By Jack Howland

March 10, 2014

Shane Stinson, an openly transgender junior, has always felt like a man. It was only in October that he decided to tell the world.

A story of a boy

Shane rides his Yamaha motorcycle along Burr Oak Road in McBaine, Mo. He says he loves feeling like a "badass" when he breaks out the motorcycle. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

Shane Stinson looked hard into the mirror, but he could find nothing wrong.

Fake facial hair decorated his normally bare chin. His shapely chest was shrunken, flattened by layers of tightly-wrapped bandages. A maroon V-neck from the American Eagle men’s section hugged his broad shoulders.

Most people stepped outside of their comfort zone when they cross-dressed for the 2012 Black & Gold Drag Show, a staple of MU Pride Month. But for Shane, no wardrobe could have felt more right.

The then 19-year-old continued to inspect his reflection as friends laughed from across the room. The drag show wasn’t for another two hours, and yet Shane lingered in front of the mirror, facial hair clinging to his face with some adhesive. He didn’t want to wait.

“I wish I looked like this all the time,” he thought.

That was the spring of 2012. Back then, Shane answered to she. Back then, Shane was an openly gay woman who had just gotten involved with the LGBTQ Resource Center.

“I wish I looked like this all the time,” he thought.

He wasn’t in the lengthy process of trying to raise money for a gender transition operation. He didn’t think twice when someone called him by his birth name. He pushed aside his gender confusion, even though he knew he was never more content than he was with that fake beard glued to his face.

It wasn’t until October 2013 that Shane came out as transgender, telling the world what he knew looking into that mirror: He’s not a woman.

He. Him. His. Shane likes the way the words sound. He gets excited when strangers come up to him and assume he’s male without question, noticing his flat chest and short hair.

Most people have an easy time treating Shane like a man. After all, this is the guy who rides a black Yamaha motorcycle around campus in a leather jacket and do-rag, revving the engine at every stop sign and red light. This is the guy who relishes the role of “the badass,” as he calls it.

Shane’s masculine appearance doesn’t happen overnight. He wears an undergarment called a binder to conceal his breasts. He doesn’t shave his legs. He gels his hair up every morning. He’s a self-professed gym rat, building up muscle at the MU Student Recreation Complex.

If someone refers to Shane as she, he feels like a lesser version of himself. He likely won’t blame the person or bring up the subject, but it sticks with him.

“When someone mis-pronouns you, you feel like you’re failing somehow,” Shane said. “Not that anybody’s ever failing, but you feel like you are.”

It’s sometimes hard for him to understand how someone could look into his eyes and see a woman. He’s always felt like a man.

Growing up in Brentwood, a suburb south of St. Louis, Shane never imagined himself growing into a full-figured female body. When he was a little girl, he didn’t ache for silky, long hair and a full bust.

His mom, Debbie, an elementary and high school choir instructor, remembers Shane doing anything possible to feel like a guy. When he played make-believe with friends, she noticed he was almost always a male. When she took him to summer opera camp and it came time to pick roles, he always imposed the same ultimatum: boy or animal.

Shane was a daydreamer. He liked to pretend he was someone else.

“When someone mis-pronouns you, you feel like you’re failing somehow,” Shane said. “Not that anybody’s ever failing, but you feel like you are.”

When he found out how to play online checkers, he scrolled right past the female avatars and went with the boy in a baseball cap. The floating cartoon head didn’t have Shane’s long blonde locks of hair; it didn’t have his feminine face.

“That’s what I wanted to look like,” Shane said, remembering the computer game. “That’s what I wanted other people to see me as.”

He did whatever he could to make the image in his head a reality. He refused to wear dresses, usually in favor of sweats. He was particularly enamored with his collection of tye-dye wolf T-shirts, as well as anything with pirates on it.

Shane never really felt like one of the girls. Dresses, princesses and dolls never interested him. One time, he even hurled a Barbie over his head at a birthday party once he realized what he was opening — a move that confused a few of his female friends.

“I think everybody kind of had a hard time putting me into the gender boxes that exist,” Shane said. “I did hang out with girls, but they always perceived me as a little bit different. And I did hang out with guys, but they always perceived me as a little bit different.”

Shane remembers ignoring any confusion he felt about his gender and sexual identity. It’s what he did when his mom wouldn’t let him get his hair cut short like dad. It’s what he did when he felt attracted to a woman he saw on the Internet in fourth grade. Fear was the main reason he kept quiet; he was worried he would get in trouble or teased if he identified as gay.

