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    This Cartoonist Is Using His Artwork To Document His Transition

    "It's always been therapeutic."

    Meet Erin Nations, a 33-year-old artist from Portland, Oregon.

    Growing up, Nations spent time redrawing cartoon characters or newspaper comic strips. He began creating his own characters in college, and now he's a talented illustrator and cartoonist who publishes several zines and comic strips.

    A year and a half ago, Nations began transitioning and taking regular testosterone. As a trans artist, he's been using the power of illustration to document the physical changes he encounters along the way.

    "I realized the only way I'd be happy and feel like my true self was if I transitioned," Nations, who came out to his family when he was 30, told BuzzFeed News.

    His Instagram and Tumblr is filled with doodles that confront the anxiety of living with gender dysphoria: the feelings of discomfort people experience when the gender they were assigned at birth does not match up with their gender identity.

    But making comics about his transition was never something Nations actually planned to do. "It's always been therapeutic," Nations said.

    "Before I was making comics about my transition, I was working on a comic about my experience as a triplet. However, I became so distracted by gender dysphoria, that I couldn't focus on the comic."

    Nation's first memory of dealing with gender dysphoria was when he was 9 years old, before he even knew what it meant to be transgender.

    "I vividly remember spinning on a tire swing, desperately wishing I had the same anatomy as all the boys," he said. "I came out as gay when I was 21 and by then I had repressed my trans identity, but by my mid-twenties I became more aware of my dysphoria and I began questioning my gender."

    "When the dysphoria got really bad, that's when I finally came to terms with being trans. Like any coming out, it's a process."

    Nations receives messages from trans kids and teens who tell him they can relate personally to his work — or that they're just so happy to find a trans comic.

    "For others, it's interesting or educational to them," Nations said. "For readers with little understanding of what it's like to be trans, I hope my comics are insightful enough that people gain some perspective and they are bit more aware."

    You can follow Nation's transition story (and awesome art) on his Instagram, @elnations.