Maison experienced gender dysphoria from a young age — he always felt like a boy, despite being assigned female sex at birth. At 14 years old, Maison began researching his gender identity and what it meant to be a transgender person.
“I felt trapped and never felt comfortable in my own skin,” Maison says. “I knew I was male and not female.”
Maison came out to his close friends when he was 15. They were incredibly supportive, and encouraged him to come out to his family.
“I told my mom I don’t feel like a female, I identify as male and wanted to start transitioning,” Maison recalls. “She looked at me and said, ‘It’s about time,’ and she gave me the biggest hug. It meant the world to me.”
A month later, Maison came out to his dad, Michael. “My dad told me he loved me and would always be in my corner,” Maison says. “He said he would do anything to support me. I was so scared, but it was time for me to be happy and time for me to live in my own truth.”
Before returning to school to start his junior year of high school, Maison got his hair cut — the first step in his physical transition.
At 16, Maison began seeing the team at the Johns Hopkins Emerge Gender and Sexuality Clinic for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults, where he and his mom, Judy, met with an interdisciplinary medical team that included adolescent medicine specialist Renata Sanders, M.D., M.P.H, Sc.M., as well as a nurse, Kathy Tomaszewski, R.N., B.S.N., social worker Tisha James, L.G.S.W., and psychologist Kathryn Van Eck, Ph.D. Maison began gender-affirming care that included counseling.
“When Maison first came to see us, he was vulnerable. He was like many of the other patients we see — scared of the future, feeling isolated, and emotionally struggling because of their bodies not aligning with their true self,” Sanders says. “When we started to engage in treatment with Maison and his parents, we saw a burden lifted. His entire stature changed. He stood up straight, he smiled. We saw him come alive. It was really nice to see.”
At 18, Maison started receiving testosterone shots to begin his medical transition. “This was not a decision that I made lightly,” Maison says. “My doctors told me that once I started there was no going back, and the effects would be permanent, so we needed to make sure I was ready to medically transition. I knew I needed to take this next step to be who I really am.”
Adolescent medicine nurse Kathy showed Maison the proper technique to administer the testosterone shot, as he would be self-administering them regularly at home. Within three months, Maison began seeing physical changes, including the development of an Adam’s apple, hair growth and the lowering of his voice.
“I will never forget the day I got my first shot of testosterone,” Maison says. “I felt like I had the biggest weight lifted off me, and I knew I was going to love myself in a whole new way. I started becoming a man, and for the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin.”
Maison continued to return to the Emerge Gender Clinic for ongoing gender-affirming care, and his doctors closely monitored his testosterone and estrogen levels — making adjustments as needed.
After being on “T” for nearly two years, under the guidance of his care team, Maison made the decision to undergo a chest masculinization mastectomy, or “top surgery,” at the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health. Twenty-year-old Maison underwent a successful surgery in the fall of 2020.
“The day I got top surgery was the best day of my life,” Maison says. “For the first time, I saw who I am inside when I looked in the mirror. I finally felt like I could breathe.”
Maison’s journey will never be over. He remains on testosterone and regularly returns to the Emerge Gender Clinic to receive ongoing gender-affirming care and support.
“Don’t give up on yourself. I’m so lucky I had the support of the doctors, my family, and my friends who helped me along the way to get to where I’m at today,” Maison says. “The doctors at Johns Hopkins changed my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be Maison.”
Listen to Maison’s story.
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