“I thought everybody was going to hate me or look at me differently (if I were a lesbian),” Shane said. “I just kind of steered away from it.”

Shane pushed aside the confusion for as long as he could, pretending it didn’t exist, but it would eventually find a way of coming out.

In high school, Sundays were set aside for church.

When Shane was a freshman, he quickly became a regular at the Southern Baptist congregation a little ways down the road, spending every Sunday in the chapel. He was there in the morning for service. He returned again in the evening for youth ministry.

That brick church with the large, rusty cross quickly became a home for Shane. He confessed sins to his friends at that church. Sometimes, he went on mission trips with the church’s youth group. One Sunday morning, he was baptized at that church, wearing a white robe as he was submerged into a tub of water.

There was a lot Shane enjoyed about his trips to the chapel, but more than anything else, he liked his church friends. It was the closest thing he had to a support group.

He often confided in them, sharing what he would later call “cliché church sins.” One time he confessed to saying a cuss word. Another time he asked forgiveness for drinking a beer.

But on one occasion, after two years with the church, Shane brought up something entirely different.

“I told one of my close friends that I was seeing a girl but I didn’t want it to get out to the church yet,” Shane said. “So I was like, ‘Can you keep a secret?’”

The friend was surprised; Shane never opened up about this before. About two years ago, when members from the youth group addressed rumors that Shane was a lesbian, he even went so far as to say he had already been “cured” by the church.

It was always easier for Shane to deny it in the past, but everything was different now. He had been dating a girl for a couple of months, his first intimate relationship with a female. The two had already been on some dates to get ice cream. From time to time, they gave each other back rubs.

He trusted that his friend would keep quiet, but the next morning Shane woke up to a phone call. It was his youth group leader, asking him to come to the church.

When Shane arrived, he was given an ultimatum.

“He was like, ‘End of the story is I’m giving you a week to decide if you want help and support and we can work through this, or if you want to live this lifestyle because if you do that I’m going to ask you to not be in leadership anymore,’” Shane said. “I made the decision to stay with the girl and come out.”

On that Wednesday in October 2009, Shane was out as a lesbian. He only told his youth group leader, but as soon as he left the congregation, everyone was able to put the pieces together.

By the end of the week, the news of Shane’s sexual orientation was everywhere, reaching most of his high school’s 250 students. He received more looks in the hallways between classes. Kids he had never met before came up to him and expressed anger over the church’s decision. A lot of people just said congratulations.

“The high school was incredibly supportive,” Shane said. “The newspaper even wrote an article about it in support of me.”

When Shane broke the news to his mom, she shrugged. Debbie remembers looking at her daughter and simply saying, “OK.”

“I was fine; it didn’t bother me at all,” Debbie said. “I just didn’t want people to be mean to him.”

There were a few kids who had reservations about his orientation, like his classmates from the Southern Baptist church, but Shane was out, and there was almost no fuss.

Although he still had confusing feelings about his gender, admitting he was attracted to women was a big step. For Shane, it felt like a small victory.

“I knew I was attracted to women,” Shane said. “That was something I could be open about.”

In December of his senior year, he picked a college that seemed to have a strong LGBT community: the University of Missouri, just two hours down Interstate 70. Although he initially wanted to go somewhere different — perhaps somewhere far away from home like Knox College or UM-Kansas City — he fell in love with MU during the visit.

It seemed like a place where students could truly be themselves, he remembers thinking. It seemed warm and welcoming.

“I was just ready to come and be a part of something bigger than what Brentwood was,” Shane said. “Mizzou was going to offer that for me. I could definitely tell.”

“It felt very lonely; it felt very trying,” Shane said. “It felt like very intense work to be a part of this university.”

But in his first fall semester, he was lost. He remembers feeling disconnected, like there was no pull for him at the university. Shane came from a high school where you received a flurry of texts if you were absent, but at MU, he was one of many.

In those first few months, he spent a lot of time in his dorm room. In his mind, the small, shared space was a dungeon. The door closed shut, and he was alone, two hours away from his whole life.

“It felt very lonely; it felt very trying,” Shane said. “It felt like very intense work to be a part of this university.”

His frequent girlfriend problems didn’t help. At the time, Shane was in a bitter, strained long-distance relationship that weighed on him. He worried about the girl — driving back home to meet up with her almost every weekend, only to feel worse about himself when he got back to Columbia.

