Jordyn Pollack is a man who is all about the love with no time for hate

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I enjoyed my interview with Ryan Santanna so much (I hope you all did as well and that you learned a little something from it) that I decided to reach out to a friend of mine I have known through Instagram. Jordyn Pollack has shared his journey as a Trans man on the social media platform and on YouTube, much like Ryan has. Their stories are similar but I feel (and I’m sure you agree) that we need to hear all the stories because each of us, no matter how similar we are, are so unique. There is always more to learn from each other, more to experience through each other’s eyes, and more bridges to build.

I really love how brave Jordyn has been by sharing his top surgery photos, progress, his experience with testosterone, and most importantly his feelings throughout. I know he is helping so many others, he is inspiring me, and he is allowing people in similar circumstances to know they will be OK!

The power of social media has always been in the sharing, in being a voice for individuals who don’t feel they have one, and in showing them there are others who are experiencing the same things we are even if we feel alone.

Jordyn is someone you need to follow, someone you need to know, and I believe someone who is making the world a better place. Let me introduce you to Jordyn Pollack:

Q: When did you first realize you didn’t identify with the gender you were when you were born?

Jordyn Pollack: This is a difficult question because I truly believe since I was a young child I knew deep down I wasn’t comfortable with being categorized as a “female”. I truly have realized now that all of my actions back then relate 100% to me taking the step and transitioning. When I was a child I would dress all my “female” dolls as “males”, I would cut their hair, dress them in more masculine clothes. I also remember lying in my bed some nights and just wishing I could be a “boy” for one day, which is crazy to think now that my wish came true about 17 years later. Growing up I always played sports and tried to hang out with all the “boys”, even going into middle school I was very into skateboarding. I dressed in “boy” clothes, when I wasn’t at school, at the skatepark, or even hanging out with some of my friends. One year for Halloween, I believe I was 12, I dressed as a “boy” and went into the guys restroom at Disney Halloween, that is one of my favorite childhood memories, not going into the restroom of course, but having that feeling of passing as a “male”.

Q: What age did you start to become vocal about it? What was the reaction from your family and friends?

JP: I came out to my parents and partner about two years ago, I was 24. Then I came out to some of my close family members, and then I made a Facebook post. Everybody reacted as I expected, luckily I am blessed with a huge immediate and extended family that excepted my transition with open arms. From my Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents they all use the correct pronouns and still love me just as much or even more now. The person I am now is much more confident, outgoing and just loving to be around. My family is my everything. My fiancé told me she would always love me as long as the person I am inside never changes, which how could it, because that is who she fell in love with and wants to marry. Ziggy has never cared about gender, she just wants me to be happy and true to myself. I will always be Jordyn, that is my birth name and I chose to keep it my name. That is who I will always be and was, It just took me this long to get here.

Q: Did anyone surprise you in a positive or negative way as you became more open about it all? 

JP: The people or should I say children who surprise me most are my cousins. I have a very big family as I said above, I would say about 10 cousins on my Moms side and even more on my Dads. From the ages of newborn to my age, they have all been amazing. Validating me every chance they get, reaching out after my surgery. I truly couldn’t feel more love and support.

Q: I’ve seen you posting about your journey on Instagram and it has inspired me so. Does that help you during this process?

JP: Instagram has been an amazing outlet for me during my transition and even before. Social media really helped me come out and realize that transitioning was what I truly wanted to do. Being able to see other people’s journeys, helped me a lot. That is why I post so frequently and try to connect with all of my followers. I truly think being a part of a community and knowing we can have each-others back when nobody else understands means so much.

Q: What are some misconceptions you would like to clear up about trans people?

JP: Honestly, the only thing I would like to clear up is that we are no different from any other human being. We are all equal, but different in so many ways and that is what makes the world truly a beautiful, magical place.

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Q: Other than Instagram, where can we find you online? Have you documented your journey elsewhere? 

JP: I have a YouTube account, it is just under my name Jordyn Pollack. I will say, I have not made any update videos recently, but I will make one soon on my Top Surgery experience.

Q: Do others reach out to you and what advice do you/would you give them if they were struggling with their own identities?

JP: Yes, others reach out to me daily through social media. Whether it be to tell me I inspired them, to ask for advice, or just to say hi. I like to connect with my followers as much as possible, as I said before to me having a safe community is so important. I would tell someone struggling with their identity, to for one second try not to worry about anything else in the world besides themselves and in that moment how do they want to look when they see themselves. How do they want to feel? How do they want to be treated? If you are struggling just give yourself time to find who you truly are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, YOU are the only person that knows how YOU feel inside and out.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

JP: The one thing I could not live without is Ziggy. She is truly my everything. I have never met a human being who is so kind-hearted. Ziggy makes me feel special every day. Yes, we have had our struggles, but who doesn’t. The best part about her is that we can communicate and at the end of the day we have each other no matter what. She is the first thing I see when I open my eyes and the last thing I see before I close them. I am more than excited to spend the rest of my life with her and marry her, that way I will never have to live without her.

