By Liana Jacob
MEET the tenacious transgender man who is baring his breasts on Instagram in a bid to celebrate the beauty of the physical transition involved in changing gender.
Coming from a family with traditional ideals, dispensary supervisor, Colter Alexander (24), from Denver, USA, felt like he had to hold back from his identity for a long time and didn’t have the courage to reveal the truth until he moved away.
Colter was just an eight-year-old girl called Sasha, when they knew they weren’t in the right body, but didn’t start identifying as male until the age of 20.
When the revelation hit him, he posted an SOS on Tumblr about needing a doctor who would understand the urgency of his need of testosterone and found a man who told him where to look.
Since then, for the past four years, he has been making the transgender journey, travelling two hours for his appointments and hitting the gym to bulk up and re-define his formerly feminine physique. Colter intends to have his chest constructed within the next few months.
Previously weighing at 6st 11Ibs while he was Sasha, Colter now likes to remain at an 8st 8Ibs body, now exhibiting a six-pack body shape.
“I made the change because the more I looked in the mirror, the more depressed I became. My life was at a standstill and I don’t do well stagnant,” Colter said.
“Since I was a kid, my brain has always yelled ‘male’, trapped in this weird bird cage that curves wrong. It was time I put myself first.
“My changes in my weight have been made in the gym and with a healthy diet. I was pescatarian shortly after my transition, then went vegetarian for two years and I have been vegan for the last three months.
“I wanted to disprove the myth that you have to load up on meat and wheat to gain weight and I have loved every minute of it.
“Testosterone has changed my life 100 percent. It has boosted my confidence; allowed me to start seeing my true identity in the mirror and given me that mental boost my depression had been stripping me of.
“It’s not a cure at all and there are still plenty of days when I struggle with dysphoria, but it has helped me set my life in the right direction.
“I feel more confident every day. My testosterone levels have been up and down over the last three years, but those hard times only made me stronger.
“I’ve learned to love parts of myself I may have never discovered before. There’s a lot going on upstairs all the time but when you have to battle yourself every day, you learn, you learn a new appreciation for loving yourself.”
Despite his new-found confidence in himself, Colter has found telling his family and coming out very difficult.
“The hardest thing for me was telling my family. It gave me a lot of anxiety and I shut them out for a long time because I knew everything was too hard for everyone,” he said.
“Over time, we were able to take steps to get to a more comfortable platform for everyone, so it has been easier lately.
“My family are trying. We don’t see each other often, since we live on opposite sides of the country but we definitely share very different ideals.
“My parents are pretty traditional in their beliefs but my dad has recently gotten better at the name change and checks in a little more often.”
While coming out has been very difficult for him, he has found the support of some very reassuring and this made the process easier.
“I met my wife a few months after starting testosterone. She has been my ultimate supporter through every mental breakdown,” Colter said.
“She helped me every night my frustration with myself got too much to bear and continues to help me grow. I never knew true happiness until I met someone who supported me through every trial.
“People who knew me before are almost always my motivators. I get a lot of messages saying my little motivational messages help them get through the day.
“Or that seeing how I’ve been able to transform my life solidifies that they can also change theirs. It’s still weird to me because I’m just trying to blend in but people have been pretty positive.
“The most important thing I can convey to my community is that we are real people. We go to work, we pay our bills, we pay taxes and we just want to live our lives like regular citizens.
“We are real people with real emotions and we aren’t out to steal your partner or creep on you in the bathroom.
“Chances are, without knowing most of our backgrounds, you couldn’t point us out on the streets. Just let us be.
“To anyone transitioning or thinking about transitioning; live your truest self. Put yourself first and worry about other people’s reactions later. You’ll learn who you want to have in your life.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/coltarmstrongfitness/