Cole Hayes, at 23 years old, speaks like a guy with much more age and experience under his belt. Less than a year ago he made the decision to transition from female to male after having begun to establish himself as a female actress and model. Cole landed a role in the film The Swat on which Chraci Littlejohn was a writer and talked the director into casting Cole in the role of a fly. She had ulterior motives as she was writing a script for her own film and was interested in seeing how Cole acted and worked. As a result, he got the starring role in a local feature film called Nevermind the Knife, and as hard as it was to give it up, he realized he didn’t feel comfortable playing a female role during his time of transition. In addition, he didn’t want to be forever recorded in history in his first starring role as a female when his identity was clearly so male. The writer/director of the film, Chraci, knew Cole was special and didn’t want to lose him. She offered him a different part in the film, as a bartender interacting with the two main characters in a pivotal scene, which he accepted. “I wanted this to be a situation where sometimes, when someone is able to be public about who they really are, good things still happen,” she said.
When I asked about how he spends his time these days, he said, “Basically right now my biggest passion is transgender advocacy. I spend about 90 percent of my time doing that now, so it has kind of taken over.” Cole says he has been really lucky to have supportive friends and family who didn’t really bat an eye when he came out as transgender. His mother had a hard time because she thought she was losing a daughter but Cole points out, “I’m not going anywhere, it’s just the physical side that is changing.” He says that when people find out he’s transgender, they think it’s okay to ask him all the personal questions that they’d never ask anyone else. That can make being an advocate personally challenging at times but he works through it and keeps persevering. “I’m fighting for my brothers and sisters, and I’m happy that I’m able to do that,” he says. “I’ve never felt so fiery and passionate before!” Cole feels that there aren’t enough people advocating for trans* rights and the argument from some people who say they feel like trans* issues are being shoved down their throats holds no water. It’s necessary for all people to know the issues that exist in order for true equality to happen.
He tries to make room for creativity every day and says that without it “I’d lose my mind!” Cole was helped along on his journey by discovering a YouTube channel called FTMtranstastic and has now created his own YouTube Channel called Cole Hayes to chronicle his transition. In addition, he is also involved with a documentary featuring himself and two other people also in the process of transitioning from female to male called Finally Free-A Transgender Experience. To keep up on Cole’s work, check out his YouTube channel and support his next film Nevermind the Knife.