Becoming Miles: The Journey Of Changing Sexes Megan Taylor grew up feeling she was living in the wrong body. In her 20s, she decided to do something about it. First, she changed her name to Miles. Miles began taking testosterone, scheduled a double mastectomy and began changing his body into one that felt right. The hardest part was telling his parents.

Becoming Miles: The Journey Of Changing Sexes

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Im Robert Siegel.

Megan Taylor grew up feeling that she was living in the wrong body. In her 20's, she decided to do something about it. First, she changed her name to Miles and she began taking testosterone, and scheduled a double mastectomy -part of sex reassignment surgery. The hardest part was telling his parents.

Through it all, Miles kept an audio diary. Independent producer Sarah Reynolds turned his words into this story.

Ms. MEGAN TAYLOR: It's interesting that so much can be attached to your name. I've kind of already divorced myself a little bit from Megan. It feels separate from who I am now. And I really haven't latched on to Miles yet. Some days, I feel more Miles than Megan. It's kind of weird. I have no problem saying Megan Taylor. Megan Taylor. Now I need to say Miles Taylor. But I need to say it in an ownership sort of way.

Hello, it's 9:10 on February 2nd. I am still at work. The only people who are here are like the people who are cleaning. Im not actually working, but I am working on the letter to my parents.

(Soundbite of a keyboard)

Ms. TAYLOR: (Reading) I need to talk to you two about something. Months ago I started writing you a long letter, but having edited and revised and picked and poked at it for so many months, it started to feel more like a paper for school. I have a gender identity disorder. I've had it my entire life without really being able to put a name to it and it's become severely debilitating over the past couple of years. My body may appear and function as female, but in my head I have never felt a connection to my body. The sex of my body is female, but the gender I feel in my head is male.

Ms. TAYLOR: Hello. Im walking home. It's really quiet. I had to make this walk yesterday, as well. I went out with a friend and on my way back I called my parents. And like the first thing out of their mouth is: You're walking alone in the dark - is it safe, you know, is it a well lit area? And it was just that immediate protective parent act. And the only thing going through my head is like Im not necessarily going to get raped out here. I would more so get mugged and beaten because I look like a guy and I walk like a guy.

I think that they, you know, maybe they just think Im out here with a purse or something; Im just a sitting target. You know, I think that Im getting a little worked up with my parents. They're weighing on my thoughts.

(Soundbite of footsteps)

Ms. TAYLOR: But it's time. They need to know. There's no way to protect them and Im doing them a disservice by not telling them. Im not giving them a choice.

(Soundbite of a keyboard)

Ms. TAYLOR: (Reading) I've always known I was different, but I know now that it was only covering up what I feel I've known all along; what I've known since I was six years old, when I began putting a sock into my pants when I was alone, or when I used to pretend to shave my face with toothpaste and a toothbrush. What I'm trying to explain here is that there has always been a disconnection with my gender and my physical body. And I have tried endlessly to figure out what was wrong, why I simply didn't feel right in my skin. For the first time in my life, though, I am starting to feel a connection to who I am.

(Soundbite of a keyboard)

Ms. TAYLOR: (Reading) For the past few months, I have been living my life as male everywhere with the exception of my work. What that means is that all of my friends have been using male pronouns when referring to me, and have been addressing me by another name. The name I have chosen is Miles.

(Soundbite of a television)

Ms. TAYLOR: What day is today, Chris? Whats going on?

CHRIS: Today is the day when Miles (Singing) Comes out to his parents and is trans-man.

CHRIS: It is happening today.

Ms. TAYLOR: It needs to.

CHRIS: It needs to happen.

Ms. TAYLOR: I mean is it - Im going to have these exact same feelings if I bump it back a week.

CHRIS: Yeah, you are.

Ms. TAYLOR: So...

CHRIS: And this weekend is as good as any.

(Soundbite of keyboard)

Ms. TAYLOR: I'm delivering this information to you in the form of a letter for a couple of reasons. One, I never would have been able to say all of this to you in person without completely losing any and all composure. And two, I wanted to give you a safe space in which you could react however you need to react without worry of judgment, as I realize this is not easy news to hear. However, I know this is right for me. You would not be sitting here reading this letter if that were not the case.

Ms. TAYLOR: How about, it's really important to me that you and dad read this together? You're going to hear me say this again in the letter, but I really am okay. Im doing well.

CHRIS: Honestly, you're over thinking it.

Ms. TAYLOR: I know. She's going to fly through this.

CHRIS: She's going to fly through it because this is not the meat of the issue. She's going to see how long the letter is and she's going to be like, okay, this is really far less important.

Ms. TAYLOR: Yeah, I know. So thats - shut up.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TAYLOR: Decent page breaks.

CHRIS: It's beautifully paragraphed.

Ms. TAYLOR: I wanted - because Im used to when you - stop, stop it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHRIS: I can't take it anymore.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TAYLOR: Here goes.

CHRIS: I love you.

Ms. TAYLOR: Yeah.

CHRIS: Do you need a hug?

Ms. TAYLOR: Im glad to have it done.

