Three hours before Michael David Battle starts his day, he begins thinking about binding his breasts, and the questions he might face. What shirt will best conceal his chest? What if someone addresses him by the wrong pronoun? "It's much different than ‘I really hate my body,'" says Battle. "It's that constant fear and dysphoria that goes with you every single day of your life." Battle, who identifies as a black man of transgender experience, binds his chest daily and has taken hormones for two years. On Aug. 29, he will have chest reconstruction surgery. He'll pay for the procedure — all $6,738 of it — with money from fundraising and his own savings.
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