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  • - If I get on the cover of "Men's Health" magazine,

  • I will be the first transgender male

  • on the cover of "Men's Health" magazine, ever.

  • - Wow, that would be-- [cheers and applause]

  • - Yeah. - Amazing.

  • [cheers and applause]

  • - Amazing. - Yeah, it would be phenomenal.

  • Just phenomenal.

  • Okay, so I think this is obviously--

  • Bruce Jenner, opened this whole world up to a lot of people,

  • and we're all just learning about what that means,

  • and so, explain transgender to everyone.

  • So a really basic understanding of transgender would just be,

  • you're born--your biological gender is one,

  • and you identify as the other,

  • so for example, I was born biologically a female,

  • yet I identify--my soul identifies as a male.

  • - Mm-hmm. Okay, so,

  • at what age did you realize this?

  • You were--so you were gay for a while.

  • You were a lesbian for a while. - Yes, yes.

  • - Okay. And then...

  • Did you know then?

  • Did you feel different being a lesbian,

  • then you thought, "Well, it's going to be the next step"?

  • - Yeah, yeah, for sure.

  • So I kind of had a little different story

  • of most transgender people.

  • I feel like some people say that they identified

  • at at really young age, but I didn't quite have that.

  • I came out as a lesbian as early as 13,

  • but I didn't come officially to friends and family

  • till I was about 17.

  • - And how were your parents when you said you were gay?

  • Were they okay with you being a lesbian?

  • - Yes. A funny quick story is,

  • when I was in third grade

  • I told my mother that I had a crush on someone,

  • and the first question she asked me was, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

  • So she must've known something was up?

  • - Well, good for her for being open-minded

  • and asking that question and not assuming.

  • Okay, so you came out to your family when you were 16,

  • and then why did you feel like you weren't really a lesbian?

  • It just felt like something didn't fit.

  • Like, it felt like I was a lesbian only because

  • I was a girl who liked girls,

  • so that was the title that was put on me,

  • rather than the title I felt that I identified with.

  • - Mm-hmm. - So, um...

  • I was actually just driving home one day

  • with an ex-girlfriend of mine,

  • and she kind of turned to me one day--

  • and I was around the age of 20-- and she said,

  • "Have you ever thought of being a boy?"

  • And I was just kinda like, "I don't--I don't know,

  • what are--what are you asking me that question for?"

  • I'm not sure, you know.

  • I didn't really know where it was coming from.

  • So I went home that night,

  • and her voice kind of stuck in the back of my head,

  • that question, just:

  • "Do you want to be a boy?" "Do you want to be a boy?"

  • just kept rolling through my head.

  • And so, of course, I took to Google,

  • and I started Googling, you know.

  • "Girl that becomes a boy," or "How to grow up to be a man."

  • And the internet just engulfed me,

  • and I was just-- for the next 48 hours,

  • it was videos and links and articles and everything.

  • I was just totally involved.

  • - I think I have to say at this point,

  • I think people's fear of like, "Oh, my God,

  • "if there's--if it's just floating out there,

  • "then my child is going to just look on the internet

  • and become a different gender."

  • I don't think it works that way, just in case

  • anybody's worried about the internet.

  • - Not at all. - I don't think

  • you can become gay.

  • I don't think you can become anything.

  • Nobody--you are what you are, so I don't--

  • - Definitely. - I don't want people to--

  • 'Cause it sounds like, you know, once you started seeing that,

  • that made you become a male, but that's not what happened.

  • - No, it was more like that was the missing puzzle piece.

  • You know, everyone said I was a lesbian,

  • but I had this missing spot, and I was like,

  • "Okay, you know, it all looks right,

  • but something's not right."

  • And then once I found out what

  • emotionally it meant to be transgender, I--that was it.

  • I was like, "This is my ticket. This is the piece."

  • I had no idea, because I didn't even know it existed.

  • - Right. - That was--and--

  • - And you feel more in-- true to yourself right now.

  • - Oh, yes. I feel like, today,

  • sitting with you right now, I'm at my most authentic self

  • than I've ever been in my whole life.

  • - Well, that's all that matters. [applause]

  • - Yeah, definitely. [applause]

  • - So-- [applause]

  • [applause]

  • Wow, so, you tell your parents you're a lesbian at 16.

  • - Yeah. - And so they are open-minded,

  • and they accept that, and that's wonderful.

  • Then, at what age do you say, "Oh, and by the way,

  • now I'm--I'm gonna be transgender," or I'm--

  • That's you also, right? - Oh, yes, yes, that's me.

  • - So--and so--what did-- how did they take that,

  • when you told them that?

  • - So, I came out to my mother first,

  • and I had a lot of guilt with that,

  • because I felt-- she had two sons already,

  • and I felt like I was--I felt like I was robbing her

  • of her only daughter, you know?

  • I had a lot of guilt for it.

  • When I actually came out to her--I always joke that

  • I cried more than she did.

  • And, um, luckily, in some sense, she is open-minded,

  • and she's been a nurse for 30-some years,

  • so she had dealt with transgender people before.

  • - Mm-hmm. - So she knew, kind of,

  • the base of it, so that was really safe and nice.

  • And then when I came out to my father--

  • I wasn't quite as close to my father,

  • so I was really nervous that this was going to be like--

  • could be a breaking point, you know.

  • This could be a-- - Because they were divorced.

  • - Yeah, they were divorced, yes, at a young age,

  • and um, he had--

  • I had seen him, like, every- other-weekend kind of style,

  • and I was really nervous that this was going to be

  • something that could make him just kind of, you know--

  • - And, how was he? - And he--he came around.

  • It was hard for him at first, but there was a defining moment

  • in my life when I got married to my beautiful wife, Jenilee,

  • and, um...

  • Yeah, hi. [laughs]

  • And um, so I think when he saw me

  • walking down the aisle as a husband,

  • as a groom, with my wife on my side,

  • I think that's when he--

  • you know, he couldn't not see me as his son anymore.

  • You know, I couldn't be his daughter.

  • I was only his son, and that was

  • a really amazing, amazing time.

  • - So you're close now. - Yes, oh, so much closer.

  • - Great, that's amazing.

  • So you decided you wanted to be on "Men's Health" magazine when?

  • - So, last year when I learned about Noah Galloway

  • I was like, "Oh, that's really cool.

  • I would love to do that."

  • But when the contest came around,

  • I was really kind of nervous, you know?

  • I mean, look at him. He looks ripped and everything.

  • So, um--so--

  • But I had gotten about two or three emails,

  • and--within like a 24 hour- 48 hour time frame.

  • and they were all saying, like, "You've gotta try out for this.

  • You have all the requirements. You have people supporting you."

  • And these were other trans men in the community.

  • So I was like, "You know what?" I asked my wife, and I was like,

  • "Should I do this? You know, I'm kinda nervous."

  • - You look great. So you've been working out

  • like crazy to do this, right?

  • - Yes, yes. Well, I've been working out

  • for the last, like five years of my life.

  • Yeah, it's definitely a lifestyle.

  • - Yeah, so if you get this, you're gonna continue

  • to work out like crazy, obviously.

  • - Oh, for sure, yeah! Oh, my goodness.

  • - So you're currently in first place.

  • - Yes. - And so, uh--

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