I have found a lot of unexpected parallels in how I’m treated as a transgender man, as a young cancer patient, and as someone who is disfigured. For one, I am often called brave for existing. My life is applauded for what other people could not imagine doing themselves – as if I, funnily enough, had a choice in all this. In that same vein, I am told that my life and my story is something taboo, something tragic, and something un-relatable – and for those reasons, I should only talk about the parts that make others feel assured in their privilege.
I’m trying very hard in my art and in my work to change that narrative. I made a few groups so that people could talk openly about their experiences and make connections with other people going through similar challenges. The Transgender Cancer Patient project and zine seek to empower the trans cancer patient population, while also providing education and resources to greater society on the issues we face. The Young Adult Facial/Bodily Disfigurement and Differences Network, as well as the Transgender Cancer Network, seek to empower community through discussion and connection where there is currently none. And lastly, Shit people say to cancer patients seeks to bring attention to the social mistreatment of cancer patients, reform cancer culture beyond messages of strength and bravery, and elevate those who are impacted by it through humor and community.
I’m a transgender man with cancer.
Location: Martinez, CA