Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with Tiq Milan

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Tiq Milan identifies as a binary black trans man who is queer identified and was assigned female at birth. He grew up in Buffalo, New York in a working-class family in the hood, Milan states. He loves his family, and he had a pretty good childhood. His mom was a nurse, and his father was a mechanic. They divorced when Milan was 3, but his parents maintained a good relationship. His father lived around the corner and would come over for dinner. Milan has 3 older sisters. He went to a private Catholic school his entire life. He was a tomboy as a kid. In high school he became more feminine since that was the expectation at his school that focused on developing womanhood. He played basketball and volleyball all through high school. He went to Niagara University in Lewiston, New York with a full D1 basketball scholarship, but the coaches and others there were racist and treated him badly, leading him to give up on his dreams of going pro. He came out as a lesbian at 14 and got involved in the queer community. His mom didn’t take it well at first, but she is now one of Milan’s biggest supporters of his trans identity. He remembers being feminine and attracting masculine women. He knew masculinity wasn’t something that he was attracted to, however, but it was something that he wanted for himself. He graduated high school in 1998. His graduation was the last time he ever wore feminine clothes. After that he began to develop his masculinity again. He moved to New York City for grad school where he bartended, drank, and got into drugs. While he was there he identified as a stud and then as a butch, which left him feeling confused because something didn’t feel right, something was missing. He later came into his trans masculine identity when he encountered a white trans man in 2004 or 2005 while bartending at a lesbian bar called Meow Mix. That was the moment where he realized transitioning was possible. In 2007 he started on low doses of T and came out as trans in 2010 when he had top surgery. He’s also had a double mastectomy and chest reconstruction. He also wants to have a hysterectomy, but his insurance denied him a year ago at the time of the interview. He is now married to his wife, a cis gender, queer identified woman, and they have a baby on the way. He was a keynote speaker at the University of Minnesota’s Power & Privilege series where he gave a talk on “Redefining Masculinity.” He’s worked at Lambda Legal, GLAAD, GLSEN, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Bronx Community Pride Center, and he’s on the board for the National Anti-Violence Project. He’s a freelance media communications writer and consultant who wrote for Buzz Feed, the Guardian, New York Times, He’s done some work for MTV, Rolling Stone, Source Magazine, Vibe Magazine,, and Huffington Post. He’s now working on his memoir about his journey called Man of My Design: A Self-Determined Life.

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