The one thing I wish we could all live without is HATE. It is as simple as that. If all humans had more love, compassion and understanding in their hearts we would have a better world.

Sometimes you can be someone’s hero simply by being yourself

IMG_0042_Facetune_23-07-2018-18-05-44I’ve been waiting to do this for a while now, I want to introduce you to someone I watched grow up AND grow into themselves with such strength and conviction it makes me SO proud. I’ve wanted to talk to Ryan Santana about his journey so we could help/inspire/motivate any of you who are struggling with how to give yourself permission to be who you are or having difficulty talking to the people in your life.

Ryan is a trans man who has shared so much of his experience on social media by making videos of his progress with testosterone, posting pics of his daily shots and facial hair growth, voice change, etc. He has definitely inspired me to live more authentically and has reinforced my belief that I need to keep speaking up for myself and others. Back in 2009 when I marched with the NOH8 Campaign in Washington DC for marriage equality, I felt and spoke about knowing it was so much more than that. It was about all rights for all people. I just didn’t know then how BIG our community would become.

One of the most difficult things about coming out is the anticipation of the reaction from your friends and family. There is always a fear of losing some, of being hurt by some, and of being abandoned by others. I don’t think you can fully understand it unless you have been through it.

Let me let you learn more about Ryan and I encourage you to follow him on social media, check out his YouTube channel, and reach out to him or to me if you find yourself needing a little encouragement.

Q: How old were you when you first came out and did you always know?

Ryan Santana: I came out when I was 18 publicly on social media but I was slowly coming out to people close to me before hand. I feel like I just always knew ever since I was little I would always want to play the boy parts if we were playing a game. When I started going through puberty that was like the moment when I definitely knew something was “wrong” because the way I felt on the inside didn’t match what was happening on the outside.

Q: What was the reaction from your family and friends? Were you surprised about the reaction from anyone?

Ryan Santana: I was surprised how easily people accepted it and how quickly some people adjusted to the pronouns and new name. I remember my girlfriend and I were talking before I came out and I finally asked her how she would feel calling me Ryan and using male pronouns and literally the next day it was like my dead name never existed to her.When I came out to my mom her reaction was just like “ok” and just left it at that. I remember seeing her start sharing things about trans kids on Facebook. I’ve been very lucky throughout my transition that I have such supporting family and friends.

Q: You’ve been very open about your journey and have documented it on social media. Did that help you and have you gotten feedback from other people you are helping?

RS: At first I was skeptical about broadcasting my transition on social media because of trolls and backlash. I remember getting a DM from a trans guy in the U.K. and he was telling me how he’s pre T and hasn’t come out to anyone and he was nervous and we kind of just chatted for a bit and then a couple of weeks later he posted on his Instagram that he got his letter for T , that made me very happy. Also , I just really like having random people message me telling me that either I helped them out or that I’m just simply an inspiration to people because I’m really just living life as my true self just like everyone else should.

Q: What are some misconceptions you would like to clear up about trans people?

RS: A lot of people assume that because you a Cis gender people that they’re bisexual or something. I remember one time I was having a conversation with someone about a girl I was seeing and they replied “oh I didn’t know she swung that way” and that made me really upset.

IMG_0072Q: I know you are doing some fundraising to help you with your medical costs. Where can people go to contribute if they’d like?

RS: I set up a Go fund me account about two long years ago haha. The link is Www.gofundme.com/ryansantana

Q: Where can we find you online?

RS: I’m all over social media ! My Facebook is Ryan Santana. My Twitter is @santanaswag . Instagram is @officialsantana and Snapchat is – thesantanaa

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

RS: As cliché as it sounds my cell phone is something I cannot live without. I feel connected to everything and everyone. In my own personal opinion I think the world would be better without Donald Trump.

As you can see, Ryan’s family (especially his amazing mom Jessica) were supportive and even unfazed by his coming out. For many of us, the fear of the reactions is so great that we put it off for a long time but when we do find ourselves at that moment where we know it’s time, so many of the people who really know us aren’t surprised at all.  Another thing to note is that each of us know when we are ready, there is no set time or age that is right, no one should force anyone to come out, and no one should ever “out” another person. It’s a journey only you can go through and only you can know when the right moment is for you.

As great as it is to come out and have positive reactions or have people not be surprised at all, there are so many cases where that is not what happens. There is such a large population of homeless LGBTQ youth because their families do not accept them and refuse to support them. Even worse, many cases cause addiction and many end in tragedy. I think when someone shows such courage, they should be applauded. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no one had to spend any part of their lives in fear, hiding, or made to feel ashamed? Wouldn’t it be awesome to celebrate people for who they are, being their authentic selves, and showing support for them in any way we can?

One thing I do encourage anyone who comes to me to do is to find out if there is a community center or organization in their area that is available for LGBTQ  individuals who need assistance or someone to talk to. Or get on social media and search for people and groups who have things in common with you and are supportive. The down side to social media is the troll and the bullying that occurs but if you find your tribe in life and on social, you have to block out the others as much as you can.

