‘Girls To Men’ Star Having Penis Built Reveals What It’s Like To Physically Transition From A Woman To A Man
When he was just 14 years old, Billy attempted to take his own life because he was unhappy in his female body. Two years later, he tried again.
After overdosing, somebody found him and he was rushed to hospital where doctors pumped his stomach and saved his life.
“It was touch and go for the first 24 hours, but luckily I pulled through,” Billy tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
“The nurse asked me the next day why had I done it? I said ‘because nobody cares’, she replied ‘well I care’.
“From that moment on my life changed for the better because if she cared for me without even knowing me, then I had every reason to live.”
Billy, 25, is just one of thousands of transgender guys feeling uncomfortable with their bodies. And it’s something he’s known from the age of four, when he was called Connie.
“I always thought I was a boy anyway until I realised I was different from other boys,” he explains. “I continued to live my life just being me, convinced that my male parts would just appear at some point.
“As a teenager I realised that was never going to happen and started to get very depressed as I didn’t know why I felt so wrong, I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone.”
“The thought of not becoming a man was too distressing to live with,” he says.
The club DJ features on a new Channel 4 documentary, Girls to Men, which charts his transition from a woman to a man.
After an eight year wait to be prescribed testosterone, he was finally able to begin his physical transition aged 21.
Now, Billy is having a penis built which is made up of skin grafted from around his body. Once all of the surgery has been completed, he will be able to urinate and have sex as a man.
The treatment, called pubic phalloplasty, has been funded by the NHS and involves four stages of construction, which can take up to 18 months to complete. Billy has had the first stage and is due to undergo three more.
The first bit of surgery involves taking skin from the stomach area to create the penis.
“While my stomach is open they do the hysterectomy as well,” he says. “They then pull my skin down on my stomach to join it all back up again. It’s incredibly tight and I couldn’t stand up straight for the first five to six weeks, but it does all stretch back out eventually.”
It’s the next couple of stages of surgery which will be the most life-changing for Billy.
“I will be able to urinate after stage three, as they make the urethra and connect it to my bladder,” he explains. “I’ll be able to have sex after stage four.”
The surgery will involve fitting a pump inside his newly built penis, which will look like “two straws”.
“I can inflate and deflate the penis using a tiny little pump inside one of my testicles,” he explains.
“The straws fill up with saline fluid, which comes from a small bottle that will be placed into my abdomen somewhere – although I’m not exactly sure where.”
He says the penis will get “really hard” and the erection could last for days if he wanted it to.
“I’m so glad to be on the final road of my transition,” he adds.
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For Billy, living as a trans man is far easier now than it was in his teens.
“When I was 16, I was bullied immensely to the point of becoming a recluse,” he recalls.
“I hated the thought of going outside because I couldn’t bare the thought of having a bad thing said towards me.”
But nowadays things are different. “I’ve had my surgery filmed for the ‘Girls To Men’ documentary because I felt more comfortable sharing my story with the world. I feel at peace with society now,” he adds.
“The amount of support I get from my local community as well as the online community is huge and seriously outweighs the hate. There’s so much acceptance for us now that there’s no need to feel threatened while walking down the street.”
He says that while he’s had to fight a hard battle for his physical transition – which is still not complete – it has been 100% worth it.
“Now I just fight to make other trans guys’ journeys much easier, because I had no one to follow while I was going through this,” he says.
“Being transgender is incredibly hard to live with but thankfully it’s getting easier everyday for us. We’re not looked at like freaks anymore.”
His advice to trans men who are struggling is not to get “too stressed” with it all.
“Small things like getting a haircut or buying new jeans can make all the difference to how you feel in yourself,” he says. “Also, be patient with your family, it’s hard for them to change too. Even if they seem unaccepting, it’s probably because they don’t understand and are worried for you.”
But it’s his final words of wisdom that are the most poignant.
“Always feel free to be who you are and never be ashamed,” he says.
“One day you could become someone’s inspiration and their reason to keep on living.”
Girls to Men is on Channel 4, Tuesday 13 October at 10pm.