Makoto

Introducing our second coverboy, Makoto!

Makoto is a high school student living in the north of Japan. Ever since he was in elementary school, he always felt a little bit different. He finally realized that he was FTMTS when he was fourteen.

Childhood

FTM Coverboy Makoto

Makoto looks back to the time when he was a decidedly not cute little tomboy.

Dealing with the restroom was especially difficult, and he spent six years holding back, from the time he entered school until he left.

At home, he'd play basketball with his older brother and his brother's friends.

For sports classes and sleepovers, whenever the boys and girls would be seperated, he couldn't grasp why he had to go along with the girls' group.

Then he started having his periods.

He started in the spring of sixth grade.

In sixth grade, for health class, the boys and girls were seperated, and Makoto had to listen to a lecture about menstruation. He felt uncomfortable and embarrassed, and he just spent the whole time looking out the window. When he had his first period, it hit him hard — "You're a freakin' girl!"

For his elementary school graduation, he had to wear a skirt. One of his friends in another class said he'd bring a camera...

Bullies, and then...

After about a year of junior high, Makoto even got a little bit used to wearing the skirt in the school uniform.

He decided to join the tennis club after school with a friend of his. But the girls' tennis uniform was a tiny little skirt. It was too much, and he had to refuse.

But, since he had already joined, he received a tennis raquet, and he actually really enjoyed the game. So began his social life as a junior high student.

"When I was in my second year, there was this person I liked.

But at that time, I was getting seriously picked on at school. I found out that some of the boys in my class were bullying my friends, so that's when I started threatening them. I can't stand seeing people get picked on, and I am not a fairweather-friend.

Suddenly I became the target.

Recess was hell. If I left my desk, I'd come back to find my supplies dumped on the ground or in the garbarge. People put chalk in my lunch. A good friend of mine just started ignoring me. I went through a year of this without making the slightest sound to anyone. At school and at home I just put on a smile for everyone.

In my third year, it was like the batteries in my soul died, and all the stress started wrecking my body. I went to the hospital and got diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. When the doctor asked me what all the stress in my life was from, it was then, in that place, that I finally for the first time told my family about all the torture at school.

It was at that point I decided to quit school.

Instead, I'd stay out and go to the video arcade and hang out with the older boys and girls every night.

I was treated like dirt, and forgotten by even my good friends. I became an untouchable.

But at the arcade, everyone was kind to me. Even the people whose names I didn't know. I wasn't a delinquent.

Even though I dyed my hair and pierced my ears and was covered in holes, I was much friendlier than I was when I was in school. So, until I got out of junior high, I decided to continue that life.

I didn't go to school, but I have no regrets. It made me the person I am today."

Coming Out

Makoto entered a part-time high school. At that school, you could wear your street clothes, and there were people who left at mid-day, people over twenty, people with various reasons for being there.

He made friends quickly, but his worries were not over.

"There were many different ways that my body and mind were at odds with each other.

There were a couple times when I felt helpless to the fact that I was born a woman. 'Maybe I should just wear makeup and get a boyfriend and wear cute clothes like all these girls around me.' I even tried it out, but it was nothing more than suffocating.

I finally decided to talk to my family about this pressure and all the pain I'd been going through. That was my cue to come out. I knew about the racer Andoh coming out on TV, so that gave me a little courage. That was in the winter of my first year in high school.

My mother flat out refused to believe it. She said it was disgusting, and she just held her head and fell to tears. But I needed her to know 'the real me'. For me, since I had decided to live my life as a man, to avoid coming out to my family was a path I couldn't go down. Even less, I wasn't just going to leave them, either.

My mother's respons was terrible, but my father and brother were surprisingly quite reasonable. That helped me be able to come out to my friends and begin my life as a full-time man.

I even went to my school ceremonies wearing a boy's uniform."

Once he came out to his family, Makoto started going to counseling. In his position as a student, coming out to his family was one huge hurdle he had to cross. That was just over a year ago.

Unfortunately, in Makoto's area, there isn't much in terms of counseling and support for GID. So, he did some research on mental health care, and put together a team of counselors to start a three person support system. They are very kind, interested people, and even went to lectures and studied GID in their own time.

At the present time, Makoto is making arrangements to change his name formally once he graduates from high school. He plans to undergo hormone treatments and continue on to sex change surgery.

"I've already let my family know my plans for surgery. It's not going to be easy. It'll take time and money, I know. But I know I can do it!

I've had a lot of experiences while grappling with the doubts of whether or not I have GID. One by one, they've helped me confirm who I truly am. Living as a girl back then was a living hell. My heart had died inside me. I was simply a shell, wearing a mask. When I came out, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. When I told my friends, nothing changed, and I felt really good. For my birthday this year, my mother gave me a bunch of boxer shorts!

I'm in a good environment surrounded by people who care about me, and I feel like myself."

Working Life

Makoto's gone from painting houses, to handing out flyers in front of the station, to waitressing, to working in the post office.

"Waitressing had the greatest impression on me.

At that time, it was the spring of my first year in high school, and I still didn't know who I really was. So I just copied the girls around me and put on makeup and did my hair and tried to live as a woman.

I wore a checkered shirt and modest skirt. It was filled with older people. Not so much like a diner, but it had the atmosphere of a pub.

