Today, we had an interview with one of our earliest customers and supporters, Sou.


Sou, can you tell us first, how do you identify?

FTM Coverboy: SouI'm FTMTS.

When did you first realize you were FTM? How did you figure it out?

Before I'd even heard the term FTM, I was looking around at ways to change my name to something more gender neutral, and I came across information about GID.

Before that, I always identified as a butch lesbian, but that never seemed to feel quite right to me.

It does seem that a lot of transguys are originally mistaken for butch lesbians.

How did it feel when you found out about GID?

Once I realized, I felt relieved. Like I finally knew something specific, like something was finally decided. Kind of like when a design comes together, or when you finally find the right shoes to go with a certain outfit. [Laughs]

But, GID isn't something you can diagnose by yourself, so I felt a little bit upset.

What were you like as a child? Did you have any inkling of GID?

Well, I really hated wearing skirts. I felt like I was in drag.

I tried to pee standing up, like the other little boys, and I could never understand why it wasn't working. But I feel like there are a lot of little girls out there who try to do that anyway, so I'm not sure if that's indicative of GID...

I started to understand that I had a long road ahead of me.

It seems I wasn't really interested in Licca-chan dolls, either. When I got one as a present, I'd go with my brother and chop off the hair and draw a beard on it. I never played house, either. But that could be because I lived with a bunch of brothers.

But in general, I just played with my brothers, pretending to be ninjas or superheroes, having wars with our toys. I'd sword fight with some of the other kids in the neighborhood. But I had no idea that it was any different from anyone else, much less related to GID.

Once you started having suspicions of GID, how long did you wait before you decided to go to the hospital? How did you go about finding a hospital that deals in transsexualism?

I decided to get diagnosed in the fall when I was 22. I started looking seriously for hospitals on the internet, and finally started going that December.

What were your impressions that first day at the hospital?

I was really nervous. But it was really unnecessary. Everything was completely fine.

But I started to understand that this was just the beginning, and I had a long road ahead of me.

But I felt really relieved.

As it stands now, WPATH and the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care are helping to advance the science of transgender health, but a lot of people feel that it also makes it much more difficult to get treatment and complete their transitions. How far are you wishing to go with your transition?

I'd like to change my legal status and birth certificate. But with the way the laws are in Japan right now, I'm afraid it might be next to impossible.

Coming Out

Arigato, Chinatsu. A graphic novel about the coming out of FTM hydroplane racer Hiromasa AndoAnd, before one considers GID treatment, there's always the issue of coming out. How far along are you in coming out?

I've told my parents and my family. I've come out to my partner's parents and most of my really good friends, too. But, since I got my name taken care of, I decided not to come out to anyone else.

When did you first come out to someone?

I don't really remember when it was, but I remember not knowing what to say.

It wasn't too bad, though. Most people just said "Ah, I thought so", or "It must have been really difficult."

And what about your parents?

I'd already moved out of my parents' house by that point, so I sent them a letter and a copy of the book Arigatō, Chinatsu.

Arigatō, Chinatsu
A graphic novel detailing the coming out of FTM hydroplane racer Hiromasa Ando (born: Chinatsu Ando).

I kept my letter cool and calm and intelligent. But my parents cried. I think they were just completely shocked.

They told me they'd try as hard as they could to accept and understand me, and I was really happy about that. But I also felt really bad about hurting them in the first place.

How has your family been since then?

They've started calling me by my new name, but sometimes they slip and use my birth name. But I guess that's just habit. It's what I went by for 24 years.

But we get along well, and they are being understanding of me.


And what do you do for work?

I'm working part time as a graphic designer.

What is it like when you have interviews? Have you had any work experiences that left a lasting impression?

Before I started hormone therapy, I worked for a temp-agency as a man. I didn't fill in any gender parts on my application, and I had an interview using a nickname.

The HR person ordered me a men's uniform, and I was hired. As soon as I got home, I got a phone call, and they told me to bring in a copy of my driver's license the next day, and that's when I started to get worried. [Laughs]

Sou: I'm in the middle of getting my name changed right now, so is it okay if the name on my license is different?

HR Person: We can confirm your identity here, so it's okay.

MamiS: Great.

HR: You aren't changing your name due to any kind of criminal activity, right? We do a credit check as well, so you should be sure to let us know anything beforehand.

S: Ah, no, nothing like that... just that, my name is a girl's name.

HR: Excuse me?

S: I have Gender Identity Disorder.

HR: Oh! Sorry, you caught me off guard. It's completely okay. Don't worry about it. We won't tell the company you go to work for anything. We'll just send you out as a male employee. I can't say I really understand, but don't worry about it.

And since then, that's about how all of my coming out episodes have been at work.

Love life

Sou and MamiSou brought his longtime girlfriend, Mami, with him to the interview, so we had to ask about his love life.

How did you first get together?

We knew each other from before, and we were seeing other people at the time, but we didn't really think of each other that way. We ended up breaking up with our exes at about the same time, so we decided just to give it a try and see.

Did anything change once you started seeing each other?

I started to learn really wonderful things from my girlfriend. She notices a lot of things when it comes to clothes, work, books, people. She understands how people think. I knew she had a great sense about her before we started dating.

But more than anything else, she's making an honest man out of me. [Laughs]

And how does GID treatment fit in with your love life?

I think I want to get metoidioplasty, up to the point where I can have fairly standard sex. Phalloplasty is expensive, and maybe not worth it when you think about the risks and the loss of sensation.

Do you have anything you'd like to say to anyone currently coping with GID?

Just that, whether you have GID or not, you need to find a way to let your soul and society live together. I guess that's advice to everybody.

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


We know you're busy, so thank you for coming in for an interview. We wish you and your girlfriend the best of luck and a happy life.

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.