Male–to–female gender reassignment surgery has been covered extensively in the news by following the journeys of transgender women like Caitlin Jenner, and bringing actors such as Laverne Cox mainstream recognition.
The same however, can’t be said for transgender men.
The Huffington Post's Jamie Davis Smith interviewed student Jessie Knouse in order to learn about the practicalities of a male-to–female transition.
The beginning of transitioning to a male requires the administration of testosterone. What is that like?
Imagine going through puberty again.
The only time I ever experienced myself going into an angry rage was when I had given myself my shot [of testosterone] after getting off working a night shift, falling asleep for an hour... having an aggressive dream and then waking up ready to get in a fight.
Other than that experience I get irritable and upset just like any other person.
Jessie binds his chest down with a chest binder, which can be painful.
And he wants people to know that transitioning isn't limited to a phalloplasty (surgery to construct a penis).
Jessie’s clitoris is growing, and hair growth in that region will likely increase, although the hair will be softer and will join hair growth on his upper thighs.
Smith explained the way Jessie's orgasms feel:
Jessie’s clitoris has been enlarging, more of the clitoris protrudes from the hood, or skin covering. This means that more of those nerve endings are exposed, which causes his orgasms to happen a lot more quickly and a bit more intensely.
Women usually feel an orgasm in their pelvis before it spreads throughout their entire body, but Jessie’s orgasms are now felt in his pelvis, stomach, and legs.
Gender transition is a mentally, as well as physically, gruelling process, many people report. Vaginoplasties or penisplasties are not a one-stop "cure-all" for all the problems people who don't feel they fit the bodies they were born with face.
People who have gone through gender reassignment still experience self harm and suicide at a higher level than the rest of the population thanks to ongoing discrimination and stigma, a Swedish study found - and according to a recent Williams Institute study, suicide attempts among trans men are higher than that of trans women, at 46 per cent and 42 per cent of self-harm attempts respectively.
Aydian Dowling, who became one of the first openly transgender male models, spoke to HuffPost about the importance of recognising transgender visibility:
Transgender visibility through mainstream media... is so important because it helps break down stereotypes of what society thinks transgender people are and are not. Someone could pick up [a] magazine and become educated and aware that transgender bodies are just like cisgender bodies. Unique and beautiful.