Frontline did a show on trans children and adolescents yesterday.
One was Alex Singh.
As he and his family navigate this new landscape, Alex also been forced to grapple with fundamental questions about gender and identity — beyond a beard or an Adam’s apple, for example, what does it take to be a guy?
“I always like see these really cool guys and I’m always like, I want to be like them,” says Alex. “Morgan and Ben were those like cool guys that I wanted to be like. Once I really realized that they were perfectly fine with me being transgender, it was like a whole new world for me.”
In the show you see the three of them hanging out and talking. One thing that one of the cool guys jumped right out at me, in a mix of sorrow and anger and frustration…
In the video below — the second in a series of Facebook first mini-documentaries from FRONTLINE tied to our new film, Growing Up Trans — Ben and Morgan share some advice with Alex. For example, “If you have to burp, just let it fly.” And when it comes to talking to girls, “try not to really show any emotion … just like treat her like you don’t even like her.”
No, don’t do that. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t buy into the message that being a guy requires being an asshole. Don’t train yourself to have no feelings, and don’t train girls to put up with being hit on by guys who don’t even like them.
The advice, Alex says, has helped him to fit in.
“The like tactics and all the information that they’re giving me, I definitely use it,” says Alex. “People thought I was weird so I think they just kind of push away. Now that I have friends that actually like accept me and respect me, that are guys, I feel very comfortable and I feel like I’m definitely more … guy-ish, I guess. You could say. I’m more myself.”
Or more like them, which is just sad.