James Barnes, a transgender man who transitioned from female to male eight years ago, has garnered attention on the internet for a video in which he tearfully expresses the difficulties he has faced in forming meaningful friendships as a man compared to when he presented as a woman.
Barnes, who works as a life coach supporting individuals through life changes, recently opened up about the loneliness he has experienced since transitioning to male.
In the emotional video, Barnes confesses, “No one told me how lonely it is to be a man. I had closer friendships with random women I met in clubs’ bathrooms before transitioning because women are more open. In my eight years of transitioning, it has been much harder to build those deep, vulnerable connections with men.”
He elaborates on the contrast, stating, “Before transitioning, we knew what it felt like to have people want to talk to us, hug us, and be part of a community. But after transitioning, you’re just a guy walking down the street whom people avoid. Building friendships becomes significantly more challenging, and people are colder.”
As a motivational speaker, Barnes fights back tears and highlights the higher suicide rates among men, emphasizing the loneliness he believes contributes to this statistic. He admits, “As an emotionally mature man who knows how to build friendships, it’s still incredibly difficult.”
Barnes, who is married to his wife Courtney, posted the video along with a caption emphasizing the need to acknowledge the caution and wariness women and marginalized groups may have towards men. However, he also urges compassion for men, as they too can experience emotional detachment and lack of empathy, leading them to deal with broken pieces on their own, told Daily Mail.
He adds, “I want to bring awareness to the fact that we have stripped men of empathy, vulnerability, and kindness, only to criticize them for knowing anger, aggression, and violence. I was fortunate to be raised in a society that perceived me as female, allowing me to learn emotional maturity. Yet, it remains challenging to navigate.”
While Barnes initially posted the tearful video in October 2022, he provides an update, sharing that he has since built meaningful friendships with men and is no longer consumed by sadness. He emphasizes the power of vulnerability in forging connections.
Responses to Barnes’ video have been mixed, with some commending his honest portrayal of the challenges faced by transgender men. Others express empathy but caution against assuming that criticisms of cisgender men are universally valid, which may hinder potential friendships. Several viewers appreciate Barnes’ unique perspective, recognizing that societal expectations and standards for men contribute to feelings of loneliness.
The video has sparked discussions about the struggles men face and the need to support one another. Some viewers share their personal experiences, while others acknowledge the profound insights it provides into contemporary culture and its flaws.