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Look Like Yourself: Robyn

Look Like Yourself Project

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A visual exploration into the diverse lives of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Shayne Malcom is a self-taught transgender photographer who strives to bring awareness to the transgender and gender non-conforming community of Philadelphia through his project 'Look Like Yourself.'
posted by Look Like Yourself Project on Nov 21, 2017 10:30am | comments

   

When did you realize you didn’t relate to your birth gender?

It was around 4 or 5 I didn't really for into my gender and being that I lived mainly with my nieces and aunt's I never truly had male leadership in my life. By the age of 13-14 I began crossdressing and displaying female tendencies. By age 16-18 I began seeking hormonal treatment.

How did you deal with that mentally & physically?

At first I didn't know what to make of it. But by age 13 or 14 I knew I was different. I was coming to terms with who I was even if I didn't know it was transgender. Physically I don't think it felt bad at all in fact it was me coming to terms with what I should of had from birth.

Give me glimpse of the inside you verse your outward appearance.

So outwardly, I literally can't believe I achieved what took me years to accept inside. Sort of like Michelangelo's David but not on the same level.

I get up each morning and before going to my appointments I get to put on clothes that are me, even if the size may be off here or there. I go out and on s good day I get properly gendered by society or they like an article I'm wearing then that's amazing they help to see the beautiful woman I see when looking in the mirror. But inside I fight dysphoria so badly that often I think what the craps the point. I will never ever real woman. Hormones or not surgery or not doesn’t matter I will never have what a real woman has. And so that is one of the biggest struggles that I face daily. It's like a never ending battle. For every nice compliment every proper gendering every proper look from a guy my inner struggle comes out. Maybe it will forever be this way. But I have the comfort in knowing I am who I am and I'm not hiding her any longer.

How would you prefer people to address you? pronouns, preferred name etc

I prefer female pronouns

What does gender identity mean to you?

It's the essential identity that I show to the world that I am me regardless of what society ever thought or said i was supposed to be. It's being you and feeling comfortable in an uncomfortable ever changing world.

Was there someone in your life that helped you start to see your authentic/true self? Tell me about how they helped you/who they are/

I sought out help from different sources online growing up because I felt safe on these sites that were transgender related. It was through their that I had befriended many lovely and inspiring people who taught me to be myself. I was encouraged to also seek counsel but that only helped me to come to grips with what it meant to be transgender not necessarily how. I had my inspiring trans sisters on Facebook who helped with that. Anywhere from clothes to outfits to better ways of appearing in camera.

Talk to me about your struggles with identity and how you've grown to overcome them. Also include anything you want within your story

What's interesting is how I have become more of a bolder Trans woman the more I dropped the lying and the hiding. It can be seen I my profile pictures on Facebook. I was a timid man but I feel powerful like I am free to do anything now as a trans woman. I don't say woman because i am not a biological woman and I realize that but I am also ok with that. The more I embraced the woman in the mirror the more i became authentic to myself and those around me.

One of those things is joining a women's softball team where as of this year they opened it up to transgender people and queer people. I also have spoken out on transgender rights in the hospital as I was discriminated several times. But with the help of a lawyer I was able to publicly defend my right to be transgender and not get ripped up by the very ones i am seeking treatment from.


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