Cameron Mazzeo

Tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? What are your interests? What are your pronouns?

My name is Cameron or Cam for short. I’m a 33-year-old polyamorous bisexual trans-man, and my pronouns are he/him/his. I live with my nonbinary nesting partner of 5 years, our cat and dog fur-babies, my old demon cat, my parents, their small dog, my sister, my 87-year-old Abuelita, and her two parakeets near the coast of New Jersey. My partner and I also have 2 wonderful partners in PA. My interests include being creative through various art mediums such as photography, writing, sewing, and more as well as playing video games, watching movies, and reading a variety of books. I also enjoy spending quality time with friends, traveling, working out, and volunteering. 

About how old were you when you came out? How was the climate you grew up in?

I “came out” several times in my life. I first came out as bisexual when I was 15 years old in the early 2000s. I flip-flopped between bisexual and lesbian throughout high school. I recall the high school would not “allow” our small group of LGBT students to have a GSA because they didn’t want to “promote” that type of lifestyle. We gathered in a group called “Social Justice Committee” where we fought against homophobia, racism, and other social injustices very broadly. I was out, but I did not talk about it especially because at the time I was part of the girl’s varsity soccer team and I constantly worried I would be targeted in the locker room. It never happened, but there was always a distance between me and the other girls at the time. Some of my peers experienced bullying, and many teachers turned a blind eye to it.

When I was 18 I came out as transgender. I remember the only information online I could find about it when I was coming out were these very negative statistics. I secretly did all my research in the corner of the library at college, and everything I found reiterated that I would likely lose my family and friends, never be hired for a job, and likely turn to illegal work to survive (sex work or drugs), and eventually either get HIV or get arrested where I could expect a plethora of terrible things to happen to me. So I was absolutely and completely terrified to come out, but also I was so miserable I decided it was necessary away. Early on I would not have categorized my family as supportive, but overall they were fine, they took some time to get used to the idea and then became huge supporters over the course of 3 or 4 years. My friends never wavered. I had weird issues with jobs. One would not let me use my chosen name for my name badge even though I was passing as male. Another made me call several high-up officials in HR before I was given the ok to use the men’s room. Yet I always found work. So I can’t really complain.

After a few years in my late 20s, I came out as polyamorous to a few close friends and family. Most people are still unaware of this detail because there is still a lot of misconceptions and stigma. Eventually, my partners and I are planning on living together, and we have no intention of hiding our relationship despite the possible backlash. We hope when that time finally comes, we hope having non-monogamous relationship will more accepted socially than it is right now.

Did you make career choices that allowed you to feel comfortable being open about your sexuality? (Are you out or feel comfortable being out at your workplace?)

I do feel safe and supported at my job. The LGBTQ health and wellness clinic is very aware of all my identities and I am very pleased with how they support me. I do all my primary care here so my co-workers are also my providers. While no facility is perfect, I have been so very happy that I feel comfortable enough to have frank conversations about my personal sexual health along with my general health with my providers. I mean we have talked about PREP prophylactically, STI testing, estrogen vaginal suppositories, hormone replacement therapy, gender reassignment surgeries, mental health medications, and even the best pregnancy prevention methods for me. They have been happy to meet and hear about my partners, and my co-workers do their best to also respect my partners’ gender identities. I honestly could not be happier with the care the office has shown me.

If you could tell your younger self something about yourself that you are proud of today, what would it be?

I would say: deciding to live will be more meaningful than you can even possibly see now. You will end up helping a lot of people, more people than you can ever meet in a lifetime. Some you will know and help directly, but there are others whose name you will never hear or whose eyes you will never see. There will be people who listen to the worst parts of your life story from your lips, from word of mouth, from a podcast, or a website and they will find hope in your words; because if you can do it maybe they can too? Nothing will ever feel better than hearing they didn’t give up because you endured. One day when you look back and know a bunch of people kept going because of you, you’ll be pretty grateful you endured too.

Have you tried to surround yourself with like-minded peers/colleagues? If so, how?

Yes, to some extent. Like most people, I find comfort in people who have similar interests and values. I can be civil but often don’t go out of my way to engage with people who have a very different idea of the world, more out of my own comfort and self-preservation. So if I have colleagues that feel differently we can be friendly and talk while we work together, I may even hang out outside of work for a period. However, my friend group whom I go out of my way to spend time with is primarily made up of fairly liberal, sex-positive, often queer individuals. I seek out those communities and find connections there easily. 

Who were your role models growing up? What tv shows/movies allowed you to feel seen?

My role model was always Mia Hamm because soccer was my whole world for most of my life. I couldn’t tell you another one. Now, I would say Keanu Reeves because he does wonderful things but stays very humble.

I love movies! I recall being drawn to Alex Mac, I think because she dressed in that grunge 90s style: backward baseball cap, a t-shirt under an oversized old flannel, jeans, and sneakers. The first movie I felt super connected to was probably Tarzan. In retrospect, I think it was because Tarzan grew up in a world that he didn’t quite connect with, and regardless of whether he was with gorillas or men he always felt different as a result, kind of like I did/do. All my favorite films have that theme: Tarzan, Balto, Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon, Home. The first grown-up film I connected with was Interview with the Vampire; which I later realized was because it was a film with homo-erotic family themes but presented in a way not easily recognized by cis-hetero filmgoers. My first real queer film was But I’m a Cheerleader, and I had a major crush on Clea Duvall’s character.

Complete the sentence, if I knew ____________ back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that _____________________?

If I had known what transgender was back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self to push to go on hormone blockers.

I’m not certain I did this exercise correctly. My one wish would be to have gone on puberty blocker when I was 11. It would have saved me so much anguish and money later in my life. Honestly, I didn’t even know transitioning was an option back then, so it was never a real possibility. That is one major thing I would have changed if I could have. My mom often says the same thing. She wishes she knew this was even an option because I spent so many years so miserable, and little things (clothes, pronouns, sports, blockers) could have made all the difference back then.  

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