CHRIS: Mm-hmm. She'll do what she needs to do and I think...

Ms. TAYLOR: She's a mother. She's going to eat the burnt piece of toast. She's going to look out for me.

CHRIS: But that what makes her feel good. At the same time, Miles, look, you can't deny that. You know, she wants to look out for you. It's, you know, part of what she lives for.

Ms. TAYLOR: I just checked my email because I haven't heard from my mother. The email stared with M.


Ms. TAYLOR: It said M dash...


Ms. TAYLOR: And she never does that. She always says darling daughter or Megan.

CHRIS: Right.

Ms. TAYLOR: It says: No matter what you do, it will not affect your relationship with us. Those are Daddy's exact words. He is, however, still digesting. I'm not as surprised as you might think, but I dread the further anguish you will endure. Health risks are a big concern. There are lots - in capitals - lots of questions. Bottom line, we will always love you. Do hope you already knew that. Love you infinity, M.

Which is - that's my mom's sign-off.

(Soundbite of a typewriter)

Ms. TAYLOR: Im about three months away from surgery. I dont think that Im going to change my mind. The worst that would happen after four months is my voice would lower and I'd be a very husky lesbian with no boobs. I wonder if my voice has changed a little but I really dont know.

It's March 24th and this is my voice 20 days on testosterone.

And this is my voice 22 days on testosterone.

Today is April 1st and this is my voice...

Today is April 9th. My voice...

And this is my voice...

Twenty-eight days on testosterone.

So five weeks, so thats going to be 35...

Today is April 23rd, 50 days on testosterone.

Today is May 5th. This is my voice 62 days on testosterone.

Today is May 11th and this is my voice 68 days on testosterone.

Today is May 18th and this is my voice 75 days on testosterone.

(Soundbite of vehicles)

Ms. TAYLOR: I just to work and I just kind of wanted to document this moment, cause this the last time that I am going to be at work as Megan. This is my last official Megan day. This is the last day Im going to be using the women's restroom. This is the last time that I will have my email say Megan Taylor.

I think that I've been slipped between these two identities since like August, so thats nine months. It's a long time. All right, over and out.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: I went into surgery around nine, out by 11. The doctor came out and talked to Sharone(ph) and Chris. He said that everything went great.

Mr. TAYLOR: Last year sucked. I just, I felt like I was, you know, carrying around this secret. My parents didn't know. And you want to just kind of like scream at them like, yah, you know, I have this news. You know, something is changing and - but now they know. They're really, they're really trying. And it's always a big to-do when I return to Texas for the holidays, just because I don't see them all the time.

Ms. M TAYLOR: Weve had this tumultuous year of all the emotions, and as you said, the mourning, and you know, and then to finally get you here.

And by this time, you know, you know now we've been waiting and waiting and waiting to see you and meet, you know, and say, oh, here's Miles. But anyway, there you were, and it was like, oh, your shoulders are bigger.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TAYLOR: And the hug.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: Yeah, that's...

Ms. M TAYLOR: But you appear to me to be happy in your own skin.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: But you said that you lost a daughter because I'm still here, and I'm still alive. So it's not like I died.

Ms. M TAYLOR: The hardest thing was the loss, you know, and the sad thing, I mean, here you are flesh and blood, warm, wonderful lovable, our child.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: Do you still feel like that?

Mr. BILL TAYLOR: No, I don't anymore. But I mean...

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: Initially.

Mr. BILL TAYLOR: I felt like the child that I knew and the child in the picture on the icebox that I knew and grew up with was gone. Just pure and simple, was gone.

Ms. M TAYLOR: I just felt like somebody had taken a cannon ball and shot me through my middle and that I was walking around, living my life and going to work and doing everything and acting normal except that I had this huge hole. It was just there all the time. It was there when I got up in the morning. It was there when I went to bed at night. It was just there.

But the other thing, and I know it's the maternal guilt thing. I don't know if daddy has these same things, but I feel you have done, like, this heroic feat. You've accomplished this on your own, without I mean, even though you've known that you've always had our total love and support, but that's all you had from us. We weren't actually holding your hand. And I still have the text messages I got when you got out of surgery.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: Oh, really?

Ms. M TAYLOR: Anyway, well, I mean, we love you, always have, always will. It's really nice to spend time with you.

Mr. MILES TAYLOR: Very nice to be here.

You know like when a movie comes to the conclusion, and it culminates with somebody, like, standing outside, and, you know, and it's just that sigh, that, you know, that breath of just...

I ran around without a shirt on for the first time outside. We had a reprieve from the cold weather, and it got a little warmer, and it was drizzly, and I went to the park, shed my layers and, you know, cool breeze on my chest. And it was just absolutely amazing.

All right. My name is Miles, and I am 29 years old. So this is me signing off, and this is my voice 260 days on testosterone.

SIEGEL: That story was originally produced by Sarah Reynolds with support from the public radio website and Jay Allison. Miles Taylor lives in Boston with his friend, Chris Jacobs. He started recording his diary in November, 2008. His parents, Vicky and Bill, still live in Texas.

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