Case Study 5: Skylarkeleven

Skylar is a young American from California who was in high school at the time of his pre-op video; while he is nervous, he also sees his first day on T as a rebirth—he refers to his day in several of his videos as a "birthday" and that he was given birth on his T-day (most FTMs either use that metaphor or a puberty metaphor, the latter being more medically accurate since they are indeed going through male puberty, triggered by the testosterone). He is nervous both about the shots (he "failed miserably" at his first self-injection at the clinic though he doesn't detail how) but also about talking. In many ways, this is yet another classic first day video with the exception of the reference to being an "Obama baby," an acknowledgment that an outside political world exists and might impact the life of a young FTM. Most of the other videos I watched do not have this overt political awareness and it is little surprise to me that Skylar is now a trans activist in high demand as a speaker.

Like many of Skylar's videos, this one is all over the place in terms of its content. It begins with a long digression about a stubbed toe in which he totally flubs being able to show off the bruise (the color settings on his cam don't allow the bruise to show even though he made many attempts to do so). This video, however, also includes the most overt political content of any of the videos I watched and it is one reason I archived it here. The occasion (the passage that is of importance to this essay is found from 3'03" to 4'58") is the 2008 ballot in which Proposition 8 (in which same sex marriage, newly legal in California, was overturned just months later) passed, banning same sex marriage, a decision that caused many straight people including Skylar himself to pledge not to marry until we have marriage equality in the U.S.—though Skylar admits to being confused about whether or not trans people can marry at all.

This video also wanders but includes a very interesting passage in which Skylar implicitly compares himself to Tiresias (1'15" to 1'58") who was changed from a man to a woman and then back again after seven years. Skylar applies this to himself, though unfortunately doesn't expand on what this means to him.

I included the full version of all three videos (though the relevant sections of videos two and three are very short) because the style here is so common across the videos of many, many FTMs. Generally, with the exception of a few milestones such as first T shot, these are very unplanned affairs in which topics tumble over each other willy-nilly. They are, in other words, the works of young people not trained in narrative and their playfulness and their na´vetÚ is immediately apparent, until a particular topic catches their attention at which point they can and do become very focused on the matter at hand, sometimes to the point of their own exhaustion and that of their watchers.