50 - Carter Loveless
Transgender Male [he/him]
Married to Sarah York-Loveless
Dad to 2 dogs and 4 cats. Enjoys photography, videography and editing. Star Wars fan.
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression, when did you know….
“When I was a kid, all my friends in the neighborhood were girls, but I never was like any of them. When we’d play house, they’d automatically assign me to be the dad, and that felt like the most normal, fulfilling position that I could play in the house. I clearly remember it was not even a question of, ‘Why would I be the dad in this situation? I'm technically a girl…’ that was just who I was, it felt right, and it made sense…
When I wasn’t reading Hardy Boys detective novels, I was filming cooking shows, musical hours, detective shows, and a variety of action-adventure films starring just myself, and sometimes family and friends as well. 95% of the time I was a male character…”
On their coming out experience...
“I came out in 2007 officially, as gay, to conservative Christian parents. It was expressed that they believed God was not ok with it, believing it was not a born this way predestined feature, but a choice that they couldn’t support or approve. They did, however, say I was their child, and they would love me still. I have a relationship with God, I believe in a relationship, not a religion. Instead of going along with all the human erred parts of religion, I just stick with Jesus, and have a great relationship with Him, while trying to give other people hope and inspiration.
When I first came out and was dating girls, I had known from that young age when I was playing characters that were male, that I felt more comfortable as that, but because of the environment I was in… it just wasn’t something I could fully realize… and I just felt like I was going to be shunned from my family. I went years serving other people, and putting myself in the situation of living for other people, and just being who other people wanted me to be, just so that we could all get along.
Then, in 2015 a documentary came out called Transgender: At War and In Love, featuring Logan and Laila Ireland. I'd been friends with Logan for years, and met Laila after they got engaged. When I watched that documentary, it impacted me greatly, giving me the courage to begin to come out as my true self. Within two years of that, I officially started the process to transition, and everything has gotten better. God’s shown me this was part of His plan for me, because not only has it enriched me, and healed aspects that I had been plagued with for years, but it really showed me how amazing God is, that He can create someone… by giving them free will, and giving them the ability to grow into who they are. God designed people to be able to do that. That's what I feel so many people need to know and see, that people who are transgender, aren’t so different from them… it's still that same body, God created that body to be able to do those things.”
Frustrations within our community?
“Probably ego… I've seen too much comparing, specifically from people who are transitioning, comparing that sometimes turns into bullying. There's a lot of judgment. I feel like especially within the community, people need to be kind, and build each other up. There will be those that want to judge us, or try and tear us apart outside the LGBTQIA community as is, so why would we want to do that from within?”
Favorite part about our community?
“There's also a lot of compassion, and wanting to educate other people, whether it's wanting to educate allies better, or wanting to educate people who are questioning their sexuality, or gender identity. I've been part of different groups online, and as soon as someone posts a question, and they're having anxiety, and they really don't know where to turn… within an hour there's 32 comments. People all over America saying, ‘… these are my individual experiences, take from them what you can.’ It’s just amazing, because then, it's not only helping that original poster, I'm sure there are people reading who are thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve never thought of that.’”
What is something you would tell a younger you? Advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or they don’t have a community to be a part of?
“Advice I would tell a younger me… I would say, ‘you know what you're feeling now, that is someone that you can grow into and become.’ When I was a kid, I was happily and diligently homeschooled, and didn’t have exposure to any movies or material that would have suggested any of this to me. The reason why I was putting it into play in my make believe, is because to my very core, as a sheltered kid, my spirit and mind naturally identified as male. I would just tell my younger self, ‘You know that's a thing… you know that's OK… that's what's going on with you. You’re gonna realize you ARE and CAN be a boy.’
To others… I would say that something I've learned in life is things always seem a lot scarier, and are going to seem a lot worse than they actually are usually. Even if you get a negative reaction from someone… time can change that. And education and compassion can change that. As frustrating as it may be to have someone you know not accept you, and not affirm your identity, and act like it's a phase or like it's something that you can control… people's hearts can change. My family is proof. I feel like this could be helpful for people to know, that the family who I thought could never use he/him pronouns… the family who I thought would never call me Carter… now uses he/him pronouns, and they call me Carter. So, people who I would think would never be able to see me as my true self, do.”
Someone once told me you never ask a transgender person their dead name - what’s your opinion on that?
“I feel like it depends on how well you know the person… that would presumably only be asked if you didn't know the person prior to them coming out. If it's someone new to your life, (especially who isn’t transgender), I feel like it can reduce a person, or make them feel exposed, or less than, to be asked. If you're building a friendship with someone, you want them to see you as you are now, and not jump back and forth in their mind regarding your old details. We can feel like we are seen as fascinating science experiments to those around us sometimes, so respect and tact are key.
One of the biggest compliments I've ever received, was from one of my friend’s moms… she said, ‘This is so you, who you are now… I can't even remember what your name was before.’”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“I'm really proud of my relationship with my wife. We’ve been married almost 3 years, together over 11 years. We've worked really, really hard on it. There have been lots of ups and downs, but this past year our relationship has just grown so much closer. She celebrates me, and loves me as a man. The most important thing in my life is my wife, and her support, compassion, humor, and beauty, give our relationship a living fairytale like quality… and that's the most important thing to me.”
With the state of the nation and the world in its current state, what’s one thing you would change if you had the power?
“The one thing I would change is some conservative Christian’s hearts… to acknowledge and see that the Jesus they claim to represent, is more like the people that they're discriminating against, than what they are representing…”