‘I’m a straight, disabled trans man – but people think I’m gay’

Julian Gavino has told PinkNews that people often mistake them for a gay man.

The disabled trans-masculine model spoke about identity, life with connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and navigating a new relationship at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Being trans-masculine means being whoever you want to be,” Gavino said, adding that people have assumed they are a gay man, or, when they grew their hair, that they were “detransitioning”.

They added: “Trans people don’t owe you masculinity, femininity or androgyny. Trans people are allowed to be diverse and allowed to present however they want, just as cis people do.

“If you’re already an unconventional person, then do whatever you want, because as much as people will try to hold you to certain standards, you already are not the standard. So, just be yourself.”

Speaking about life with EDS, a set of inherited conditions that can affect people in different ways, from relatively mildly to severely, Gavino said it affected their transition, meaning they had to “learn to accept and love” themself.

“Living with chronic pain is really, really difficult. I have a feeding tube and I mostly use a wheelchair… because of EDS I have two uteruses, so my body and hormones are being affected in a lot of ways because of those conditions.

“My menstrual cycle never went away. This resulted in my transition not going as well as I wanted. I had high hopes and dreams of working out and getting buff, but I had to learn to accept and love those parts of myself, despite things not going the way I wanted.”

Actor Jameela Jamil opened up about her EDS diagnosis last year and urged anyone with symptoms – such as hypermobility in joints, stretchy skin or bruising easily – to visit their doctor.

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