The person closest to me there was 30. I was adored by the other workers and by the regular customers, but I was being grabbed and fondled and hit on by the drunken customers. Working as a woman was emotionally draining, and I quit after about two months.

Since then, I felt really uncomfortable going out, and so I started doing work where I didn't have to wear a uniform and I didn't have to be in the public eye.

Especially handing out flyers. If it agrees with you, you can do it a long time and feel fulfilled. But, if i can, I want to live as a man and go about life that way instead.

But now I'm busy with finishing up school, so I don't have time for any part time jobs."

My Dream

"Until recently I really had no direction in life. But once I started high school, I've been trying to figure out what to do.

On the one had, I really want to work towards getting surgery and forming myself into a physical man, but on the other, there are important things to do before I am old enough.

I need to become financially and emotionally stable, and also not be tied down by my sexuality. Up until now I've put my parents through a hard time. I still remember what my father said when I came out:

"Be strong. Be yourself. If you can do that, you'll be a better man than me."

My father is a great man. He's the person I respect the most. He always fully supports anything I want to do. We go snowboarding in the winter together, biking in the summer.

My mother worries and nags me, but that's just how she shows her love.

My brother is like a good friend. He's the direct opposite of me. He gets good grades without needing anybody help. I think he gave me a complex.

My grandmother has been with me the longest. She's a cute little lady who understood when I left junior high.

It's this kind of family that I want to be in and help support. The dreams I had as a child are nothing compared to this. I love being around people, and I want to be able to work using my own skills around people I like. I'm planning on going to junior college and studying social welfare.

I still have a lot of time until graduation, so my path my change, but I am committed to putting hope in my future and continuing my education."

Love

We had to ask Makoto about his lovelife.

"My first crush was in elementary school. She was like the class idol. She seemed very bright and eager and friendly, but she was really just a shy little girl, and I really liked that. I joined the same group of friends as her and put all my energy into talking to her. I couldn't ask her if she thought I was different from the other girls.

To tell the truth, until now I've only dated 5 people. My first girlfriend was a lesbian. That was in junior high, and I met her through the internet. I remember it was really painful when I tried to explain myself to her.

Several months ago I was dumped by a girl I had been dating for a year. That was a girl I had liked since junior high.

After that, I found another girlfriend really quickly, but I still hadn't gotten over my previous, so we broke up really quickly as well. My ex was the person I had loved most passionately...

When we were in junior high school we were in the same class, and we became friends before we started dating. Her family thought of me just as a really close female friend who always came over to play. Even when we started dating (and apparently she had explained that I was FTM to her mother), they still just thought of me as a female friend. But at my house, my parents always knew she was my girlfriend.

They always saved a space for her at our dinner table. I was really happy that she liked my family.

Everything was good until one day, I went to her house and realized something. At my house, she was my girlfriend. At her house, I was a girl friend. I knew it was something I couldn't do anything about, but I felt bad anyways.

Just because of the way I was born, in front of her parents and friends, I couldn't be her boyfriend. Even though I never felt ashamed of her, I always made sure to walk her home even when it was raining...

I regret that people around us just thought I was a doting friend. I started despising her, and even when she invited me to her house, I started refusing.

That was the cause of all the huge fights we started having. We resolved the fights, but the situation never changed. Why was she able to say that I was FTM but not that I was her boyfriend?

'You just don't want to limit yourself with me as a boyfriend?'

I understood her feeling, though. Perhaps I should have come out to her parents as well. But I wanted it to come from her mouth.

Even up until the very end, her parents didn't know that we were going out.

The more I thought about it the more I couldn't express my will.

When I think about it now, there was really no need to explain her dating behavior to her parents. Most high school couples have secrets from their parents.

But I really just wanted it to be public. Maybe I had too high hopes, and I pushed my ideals on her. I thought about us having a future together.

But when we broke up, even if I had broken down crying, she would have been cold, and my picture of our future together disappeared. That was the first person I loved. So everything we did felt like it had some kind of meaning.

Be strong. Be yourself.

We've now finally returned to a relaxed friendship, but if I saw her again, I'd probably start to like her, so I've made it a point not to see her anymore.

Her house is near mine, so sometimes we see each other by accident, though.

Right now, I'm not seeing anybody."

What do you think your type is?

"The kind of girl I like... well, if I start listing things, I'll never stop!

But really, if I were to be stuck with someone, it would have to be someone who likes me as well. Maybe someone a little bit mysterious.

Who would I be happy with?

What I think a love relationship is isn't so much man and woman, but person and person. I think the best setup is when you can have mutual respect and look to a future together. I'm just the kind of person who is stuck in the idea of being friends with lovers."

Afterword

Family, school, love... all these things have gone to make up Makoto. He gave us the priveledge of hearing his deepest thoughts about his family and his feelings.

His mother, who at first rejected him, then go on to buy him boxer shorts for his birthday. Her message of "I love you the way you are" gives even the smallest gift the greatest value, and gave Makoto happiness.

Thank you, Makoto, for sharing your story with us.

We'd like to hear your inspiring life stories and how you've managed to live and love as a transman.

If you feel inspired to tell your story, just contact us here and we can set up an interview with you, either in person or through email.