Life in (Trans)ition

A student, a friend, an architect ... and a transgender, Bryan McKinney opens up about his transition experience.

Bryan McKinney is a fourth-year architecture student at Syracuse University. He holds a job at Shaw Dining Hall and is involved in organizations on campus. And he is transgender.

“Defining my gender’s always tough,” McKinney said. “Just a one word answer, it would be male, but that doesn't wholly sit right with me because that denies my history.”

“Defining my gender’s always tough.”
- Bryan McKinney

Since he has been at SU, McKinney has been an active member of the LGBTQ community.

The LGBT Resource Center celebrated SU’s first Transgender Day of Liberation on Monday. In previous years, SU observed the international Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor those who were killed due to violence against them based on their gender identity. This year, the resource center created the Day of Liberation to emphasize hope while still honoring those in the transgender community who have lost their lives or have suffered violence.

McKinney started transitioning the spring semester of his freshman year. The summer between freshman and sophomore year, he started injecting testosterone.

He explained the struggles involved in transitioning, recalling how he received mixed reactions when he asked professors to call him by a name not listed on the class roster. He wasn’t sure what to say around other males in the locker room. And he didn’t know what guys said at the lunch table when girls weren’t around.

His biggest challenge was believing that people saw him the way he thought he looked, McKinney said.

McKinney has been on testosterone for more than two and a half years. He said the transition saved his life.

“I wouldn’t have lasted another six months in my body, at all,” McKinney said. “I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here."

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