Like no one else, they know – By Tamara El-Khoury

In Largo City Manager Steve Stanton, members of a support group of transgender men see themselves.

On a Saturday night, in a Pinellas Park church, 17 people sat in a circle. All had been born female.

Now they go by Shawn, Nick and Josh. They talk about how long they’ve been taking “T” – testosterone – to deepen their voices and help grow the hair they spent years shaving.

They talk about cutting up their bodies with chest surgeries and hysterectomies so they can feel whole.

Twice a month, this support group of transgender men – some fully transitioned, others just starting the process – get together to talk. They cheer when someone’s child makes the honor roll or when a group member gets his revised birth certificate.

They search for positive male role models – sensitive ones that hold babies – and supportive employers.