Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

by Skylar Kergil


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"A must-read for anyone who is trans or has trans family or friends."—Chase Ross, trans activist, speaker. Revealing entries from the author's personal journals as well as interviews with his mother, brother, and friends lend remarkable depth to a groundbreaking memoir of change, loss, discovery, pain, and relief.

At the beginning of his physical transition from female to male, then-seventeen-year-old Skylar Kergil posted his first video on YouTube. In the months and years that followed, he recorded weekly update videos about the physical and emotional changes he experienced. Skylar's openness and positivity attracted thousands of viewers, who followed along as his voice deepened and his body changed shape. Through surgeries and recovery, highs and lows, from high school to college to the real world, Skylar welcomed others on his journey.

Before I Had the Words is the story of what came before the videos and what happened behind the scenes. From early childhood memories to the changes and confusion brought by adolescence, Skylar reflects on coming of age while struggling to understand his gender. As humorous as it is heartbreaking and as informative as it is entertaining, this memoir provides an intimate look at the experience of transitioning from one gender to another. Skylar opens up about the long path to gaining his family's acceptance and to accepting himself, sharing stories along the way about smaller challenges like choosing a new name and learning to shave without eyebrow mishaps.

Before I Had the Words brings new meaning to the phrase "formative years."

“Every transition is unique. There are choices we all make every day that shape who we become. There is no right way or wrong way. There are no requirements for being transgender. Some people are transgender; until you hear their stories, you may not know what that means to them. I am still learning.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510723061
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 308,428
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Skylar Kergil is a transgender activist, YouTube personality, singer-songwriter, and artist. His videos, which offer an honest and thorough look at the process of gender transition, have educated, uplifted, and inspired thousands. Skylar is a recipient of the Trevor Project Youth Innovator Award and lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Disclaimer vi

Speaking 1

"You Can Call Me Mike!" 4

Not Twins, but Close 6

Cross Country Doesn't Feel Super Far (When You're Six) 9

Cool Bike, Yo 11

Talent Shows in 1999 16

Tomboy 18

A/S/L? 34

Cancer 40

Blending In 42

JT 46

Peter Pan 49

Sneaking to Youth Pride in Boston 52

You Can't Always Get What You Want 55

Ice Cracks, Hearts Break 63

Unitarian Universalism 67

The Word: Transgender 72

Thinking, Thinking, Crying, Thinking, Hoping 77

Dissection and the Construct of Gender 80

Questioning While Certain 84

What Is a Name? 87

Coming Out 89

Transitioning Seems Expensive 94

Sixteen 98

A Circle, a Bird 100

Listen Up? 101

Gender Therapy 108

Gym Class 110

Parental Involvement 114

On Birds and Bodies 117

Full Speed Ahead 119

2008 129

Have You Hugged Your Kid Today? 136

Bathroom Bouncer 139

Getting Accepted into College: A Casual Miracle 142

"I'm an Obama Baby!" 145

Day One-January 21st 151

YouTube and Community 153

As Our Lives Change, Come Whatever 156

Stealth 159

Skylar Tucker Kergil: Legalized 166

Top Surgery 169

Coming Out Is a Lifelong Process 173

Scars 175

Sophomore Slump 177

Some Days It Feels Like 179

Kissing Is Just Like Falling Right on Someone's Face 181

Period 183

A Primary Care Physician, an Ultrasound Technician, and a Surgical Assistant 195

Bellybutton 202

Will I Die? 205

Daughters 208

Day of Silence 210

Why I Out Myself 213

Then Love Lets You Let Go 216

Re-Humanizing the Transmasculine Community 218

Inspiring Toward Wholeness 222

Moms 225

When People Aren't Kind 229

That Time I Almost Fist-Bumped Joe Biden 233

Tell Me a Story 237

Camping 239

"For a Moment, I Didn't Feel the Pain" 241

Conversation with Mom 244

Conversation with Dad 250

Conversation with JT 254

Resources & Inspiration 257

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