Kay's biceps protrude like small mountains. Kay's chin hair has started to come in like new grass. The voice is heavy, bottomed out. Kay's deltoids look like a man that has been working out. In a way, that's true. Kay -- who goes by K now -- is a man.
The transgender metamorphosis -- documented meticulously on Facebook and YouTube in a dazzling array of videos and pictures called " Kay's Transition" -- is unique in the respect that it's not a story of intense pain, or weeks of fragile and agonizing baby steps. No, for K, everything -- even the operations -- has been different.
“The whole transformation was a breeze,” he says. “Physically speaking, I don't think I could have asked for a better transition.”
K, 23, has been on testosterone injections for about 13 months. A double incision mastectomy happened eight weeks ago. “I look and feel better than I could have imagined. The year went quick and every week I was happier and happier."
Of course, it didn’t all start out that way. K is a tattoo artist in Vancouver, B.C., specializing in fine-line details and realism. Growing up in the small town of Vernon, B.C., K says he's always been a circle trying to fit into a square.
“When I was a kid -- before everyone else’s thoughts, opinions and ideas overlapped my own -- I knew I was a boy, without knowing what gender meant,” K says.
This riot of emotions was not some passing phase, K says. Still, he thought that surely sooner or later he'd revert back to the nice little Canadian girl she was on the outside. But inside K says he was battling not what he felt, but what he knew.
'I knew I wanted to do boy things'
"I knew I liked boys clothes, dinosaurs, Hot Wheels and Lego... and I knew I hated girls clothes and girls toys. I knew I wanted to do boy things, and get married to a woman, and pee standing up and play with my shirt off.”
K says he stilled those waters as much as he could -- but the results were disastrous. The inner turmoil she was going through as a teenager -- even as her body began to change -- was at odds with the metamorphosis going on inside. Kay was turning into someone she didn’t recognize.
“Once I hit puberty and was well into the years of letting other's opinions influence myself, I got lost and severely depressed, and introverted. From the age of 11 to 17 I remember nothing but self-hate and anxiety.”
At 14, Kay came out as a lesbian “and assumed that I was just butch.” But the assumptions were no match for the whirlwind tugging at the essence of who she was. “It took me from 17 to 19 to even accept the feelings and thoughts I was having. I really struggled about it inside. Once I accepted it, I told my girlfriend little bit by little bit ... and I did a lot of research during those years.”
'I smile more now than I did i my whole life'
In November 2010, Kay was in literal transition: She moved to Vancouver, surrounding herself with new friends, new things. But one thing was still the same.
“I was 22 and I absolutely could not deny my feelings or needs anymore. I set up an appointment with a psychologist within a month of us moving, and by April 7, 2011, I had my first shot of testosterone.”
K says he’s heard from those who disapprove of the transformation, but they have been far and few between. Besides, he says, the conversion inside has been undeniable.
“Anybody who knows me has witnessed a change so drastic, the mere fact alone that I smile more now in a day than I did in my whole life speaks volumes,” he says.
“Even people who at first would have judged have stepped forward and said they were wrong -- and happiness and love is truly what matters. It's a gratifying feeling knowing you've helped open the minds of the opposition.”
K says he has allowed his transition to be so public in hopes of helping others who are unsure of themselves. “Always be yourself,” he says. “Don't let other's opinions suppress you. The more you allow yourself to be yourself the more you show others it's okay to be themselves. We are all human.”