Jamie Raines was almost 18 when he started a journey that would change his life. A student and female-to-male transgender person, he administered his first dose of testosterone, the hormone he hoped would help fulfill his dream of altering his appearance to look like the man he felt himself to be.
Raines decided to document the process by taking a selfie each day. In the beginning, he planned to continue just for twelve months. “But then I didn’t get any facial hair in my first year,” he said in an interview with BuzzNews.
After that, though, things started to happen.
“My face started to get longer and I lost the chubby cheeks,” he said. And Raines noticed that his nose looked different as well.
He continues: “When I first started I tried not to have an image in my mind – I was taking testosterone so I could go through the correct puberty for me – and I tried not to have expectations, because testosterone affects everyone differently and different changes come in at different points. Some people get loads of facial hair within the first six months, and some people never get it. I didn’t pin too many hopes on T [testosterone] changing me drastically and just took the changes as they came.”
Finally, after two years on the testosterone regimen, he could see the evidence of growth on his face. “I was waiting for it once I first started getting a couple of chin hairs,” he said. “It was really exciting.”
Asked how important that development was to him, Raines responds, “Not massively, but I’m really happy I have it. But when I first started medically transitioning, the two main things I wanted was getting top surgery [mastectomy and/or chest reconstruction] and a deeper voice. The other changes were really an added bonus.”
Now that he’s gone through the transition, how do those closest to him feel about it?“
My whole family and my girlfriend [Shaaba] have just been really supportive and really excited for me because of the changes. I told my mum first and then she told my dad and brother and they’ve all just been really great with it. My mum thinks this was always how I was supposed to be. She doesn’t feel like she’s lost a daughter, because I’m the same person to her – I’m still her child, but now I’m just her son.”
Raines edited his 1,400 daily photos into a short film. A producer working on a documentary about transgender men became aware of his effort and sought Raines’ permission to include it. You can see the video below.