On a Saturday night in October 2011, driving from Brentwood to Columbia, it started to feel like too much.

By the big Ferris wheel on I-70 he had passed countless times before, Shane tried to kill himself.

Shane didn’t have any plans to harm himself when he got in his car on the evening of Oct. 15. The thought struck him on the road.

There was a lot that had led up to that moment. On Friday, he had decided to come home to Brentwood while both of his parents were away on business. He had met up with his girlfriend and, shortly after exchanging hellos, the two had had an argument. Shane remembers feeling helpless; he relied on her, and the fighting hurt.

All Saturday, he wrestled with a range of feelings. At one point, he called a friend at school and expressed frustration, telling her his life was a mess. He said he didn’t feel home at Mizzou. He said he was in a relationship that brought him down.

Over the phone, they arrived at a solution: break up with the girlfriend. But when Shane talked to her later that day, she became difficult.

Frustrated, he got in his car and left.

Then his thoughts took over.

“I remember feeling like life was at this stand-still. … My life was in this place where I was (permanently) unhappy,” Shane said. “I remember feeling trapped, and I remember feeling like I wasn’t who I wanted to be.”

About 60 miles outside of Columbia, Shane started to swerve. With one hand on the wheel, he closed his eyes and jerked the car to the right. He imagined himself pummeling forward, falling into the ditch to die.

At that moment, the tires went over the road’s rumble strips. The whole car shook. And for some some reason, Shane slammed on the breaks.

With his front two tires hanging over the side of the highway, he looked at the big, bright Ferris wheel up the road. He remembers feeling a wide range of emotions: embarrassment, relief, anger.

But more than anything else, he was happy to be alive.

“I just felt like, ‘Wow, I’m here and OK,’” Shane said.

He waited for the right lane to become open and got back on the highway, driving down I-70 to Columbia.

Finding a home at MU

Shane is a regular DJ on KCOU 88.1 FM, hosting a show called InsideOUT. The show promotes awareness and acceptance of not only the LGBTQ community but also of all people. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

Shane stayed in the psychiatric ward for five days after the suicide attempt.

He only wanted to go to the hospital because his anti-anxiety medication was making him throw up, but once a psychiatrist sat down with him and heard about his Saturday night, he was admitted.

That was fine with Shane. Somewhere inside of him, he had hoped they would let him stay.

“I kind of knew that I wanted to go in just to keep myself safe because I was so emotionally unstable,” Shane said.

It was a close friend and MU graduate who drove him to the hospital. She even stayed up with him on that first night, not leaving the ward until 5 a.m.

The two had remained close ever since breaking up in high school. Months earlier, when Shane decided on Mizzou, he gave her a teddy bear as a gift. It was dressed in a plain, white Tigers T-shirt. It was tan and fluffy.

In the psych ward, his friend thought he might need some support. She gave him back the bear. When Shane looked at it, he noticed the Tiger’s head on the shirt was faded. The bear had more of a grayish tone. There were cotton clumps stuck all over it.

“It meant so much to me,” Shane said. “I felt a lot of love and appreciation and support.”

He took the bear with him everywhere. It was with him at one-on-one discussions with psychiatrists. At group therapy sessions, he hugged it close to his chest as patients went around the circle speaking.

Shane had plenty of visitors — not to mention the frequent company of his parents — but the bear was with him at all times. When he called his girlfriend late at night and left the voicemail that ended their relationship once and for all, the bear was clutched tightly in his hands. As soon as he hung up, he looked down at it.

“For whatever reason, just looking at that bear and being like, ‘That fucking bear has so much school spirit sitting in that Mizzou shirt.’ … (I realized) I didn’t even give it a chance,” Shane said. “I just kind of sat there and I was like, ‘I didn’t give Mizzou the full chance that I could.’”

Elsewhere, unbeknownst to Shane, his mom was laying the groundwork for him to become involved at the university. She made a stop at the LGBTQ Resource Center, thinking it could be a good place for him to become involved.

There, she met Struby Struble, coordinator of the center.

“Debbie shared with me that Shane was struggling,” Struble said. “We (were like), ‘Yes, let’s get Shane here; let’s get Shane involved.’”

When Struble sat down with Shane a week later in her office — a place she calls a safe space — they talked for about an hour. They talked about the relationship that almost killed him. They talked about his longing to move forward.

