Yukito

We're nearing the end of the monsoon season, and on one of the first summer days when the sun comes out in full force, Yukito came into our offices with a face equally as shining.

Apparently, he was friends with one of our staff members, Ume. So, with an immediately familiar tone and a friendly atmosphere, we began our interview.

Childhood

I think everything should be a lot more open, and therefore a lot safer.

Hello!

How's it going?

Good. So, to start with, when did you first come to the realization that you are a transsexual?

Well, I'm 20, and I'll be 21 this year. I first started to question my sexuality in junior high school. I thought perhaps I was a lesbian, so I started reading a lesbian support group site with my internet cellphone.

I read here and there, followed some links, and BAM! I was at a site for transsexuals. I read it and immediately knew that's what I was.

And what were you like as a child?

Very much a tomboy. I always spoke like a boy. I always played with the other boys. I hated when they seperated us into groups based on gender.

And even though I was boyish, I did wear skirts. My mother made clothes for me, and so I always felt I had to wear them for her.

Were there any points that were particularly difficult for you?

I always moved around and changed schools a lot when I was little, but more difficult was that I had a low voice, and I was picked on because I was boyish, and I never really got to have conversations about "who likes whom" and such.

When you get into junior high, boys start acting differently around the girls, giving them looks and stuff, right? When they look at the girls, they're looking at them as the opposite sex, right? But they never looked that way at me, and I sort of got a complex about it. I started wanting them to ignore me.

So I just hid myself and always stood by quietly. But by doing that, I ended up making myself stand out from everyone else... So in the end, I got targeted by some of my older classmates.

By the time I got to high school, I'd started to realize "This is me. I am who I am." And that's when I can say I finally arrived!

I lived in Saitama, but I had some trans friends who lived in Tokyo. So we'd go out and party in the city sometimes, and I got to know life outside of my town and outside of my school. Things were a lot of fun.

Even at school, I liked my studies and my clubs, so things were pretty good there as well.

What clubs were you in?

I was in the drama club. I always did male roles.

Usually, if you think of the drama club, you think of subdued or morose people, don't you? But in my club, we always went to intermural events and had a lot of fun doing our best.

It sounds like you had a lot of fun.

Oh yeah. Especially since there were some cute girls in there, too. I think guys have the wrong idea about girls in the drama club.

But then, I guess I have the wrong idea about guys a lot of the time. Sort of an inferiority complex. I want to be a man, but I can't... that kind of feeling.

When was your first crush?

In pre-school.

That's pretty early... I guess you developed quickly!

Yeah, but that relationship just ended for no reason. [Laughs]

After that, all my relationships have been with people I met online, or at nightclubs, or just in living my regular life. Right now I'm not with anyone.

Coming Out

In highschool, I came out to some really close friends of mine. That was when I was about 17.

I think Kinpachi-sensei had his show about GID around the same time. People were definitely talking about it. So I just told my friends, "On Kinpachi-sensei, it's the same as me!"

Everyone I told was just like "Yeah, that's kind of what I thought." I never talked about boys I liked; I always had this kind of spikey boyish haircut; I never used makeup. So everyone just figured as much anyways.

So you watched Kinpachi-sensei as well?

Oh yeah. I really like Aya Ueto!

Is that really your reason?

Well, I had already come out to my mother before that, as well.

What was that like?

I was dating this girl at the time, in a long-distance relationship. And eventually, I really wanted to go meet her, and so I needed to borrow money for the train fare. When I asked my mother for it, I had to explain it all.

I remember crying while I was trying to tell her. My mother just asked me why I was crying. "There's nothing to cry about," she said.

Your mother seems like a very kind person.

Well, she's very direct about her feelings, and I always wonder if people thought she was manly as well.

But I'm definitely thankful to have a family as understanding as mine.

How have you been living once you left school?

I decided, once I graduated, to cut ties with the trans friend I had been going out with in the city. Up to that point, we'd been going to clubs and bars, and thanks to him I also got to be friends with plenty of bio guys.

