A transgender man is crowdfunding to raise £6,000 for surgery to have his breast tissue removed – because he “can’t keep living in this body”.
Miko Tagara, 22, was born female but knew from an early age that he was not comfortable growing up as a girl.
He would baulk at the dresses his mother clothed him in and says that hearing his birth name would make him cringe.
Miko, from Bedminster, Bristol, came out as bisexual five years ago and as a transgender male in March of this year.
But he believes he will continue to suffer from anxiety and depression until he is able to have ‘top surgery’ to flatten his chest area – and that he is unable to keep living in his current body.
The procedure is available on the NHS but Miko says he cannot wait “years and years” for a slot to become available, so has set about raising the £6,650 for private surgery himself.
Miko, who works in accounts, said: “I currently wear a binder to help achieve a flatter, male-looking chest, but it gives me back pain and discomfort.
“I avoid looking at my chest in the mirror as it leads to self-hatred, it reminds how trapped I really am.
“It’s so depressing being trapped in a body that’s not yours.
“I can’t really describe what this surgery would mean to me – I just feel like I would be a brand new me, a better me.”
Miko said that, for years, he pushed through the feeling that he did not belong in his body.
He said: “I wish I’d done some research sooner and found out that there were others like me. But I just convinced myself I was crazy and pushed it to the back of my mind.
“I used to cringe when I was called by my birth name or when someone used the female pronoun to describe me.
“When I saw myself wearing a dress as a child it made me feel ill. A lot of the time I would wear dungarees or trousers and I would feel happier.
“As I grew up and reached puberty I became more aware of how I looked, how I didn’t look, what I felt inside and how it doesn’t mirror my appearance.
“I think the best way to describe it is that it feels like I’m living in someone else’s body.”
Miko said that coming out as bisexual, and subsequently as transgender, has given him more freedom and confidence towards becoming the man he feels he is.
He even has a girlfriend of almost three years, Dominique Labuguen – who he says has been “my rock”.
“She just wants me to be happy. I don’t think me being transgender matters to her, she just loves me anyway,” he said.
Miko, who was born in Spain and lived in the Philippines until 2006, added: “My family have also been as supportive as they can be.
“I think because of the family ethnicity it was quite hard for them at first. But they’ve seen how important this is to me.
“I wasn’t afraid of losing anyone because I knew the ones that matter would stick by my side through this journey.”
Miko has been on testosterone therapy for three months now – which he is paying for privately – and says he feels “a lot more confident” as a result.
He said: “This surgery is not something I purely want, it’s something I need to be able to survive and go on to lead my life.
“I look at men and feel jealous as I cannot just take my top off in the summer like they do and be who I am.
“I miss being able to play the sports I love and being active, without being self-conscious about how my chest looks or if it’s obvious I’m wearing a binder.”
He has scheduled his top surgery for December 5, and hopes to have raised the money by then.
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/jnnfz-ftm-top-surgery.