Try Not To Cry At This Video A Trans Man Made For His Pre-Transition Self

Though we've seen more meaningful representation for trans people in mainstream media in recent years, we're still missing a crucial element: representations of everyday trans people who aren't also celebrities.

This video letter from a trans man to his pre-transition self is a powerful look at why that representation can be so important. James Raines, who documents his life as a transgender man on his YouTube channel, explained that looking through old photos of himself made him think about what he wished he had known while growing up.

He explained feeling like a "freak" as a child, not feeling comfortable with himself until a documentary helped him realize that he was transgender. So with his girlfriend's encouragement, he decided to put together a video in which he reads a letter to his pre-transition self.
"The hardest thing is going to be accepting yourself, but with time and seeing others out there going through the same thing, you’ll get there," he told his younger self in the video. "And, one day, you’ll be really proud of who you are."

Raines told The Huffington Post that he hopes his video will help others who may be realizing that they're transgender or going through transition feel less alone.

"I hope it just portrays a very honest experience of transitioning ― the ups and the downs that go with it and how things can really get better with time," he said. "It would also be great if even just some of the advice I would have given my pre-transition self can help some people who are figuring out their identity, or who are in the early stages of their transition."

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