He'd been taking me out, buying me clothes and dinner and all kinds of stuff. But I found out that he had some kind of sketchy ties to gangs and the mafia, so I thought it best to end things before I got involved in that as well.

Before I left high school, I took off a while to study for exams and get myself ready for the real world. During that time, I started working at an o-nabe bar. I think for... about 2 months? I thought I could earn some fast money that way, but it was really nothing. And, at the same time, I started seeing this girl, and things happened... yadda yadda yadda... and so I decided to quite that job.

But it was a good experience. I wanted to see what it would be like to work as my true self, and an o-nabe bar is a good place to start. Even now I'm kind of nostalgic, and I consider going back some times.

After high school, I apprenticed a little at a hair studio, but I quit that after only a month. After that, I started work at a Japanese fast food restaurant, and I've been there for two years.

Two years? Do you think fast food is a good fit for you?

Definitely! [Laughs]

Actually, I just really hate quitting jobs. So I feel like I should just continue on this way for a while.

Do you work as a man?

Yeah. I made sure to tell everybody the truth at my interview.

Really? How did you go about doing that?

I just wrote about GID and my dealing with it on my resume. At the interview, my manager just asked "Did you write this?"

I answered that I had, and he just said "Well, how do you want us to refer to you?"

So I just said that I'd prefer people to use my male name, and that I wear a male uniform and such. Once I let him know my demands, I was able to start working there.

Wow, that's a really understanding company!

Possibly, but also, once I started working there, I saw that it could also be a simple matter that they didn't have enough workers, and they just needed to fill positions with warm bodies.

So I'm really pretty overworked and always frazzled. It's definately a job where work really means WORK. All day long, "Make this", "Serve this", "Wash this"... Even though it's from 10pm to 8am, it's still a pretty heavy load, all night long.

Right now I'm looking at changing jobs, but in my current situation, I don't really want to become a full-time office worker. It seems that there are some really abusive companies out there, and a lot of people quit because they just get too used up.

Though money seems pretty good, though...

What would you like to do in the future?

I want to be a dad!

Excuse me?

It's just something I've been thinking about recently.

I've always really liked kids, and I used to want to become a pre-school teacher. But in the end, I was never able to follow the path to getting a pre-school instructor certificate.

But I have some friends who are single mothers, and I see their children, and it just makes me think how much I really identify with kids.

When I was young, my parents were divorced. I really didn't like my father. Maybe that's all a factor in my wanting to become a father.

So what are you thinking of as possibilities?

Well, I figure there are a few ways to do it. Maybe adopt a child.

And work as well... I really want to work as a painter.

Art? House?

House. I mean, isn't there just something really cool about people who work with their hands? I have a lot of friends who do the same. And I definitely have an interest in it.

But I also think, yeah, I'd like to work a part-time job and live in the city...

I'm not really sure, I guess, about my future.

Treatment

I see. Next, I'd like to ask you some questions on the topic of GID.

Like if I'm getting treatment or anything?

Right now, I'm only going to counselling. Sort of — I've only been once! But I'm going to a famous clinic in Chiba. Once I start going regularly, I'll be able to get my papers to get my name changed, so I feel like I should start going more.

I'll be able to get a direct pass for civil court!

To tell the truth, I actually went to the family appeals court in Saitama once, before I started going to this clinic. I told them I wanted to change my name, and I started filling out some of the forms.

But apparently they have a lot of people who come in with GID and want to get their names changed, and so people who come in with a doctor's diagnosis are able to get through the beaurocracy much more smoothly. That's why I decided I should go to counselling first.

Actually, I also heard a lot about counselling from some friends of mine. We met online, and we started hanging out offline as well. For me, he's a kind of mentor. He's already had his name changed, gotten surgery and everything.

He showed me his driver's license, and everything was legally "Male". I felt really jealous... So now, I think that, if I really want to go through all of this, I should do as much as I can do to do it right.

Are you currently undergoing any physical treatments, such as hormone therapy or surgery?

Not yet at all. For right now, just counselling.

