Growing up Myles Mayerfield loved playing on the playground with the boys, running around with no shirt on and having short hair. One day during the first recess in grade school, the teachers split the students into two groups: male and female. Mayerfield went with instinct and tried to play with the boys but the teachers did not allow it.“ I didn’t realize there was a difference between guys and girls until then,” he said.
Mayerfield knew he was a boy for “as long as I could remember.” He was allowed to cut his hair, wear boy’s clothes and hung out all the time with a male best friend. “I knew I was like him,” he said. The thing though is before Mayerfield got to college he was not a guy, not in the biological sense that is. Born biologically female, Mayerfield decided he wanted to look like the gender he had always associated himself with.
Mayerfield identifies as a man. He doesn’t really use the word transgender because it is an “umbrella” term; he said, “No two transgender people I’ve ever met are the same.” The Safe Zone manual defines the term transgender as “those whose psychological self (gender identity) differs from the social expectations for the physical sex with which they were born.” Mayerfield said he never felt comfortable in the female body he was born into.
When Mayerfield was in seventh grade, he decided that he wanted to try being feminine. He wore dresses and grew his hair out but something just wasn’t right. “There was still something obviously very different in the way I carried myself.” After experimenting with dressing feminine Mayerfield went back to wearing baggy clothes and having cropped hair, leaving a lot of his classmates wondering what his gender identity was. Whenever he went to the female bathrooms he always got “weird looks” from the occupants.
In June of 2011 after his first year of college, Mayerfield made the decision to transition from his female body to his male body. According to Kodee Walls, the host of Safe Zone – the educational program on the LQBTQ community, anyone who identifies as a transgender person can choose whether or not they want to change their body. Some people feel comfortable cross-dressing while others feel the need to change their body parts to be their real selves. Mayerfield said when he transitioned he felt relieved because now “nobody could question whether I was a girl or a guy.”
Mayerfield said a support system was there for him; most of his family and friends accepted it. “My friends are all open minded, there is nobody that we wouldn’t accept. “ However some people in his family weren’t as accepting. “They get it, those of them that don’t shut up about it because they love me,” he said. Mayerfield finally felt comfortable in his own body “so if you didn’t that was your problem,” he said.
Mayerfield identifies as a pansexual individual. The Oxford English Dictionary defines this sexual orientation as one that “encompasses all kinds of sexuality; not limited or inhibited in sexual choice in regard to gender or practice.” Mayerfield said he tends to find women “more physically attractive” and he usually has deeper feelings for guys. He said dating could be a little hard because “I date gay guys or straight girls.”
When it comes to connecting with people there is still the problem of narrow mindedness, he said, because potential partners have to decide whether or not they are comfortable with him physically. Mayerfield said that if the fact he is transgender was necessary to the discussion he would use it. He thinks its just a label, not his identity. He said he had started talking to multiple people that were not okay with this, he did not feel disappointed because if they were not okay with the fact that he is a transgender male, they were probably not okay with other things.
Mayerfield identifies as a Christian and grew up in a Catholic household; he said when he sees people from church most of them are just curious about how he identifies himself. Once after Thanksgiving, Mayerfield came home to a letter from his grandmother. She wrote that he was “offending God” by being transgender. He said while it annoyed him a bit, it didn’t really bother him because he knew she just wanted the best for him. “She really just wants me to be spiritually okay and that’s what she thinks is spiritually okay.” His grandmother does not refer to him as Myles or use the pronoun “he” instead she uses terms of endearment when referring to him.
Pride institute, an organization dedicated to a healthier LGBTQ community, reports that alcohol abuse in the LGBTQ community is three times more likely than with mainstream Americans. Mayerfield’s father died when he drove while he was drunk. “I watched my dad mess up his life with drugs, I saw my big brother do the same thing,” Mayerfield said. He decided that he would be responsible when drinking; he said he refuses to drive while drunk or drink when he is upset so that he can avoid such situations. He said he has had such a positive experience with transitioning because of the way he has decided to view life: “Experience depends on the way you decide to deal with things,” he said.