James Bleyer is just like any other young man with a passion for acting. The o difference is, James came into this world as a baby girl but always felt he had been assigned the wrong body. He is most certainly not alone, some reports have found that about one in two hundred people worldwide identify as gender variant.
James describes it as his body and his true self living two lives next to each other. I think that is a great description of what it feels like and have found it to be similar for individuals I know who are experiencing or have experienced similar. I also understand that there are some people who believe it is more of a choice, just like some think being gay is a choice. I am so glad that men and women like James are wiling to speak out now and try to help everyone have a better understanding. There is so much going on in our world and so many lives have been lost, and are lost, due to differences that should not matter to anyone.
I’m going to let James tell you his story through our interview and hope it bridges some gaps, opens some minds, and shuts down some misconceptions:
Q: Can you explain what being transgender means to you in your own words and tell us a little about your own story?
James Blyer: For me it means, that I’ve been born into a wrong body, which I can’t feel good with and really live a happy life. I always explain it this way. My body and I are living two lives next to each other.
Q: What has the process been like for you physically and medically?
JB: Medicaly: One year ago, I started with the hormone treatment and the first things that started changing, where my voice and moods. They changed very quickly and sometimes I could not handle them very well, but they are good now.
On the physical level I started to gain more strength and have more power during the day.
Q: What was the hardest part about telling your family and friends? Were they able to fully understand?
JB: The hardest thing was, that I didn’t know how they would react. I always knew, that they always love me and there could be nothing wrong with telling them, but still I was afraid.
Some of my friends didn’t understand it and didn’t want to loose the person they liked so well. The thing is, they would not loose me, I would only change, and that is something lot’s of people don’t understand. They think the person will be gone, only because they start with the treatment, and that’s completely wrong. Only the look and some small things are changing, but the person will always be the same and be there.
Q: What are some of the misconceptions about being transgender and how do you deal with them when you are faced with people whojust don’t g
JB: Well there are people who think that I only do that transition, because I would have a bigger chance with the acting at some point, since men sometimes have a bigger chance. But
Q:What advice would you give to your younger self now that you have come as far as you have?can you imagine that? Doing that, making all those decisions, only because of an easier way of work? That’s rubbish. We are humans, and we are not supposed to be men and woman only, there are so many different genders and I don’t care about those thoughts. Of course they make me angry, but I don’t take them on me.
On the other hand, people in the art world like those new things, they like to work with those things and in my opinion there are more things, than being transgender. One always has more to tell, than only one story, wouldn’t you agree?
JB: I would have told my younger self, that I should have told my parents earlier and not waited so long. Maybe when I went to school or something like that. And I would have told myself, it’s right what I do and feel.
Q: What would you say to other people who are struggling with their own identities and may be afraid to speak about it?
JB:That’s not an easy question to answer, since you never know how your family and friends would react. I know why people are afraid to talk about those things. But I am always talking and not being silent on it. We only live one time and we should always try to live a happy life and that includes being true to ourselves.
Q: I know you are interested in acting. Do you plan to pursue an acting career?
JB: I went to drama school for three years now and still have half a year to go. In the beginning it was not easy at all, because I simply couldn’t fully let myself go and just play, because I had no hormones, it
sounded wrong and weird with my voice, felt wrong with that body so all in all I could not really work. Nearly one and a half years ago, I started to understand something about acting and myself and I could work with it. I started working with my inner self and not look so much on my body and then it started to work more than before. I had to allow myself more and find the key to my work.
I plan to go on with acting and find a way for me that works.
Currently I play two roles in drama school, that are definitely male without a doubt and it’s not a problem, that my body is not biological male and to be honest…I don’t care about that.
Q: What other interests/hobbies keep you busy?
JB: I have a lot of interest. I like classical music very much I like reading theatre pieces and literature and enjoy going to exhibitions.
Watching other plays is also very important for me. And when there is some spare time I enjoy a good run or some fitness, but at the moment my drama school keeps me most busy.
Q: Where can people find you online to find out more about you and what you are up to?
JB: On Facebook and on Twitter: @James_Bleyer
Q: When did you first become interested in acting? Are you currently working on anything you can discuss?
JB: I’ve always been interested in acting and watched a lot of German literature films. I always wanted to discover history and different worlds. I want to understand people and life. There are so many wonders.
Q: Who would you like to work with? Actors, producers, directors?
JB: I am always interested in working with new people and certainly there are some big names I would like to work with. But it’s more a dreaming of working in different countries in the first place. I do drama school in Germany and would very much like to work in England, France, Italy, Germany (of course), United States and many many more.
One can only dream and work hard of course.