Ryan Jacobs Flores has been documenting his transition on YouTube for five years.
Flores is a transgender videographer and actor. With 95,000 YouTube subscribers and counting, he hopes to provide a new generation of trans people with something the media nary shows them: happiness.
“I think that the younger trans generation needs stories of happy trans people, I want to create and contribute to that,” Flores tells In The Know.
Flores began to question his gender identity when he was 15. He had always felt like he was just playing the role society wanted him to.
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“Prior to high school, I had no idea this was a route that was possible for me. I didn’t know of many transgender people, much less transgender men,” he explains.
Then he discovered a trans man documenting his transition on YouTube.
“He was talking about he felt,” Flores says of the YouTuber. “And it was exactly the same. As soon as I finished watching that one video, I knew that he was me. And that I was going to have one hell of a journey from then on.”
Flores started his own YouTube channel in 2014. His first video was his coming out video to announce his transition He received his first shot of T — slang for testosterone — when he was 18.
“The first month I noticed a little bit of change in the voice. So each month, it’s just like a little bit more than the next. There was also a lot of hair growing,” he says.
He had originally started the channel for himself, to be able to look back and see his transition. When he started to receive feedback, his perspective changed.
“At a certain point, I realized it was beneficial for other people,” Flores says. “There’s a lot of younger trans kids out there that needed some guidance and didn’t know what to do.”
Flores feels like he is able to advocate for other trans men by being visible and sharing his story.
“The advice I would give to someone questioning their gender identity is you don’t have to figure it all out right now,” he explains. “I know that it feels urgent and that you want all of the changes to happen right now. They will come. But it’s crucial to give yourself that time to grow and process the changes you’re about to go through.”
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