Struble immediately saw something in Shane. She remembers connecting with the way he looked at the big picture.

“I was impressed with his ability to show perspective on what was going on with his life,” Struble said.

“I would look in the mirror when I would go out to swim and I was like, ‘I don’t connect with what I see,” Shane said.

Shane started out doing small tasks for the LGBTQ Resource Center. One day, he made bright, colorful buttons that displayed messages like “all genders matter” and “taste the rainbow.” A week later, he helped make safe-sex boxes for residence hall bathrooms.

The small office in the basement of the MU Student Center quickly proved to be a good place to make friends. He felt like he was meeting a new, diverse group of people every day — a welcome change from his dorm-bound first semester.

In January 2012, during a staff meeting in the resource center, he met an openly transgender man for the first time.

“I had never actually sat down and had a conversation with someone who identified as transgender,” Shane said. “I started asking him questions.”

Shane remembers connecting with every answer that came out of the man’s mouth. Just like him, this guy had said no to dresses when he was a young girl. Just like him, this guy always ached for a flat chest.

After Shane left the resource center that day, the T-word bounced around in his head, demanding to come out. He confided in Struble and some close friends about his longing to be a man. When he was alone with his girlfriend at the time, he tried using the “they” pronoun instead of “her.”

The gender confusion stuck with him for most of the next year. When he went to Florida in June 2012 with his parents and a friend, he remembers wishing he could run on the beach in board shorts and nothing else. He became tired of bikini tops.

“I would look in the mirror when I would go out to swim and I was like, ‘I don’t connect with what I see,’” Shane said.

Shane shows off his sense of humor and big smile during a visit to SoCo Club, where he likes to hang out and grab drinks with friends. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

Over the next few months, he took baby steps. He stopped shaving his legs. He wore a sports bra, sometimes even wrapping bandages around his chest. He refused to go to the dermatologist and get electrolysis, a treatment to eliminate natural facial hair from his thyroid deficiency.

Still, he only told a few people. He had applied to be a Summer Welcome leader, and he worried his transgender identity might be a dealbreaker with the organization.

He came up with a resolution: He would explore his gender identity around May if he didn’t get the Summer Welcome job. Then, one day, he got an acceptance call.

“I remember thinking it was OK to put off (the gender identity exploration),” Shane said.

As most MU students with a Facebook know, his plan didn’t last. That summer, feeling the love and support of his friends on campus, he came out as a transgender man in Mizzou News.

The article has been shared on social media more than any other on the publication’s website.

Ryan Gavin never expected the article to blow up the way it did.

In the beginning, Gavin, a writer for MU Web Communications, just wanted to write a story about the transgender and genderqueer community at MU. He had seen a presentation by the MU TransAction team, an on-campus transgender advocacy organization, and was motivated to write about underrepresented gender groups on campus.

He knew finding someone to be interviewed for the article was going to be the most difficult part. The person needed to be open, unafraid to share his or her story.

When Gavin found Shane through the LGBTQ Resource Center, he quickly knew he had landed on a great source.

“He and I just kind of talked back and forth,” Gavin said. “He was great to work with — just very open and eager to do the story.”

At the time of the first interview, Shane was identifying as genderqueer, taking the pronoun “they” instead of “her.” He told Gavin he didn’t care all that much if he was identified by Stinson or his birth name in the story.

But early on in the interview, he started to feel like he was lying to himself. He knew he had always seen himself as a man. He knew his favorite part of the day was when he hung out with a close friend who called him Shane, a name he had always liked.

More than anything else, he felt like he was waiting on some euphoric moment to push him toward coming out as transgender.

“I was so happy for him,” Gavin said. “Just to know that he was being affirmed, that he was being supported by our campus community and that so many people were proud of him … that was the coolest part of the story to me.”

Then, a few days after that first interview, he decided he was tired of waiting.

“There is no identifying moment,” Shane said. “I was like, ‘I’ve been thinking about this for a year. I know when I’m happy when I look at myself. I know what I wish to see. … I’m just scared.’”

He sat down with MU Web Communications Photographer Shane Epping in August 2013. He said he wasn’t going to go by Stinson in the article and accompanying video; he was going to go by Shane.

“I told (Epping), ‘We’re gonna have to change the story a little bit,’” he said.

When it published in October with the new focus, the response was better than Shane could have ever imagined. He had worried there could be negative backlash, but all he saw was support.

