Jewish and trans: a coming-of-age story
Childhood photographs are scattered throughout the family home – moments in time captured that will always be remembered.
Lucas Bloch, 24, reflects on a happy childhood when he opened his heart to The CJN to tell his story of struggle and triumph.
Bloch, who was born female, grew up as a typical tomboy.
“I had awesome parents who basically allowed me the freedom to wear whatever I wanted and do whatever activities I wanted,” said Bloch.
It wasn’t until puberty that Lucas’ emotional distress manifested itself in suicidal thoughts and depression. Drug use and self-harm were how he coped with anguish and distress throughout high school.
“I didn’t see any future for myself at all,” Bloch said. Bloch came out as a lesbian at age 18. “I didn’t know that I was trans. I liked girls, so ‘I am gay’ was the assumption.
“There were things I really hated about my body that I didn’t think other people were experiencing. I remember the comfort I felt after ‘coming out’ and the freedom to start experimenting with more masculine clothing and appearance. That’s when I said to my girlfriend, ‘I really wish I didn’t have breasts.’
“I found myself comparing myself to other men, wishing my hips were narrower or my shoulders were broader or my jaw was more defined. It was a gradual understanding and discovery of my gender identity,” Bloch said.
He started researching everything trans and came across the hashtag #FTM (female to male) on Instagram.
“I was mind-blown by the number of female-to-male transition people. I had no idea you could transition your body shape or get facial hair,” Bloch said.
Further research led him to learn about binding (chest flattening), hormone replacement therapy, and top surgery (which involves breast removal and chest reconstruction).
His mother, Giselle Bloch, recalled a discussion with her son. “One day, Lucas and I were home alone, and I asked him with the only words that I knew, ‘Lucas, do you want to be a boy?’
“Lucas started crying. He was 22 years old, and he said to me, ‘Mommy, I am transgender and I want to transition to male.’ At that point, we went upstairs with an ipad and a laptop and sat for six hours reading and watching videos together. I was learning and asking a ton of questions.”
Once Lucas had come out as transgender, he became emotionally stable.
Love is love. Lucas had the complete support of his family – his father and two younger siblings. His friends and colleagues were also understanding.
The family belongs to Temple Sinai Congregation, a synagogue that is accepting.
“I went to speak to [Temple Sinai spiritual leader Rabbi Michael Dolgin] shortly after Lucas came out. He asked how he could help and what he could do to support us, and it was wonderful. He made sure to use the right pronouns and to address Lucas the way he needed to be addressed. It was so affirming,” Giselle said.
Lucas had asked his girlfriend to start using male pronouns and to introduce him as her boyfriend.
Shortly after coming out as trans, Lucas had his eggs harvested.
“I knew I wanted kids one day. I also knew I would never carry a child – that was never an option for me, but knowing a possibility of a biological child existed, I definitely wanted it,” said Bloch.
After some six months of being out, Lucas had top surgery. About 1-1/2 months later, he began hormone replacement therapy.
“I take weekly injections of testosterone, which have lowered my voice, given me some facial hair, and changed my fat distribution. I have a ton more body hair and muscle mass, and my period has stopped.”
Lucas had a full hysterectomy last September. “I also went through gender marker change on all ID documentation,” he said.
He’s pursuing social work at university in order to give back to his community.
His parents sought and found emotional support for parents of trans youth.
“I had to learn that gender is not binary, that gender is a spectrum and a person can transition from one to the other. Gender is how you feel inside you, it’s not just based on your biological sex,” Giselle said.
“We are now allies in the LGBTQ community and have been privileged to accompany our son down the path toward living his truth. I believe in unconditional love.”
Lucas, middle, with his parents Giselle and Alan Bloch at the eighth annual Trans March in Toronto last July.