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How Being Mugged At Gunpoint Changed This Trans Man's Life

02/05/2015 12:41 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

When author Thomas Page McBee first sat down to pen his experience of being mugged at gunpoint in 2010, he thought the focus would be on what occurred. But, as he told HuffPost Live on Tuesday, something "beautiful" happened afterward, which served as his impetus for coming out as transgender.

McBee, whose book is called Man Alive, explained to host Ricky Camilleri that as he was being mugged, it became very clear that his attacker initially perceived him as presenting as a man. When his attacker seemed to believe that a pre-transitioned McBee wasn't presenting as male, he was let go.

"I had a gut feeling that this had to do with me not being perceived as male," McBee said. "And that was later confirmed because [my attacker] went on to shoot another man and kill another man in very similar sort of setups, and I was the only person in the series that was allowed to escape."

Despite this "terrifying" experience, it helped McBee begin to unravel his gender identity and masculinity, and he soon realized that the way he was being perceived wasn't the way he was perceiving himself. Thereafter, he came out as transgender.

"I had a near-death experience that helped me realize, of course, that I wasn’t living the life I wanted, which is what often happens for people," he said. "But what was interesting for me was that it was also a mirror back into the way I was perceived in the world, and that didn’t feel quite right."

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