Transaturday – Laverne Cox

“A trailblazer for the transgender community.”

I first discovered Laverne Cox when I began binge watching the first season of Orange Is The New Black. She was the first transwoman I had ever seen, her storyline was extremely moving, provoking an empathetic response from the audience. Acting as Sophia Burset, a late transitioning woman who was a husband, father and firefighter, her story outlines the hardships of transitioning around a family lifestyle and the impact it has on others.

Before Caitlyn Jenner dropped her own bombshell on the Kardashian/Jenner reality TV fad, Laverne Cox was considered the most well known transgender person in modern media. Not only that, she managed to climb the ladder to become an activist with an impact, despite her ethnic background which might have prohibited her due to prejudice within a society which sometimes lacks understanding.

“A trailblazer for the transgender community,” this statement is reinforced by Cox being the first open transgender person to be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for the acting category. Her achievements do not stop there, she was also the first African-American transgender woman to star and produce in her own TV show, TRANSform Me.

Despite her glamour, Laverne Cox encourages all transgender people to embrace their appearance, I’m happy that this is the face God gave me. This inspired many transgender people due to the lack of funds to pay for surgeries that either impliments a cisgender feminin or masculine appearance, that many people have to deal with.

Laverne Cox is definitely a credit to the community and to the hit Netflix Original show.

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Transaturday (A Day Late) – Ty Turner

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Ty Turner – YouTuber

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPfeM2tm3T19uPf8pU3VHLg

 

I have never spoke to Ty Turner, I will never probably talk to him, or see him in person. All I know is, this guy was a lifesaver when I began my transition. Before I came across his channel I had heard the word transgender once, leading me to extensive research figuring out what it was and if I was in fact, a transgender man. His brave YouTube expression of his own transition taught me things about testosterone, surgery, weight lifting and most importantly the hard times. He outlined how long this process would take and ensured that his viewers understood it wasn’t just as easy as a 5 minute video of a 2 year time line.

The best thing about Ty Turner is that he’s just a regular guy, a goofball, funny and charming, someone who I aspire to be like. This is why I’ve chosen him for my next (late) Transaturday. Following him on other forms of social media such as Twitter has also led me to realise that he is authentic, he has bad days too, which is comforting when I have my own and inspiring when he picks himself up and works even harder. It is clear he is a dedicated, strong person due to his fitness journey which has given him the authentic masculine look that I crave.

Of course, muscles isn’t everything, and when Ty Turner first started he was slighter than me, giving hope that anyone can achieve anything if they try hard enough. For any FTM’s like myself, his website gives great advice on binders and packers, sometimes with give-a-ways for people who can’t always afford a £50 binder or a £150 multi functioning prosthetic. Or for all transgender people, he offers great advice for coping with dysphoria that can be applied generically whether you are a transman or a transwoman. More importantly he is a laugh on a dull day that could make a big difference.

 

 

Transaturday – Michael Dillon

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(Michael Dillon After and Before his Transition)

Born as Laura Dillon in 1916, England; little did future Michael realise the difficulty of discovering his true self. 

To give a brief history lesson; Michael was born to a family highly concerned with their social status, meaning that when word around town got about that Michael was taking testosterone tablets, despite knowing the exact effects, he had to flee to Bristol.

When in hospital being treated for low blood sugar, Michael arranged for a double mastectomy (what we now dub ‘top surgery’), changed his birth certificate and arranged for a meeting with Harold Gillies – a leading plastic surgeon who had reconstructed male genitalia after they had been injured in WWI.

Between 1946 – 1949 Gillies performed at least 13 surgeries on Michael to give him a phalloplasty, these were secretive, illegal and occurred while Michael was attending Medical School at Trinity College, Dublin. 

Michael would later flee to India to escape public attention of his transition by those investigating his inheritance of baronetcy and due to Roberta Cowell’s fame due to her own male to female transition (another revelation to the transgender community).

He joined the Buddhist community and eventually in 1962 he died at the age of 47 due to health problems, although it was also rumored that he took his own life.


Michael Dillon came to be an inspiration of mine when I watched a documentary featuring himself and Roberta Cowell.

His story makes me realise that although the path I’ve chosen is a difficult one, there are also many things I should be grateful for.

We live in a society that is beginning to accept us for who we are, I have never had a personal hateful experience due to my transition.

He had to wait until he was 34 years old to receive surgery that took years to complete, in secret, causing infections that he had to hide from his peers. I realise that many people begin to transition in their later years, but I was able to do this in the beginning of my adulthood. Some people even earlier than myself are able to take hormone blockers to prevent them experiencing a puberty that does not match their gender identity.

Despite the idea of top and bottom surgery feeling scary, they are possible, both privately and through the NHS support system, meaning that if I were to desire that route I could take it with full care and guidance.

It is because of people like Michael Dillon that these surgeries and medications are possible today, providing the best pathways for transgender people.

One man decided that he would become himself despite the majority of society and science telling him that it was impossible.

I think that deserves respect, I know he has mine.