“Right now, I’m 34. When I was very young, 5, 6 years old, I remember … other little girls, they would talk about how when they grew up they wanted to be mommies, they wanted to have babies, and I remember saying, ‘I just want to be a boy when I grow up.’” Alex, who requested his real name not be used, started to transition from female to male in March, when he began taking hormones prescribed by Planned Parenthood. The Omahan, who recently moved to Wisconsin for a job, had a mastectomy in May. Since he began taking hormones, Alex says he’s noticed his voice getting deeper, his muscles getting bigger and the growth of facial and body hair. “I would say as early as early- to mid-June, in public I was always passing as male,” he says. “I was never perceived a female anymore, which was fantastic.” Since he began transitioning, Alex says, his life has gone from night to day. “The second I walk out the door, I feel comfortable in my body,” he says. “When I wake up and look in the mirror, I feel like things match, where they never did before. “I just am happy, is the best way to put it,” he says with a laugh. “You know what I mean? I’m seeing myself the way I’ve always needed to, and people are seeing me the way I’ve always needed them to. It’s a great feeling.” Jamie, a nurse who also requested his real name not be used, grew up in the Nebraska Panhandle, not far from the Colorado and Wyoming borders. He began taking testosterone about two months ago. “It’s definitely exciting,” he says. “You’re finally getting to that point where you can finally be who you really should have been for 26 years of your life. “Part of it is being excited to know that it is something, to know that you’re not alone in the world,” he says, “but as you learn more about it, as you educate yourself about it, you realize how difficult it is. It’s not a quick fix … I’m always going to struggle with it.” — Hilary Stohs-Krause


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