The Current

What makes a man? Transgender writer becomes his truest self

Long before he was called Thomas, he was wary of men. So how to explain the deep need to identify as male. For a transgender individual, the transformation is often described in physical terms but Thomas' experience underlines the journey is less about a gendered body and more about discovering who he really was inside.
People will easily regress into a state of making trans bodies this sort of spectacle if it feels like it's okay." Thomas Page McBee, author of "Man Alive".

Long before he was called Thomas, he was wary of men. So how to explain the deep need to identify as male. For a transgender individual, the transformation is often described in physical terms but Thomas' experience underlines the journey is less about a gendered body and more about discovering who he really was inside. 

Listen to Thomas Page McBee explain why the "trapped in the wrong body" narrative is harmful: (Runs 1:38)

I was very afraid that if I were to become a man ... I would become a person who didn't have the ability to be a good person.- Thomas Page McBee

Thomas Page McBee was born female, but grew up always-looking more like a boy than a girl... and feeling very masculine on the inside.

And, you might already be anticipating the next line in his story: Thomas Page McBee was -- quote -- "trapped in the wrong body."

As society becomes more accustomed to hearing transgender people tell their own stories in their own words, a certain narrative to those stories may be growing familiar.

But the fact that Thomas Page McBee's story doesn't stick to that script, makes it all the more important to tell.

Because Thomas Page McBee didn't necessarily want to be a man. He didn't like the examples he'd seen of what it meant to be male. And that led to a lot of confusion, until a life-changing moment one April night 5 years ago when something happened to finally set him on the road to becoming himself.

Thomas Page McBee is a writer and journalist, and the author of the memoir, "Man Alive." He was in our New York studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.

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