5 years' worth of photos show how testosterone affected one person's life.


This is Skylar.

Even though he was born "Katherine Elizabeth," Skylar lived like a regular little boy for most of his childhood. He was happy.

But when puberty hit, he started feeling intense pressure to be "normal" and fit in. So he tried to present as more traditionally "feminine."

But he couldn't shake the feeling that he was denying a huge part of himself. Late in high school, he started taking testosterone.

Skylar started feeling more comfortable immediately. And before he knew it, he was at his "dream school," having the time of his life. And taking lots and lots of pictures of himself.

Access to medical care played a big part in Skylar becoming the person he is today, but that wasn't all. Check out his story and walk five years in his shoes. It's definitely a perspective we don't see often enough.

Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Narrator: This is my journey as a female to male trans person. Now that I'm five years on T, I'm just looking back. I was born May 19, 1991 as Katherine Elizabeth. There's me sweeping away the gender about an area. In the summer of 1994, I announced to my grandfather that I would only respond to the name Mike. Clearly, I did not choose that name, but I did cut my hair short. I looked like a little boy. Everyone thought I was a little boy and I loved it. I had some major 90's swag going on. I don't know of any real pictures from this period of my life, but basically I was in a tomboyish face, I played a lot of sports, I followed my brother around. He's on the left there. The parents kind of just let me do whatever I want in growing up. But then puberty hit, loaded before middle school, and I was faced with this idea of not feeling so comfortable in my identity, in my body, but not knowing how to articulate it at such a young age. So when freshman year of high school rolled around, I made an attempt to had trying to be more feminine, just trying to fit in. I basically didn't think that I had any other options, so I just tried my best to be happy although I always felt like something wasn't right. So in the spring of my freshman year, I cut my hair short and I came out as queer. I started dating my first girlfriend. I was introduced to the LGBT world. I didn't meet my first trans person. However, for another few months and when I first met a trans person in my whole life, it hit me like a rock that, "Wow, I can actually be how I feel. It's actually possible." So I came out as guy. It's a more gender androgynous name than my birth name. I began to bind my chest and dress more masculine and see how that felt and I started to ask people to call me by male pronouns because I wanted to see if that was comfortable, and it was. I felt amazing being finally able to express who I was and have others see that, being able to share that with them.

During this time, I was not on testosterone, but I was living socially as a boy. I "passed" as a boy a lot of the time, but sometimes I didn't, so that made it very hard for my dysphoria. But also in this pre-testosterone times, I really learned how to create my own masculinity and gained a lot of confidence in myself. So in the middle of my senior year of high school, I began taking testosterone. It was a choice that I made because I thought it would make me feel more comfortable, and it did. I ate a lot of mac and cheese, I got into my dream school at Skidmore, made some goofy faces. Altogether, as I began testosterone, I started taking a lot of selfies. So now I have a lot more pictures. I graduated from high school, which is a really big moment in my life, and I left the safety of my high school to start college. Before that, I got my name changed to Skylar Tucker during the first week of school. I went to Boston for that. Exciting day.

In the fall of 2009, I entered Skidmore College. I was awkward, I was acne-filled, I was holding big leaves, I was playing guitar. My first roommate was a girl but she was so nice, thank you for taking that picture, and began to make friends. I didn't tell everybody that I was trans though. They just knew me as a guy. It was the guy who I entered college as. But that winter break, I had top surgery, which was honestly one of the best days of my life. It was really hard for me to try to live stealth, meaning that no one knew my past as a female from when I was in high school. They just knew me as the guy who was. So slowly, I started to come out more and more of my friends. Because it was a really exciting time to be one year on T to just have gotten this top surgery, so I began sharing with some of my friends, how not quite with everyone yet. I thought that living stealth would be the right choice for me, just living as a man without having to acknowledge my past, but it turns out that acknowledging my past was actually something that really brought me and my friendships closer. So when I transferred to Massasoit College in Boston for the fall of my sophomore year, I did tell most of my friends there. They were all very accepting. I realized that, "Hey, being out and being proud is exactly what I wanted to do." I was already sharing my story on YouTube. I knew that people would find it eventually. I really just wanted to own my past, my present, and my future. When I got back to Skidmore, I began telling more and more of my friends. I spent that summer at Skidmore, by that point I was completely out to everyone. I love taking my shirt off in public. It was just amazing.

In winter of 2011, in the middle of my junior year at Skidmore, I had to have hysterectomy due to hormone problems. It wasn't something I was anticipating having yet, but it was medically necessary. It was a hard time for me emotionally and physically going through that, however after I healed, I felt so much better about myself not having to worry about organs that I was ignoring. I would say that having my hysterectomy was a huge turning point in my growth. So when I entered senior year of college, I was out and proud, happy, sharing my life with others, enjoying theirs. I started to have folks contact me to speak at schools and I was really excited, something that I definitely wanted to do. I knew I was nearing graduation, I'd be able to. I won a senior leadership award at Skidmore College, which I'm very, very proud of for all the work that I did on the Pride Alliance. I spoke at the Egg in Albany, I went to some classy parties, I had my senior thesis exhibition to involve the trans masculine community. It was to gain my art degree and I graduated.

After graduating, I traveled a bit. I went to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference where I met so many incredible people. I moved into my mom's house for a few months before I moved to Montpelier to be with my current partner. Here I have now spoken at several colleges. I went down to Pittsburgh and I had to spend some time with a really good friend and speak at Chatham University. I made some business cards. Since I work as a bank teller at the bank for the time being, usually it will be like this. It was just kind of funny. I can grow a little bit of facial hair. I'm happy with what I've got now at five years on T. I've been working out a whole bunch. It make me feel better spiritually and emotionally. I not only hike, but also lately have been going to the gym quite a bit. Now I'm officially five years on testosterone. I can honestly say that I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. It's been quite a journey, but it has been worth it to get here. It has not been easy, but when I look at myself in a mirror, I'm actually happy and content and feel like I am what I see. So to this roller coaster life, to transitioning from female to male, through everything, I finally am happy. Looking at where I've been and where I am now and where I'm going, I can honestly say that every single bit of this journey has been worthwhile. I hope someday that it won't be as hard for others as sometimes it was for me, but it has been worth it. I wish this sort of happiness for anyone regardless of your identity. I cannot thank my family and friends and supporters enough. So I'm five years on T and still kicking with many, many more years to go, still evolving and still growing and still becoming. If that's the great thing about life is you still got time to be. If I got to do this all over again, I wouldn't change anything.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

An original by Skylar Kergil. He's a trans activist, an artist, and even a musician (he composed the sweet tune you hear in the background). If you want to know more about this pretty gosh darn brave and talented individual, check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Aug 30, 2014

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