We recently had the opportunity to interview the Self Made Men staff via email. Below you'll have the opportunity to learn more about this exciting resource for the transgender masculine community that started here in Rochester, NY.
1) What is the goal of Self Made Men?
The goal of The Self Made Men is to be a resource and informational hub for the transgender masculine community. We want it to be a one stop shop, if you will, to make transitioning easier.
2) What additional value or product do you think Self Made Men offers to trans guys that other sites don't?
When we put a product into our web store, it's really important for us to keep the cost as low as possible. We want people to enjoy the things they want, without having to lose ground on transitional needs. We also provide a sense of community through pen pal programs, tversary postcards and our new chat room hours.
3) Have you always identified as an activist, or was there point during your transition that shaped your activism or that you perceive as turning point?
I think it was more of a gradual scale than a turning point actually. I've never been afraid of coming out to anyone or explaining my situation... Even if it was to a hair dresser or an entire class or someone who misgendered me at the store.
4) Any tips for budding trans activists or professional transsexual hopefuls?
In the activism world, I've found that a lot of people don't actually do it for the cause, but more so for the chance to "be famous" because of their efforts. The important thing to remember when you're pushing for this is that there are hundreds of others doing the same thing. Work together... The Self Made Men does dozens of joint activism and donation programs. Don't close yourself off in order to get further, it really is who you know more than what you know.
5) Aside from your website what are some of your favorite online health or cultural resources for transmen?
I use Hudson's Guide as a go to for a lot of my medical-esque questions. I also greatly enjoy The Art of Transliness guys, they help me stay up to date on the culture and how to go about answering questions I may get.
6) What is your favorite article you've written for the tumblr account or website?
I think my favorite article is "How to have sex with your biological anatomy". It was really a monumental turning point in my life when I learned how to do that instead of using a prosthetic. So to share that with others was great. I also really like that I can write articles as if I'm just talking to someone, like the readers are my buddies.
7) Why did you create the Big Brother Program?
We had a lot of good advice to share! Things that we didn't know and had to learn ourselves when we were younger in Tboy years. Now we use the program to help others, which is really our goal.
What was your inspiration for your pen pal program?
The pen pal program was actually an idea given to us by a follower on our tumblr! They said something along the lines of "If you had a pen pal type thing, I'd totally help out!" And so we gave it a shot.
How many pen pal pairs are currently enrolled?
We now have over 1,500 people using our system.
9) Along with recently adding a cis ally to your staff, have you considered expanding your diversity in other ways?
We get this question a lot, when people find out that Alexa is on our staff and she's cisgender, they say things like "You should add a cis guy! Or a Transwoman! or a TPOC (trans person of color)... The people who are on the staff currently have been in my circle of friends for quite some time. We've tried having long distance staff members but it hasn't really worked out for us. We wouldn't add someone to the staff just to have them as a "token" member of a certain community, it all ends up being who is interested in helping and then actually puts in the effort afterwards.
10) Do you accept submissions?
Absolutely, to the SOFFA and Big Brother program, as well as the tumblr site.
11) What other services do you hope to add in the future or should we look for?
We're hoping to really hold down the fort on everything we've got going on right now, but I will let you in on a project Rowan and I are working on right now! - We're putting together a Confidence Building 101 class through TinyChat so that we can reach people all over the world and really help these guys establish their "manhood" in a healthy manner.
12) What's the best way to enjoy your Boys of Summer Tour?
The boys of summer tour has one more stop left and it's the biggest one! Rochester Pride, in Rochester NY - Its superhero themed and we'll be walking in the parade, having a vendor table at the festival and picnic and we've got a LOT of new products on our table.