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By Hein Kaiser

Journalist


Ivar Didova’s ‘homecoming’ journey of becoming a man at 31

Ivar Didova now wants to help others through the same process.


It took Ivar Didova twelve years to go from making peace with the realisation that he was transsexual to plucking up the courage to transition from female to male.

He started the process last year at 31, and said that it finally feels as if he has come into his own.

In fact, Didova has made it his life’s work to support other men and women who feel trapped in the wrong biology, who are in the process of transitioning, or who simply wish to live their lives as the gender that they intend to be.

Didova provides support and sells the equipment, called binders and tuckers, to trans people around the world through his company Boyly.

Binders are fashion items that help to flatten the chest area and conceal breasts.

Tuckers, at its opposite, aid in folding the penis away. There are also packers, which allow for a bulge to be created inside a pair of pants, for trans men.

‘Going through puberty all over again’

Treatment to transition into a different gender is immensely challenging but equally rewarding, said Didova.

He said it can be particularly challenging for persons in their late twenties or thirties, as it is similar to going through puberty all over again, due to hormone treatment.

“You’ve got to deal with needing to eat more and your emotions all are all over the place. And, you know, maybe your skin will break out. Everything gets sore because it’s so almost like growing pains. Your body changes,” he said.

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But more than physical changes take place. Mindset changes occur during the transition process as well.  

Didova shared: “I would say a lot of people think it’s just an outwardly process, but it felt to me as if it activates that part of your DNA that would have been there if you had been born as male or female instead of what you are now currently. So, it’s so much more than just I want to look different.”

But despite the tough emotional and physical changes, he said that it has been one of the best journeys of his life, and he would not change it for anything.

He described becoming a man as a sort of homecoming.

He said: “I feel like I know myself now. For a long time before that, I didn’t know who I was or where I would fit into the world. I was very detached from myself. And this has really helped to ground me and make me a little bit more whole.

Attraction and sexuality

Didova is very open about his sexuality, and believes that no matter the gender you are, or become, attraction to another person should also not really have a gender-specific profile to it either.

He shared his own journey. First, as a woman, and later as a man.

Your sexuality will always be your sexuality, no matter what. So, when I was not on my treatment, I was mainly attracted to women. I was like, okay, cool, this is fine because I’m going to transition and I’m going to like women and I’ll just be a straight boy.

“And then it turned out that I don’t really like women anymore. And my friend jokingly said the other day, she said, well, this is proof that everyone’s just kind of born gay. Because if I was born gay then I would still just like girls, even though, you know, I’m on my testosterone and whatever.

“So, I don’t think that gender has anything to do with sexuality at all,” he said.

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Telling the family

Breaking the news to his family at the genesis of his transition was not easy.

Didova said that it was only recently that his siblings recognised him as a man. But he said that it Is probably the hardest journey of acceptance for parents.

“It’s difficult for parents because I think everyone to an extent feels that they did something wrong, or it was their fault or it’s something bad.

“My mom, for instance, her and I, we didn’t really have a conversation. She just asked me one day, ‘Are you on hormones?’ I said, yes, and that was it. But I know other people struggle just as much as they would have, coming out as gay. A lot of people are left homeless afterwards.

“But I think we must also understand that less understanding people come from a different time,” he explained.

Helping others

Didova feels the work he is doing is important. It helps people to live the lives that they want to, especially people who are unable to afford gender transition.

He said of the time when he first needed a binder: “I thought, man, I can’t afford this thing. And then I thought maybe if I could make them and make them for cheaper, I’d be helping a whole lot of people instead of just myself. And that’s how it all started.”

While the lives of people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella are being normalised to those unfamiliar with them, it is early days yet.

To Didova, Pride month should be about remembering those who had gone before him, who protested and fought for rights and recognition.

He said: “We didn’t have as many rights and freedoms and who many of them died for the cause. Pride Month is very important and should still be continuing to be celebrated. But I would like to see more. I would like it to be more educational.”

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