Meanwhile, the summer marched on. Bono was cast on Dancing with the Stars, much to the ire of a group of busybody Christian moms, for whom the sky was falling. But Bono pressed on, and his very public transition was mostly a watershed moment in mainstream understanding of the "T" at the end of the mostly "LG"-visible community. As he very publicly negotiated his relationships with his mother, his weight, and his girlfriend, I tried to maneuver in the world of cisgender men. Every day my body tilted more male, and I spent a lot of time wondering how to handle the dude-to-dude camaraderie of bros and jocks. I was afraid to swim with my shirt off or to use the men's room at a dive bar. But I sucked it up and did it anyway, peacocking my way through even the most uneasy moments, because I was becoming the man I wanted to be, fears or not.

It helped that stories about transgender people multiplied throughout the winter, until it seemed every few days brought something: a beautiful story about trans kids and the Boston-based Gender Management Services Clinic, or the efforts of Janet Mock, editor at, whose #girlslikeus campaign raised trans visibility on Twitter. In January, a Colorado Girl Scout troop accepted into their ranks seven-year-old Bobby Montoya, a transgender girl, and allies and trans folks alike bought celebratory boxes of Thin Mints.

I learned to self-inject directly into my thigh, the accoutrements of my hormones neatly stacked in my closet alongside my exercise equipment. I'd learned to hold the syringe like a dart, to take a deep breath and push the needle deep into my muscle. Like magic, as I grew into my new body, my posture straightened and my closetful of men's clothes suddenly fit, or even grew too tight across my growing muscle. I'm Thomas, I thought, and stopped worrying about the rules or what anyone else was doing. I was who I'd always been: a tattooed guy in glasses, a romantic, a fan of James Dean, a feminist.

Spring brought news that Jenna Talackova, a finalist for Miss Universe Canada, was disqualified because she was transgender. The groundswell of support she received included a petition of 40,000 signatures asking for her reinstatement, and apparently even Donald Trump (who owns Miss Universe) must have been moved, because she was allowed back into the pageant in April (Talackova made it to the final 12 before being eliminated last Saturday). And now we have our first bona-fide transgender rock star in Laura Jane Grace Gabel of Against Me!, who came out in a recent Rolling Stone article. A mark of how much the tide has turned can be found in the comments of her mostly supportive fan base. "Proud of her and I will punch anyone who is a dick about it," wrote one commenter on the Against Me! message boards.

I have, similarly, found mostly a warm welcome. I've chronicled my relationship to masculinity and my transition on the online magazine The Rumpus, to universal positive response. Friends and family never seem to tire of telling me how handsome I am, how much I look like "myself."

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