Nickolas J. McDaniel, M.A.

"A Peaceful Focus"

His Story

That Was Then... 

Nickolas J. McDaniel was born in Salinas, California on October 26, 1972. At birth he was erroneously proclaimed female. All his legal documentation gendered him as female. His body told a lie that others used to define him; however, he was a female-bodied man. For almost thirty years Nickolas didn't possess the terms to tell anyone that this misconception was incorrect.  His physical sex was a birth defect. Until beginning masculinizing hormones at 30 years of age, his body did not fit his male gender identity.   He was a stranger in his own skin. From his earliest memory he hated his body.  Society taught him to hate himself.

Growing up, Nickolas was not allowed to play football, join the Boy Scouts, or ask a girl to the prom like the other boys. He dreamed of learning to surf, being a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders, flying an F-18 fighter jet off of an aircraft carrier and dating a woman that kissed like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun when he grew up. He was rejected by peers who saw him "too masculine". Nickolas was a target of insults, physical violence and sexual assault at school, home, medical settings and on the street for not conforming to the gender role as defined by the physical sex assigned him at birth. Others saw him not as a human being, but as "it". People asked, "What is it, a boy or a girl?"  His family whispered he was a tomboy who would eventually "grow out of it". He never did.

As an adult he walked a fine line between being true to his masculine identity and survival. For his perceived gender transgressions Nickolas was the target of prejudice, discrimination, hatred, insults, gender conversion therapy, gang rape by female schoolmates and a hate crime. He weighed well over 600 lbs., was misdiagnosed as mentally ill, dropped out of junior college and continued various self-injurious behaviors that began as coping mechanisms when he was six years old.
He was rendered non-productive by the profound depths of a very dark depression. His body was a body bag that kept him shackled to a horrific existence he wanted no part of. At the age of 27, Nickolas' brother took him to a movie that saved his life. On the screen he finally saw Brandon Teena, a man who he could identify with.  He learned about terms such as transsexualism so he could finally articulate what was going on. 

For the first time in his life, Nickolas had the hope that someday someone might care for or even love him...


 To read more of his story...

         Age: 13 years old.

Age: Early 20s.