Coffee and Feelings: I woke up this way #6 Rex Cameron and Body Alchemy

The news broke a couple of weeks ago that Rex (Loren) Cameron had passed away in November of 2022.  This photo is of my original copy of his book, Body Alchemy, that I still have.  I studied that book daily in the year before I transitioned or maybe it was the year of my transition.  1996 or 1997, suddenly the exact year eludes me.  In the mid-90’s where I was living (Minneapolis) I knew no trans masculine people who had medically transitioned and I had one trans masc. friend.  I flipped through that book almost daily, reading the text, studying the photos, hoping for myself that I could change my body and find some peace.  Body Alchemy was a lifeline, it came along at a moment when the internet was still young.  If it had been 10 years later I would have most likely been spending my time googling to find affirmation and representation.  I did spend time online on the FTM International (organization) website and found some trans representation on the internet but it was less accessible.  Most days, Body Alchemy felt like all I had, the only place to find other trans men, the only place to see myself reflected back at me.  I looked into Cameron’s eyes and at his sculpted body and gave myself permission to hope and dream about becoming a man, changing my body, making peace with my body.  I wanted to be any of the guys on those pages but I especially wanted to be Rex.  I studied his muscles and hoped my skinny 125 lb. frame could become like his,  bulging with muscles or at least well toned.  Back then I had this idea that I just had to imagine the body I wanted and that desire, imagination and testosterone mixed together would magically shape me in that image.  Like I had picked my new trans body out of a catalog and put it on my wish list and it would arrive in the mail a few months later.  I found some peace but it wasn’t quite like that.   I didn’t know Rex but I feel indebted to and so grateful for him.  By the time I moved to San Francisco my memory of Body Alchemy and that time in my life was faded and while I occasionally thought of him, I never tried to find or connect with him here.  The news of his passing took 3-4 months to break in the trans masc. community and people he was once close to spoke of how they hadn’t seen him in years.  I feel a real sadness and sense of loss because he gave me so much and had a big impact on me.  Rest in Power, Rex,  and thank you for all you gave me.