Brian Michael Smith is discussing transgender identity and his transitioning journey.
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During Dotdash Meredith’s From Invisibility to Trans Visibility Week panel, the actor, 40, talked about his decision to transition as a young adult and his journey to embracing his identity. The conversation was moderated by actor and writer Scott Turner Schofield. Olympian Chris Mosier, actor Vico Ortiz, and ACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice Chase Strangio also joined in on the discussion.
“I spent my 20s doing what everybody does in their 20s but I just took a different journey with mine and by the time I was able to actually access the care, I had discovered that there are other people like me,” he shared. “When I was 19, I was in college in the middle of Ohio, and I didn’t know what I was going to do about that.”
“I just felt so good to know that I wasn’t the only person, that, historically, there were other people, that there were standards of care that have already been established,” he added. “There was a process. There were clinics, there were places to go. And there were actually other people to meet, who were further down the road than I was.”
Smith started taking hormones in his mid-twenties when he was able to get medical help. He remembered the moment when he saw himself in the mirror and truly recognized himself.
“I was able to see myself expressed on the outside physically in a way and really be inside my body for the first time and be visibly seen and taken into the world as myself for the first time,” he said. “I really just wanted to enjoy that.”
“I am myself and the person that I’ve seen in my mind’s eye for so long is looking back at me in the mirror, is out on the streets.”
Smith also shared how he waited until after he solidified his acting career to announce his transgender status publicly.
“I could be out and then take the sort of crumbs of bad trans representation that was available. Or I could just define who I am as a person and as what I want to explore now. And then, when the moment comes, I can share this part of myself,” he said, “Around, 2015 or 2016, I was like no, I distinctly want to take ownership of this full part of my identity.”