by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Beck Rosato Lewis, 32, a Transgender man living in Tacoma, had a memorable Pride. For the first time in the drag king's life, she was referred to as 'he,' and the entire world seemed right. More than just a Trans man and entertainer, Beck has found a voice in activism.
Beck moved to Washington from Florida just three months ago. He describes the local LGBT climate as 'very safe and positive.'
'I've felt very welcomed since moving to Tacoma and, even though Florida is my home, Washington has all the warmth of Florida in regards to the LGBT community,' Beck told SGN.
As far back as Beck can remember, he always felt like a boy. 'I want to clarify that I never felt like a tomboy, as that is not a gender. I always saw myself as 'one of the guys' and would often feel ignored and saddened if others treated me as though I wasn't,' he recalled. 'In 1997, I came out as a butch Lesbian and lived most of my life as such. However, as time went on, living as a butch Lesbian had me feeling like I was living incomplete and untrue to myself.'
For years, Beck struggled with these feelings and wished that there was something he could do to be a boy. 'One night, when I was 30 years of age, I found myself in tears alone in my room and obsessed with watching YouTube videos of Transmen, F to M, female to male individuals and saw how happy they were. I was surprised that one could even transition from one sex to another as I had very little knowledge of the reality and that it even existed.'
'I began to see how happy others were and how much confidence they had in themselves as I listened to their stories and became educated on the lifestyle and followed their journeys with them over the internet,' said Beck. 'In 2009, I now had all the answers I needed and was certain that I was Transgender myself and the missing pieces of the puzzle called 'my life' were found.'
Since then, Beck had his name legally changed and started hormone replacement therapy.
'Transitioning is a very long and expensive process, and so I am in what you would call the middle of my journey,' he told SGN. 'Loving every minute of life now, I can truly say that making the decision to transition has been the best decision that I ever made. No longer do I feel sad or ignored, for I finally feel as though I am being heard and seen for who I always knew I was: a boy.'
Beck has performed as a drag king for many years. 'I started performing back home in Florida and placed in a few competitions, even being new to the scene,' he said. 'Performing drag has allowed me to express my creativity and at the same time before coming out as Transgender in 2009, I used drag as an escape route to be looked at as the man I always felt I was. Since I started transitioning, I started performing again after a long break from the stage and now perform 'bio drag.' I recently performed at Tacoma Pride's 'Out in the Park,' and it was a very rewarding experience, since it was the first time performing and being introduced as a Transman before hitting the stage.'
Beck is featured as Mr. April in the 2012 Transguy calendar. 'The calendar project was founded in 2010 by a very giving woman who loves the LGBT community,' he said. 'I submitted my photo to the project last year in hopes to be featured in the 2011 edition, but the models were selected prior to my submission. On Father's Day, I received an email with an invitation to model for the 2012 edition and without hesitation, I accepted. All of the proceeds raised from calendar purchases go to SRS, and I have to thank Maegan Beard for the opportunity. There is a Transguy and Transgirl calendar and you can order one by visiting www.thetcal.org.'
Remembering the way he felt when he went to YouTube looking for answers prompted Beck to create a 'charity channel' on the video sharing website called Transneighborhood1 'to help make transitioning a little easier for Transgendered persons by raising money for items that are necessary for one's transition.'
To learn more and subscribe to the channel, visit www.youtube.com/user/transneighborhood1?feature=mhee. If you wish to donate to Transneighborhood1 to support the cause, visit http://beck.chipin.com/transneighborhood. There is also an online store which has a variety of items for purchase to support the cause for those who want to make a statement. For the store, visit www.cafepress.com/transneighborhood.
Beck says that he encourages anyone who might be going through what he did to visit the YouTube channel, but also to 'put your faith in God that he will surround you with those who understand you and those who love you.'
'I learned from experience that we are never alone,' he said. 'Find someone to talk to - a close friend, a staff member at your local LGBT center, or myself. It does get better, and you don't have to be scared to be you. Turn your fears into strength and your weakness into will and you will be happier than you could have ever imagined you would be.'
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