Gavin, who helps manage MU social media accounts, sifted through hundreds of positive tweets and Facebook posts that day. He said it was amazing to see widespread acceptance of Shane’s gender identity.

“I was so happy for him,” Gavin said. “Just to know that he was being affirmed, that he was being supported by our campus community and that so many people were proud of him … that was the coolest part of the story to me.”

Shane’s parents, who he had already come out to a week earlier, were also quick to accept the new identity. His dad, Scott, even joked that he was happy to have the son he always wanted, a gesture Shane will never forget.

There was compassion in his dad’s voice, Shane remembers thinking. Sitting in silence on the other end of the line, Shane felt love and support.

“At the end of the conversation — that quote that he said — that made it feel real that he was OK with it,” Shane said. “I laughed, then I cried.”

In Shane’s first few weeks walking around campus as an openly transgender man, there weren’t many people who disapproved. He got a lot of hugs from peers in his classes. Some instructors approached him and expressed congratulations.

“I care about a person,” Pevehouse said. “I love a person. I’m dating a person.”

Of course, in Shane’s eyes, his biggest supporter on campus was his girlfriend of 11 months, Dani Pevehouse.

He envisioned a long future with her. Ever since their awkward-yet-memorable first date, where they got seated at a table with other mingling couples, the two knew they had something. Sometimes, even though Pevehouse usually liked to go to bed around 9 or 9:30 p.m., they would talk on the phone until 4 a.m.

Pevehouse was intimidated at first by the transgender identity, but she knew it could never affect their relationship. An openly queer woman, she never really looks at people in terms of gender; she often says she looks at people for whom they are.

“I care about a person,” Pevehouse said. “I love a person. I’m dating a person.”

Pevehouse stuck by Shane through the ups and downs of his first couple months as a transgender man. When he started looking into transition operations, eager to start the process, she was excited with him. When he realized it would be $600 to start testosterone treatments, she cried with him.

Shane remembers she often kept his spirits up. She reassured him every day that he would one day get the operation and finally look the way he’s always imagined himself.

“She was that constant — that loving hand, that loving kiss, that loving touch,” Shane said.

For Pevehouse, offering her support was nothing.

“You want the person that you care about to be happy,” she said.

Shane works at the Greek Life offices in the Center for Student Involvement in the MU Student Center. He is also a member of Greek Allies, a campus organization working to build better relationships between Greek Life and the LGBTQ community. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

Pevehouse knew Shane was going to be thrilled when he got back from work on that night in November 2013.

Throughout the evening, she had been texting with Suzy Day, a mutual friend of theirs. She told Day how Shane felt like he was alone in his gender transition. She told her about the terrible retail job he was working at Old Navy to raise money for future operations. She told her how he felt discouraged, often saying the transition would never happen.

Day, the then-coordinator of the Women’s Center, suggested they start a GoFundMe page on the Internet so people could donate toward any treatments or operations he needed. Pevehouse enthusiastically supported the idea. Within 20 minutes, it was set up.

It was going to be just what Shane needed, Pevehouse remembers thinking.

“I knew that he would feel incredibly humbled and honored that somebody would actually take the time to do that for him,” she said.

When Shane got to Pevehouse’s duplex that night after a long shift, he immediately started complaining about the job. His boss had told him he was going to have to work on Thanksgiving, which meant spending the holiday away from friends and family.

To Shane’s surprise, a wide smile came across Pevehouse’s face. He didn’t understand it. He felt like she was hiding something.

Not much later, he got a text from Day. She told him to go check her Facebook page.

“I just felt like I could finally relax,” he said. “Instead of worrying about everything around me, I could just sit and enjoy time with my partner.”

Then, he saw the website.

“When I saw it, I just (felt like) I had friends that cared about me, friends that supported me, friends that wanted to see this happen,” Shane said. “I didn’t need to continue to sell my soul (at Old Navy). … I could be happy.”

He and Pevehouse spent the rest of the evening together. There was no more talk about work.

Like most nights, they watched a movie in bed and cuddled. As Shane laid in bed next to his girlfriend, everything in his life seemed to make a little more sense.

“I just felt like I could finally relax,” he said. “Instead of worrying about everything around me, I could just sit and enjoy time with my partner.”

