use it to share information for and about the Trans community. Being in South Carolina and out of the lime light of being a showgirl or a one line bit Indi- actress in a couple of films, I felt the most I’d get is a couple of dozen likes from my closes friends and family. The opposite has happened, no family has shown support and very few who actually knew me and called me friend have supported it but...what has happened is a whole new world of friends, many whom I have and plan on meeting soon. As of the first week of August 2013, while I spent time in my local community supporting pride week, Transmuseplanet Facebook page crossed the 1000 like mark, nearly 950 more than I had ever imagined would.

Several people with pages on Facebook informed me that this deserved acknowledging, that many pages do, so I thought for a second and having been in talks with a couple of people about doing more interviews of Transgender people for my blog, decided to make it sort of a contest. In that, while the page was waiting to cross that 1000th like, I’d announce that the person that is the 1000th like would be my first in a new series of interviews. What better way to resist the “bread of shame” and continue to give back and to highlight the very people who have shown their support and appreciation for this online community.
On August 5th 2013 that 1000th like happened and it was a young, intelligent young man from Germany, that during this process of interviewing and chatting with him has touched me deeply and it’s more clear to me now, that this may become more than just a series of interviews with various Trans Sisters and Brothers, but much more for me and I hope anyone who reads each and every one.

I’m honored and thank each and every person who has come to my little blog and enjoyed it and every person who has made Transmuseplanet part of their Facebook, Tumblr or Google + daily experience. I hope to get the chance to hear as many personal stories as time allow, it so true, everyone has a story to tell and today It was my honor to chat with the 1000th like on Transmuseplanet/facebook Lyle G. a 19 year old Trans-man in Munich Germany, who will be celebrating a birthday soon as his new self. Happy Birthday Lyle, thanks for sharing some of  your story.

TMP: You Lyle, were selected because you’re the Transmuseplanet face book page 1000th like, so thank you. You’ll be the first in a hopeful series of interviews focusing on Trans-people from around the world on the TMP blog site. In your words, how has your life changed?

Lyle: Thank you for letting me be a part of this project! I hope you can interview many interesting people from around the world and share their experiences with all of your readers and I feel honored to be the first one! My name is Lyle and I’m a 19 year old student from Munich which is in the beautiful south of Germany. I am about 9 months on Testosterone now and I’m having my top surgery soon, so my life has changed a lot and it’s still changing! I was that depressed and shy teenager, which had no friends and spent all of his time in front of a computer screen. Today I consider myself an outgoing person, who get along with almost everyone. I have many great friends who accept and love me for who I am and that feels great!  Transitioning has helped and is still helping me to find and express myself. It took me a lot of time to have the courage to go on this long journey.

TMP: We all have unique stories about our transition. Tell us if you will, you’re unique story of your transition?

Lyle:  Well, I guess my story is the average story of a female to male Trans-guy here. My childhood was great and I didn’t have that much problems with my identity, because I was around boys all the time and they accepted me as one of them. My parents were very accepting when it came to my tomboyish style and that I didn’t want to wear any dresses. It all got complicated when I turned 13 and puberty gave me a big old smack in the face. I lost many of my guy friends and I became very sad and depressed. I hated myself and my body and I didn’t want it to change for the worse. I was sick of reality and I got addicted to the game “World of War craft”, where I spent way too much time. The game made me happy though, because there I could be who I really am- a guy.  When I turned 16 I came out to my mother and told her that I couldn’t live on with the body I had and that I identified as a boy. She thought I was going through a phase, but she helped me out by finding a therapist. The years passed by and I got very depressed because nothing really changed. I was doing terrible at school and had to repeat a whole school year. I was so unhappy that I decided to transfer schools and change everything that was going wrong in my life. I found new friends at my new school and the teachers there were very supportive and helped me out with my transition by using my new name and pronouns, they even allowed me later on to drop out of school for a year, so I could concentrate on my therapy, hormones and surgery. Everything was getting better and my therapist sent me to a Trans*-specialist, where I got hormones in Oct. 2012. It took me more than 3 years of therapy to start testosterone, so I had nearly given up on everything. I was so happy when I got the OK from the doctor. It really was the best feeling I ever had in my life.
My mother wasn’t too happy about me starting hormones, but I took her to an expert who told her how the hormones would help me out and that this kind of treatment would make perfect sense for me. The way she didn’t have to worry that I was making any wrong decisions.
My mother’s support was and still is very important for me since I live with her, and without my father. It took her a while to get use to all the changes that I am going through and now she is totally cool about it. I was very scared of coming out to my dad, but I decided to do so, as soon as I started hormones because he would notice anyway. To my surprise, his reaction was super cool and I was also very happy about that.
Today I am about 9 months on testosterone and I feel great! I haven’t had any surgeries yet but the hormones are doing their job great (except for annoying acne ha ha) and I already like myself a lot more than I ever did.
I am having top surgery by the end of August and I just can’t wait to be one more step closer to my true self!

