Growing up Trapped; Landon Mosley’s story

Landon+Mosley+is+the+only+out+transgender+individual+at+Kaneland+High+School

Photo by Jack Coyle

Landon Mosley is the only out transgender individual at Kaneland High School

By: Jack Coyle, Editor

Landon Mosley was not born with the name Landon. His birth name was left behind when he came out as transgender. Landon is a small part of the population considered transgender (or trans* for short). Being transgender is when the state of a person’s gender they were born with does not match who they are on the inside or identify as.

Coming out as trans* is a terrifying experience for most individuals because of the lack of understanding. It can even be dangerous; According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, 20 percent of trans* individuals have experienced domestic violence by a family member because of their orientation, 78 percent experienced harassment if they came out from grades 7-12 and 31 percent experienced harassment from a teacher or staff.

A survey done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that even in professional settings, trans* individuals were at a higher risk of discrimination. Up to 19 percent of those surveyed reported being refused medical care for being transgender, and up to 28 percent received verbal harassment by a medical care professional.

Trans* individuals are also at a higher risk of being murdered, and having their offender getting away with it. A defense has been used around the world commonly referred to as the “trans panic defense” which is a tactic used by the defense that essentially states someone found out that another person was trans* and murdered them without being in their right mind. Everyone who used this defense (the first use in 1987) has gotten off with manslaughter (about three years in prison).

The topic of transitioning from genders can create a lot of questions for cis individuals (those who identify as the gender they were born with). I sat down with Landon to hopefully clear up some questions about being transgender, and how cis people can better understand it.

 

Q: When did you know you were transgender?

A: I’ve always known, but I didn’t know what to call it. I never wanted to wear a dress or do girly things. My earliest memory of having these feelings was me sitting in my bathroom in a dress and crying, and not knowing why.

 

Q: When did you decide to come out as transgender?

A: In the summer of 2013 was when I told my family and friends.

 

Q: You mentioned earlier that you didn’t know what to call these feelings, how did you learn?

A: I had a friend who is female-male transgender and he told me that he had felt like a male his entire life, so I started looking all of this up online and realized I was feeling these exact same things.

 

Q: What was the response you received from people when you came out? Specifically students, friends and your family?

A: A lot of people were very accepting. My friends stumbled on names and using male pronouns, but they got it eventually. My mom has been more accepting than my dad. When I came out to her I wrote her a letter and she waited for me to bring it up, when I did she was fine with it, but sometimes she still forgets to use male pronouns.

 

Q: What about your dad?

A: My dad has been extremely rude about it. In fact, I would say it ruined our relationship. He sat my little sister down and basically drilled it into her that being trans* was not right. I haven’t gotten over that.

 

Q: Do you have anything to say to people who think it’s wrong?

A: I would say that it isn’t their fault. They were raised to think that way and they can’t help it, but they should realize that saying it’s wrong is like saying liking a food is wrong; I have no control over how I feel.

 

Q: So can you explain to them how you do feel?

A: I feel like I’m a male born as a female, I always have. I remember when I was younger my dad would walk around shirtless and so I went outside to see my friends and I was shirtless and they said I couldn’t do that, and I never understood why. I felt like I was the same as my dad.

 

Q: A big part of being transgender is modifying your body to feel comfortable, have you taken any measures to do so?

A: Yeah, I started binding* three weeks ago. It makes me feel great, I pass so much easier as male. I feel 95 percent comfortable wearing a t-shirt and I can actually buy clothes that fit me.

*Binding is the act of covering one’s breasts to pass as a male.

Q: How did you feel when you looked at yourself with binding for the first time?

A: I was relieved. Before I came out as trans*, I would sit in my mirror and not know what to wear because somethings looked more masculine or feminine than others.

 

Q: So I know you have a girlfriend, how has it been for her ever since you came out?

A: Well I told her in the 8th grade that I felt like I may be trans*. When I started binding and came out to everyone, it impacted her just as much as it impacted me. It’s hard for her because she is a lesbian; she wants to date a woman, not a man, but she has been extremely supportive and caring throughout my transition.

Q: Do you plan to have gender reassignment surgery in the future?

A: I am going to, yes. I want to have a surgery that removes my breasts and makes them look more like pecs. Also for the downstairs I do plan to get a phalloplasty, which is when they take skin from some of the most sensitive parts of your body and make it into a functional penis.

 

Q: Do you introduce yourself as a male or a trans* male in conversation?

A: Well, to people that knew me before I transitioned, I tell them I’m f-m trans* but if I introduce myself to someone completely new I say male.

 

Q: What is the hardest part about being transgender?

A: The most difficult part is using the bathroom in school. I don’t pass enough to go in the guys room, but I pass too much to use the girl’s bathroom. So I just try to hold it, but if I absolutely have to I go all the way to the F hallway to use the bathroom because it’s the only place I feel comfortable.

 

Q: Do you have any advice to anyone struggling with their gender?

A: To people that are trans*, I would say don’t get worked up about it, because it will eat you alive like it did me for so many years.

 

*Trans is used with an asterisk because it stands for transgender, not to be confused with transvestite. There is a huge difference between the two, transgender means someone identifies as the gender they are transitioning into while a transvestite is a male who wears female clothes. Anytime it is shortened it is politically correct to place it with an asterisk to avoid confusion.