Here are some resources you can use:

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366

The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. 1-866-488-7386

James Bleyer is working hard on making his dreams come true

Photo credit: Allan Naylor

James Bleyer is just like any other young man with a passion for acting. The o difference is, James came into this world as a baby girl but always felt he had been assigned the wrong body. He is most certainly not alone, some reports have found that about one in two hundred people worldwide identify as gender variant.
James describes it as his body and his true self living two lives next to each other. I think that is a great description of what it feels like and have found it to be similar for individuals I know who are experiencing or have experienced similar. I also understand that there are some people who believe it is more of a choice, just like some think being gay is a choice. I am so glad that men and women like James are wiling to speak out now and try to help everyone have a better understanding. There is so much going on in our world and so many lives have been lost, and are lost, due to differences that should not matter to anyone.
I’m going to let James tell you his story through our interview and hope it bridges some gaps, opens some minds, and shuts down some misconceptions:

Q: Can you explain what being transgender means to you in your own words and tell us a little about your own story?
James Blyer: For me it means, that I’ve been born into a wrong body, which I can’t feel good with and really live a happy life. I always explain it this way. My body and I are living two lives next to each other.

Q: What has the process been like for you physically and medically?
JB: Medicaly: One year ago, I started with the hormone treatment and the first things that started changing, where my voice and moods. They changed very quickly and sometimes I could not handle them very well, but they are good now.
On the physical level I started to gain more strength and have more power during the day.

Q: What was the hardest part about telling your family and friends? Were they able to fully understand?
JB: The hardest thing was, that I didn’t know how they would react. I always knew, that they always love me and there could be nothing wrong with telling them, but still I was afraid.
Some of my friends didn’t understand it and didn’t want to loose the person they liked so well. The thing is, they would not loose me, I would only change, and that is something lot’s of people don’t understand. They think the person will be gone, only because they start with the treatment, and that’s completely wrong. Only the look and some small things are changing, but the person will always be the same and be there.
Q: What are some of the misconceptions about being transgender and how do you deal with them when you are faced with people whojust don’t g


Photo Credit: @ChameleonEntertainmet
JB: Well there are people who think that I only do that transition, because I would have a bigger chance with the acting at some point, since men sometimes have a bigger chance. But
Q:What advice would you give to your younger self now that you have come as far as you have?can you imagine that? Doing that, making all those decisions, only because of an easier way of work? That’s rubbish. We are humans, and we are not supposed to be men and woman only, there are so many different genders and I don’t care about those thoughts. Of course they make me angry, but I don’t take them on me.
On the other hand, people in the art world like those new things, they like to work with those things and in my opinion there are more things, than being transgender. One always has more to tell, than only one story, wouldn’t you agree?
JB: I would have told my younger self, that I should have told my parents earlier and not waited so long. Maybe when I went to school or something like that. And I would have told myself, it’s right what I do and feel.
Q: What would you say to other people who are struggling with their own identities and may be afraid to speak about it?
JB:That’s not an easy question to answer, since you never know how your family and friends would react. I know why people are afraid to talk about those things. But I am always talking and not being silent on it. We only live one time and we should always try to live a happy life and that includes being true to ourselves.
Q: I know you are interested in acting. Do you plan to pursue an acting career?
JB: I went to drama school for three years now and still have half a year to go. In the beginning it was not easy at all, because I simply couldn’t fully let myself go and just play, because I had no hormones, it

Photo credit: @ChameleonEntertainmet
sounded wrong and weird with my voice, felt wrong with that body so all in all I could not really work. Nearly one and a half years ago, I started to understand something about acting and myself and I could work with it. I started working with my inner self and not look so much on my body and then it started to work more than before. I had to allow myself more and find the key to my work.
I plan to go on with acting and find a way for me that works.
Currently I play two roles in drama school, that are definitely male without a doubt and it’s not a problem, that my body is not biological male and to be honest…I don’t care about that.
Q: What other interests/hobbies keep you busy?
JB: I have a lot of interest. I like classical music very much I like reading theatre pieces and literature and enjoy going to exhibitions.
Watching other plays is also very important for me. And when there is some spare time I enjoy a good run or some fitness, but at the moment my drama school keeps me most busy.
Q: Where can people find you online to find out more about you and what you are up to?
JB: On Facebook and on Twitter: @James_Bleyer
Q: When did you first become interested in acting? Are you currently working on anything you can discuss?
JB: I’ve always been interested in acting and watched a lot of German literature films. I always wanted to discover history and different worlds. I want to understand people and life. There are so many wonders.
Q: Who would you like to work with? Actors, producers, directors?
JB: I am always interested in working with new people and certainly there are some big names I would like to work with. But it’s more a dreaming of working in different countries in the first place. I do drama school in Germany and would very much like to work in England, France, Italy, Germany (of course), United States and many many more.
One can only dream and work hard of course.