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Getting Great Health Care When You’re Trans*

By , 19, Staff Writer Originally Published: June 24, 2013 Revised: June 24, 2013

Bryce Celotto, 21, is a transgender guy living in Washington, D.C. Being transgender means a person’s gender—how someone feels as masculine and/or feminine—doesn’t match the person’s biological sex. This may include someone who was born female who identifies as a guy, someone born male who identifies as a girl or someone who defines their gender in another way altogether. In Bryce’s situation, he was born biologically female, but identifies as a guy. Bryce has agreed to share his particular experience with us about everything from consulting with doctors to starting safe hormone treatments.

Sex, Etc.: At what age did you decide to transition?

Bryce: I decided to transition when I was 18. I didn’t really know I could before then. I didn’t know anyone who was trans or about the trans community. It didn’t affect puberty for me since I transitioned at 18, but I will say when I was going through puberty it was still really uncomfortable for me and I didn’t understand it because I never felt “female.”

Sex, Etc.: What’s one thing you really struggled with during your transition?

Bryce: I’ve struggled with accepting I won’t be able to afford top surgery [a surgical procedure that some transgender people choose to have that involves removal of or construction of the breasts] for a couple years, and the fact my mother doesn’t fully accept me as “Bryce” or her son. Again, it’s tough, and I get down about it sometimes. But I try to think of all the incredible folks in my life who are 100-percent supportive, and I’m lucky that I have been able to start hormones and am taking steps to physically change my body.

Sex, Etc.: What was it like talking to your physician about being transgender?

Bryce: It wasn’t really hard for me talking to my doctor about being trans mostly because I haven’t been to my old primary care doctor back home in North Carolina since coming out. The doctor I go to here in D.C. is at a clinic that specializes with LGBT patients and does a lot around trans health care specifically, so it’s been nice.

Sex, Etc.: Did your doctor go over safer sex with you or did you ask her?

Bryce: My doctor did ask me what gender partner I prefer or was involved with sexually and did make an effort to go over safer sex practices. It was really easy to talk to her about it actually, and she didn’t make it odd or uncomfortable.

Sex, Etc.: Have you undergone any treatments? If you are comfortable, would you mind sharing your experience?

Bryce: I have been on injectable depo testosterone for a little over seven months. I give myself a shot of it every week. It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with all the changes, but for the most part, it’s been a really positive experience. I’ve gained about 10 to 15 pounds, most of that muscle. My voice has deepened significantly. The shape of my face has changed a bit. I’m starting to grow more body and facial hair—slowly but surely—and overall just look and feel more masculine. It’s been great!

Sex, Etc.: Do you have any advice for trans guys?

Bryce: Really, at the end of the day, just be yourself and realize it does get better. I know that sounds super-cliché, but there have been plenty of points throughout my transition that I’ve been at rock bottom and didn’t think I could do it anymore or take it anymore. But there are people out there who really care, who want and can help you. You can build a great support system around yourself and things will start changing for the better. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t worth being loved or are any less of a human being because of who you are. Be proud and savor every moment in your journey because that’s what being trans is about for me at least. It’s a journey in which I am continually growing and can share with family and friends, and I think that’s truly a blessing. So it’s just about recognizing that, even in the hard times, and counting your blessings every day.

*The asterisk after “trans” means we’re talking about a diverse group of people, including but not limited to transwomen, transmen, genderqueer people and transsexual people.

Photo via SF Pride at Work

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