Kila (JPN), Illustrator, Tokyo

‘I’m commonly referred to as FTM, or Female to Man. That means I was born a woman but became a man recently. My appearance changed through hormone therapy. I used to be very insecure during the transition. I didn’t like my picture taken, because I didn’t feel like the person in the picture was me. I knew there’d be struggles along the way, but I believe I’ve found my balance now. I still consider plastic surgery to change some things, but nothing too drastic. Just to get that extra boost of confidence. I would never get a penis, down there I’m still a woman. Same goes for my papers, I’m still a woman for the law.’

‘It wasn’t easy for my boyfriend either. He is gay and had only dated boys before me, so my, euhm, female parts were new to him. Love conquers all, though, so it never really caused a problem.’

‘In the end, it’s a step by step process towards being who you want to be. I feel it’s the same with tattoos. After getting inked, there’s no way back. It becomes a motivational reminder of where you’re heading. I still remember the happiness my first one brought me at the age of 17. There’s nothing more satisfying as to turn a dream into reality after waiting such a long time.’

‘With the transgender community becoming a hot topic over the last few years, I want to do something to support that. Some of us still feel like outsiders. That’s why I hope to bring this subject into my illustrations as well as organize events for transgender people. I don’t want to limit myself too much, I wanna do everything that inspires and enriches, both myself and other people. Long story short: I want to bring joy.’