What kind of plans do you have to continue your treatment?

Right now, I'm pretty lax about following a lot of the guidelines for treatment, but I'm not doing anything physical yet. I'm interested in it, but I'm also afraid of the side-effects, and I'm not sure I want to cross that line yet.

In addition, nobody seems to mind too much. There are a lot of people I know who ARE doing it, though. In fact, a friend of mine — one of my coworkers from the o-nabe bar — starting taking hormones and ended up really hurting himself.

He just started getting really sick, and when I asked him about it, he said it was because he started taking hormones. It seems that his immune system was being attacked by various germs, and his strength and concentration just really dropped.

He told me that, since this is what happens when you start hormone therapy, that I should really think long and hard about it before I start. But then, he wasn't really following the guidelines. I think he was getting his hormones without a prescription, and just doing it himself.

But Yukito, your voice is already really low, and your chest isn't a problem. Isn't that enough?

True. Usually, I don't have to wear a chest binder. But I have a friend who's recommended NABAYs for a long time, so sometimes I wear one.

Thanks for the endorsement! But certainly, with your low voice and this body, you must feel lucky when you see other transmen who aren't as blessed as you.

I really do. I guess the main thing I really want to change is menstruation. But I'd also like to get chest surgery done, and get everything legally changed.

The most difficult thing right now is my name. That's why I think that, more than starting hormone treatment, getting my name changed is the first step.

What's the most difficult part of your life?

Probably that, everywhere you go, people always ask for ID. When you get a membership for the videostore, the staff asks "Is this really you?"

It's enough to make me want to quit my membership.

Once, I was getting customer service with my mobile phone company, and I gave them my name and address and everything, and the guy on the other end just asked me "Is this really who I'm speaking to?"

I just said, "Are you really asking me this?" and then asked to speak to his manager.

So, I'd really like to get a diagnosis, and change my name legally to Yukito.

Yukito is a really nice name. What was your reason for it?

I got it in high school. The girl I was seeing at the time gave it to me. I was going by the name Yuki, but she thought it was still kind of feminine. So, she made the name Yukito, and it just kind of stuck. My family also calls me Yukito. My sister talks about me as a brother.

If you look on internet bulletin boards, these days people online are really looking at information on hormone therapy.

Oh yes. If you have transguy friends, you'll see that's all we talk about! Information about T shots, what we want to change about ourselves...

What do you think about young people taking hormones without a doctor's supervision?

Well, in my own case, I figure that, if I really wanted to do it, I'd do it regardless. But I'd have to know all the side effects beforehand.

A lot of first timers ask others for help, and older people always say "Well, first you need to do your own research." But the problem there is, if they really are first timers, then how would they even know where to start researching?

So, I want to give all that I've learned so far to others, and have people ask me freely about anything and everything. I think everything should be a lot more open, and therefore a lot safer.

And do you have plans for hormone therapy and surgery? Or, do you feel that you are a transsexual?

At this time... I don't really know.

For the timebeing, I know that I want to get chest surgery done. But I feel ambivalent about getting EVERYTHING done.

And so, as for my sexuality, I also feel a bit ambivalent. I think of myself as a man, but maybe not as a transsexual. I've actually been thinking about that a lot lately. Talking about it with my transguy friends.

What am I?

People say I'm a transsexual, but in the end, am I a transsexual, or just a guy?

So, rather than thinking of myself as a transsexual, I think it feels more right to say that I'm just a guy.

Do you have anything you'd like to say to the people reading this?

What I think is that information is our most precious resource.

I think that if we can freely exchange information, pass information, get in touch with each other, the sense of isolation that we transsexuals feel will start to disappear. I think we can start an era where we won't feel the worry and depression that hurts us.

With the internet, it's become much easier to find our community. And in that community, I'd like to see less segmentation, and a much freer sense of discussion.

We all worry about how we present, and if we pass, and if we're seen as male or female. But if we can stop worrying about that, and just be ourselves, I think things will be easier.

I want us all to work for that!

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.