Since he was 6 years old, Maxim Rivers knew he was transgender. While he has yet to undergo hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, the St. Martin de Porres High School graduate continues to identify as a gay male and has been doing so since he was 15 years old.
Before my junior year started, I went to my guidance counselor at St. Martin de Porres High School and told him, "I'm trans. This is the name I prefer to go by. I'd like to come out to the teachers." Everyone was totally supportive, and I started wearing the boys' uniform at my school.
I didn't worry about the hormonal aspect of things until high school. Seeing all of your male friends go through puberty next to you — that's really hard. I know boys who grew beards from freshman year to senior year. I see all my friends getting taller, and I'm stuck at this height because I've already gone through female puberty.
Nothing physical has changed. The entire thing with transitioning, which I think is the least fair, is the financial aspect. It's expensive, it's time consuming, and it's tedious. I would like to start hormones. I would like to get top surgery, which is a bilateral mastectomy, but it's $8,000. I set up a fundraiser on gofundme.com and somebody donated $10. That $10 means the world to me. It's a 13th of a percent toward $8,000, but someone out there is helping me.
I wear a chest binder, which is a double-spandex compression shirt. It's designed for men with gynecomastia. You're not supposed to wear it for more than six hours a day; I've worn mine for 18 hours a day. It's not comfortable and it's meant to be temporary. The difficult part is explaining to my mom that if I can't find my binder today, I'm not leaving the house. It just makes you feel like less of a person. I cannot leave the house unless I'm wearing this to make me feel human.
I've always planned to go to college, but I'm really hesitant. I really never wanted to do it immediately because of where I am in my transition. I don't want to be an 18-year-old freshman male at college with no facial hair and wearing my binder all day because I don't think I would pass. Passing is being able to publicly pass as your own gender. Trans-women want to pass as a cisgender woman — they want to look like a stereotypical woman so they can just be called "she" and their preferred name in public. For me, passing as a trans-man would be getting my gender correct in public, like a barista calling me "he" and "sir" or "gentleman." — as told to James Bigley II