My name is Tygh Lawrence-Clarke and I am a trans man of color. I transitioned late in life, at the age of 50. When I decided to transition I relied on YouTube for information. As you can imagine I had many questions. What I found was very helpful, and actually gave me the confidence I needed to dive right in. However, I couldn’t find many people my age. So, I decided to document my transition with the hope that I could help educate other trans guys, both young and old. Within two months of coming out I was on Testosterone, and by month five I had top surgery, all the while documenting the ups and downs of transition.
In addition to relying on YouTube, I started going to conventions to educate myself and to actually meet other transgender people. I remember sitting in a show and tell seminar, in anticipation of seeing someone post top surgery in the flesh, not just on YouTube. Seeing their chests and talking to those guys solidified in my mind that I would do the same in return once I had my top surgery. Now I do! It’s so gratifying to be able to help others on their journeys. I also give back by speaking in groups and sharing my experiences.
Another cause that I support is The Transgender Encounter Project. I started out as simply a strong proponent, using these cards to increase our visibility. These cards say “You have met, served, or helped a transgender person. Now you know”. Then you drop a card as you leave a restaurant, a store, anywhere you go, as a way to educate people about being transgender. I realized that not everyone has the funds to pay for their own cards, so I bought extra cards and asked on social media if anyone would like me to send some. I got a slew of responses. So many that I had to buy more cards to send out. Since then the original founder on TEP has moved on to other projects and I am now the primary owner. It’s all about visibility and I’m just trying to find a way, any way, to spread the word.
While social media and conventions have been my primary avenues for promoting visibility, I have also made an effort to educate my community, from my primary care doctor, to my vet, dentist, tattoo artist, and son’s principal. I encourage their questions, with the hope that little by little I am making life better for everyone.