In a video that showcases his growth as a trans guy, YouTuber (and just all-around rad person) uppercaseCHASE1 took pictures of himself for 7 years. Starting from his first day on testosterone, Chase lets us in on the physical changes that he begins to experience.
I was lucky enough to take up a little bit of his time for an interview.
First off, I just want to say that I’ve been following your content for quite some time now, especially your collaborative podcast with Aaron and you guys are hilarious. What does it mean to you to know that you are making content that helps people become more comfortable and accepting of themselves?
Chase: This has been the goal all along. When I was younger and just figuring myself out, there really wasn’t anyone to look up to, which is why I started making videos. As the years went by I realized that I wanted to be the person I needed when I was younger. I think I can say that I’ve been quite successful at doing that! Haha. I feel so blessed that I am able to be that person for so many people. Most of the time I honestly don’t feel like I’m helping anyone, I just feel like I’m making videos and people watch me because I’m somewhat entertaining. But then I realize that I do talk about things no one else wants to talk about and I’ve documented every aspect of my life on YouTube. It’s a great journal of some sort and a great way for people to imagine what their life might be like in the future. I just feel so happy that I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do: help people.
As well your channel features a lot of information on the more private parts of being a trans man/more masculine identifying person, and I think that a lot of times people aren’t willing to share that side of transitioning(which is completely fine), but I love that you are doing it in a way that is entertaining, positive, and resourceful. Was there ever a time where you weren’t comfortable with talking about body parts and sex on your channel? And how proud are you of your shelves of prosthetics and dildos?
Chase: There was a time where I suffered an insane amount of bottom dysphoria. I wanted bottom surgery, but I also didn’t want to actually HAVE surgery. It’s a very weird place to be in emotionally. After some time I realized that I had been repressing so much and by not talking about it, it made it worse. So what did I do? I started a blog on Tumblr called FTM Sex Talk’, people could ask questions while me and my friends would answer them. This was extremely empowering for me and I felt like I was finally taking charge of my body. I still have bottom dysphoria, but talking about it and opening up has made me feel less alone and has helped lessen my own dysphoria. Reviews about prosthetics, sex toys, and other types of things trans men/trans masc individuals might need. I feel SO proud of my “peen wall” (shelves filled with prosthetics). I look at it daily and say things like “wow, look at me, the peen master” haha! I’m kidding.
Reading comments on your channel can be pretty rough because so many ignorant people comment. Do you have any tips for people who want to create content not just on YouTube, but anywhere on the internet on how to deal with hateful comments?
Chase: Over the last 10 years I have dealt with more online hate then I could ever have imagined. People calling me not “trans enough” because I decided to go off of hormones for a couple of months, and decided to delay my top surgery for one year. So what did I do with this? Well, it was so hard for a long time and I was allowed to look at the comments anymore because I would just end up crying. After some time, I started the “Trans Enough” project, where people sent clips telling me why they didn’t feel trans enough. I put these clips all together into one video and the feedback was just AMAZING! The best tip I can give to anyone who wants to start out and is afraid of online haters: ignore them. Yes, easier said than done. But giving them attention is all they want. It doesn’t matter what they think about you. Even if they say you’re disgusting or you’ll burn in hell. None of it matters. The only thing that matters is that they sat there and watched a 12-minute video, giving you a view and a comment. Hey, any press is good press, right? Just ignore them, or laugh at them, that’s what I do.
So this video you made “Pictures Every Day for 7 Years” is amazing. I keep saying this because it is true. You truly capture how much growth you’ve made. Hopefully, it isn’t a stretch, but as the pictures get older, your smile connects more with your eyes and it is heartwarming. If you could tell your younger self something, what would you say?
Chase: Oh man, this is a tough one. My automatic response is to literally just tell my younger self “I’m Here”. Let me explain when I was 15 and realized that I was trans and that “trans” was even a “thing” I was so confused. It felt like everything clicked in one heartbeat and my whole life made sense, but at the same time, I was petrified. I was scared of telling my dad, and the connection I have with my dad is like no other. My mom left when I was 1. He stepped up, raised me, and took care of me. I love him so much and I didn’t want to hurt him. I was so confused and felt so alone and I couldn’t possibly imagine myself being older. I know that sounds dramatic, but it felt like there was no future at all for me and that when I turned 21, life would be over, I would just disappear. If I could go back, look at that scared kid sitting at the computer desk and say “I’m here”, I think my younger self would be extremely confused, but then recognize who it is because of my eyes. I feel like my younger self would have been able to finally picture a future and that life WAS possible. I’m tearing up just thinking about this right now, but I’m glad I have become that person to younger trans people now, I just wish I didn’t feel so alone when I was figuring myself out.
An important topic in media lately is the use of cis men in roles meant for trans people. Jared Leto, Matt Bomer, etc. have gotten heat (deservedly) for this. And it’s picked up in conversation lately since Bomer is portraying a trans woman in an upcoming film. Why do you think Hollywood has issues with representation for trans people in terms of hiring them for not just acting parts, but behind the scenes too?
Chase: Honestly, there are so many out trans people now that are actors, I’m still in shock when I see a “new release” where there is a trans character…. But they are played by a cis person. Sure, they are actors and they play roles, but this is different. When a cis man plays a trans woman, it perpetuates the idea that trans women are just “men in a dress”. That their identity as women is now reduced to this caricature. Trans women are almost always made to be the butt of the joke, and when you laugh at something and make jokes about the person, you’re no longer seeing them as a person. You’re seeing them as an object. I don’t have an answer for why Hollywood isn’t hiring more trans actors for trans roles, but all I can say is, it’s time, give us a chance. The trans community would support it, promote it and it’s just in everyone’s best interest. But instead, they don’t, sounds a little transphobic to me honestly.
Last but not least, apart from your channel, do you have any projects in the works right now?
Chase: Oh my what a question! Yes! I work on so many different things at the same time. Other than my personal YouTube channel (uppercaseCHASE1), I also have a collaboration channel that I started in 2010 (and am the only original member left!) called FTMtranstastic. I have a podcast that I co-host with my best friend Aaron Ansuini called You’re So Brave. I have the “Trans Enough” project still going. I made a video every 6-12 months with the clips people have sent me. I give 30 binders every month thanks to GC2B. I am working on a super secret project with Aaron and Ty Turner. I talk at schools, I review products for early2bed.com, and in July I am planning something Huge! I can’t tell you what it is, but trust me, this is the biggest thing I’ve ever done!