Case Study 3: ANFJace

Of all the videos archived in this article, this has arguably one of the widest emotional ranges: it's not exactly a pre-T video but it's close at 3 days into T, and it moves quickly between happiness and excitement at finally starting T to concerns about financial stability.

The first shot video is not archived here because Jace either never made it or he suppressed it. He did so because—as he argued—that most people who go on T are shown how to self-inject by their doctors or have their first shot done in a medical facility by professionals. Given the vast number of first shot videos, this may not be strictly true. In any case, Jace is concerned that he might be doing it wrong and therefore doesn't want to be responsible for transmitting wrong or even dangerous information. Still, as he noted, his leg "hasn't fallen off yet."

However, since this video is only three days into T, it records Jace before any major changes have occurred in his body, and I class it as essentially serving the purpose of a first shot video. Nonetheless, there may be T-changes already. He does note that his voice gets "squeaky" from time to time in ways that are new to him—from his description he is experiencing a classic voice break, the kind that affects boys at puberty to their horror, though this is only three days into T. (Given the changes in Jace's voice as documented in later videos, it is possible that he is one of the folks who react very strongly to T and his vocal folds were already changing even in that short time).

The emotional range is wide—immediately after showing his new T to his viewers, he shares his worries about money. As he is aware, and in contrast to Canadian T-men, his insurance payment is due and he hasn't enough money to pay for it; his checking account is going to be overdrafted when the automatic debit comes through. He has enough T for the month, though, and though money is a concern that comes to the fore several times, he is determined to find (and does find) a solution that will allow him to stay on T.

The video also shows his home life: his girlfriend is first heard, not seen, out of the frame, telling Jace what to tell his viewers and he jokes with her, and with us, about how he's "gonna hit her" though he soon assures us that he is only kidding—only to reverse that and put a sexual, not a violent, spin on that idea: that if he strikes her it is during sexual play and that he "bites" as well. While that content may be offensive to readers of Liminalities the tone of it is such that it's clear that he loves her and that they have a good relationship, especially when they get on cam together. He angles the camera (clearly built into a laptop screen) to include her—though not without complaint, and clearly in a playful way—and then scrunches down to fit both of them into the frame. He reverses our expectations again when she leaves the bathroom in which Jace is filming and he angles the screen back up and sighs with relief at being alone on cam again. Throughout his videos, he expresses humor and anxiety and happiness and keeps the emotional flow of his T-diary constantly in flux.

This video builds on the concerns of the first video. Money continues to be an issue (though apparently things are not as dire as they were in the first video). Jace then moves on to what seems to be new material—the fact that his gender dysphoria, the tension between his image of himself and his actual body, is growing worse, not better with T. The reason for this is simple; the more T works, the more his musculature grows (he shows us his biceps and triceps), and the more his voice deepens, the more his chest becomes a problem.

He is, as he describes it, "large chested" and that means that in situations in which the chest can become the focus of attention—the gym during certain exercises and lifting items at work and putting them on a shelf—his breasts become very apparent. The solution, for Jace, is top surgery and the removal of most of the breast tissue, but that too is costly. As always for Jace (in a number of videos not presented here), money is an issue and a direct cause of an increased gender dysphoria, a concern repeated by many U. S. transmen who have to fight with their insurance companies over each and every phase of their gender reassignment.

Finally, in the last part of this video, Jace is working through his emotional ups and downs and his inability to cry, which he feels he really needs. He blames the emotional ups and downs on his past and for holding onto things that are bringing him down. Again, though, he balances this with recognition of the positive changes that are occurring including the development of an Adam's apple, which he plays with as proof of his masculinity.

Though money comes up briefly here, the real focus is on a major milestone—the successful petition for a name change, shorthand for a legal change in gender status. Having gone to court and gotten the name change, Jace will be able to use his court documents to change his driver's license and all other legal documents, another step in transitioning away from gender dysphoria to a more effective gender performance as male.

Of interest, too, is Jace's first action after his court date: a visit to Hooter's, the quintessential hetero male experience. His stance is telling too—rather than the usual faceshot, Jace has chosen to make this announcement by standing back from the camera and letting us view most of his body from his knees to the top of his head demonstrating his ability to pass as male.

Like many of the videos I've collected for this project, this video comes to an abrupt halt, for whatever reason.

Though this video is clearly at the start of or even before T therapy (judging from the face and the pitch of the voice), I have left this for last for its rhetorical success. Named "I Am Transgendered" by Jace, this video is in five separate shots, each of Jace's face. In each, however, he is dressed differently in ways that express four of the roles he plays in his life which fulfill social obligations and responsibilities: a taxpayer, a brother, an organ donor, and a soldier. These are shot full face with no motion towards the camera, visual language that is literally in our face. Clearly, Jace has picked these four attributes to claim both authority and his worth to our society at large.

The fifth role is different—it challenges our gender norms and it features Jace leaning into the camera and coming very close to our virtual position. We are, as it were, face to face, when Jace delivers the final role he plays in this video: "I am transgendered."

The implication is clear. Someone who is a taxpayer, a brother, an organ donor and a soldier is worthy of respect. The variation in motion asks us to put Jace's transgendered status against the other four and challenges us to think that transgendered status can't be bad if a transgendered person can be all these good things at the same moment. If the lesson we were to take from this video is that transgendered is merely as good as and equivalent to the other four, the shot would have been a static shot like the other four. Instead, Jace is using a visual argument to ask a more complex question: are we willing to throw out Jace's other good qualities in order to reject him only because of his gender status? The answer, of course, with a resume of positive responses like the first four, must be a resounding no.