Feeling unable to continue living as Juanita, he swallowed a bottle of Excedrin®. His mother rushed him to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. He was diagnosed with gender identity disorder and, throughout the next decade, went to a series of Mormon doctors looking for answers. During this time he cut his breasts with razor blades and continued to battle thoughts of suicide.
In college, Juan—who was still living as Juanita—met a therapist who finally gave him hope. The doctor prescribed testosterone. "It was either change or die," Juan says. "It was time to try something new, even though it went against my religious beliefs."
Then he began going by Juan and had a hysterectomy and chest reconstruction. Juan is very excited about his final surgery—genital reassignment. How are doctors able to give him a penis? "They use what nature's given you," Juan explains, "and they nip and tuck. … I'm so looking forward to that day! … When people ask me if I miss being a woman, I'm like, 'Do you miss having cancer?' It's the same feeling."