Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with André Pérez

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André Pérez was 28 at the time of the interview, identifies as trans, uses they/them and he/him pronouns, and was assigned female at birth. They were a tomboy growing up liking sports and being very aggressive and competitive. People often assumed he was a lesbian from a young age. He struggled with a “messed up family life” with an abusive stepfather and other abusive men in his life. As a result, they ended up in violent, reactive relationships with a lot of anger. Pérez isn’t a particularly aggressive person now. Their mom forced them to wear clothing from the girl’s section at around 15 while clothes shopping, telling them they needed to grow up and stop “walking like a tranny.” In college he discovered gender theory and feminism, even producing a production of the Vagina Monologues. When Pérez went to Puerto Rico at 20, they met some family for the first time and was told by a janitor to use the men’s bathroom since they were read as a man at the time. It didn’t occur to Pérez, however, that he would be trans. During college at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont, they began identifying as genderqueer since the idea of manhood associated with toxic masculinity scared them. He began dating someone for the first time in college at the age of 19 who knew Pérez was trans before he did and encouraged him to bind and try using a masculine name. After some contemplation and hesitation, Pérez began hormone therapy and had top surgery. He also began to see that there are different kinds of men who aren’t violent and aggressive. He now mainly has sex with gay men. They work from home for a transgender resource and support line organization called The Trans Lifeline. He also started the Trans Oral History Project about eight years ago but is now starting to focus more on documentary work. They are currently working on a web series called, “America in Transition,” which is more focused on the social issues of trans people. Pérez talks about the importance of film and short documentaries, working for Story Corps for two years, femme phobia and homophobia, trans discrimination, homelessness, poverty, and immigration in their interview.

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