Shane received his first shot of testosterone Feb. 19 at the Student Health Center. He is collecting donations through a GoFundMe account to help pay for his medical transition. Cara McClain/Multimedia editor

Looking in the mirror

Shane and his girlfriend Dani share a kiss at a pharmacy while they wait for his testosterone. They have never been shy about their relationship, and Dani has always been his biggest cheerleader and supporter through the transformation process, Shane says. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

Today, Shane likes to check the GoFundMe account as often as he can. He will usually leave the page open somewhere on his laptop, scrolling back to it every couple of hours to hit refresh.

When a new donation comes in, it’s hard for him to contain his excitement.

“I jump up ecstatically, even if it’s only five bucks,” Shane said.

To him, every penny in the account serves as a reminder of the impact he has had on his peers. He knows a new donation means someone out there cares about him enough to shell out his or her own money. He knows his gender transition would be non-existent if it weren’t for his peers.

Shane often credits the growing number of donations to his campus involvement. Over his time at MU, he’s become involved in a wide range of organizations: One Mizzou Steering Committee, the Office of Greek Life, Mystical 7 secret society, Community 360, InsideOut.

“I want to connect (with what I see) in the mirror,” he said. “I want to see me all the time.”

Pevehouse likes to remind him that people contribute toward his cause because of the way he treats them. It’s never been a surprise to her that so many donations have poured in.

“He will do anything for the people around him with no cost to himself,” Pevehouse said. “When people give that back to him in the form of a monetary donation, it’s incredible.”

As of press time, there was $4,050 donated. The money will go toward his future top surgery, which is the process of removing breasts and shaping a male chest.

With some of his own savings, Shane has already been able to begin the process of gender transition. In early February, he sat down with his doctor for his first shot of testosterone, watching with excitement as the clear serum was injected into his thigh.

When the treatment was finished, he couldn’t stop smiling. He knew his gender transition was finally under way.

“Right afterward, it was just like this euphoric high,” Shane said. “I felt like I had finally taken the first step which was so hard to get to.”

Dani gives Shane a testosterone shot as part of regular treatments that began Feb. 19. As much as Shane is thrilled about his gender transition, he sometimes feels intimidated by the health risks. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

But as much as Shane is thrilled about his gender transition, he sometimes feels intimidated by it.

He knows the risks.

About five months ago, when he visited with a doctor about gender transition for the first time, he was given a list of potential dangers. The doctor told him the testosterone would make him more prone to ailments like heart disease and high blood cell count. She said it would be hard on his liver, and he would have to watch how much alcohol he drinks.

Shane still remembers calling Pevehouse after the appointment in tears. He never thought the transition would come with so many health concerns.

“I thought I had done the hardest part (in coming out as transgender) and all the good stuff was going to follow,” Shane said. “I had never had it presented in a clear medical way.”

Top surgery may not be any easier. Like any operation, it comes with risk of surgical complications, and also leaves patients at risk for blood loss and breathing problems.

Pevehouse has been blunt with her boyfriend from the beginning. She’s told him the treatments are going to be extensive and require a long recovery process. She’s told him it’s going to be hell for both of them.

“It’s going to be trying on our relationship,” Pevehouse said. “You want the person you care about to be safe at all times and to be happy and healthy.”

Despite the potential dangers and stress of future operations, Shane knows he will do whatever he has to until his appearance matches what’s in his head.

The word "strength" across a purple ribbon is tattooed on Shane's left wrist. It is a reminder to him to be strong after attempting suicide during his freshman year at MU. Michael Cali/Staff photographer

“I want to connect (with what I see) in the mirror,” he said. “I want to see me all the time.”

These days, Shane doesn’t love everything about his reflection. When he rolls out of bed in the morning and walks over to his bathroom mirror, he often becomes agitated. The same things always seem to stick out: his curvy hips, his feminine right cheekbone, his breasts.

Shane wishes he didn’t have to put on an uncomfortable, constricting binder every morning just so he can feel OK with his body. He doesn’t want to hide.

He wants to reach a day when he can wake up and see the masculine dude from the 2012 Black & Gold Drag Show. He wants to see the toned, shirtless man he imagined for himself at the beach. He wants to see the the male characters he pretended to be as a kid.

When that day comes, Shane knows he will finally be in a place where he feels comfortable in his own skin.

“When I can finally look in the mirror and see everything I’ve always wanted, I’ll be there,” he said.

Designed by Tim Tai
© 2014 The Maneater Student Newspaper