While the transgender community has come a long way in terms of gaining visibility and awareness in both mainstream and LGBT communities, there still remains much misunderstanding about what it means to be trans.
Because of this, transgender people are still routinely the victims of discrimination, aggression, and violence.
As we noted last month on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, since 2008 there have been 755 reports of murdered trans people in 51 countries -- and this number is probably low due to factors involving non- and mis-reporting of incidences.
While famous transgender individuals like Chaz Bono and "Hung" actress Jamie Clayton help bring visibility to trans people and issues, sometimes lesser known members of the community can also play a huge role in raising awareness.
For many people who do not regularly interact with trans people (or gay, lesbian, or bi people for that matter) -- or do not know they're interacting -- hearing stories from and becoming acquainted with trans people can help educate, demystify, and foster understanding and acceptance.
Recently, 18-year-old Owen Middleton began documenting his transition on YouTube. His first video appeared on November 10th, before beginning testosterone.
In it he notes he has been transitioning for "about 15 months or so" and has so far gone through the "basic stuff" -- "coming out to people that I've known for a long time, introducing and presenting myself as male..." but, as he recently turned 18, he now has a prescription for testosterone therapy.
Since then, Middleton, who lives at home with his parents and his sister, has made several more videos, one explaining the differences between sex, sexuality, and gender, and two discussing his feelings and reactions to the testosterone therapy at the one-week and two-week milestones.
In the videos, Middleton shows off the needles he uses to inject himself in the thigh, discusses the small changes he's seen so far (including a little bit of acne), changes in the pitch of his voice, the strain his transition has put on his relationship with his sister, his aspirations to be a professional singer (and his worries that testosterone will affect his voice), his plans to learn how to shave from his uncle on video chat, and more.
Middleton's straightforward, honest, and candid approach to his transition makes his videos absolutely captivating and while he is informing people about a process that is still largely misunderstood -- and often demonized -- he has also captured our hearts at HuffPost Gay Voices and we can't wait for his next video.
Have a look at Middleton's video filmed after two weeks of testosterone (above) and subscribe to his YouTube channel to keep updated on his transition.
Also, check out 20 transgender pioneers in our slideshow below.
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