FTM Coverboy: RyogaWe introduce our latest coverboy, Ryoga from Osaka.

Can you first tell us your age and sexuality?

I'm 22, and I'm FTMTG. I haven't been diagnosed yet, so it's still just a self-assessment...

What were you like as a young child?

I was really active at everything. All of my friends were other boys. I thought of myself as just another boy, of course.

My mother always tried to get me to wear skirts and frilly pink things. I hated that. But one day, when I was wearing these really girly clothes, a taxi driver asked me, "So, how old are you, young man?" I think, when my mother heard that, she realized she was trying too hard to make me more feminine. Since then, she always bought be boyish or neutral clothes.

When did you realize you were FTM? What was the catalyst for it?

From the start I always thought of myself as just another boy, but then we started to get divided by gender in elementary school, and I realized that I was actually a girl. That realization hit me pretty hard, even as a little kid.

And then I realized in sixth grade that I was FTM, even though I didn't know the actual term yet. There was a period where my family was running a bar, and one day an FTM transsexual came in, and I realized that I was the same as him.

Do you feel like anything changed inside you when you realized this?

When I thought about it, I was taken with this really uneasy feeling. I kept worrying if I'd have to hide this for the rest of my life.

I already have a disorder with my legs, and it causes my parents unnecessary trouble. So, I felt really bad that, maybe I'd have to cause them even more grief.

How long have you had this leg impediment?

It's congenital. I did some research on it, and in Japan, it seems, there is about one person for every 25,000 births that has this particular disease. My joints aren't formed correctly and get dislocated easily, and my cartilage is weak and doesn't grow in some places, so my arms and legs also don't grow, or they turn in on themselves.

I see. And, when you tried to hide the fact that you were FTM, did you encounter any problems?

Being a boyish girl is really awful. I went as far as pointlessly having a boyfriend, even, but it didn't mean anything. All it was was painful.

Are you currently in any kind of therapy or treatment for GID?

I'm not doing anything right now, but I've decided that, once I have the money and the time, I'm definitely going to go to counseling.

How far are you planning to go in your treatment? Just counseling, or surgery, or a birth certificate modification?

I want at least to get my chest done. After that, I'll look into getting a name change.

Have you come out to anyone?

Once I turned 18, I started coming out to my friends.

When did you first come out? What happened?

I was 18, and I came out to a friend of mine. It was... exhilarating.

I just kept thinking, "Well, maybe we won't be friends anymore. But I can't be friends with someone I have to hide this from."

It was great. He just said, "Well, I always thought of you as a guy anyway."

So I came out to some other friends, and it was always like that. "I always thought so..." or "Hm..." Nothing too bad at all.

I always thought of you as a guy anyway.

When did you come out to your family?

I haven't been able to tell my mother yet. Every time I try to tell her, I get really nervous, and I sense that she kind of knows, and it just doesn't come out, and so I start talking about something else.

My sister knows, though. She read my blog, so I didn't even really need to tell her. We just went past it and everything stayed the same.

She seemed a bit surprised, but didn't have any judgment about it.

How are things going with your family?

Everything's pretty normal. I think my mother figured it out on her own, and even though she hasn't said anything, I get the feeling that she's telling me to do as I like.

And what do you do for work?

I'm working as an office manager.

Are you working as a man?

Not yet. Right now I'm just an insanely manly woman.

Have you ever come out at an interview?

I have. Sometimes the whole place seems to freeze over. I'll say something like "I don't have a diagnosis, but I'm pretty sure that I have GID." And then I get a response like "Are you sure you're not just a lesbian?" And then they never call me back.

Is there anything you'd like to say to anyone struggling with GID?

Never forget yourself. Never hide yourself. It's difficult, but you need to be yourself.

It's not hopeless. You are a man. Your body may be wrong, but the rest of you is a man, and needs to be a man. You need to live as a man.

And what is your dream?

I actually have three. The first is to become rich. The second is to become famous. And the third is to open the greatest transvestite and transsexual club in the world!

And finally, if you could put your life into a single word, what would it be?

Happiness. Even though my legs are bad and I have GID, there have been so many great things in my life.

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. We're looking forward to the grand opening of the greatest transsexual club in the world!

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.