TMP: How would you describe the acceptance and visibility of Transgender people in Munich Germany?

Lyle: That’s a good question! Transgender people in Germany have gained more and more visibility through the media that suddenly “discovered” us. It’s not that much of a good thing through, since many of the TV shows present Trans* people in a freak-show kind of way and exploit them, instead of educating the audiences. I saw a show a few weeks ago which had people take guesses at Cis and Trans people; they got points if they guessed the gender correctly. Terrible, but there are also good shows, articles that help to educate and a very famous trans-man named “Balian Buschbaum”, who has written books, visit schools and has many appearances on TV. I would say that the acceptance here differs from place to place. I haven’t dealt with any discrimination myself, only with people who showed interest in my transition and asked me loads of questions (not all of them appropriate of course), but I guess I’m lucky because I live in a big city where people are very educated and tolerant. I think Transwomen suffer a bit more than trans-guys when it comes to acceptance here, but I would say that it’s not too bad here.

TMP: How is life different for a Trans-man in Munich, than what you “may” have heard for Trans-men in other parts of the world?

Lyle: First of all there are many laws that support Trans* people here and our healthcare system takes care of our surgeries and hormones, so you can’t be discriminated against on your job or at school. I hear many sad stories from other countries of Trans* people being beaten up or fired just because they are Trans*. Things like that happen here rarely and it’s always a huge scandal. I believe the biggest problem here is the lack of education and not laws or religious groups etc.

TMP:  We all, even by being who we are, contribute to Trans visibility. How have you contributed to the transgender community?

Lyle: I’m a part of many online communities and I always offer help to anyone in need. I started a German you tube channel, where I talk about my transition and reach out to anyone who is interested, while trying to educate people on what being transgender is like.

TMP: What are your goals?

Lyle:  I just hope to find my purpose in this world and to be happy one day. Also, I want a pet snake! Lol

TMP: What are your hopes for the Trans community, specifically, in Germany?

Lyle: I have experienced a lot of hate from inside the community. I just hope that we can all get along and work together to make this world a better place for everyone.

TMP: Who are some of your Transgender role models, if any?

Lyle: I’ve been following a guy on you tube, who inspired me a lot. His name was Kai and he was always very positive about life and his transition.
I was very disappointed when I couldn’t find his videos anymore, because he took them off you tube. I wonder how he is. Another great Trans-man is Balian Buschbaum, who I mentioned earlier. It takes a lot of courage to stand out there and stand up for us.

TMP: When did you come to accept who you are?

Lyle: I had a bad phase when I was 17 and I tried to shake off my plans of transitioning because I felt that it would make everything more complicated. I tried to force myself into society’s standards and I ended up feeling suicidal. I realized that I am the only one who has to live my life and I had to decide what was best for me. I then forced myself to deal with it more and carried on with my therapy. I haven’t completely accepted myself yet, but I hope for this to change soon, since the traits, I don’t like, are vanishing bit by bit.

TMP:  If you had one chance to tell the world and knew everyone would hear you at once. What would you like them to know about Lyle G., and who he is?

Lyle: I’m just a regular 19-year old human being and not different from anybody else. We all deserve the same amount of respect and kindness. Life has its ups and downs for everyone, so stay positive and never give up! I’d also like to leave my favorite quote here:

“[…] the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” – Mewtwo (Poke`MonJ)

 Lyle was kind enough to want to leave an email for those seeking advice or just a common spirit to chat with. You may reach Lyle at andwhatsfordinner@yahoo.de

I got so much more than I was expecting from my chat that I received with Lyle, I got a since of things that are universal to so many of us. That a young Trans-man in a far away country from my own also feels that one of the major negative issues faceing the Trans* is the Trans*, fighting from within, like many groups, religions, countries, has been destoryed from within. If we are to grow, prospers gain respect and acceptance, our first step has to be towards our fellow Trans people.

The fact that he, in his country, is as aware that Trans-men earn far more acceptance than Transwomen, as well as I do here in South Carolina makes for an interesting conversation as to why that is. What does that say about the human race that we are more willing to understand why a woman would transition to be a man but yet it’s viewed a negative for a man to transition to a woman, as if it’s a step down. Is there wider misogynistic view about gender that all genders are perpetrating?

Even we in America, as we watch greedy corporate Republicans fight the Affordable Health Care, we get an insider view of a Trans-man whose transition is benefiting from a national health care system.

Our 1000th friend of Transmuseplanet may be a hard act to follow? You’ll have to check back Sunday, August 11th to see, as my next chat will be a well known activist and rock star.

CLICK TO LIKE THE TRANSMUSEPLANET COMMUNITY ON FACEBOOK


                                              FOR RELATED TOPICS ON TRANSMUSEPLANET


TRANSGENDER: DEFINING WHO WE ARE Pt. 1 

April’s Book of the month: the Other Side of Silence Men’s Lives and Gay Identities: A twentieth-Century History

TMP and friends: the duality and unity of being T 


 

 
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