Our People: Maks Gomez

Activist, Massage Therapist, Actor

Maks Gomez knew at an early age that something was not right. His body was assigned female at birth. He felt out of place and unhappy with the reflection in the mirror. It was in his early thirties when he was able to reckon with the fact that he was transgender.

He is much happier today after going on hormone therapy and then having a masectomy performed by Dr. Blair Wormer with Novant Health Appel Plastic Surgery. Gomez is living life feeling like his true self. As a husband, father, massage therapist and actor, Gomez adds activist to his list of talents. He enjoys helping his transgender massage clients and works with the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group.

Can you tell me about your recent gender-affirming surgery?
I had a bilateral mastectomy, commonly known as “top surgery.” I can’t even put into words the difference in how I feel without the literal weights around my neck, which also often got me labeled as a woman.

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When did you begin receiving gender-affirming medical treatments and care?
I began testosterone early January of 2019, first thanks to Planned Parenthood.

How has life been since beginning your journey?
Awesome. Finding words for who I was and the reason for why I never felt right has been liberating. I am more ME than I have ever been, and I am much happier.

What are some other gender-affirming milestones that may be particularly significant to you?
A friend’s kid called me “Uncle Maks” and it made my year!

What advice can you offer other trans individuals who may be considering gender-affirming care?
Find a provider that is, at minimum, affirming and open to learning from their peers. We have many who have come before us so that we can have safe and affirming care. Please use it. You’ll wish you’d started sooner.

Can you tell me about your massage business and how it came about?
I kind of fell into massage therapy. I had dropped out of college due to my health (I have Coeliac disease which was undiagnosed at the time), then had a baby. I wanted to work again and go back to school. I went to a local place I had seen before, where they had cosmetology and other programs. The massage program was starting the next week, so I ended up enrolling. Mythic Massage is my third massage business since I graduated, and my mindset behind it has heavily been towards movement and improving that for people. I say I focus on performance, pain management and prenatal because those are three places in massage where I stand out. I have a lot of success with people in those categories, and I feel like my identity and experiences really help support that.

Can you tell me about your talk on how to approach trans patients who bind their chest?
I offer self-massage workshops for those who bind, in addition to consultations for specifics, but generally we discuss how the muscles between the ribs need a lot of attention when binding, due to the constant compression in addition to the shoulders and muscles involved in respiration.

Do you plan to revisit acting now that you’ve taken the next step in becoming yourself?
Yes! I regularly appear in shows on Facebook since the pandemic/my surgery, and it has been amazing to be back and to be seen for me. I’m in a group called “LiveStream: Now Playing” where we perform Zoom parodies of films like Young Frankenstein and Die Hard. I am also in a bi-weekly international show called “Dramatis Personae: a Star Trek Read-Aloud Show,” where we act out and discuss episodes from a queer and left-leaning angle. We have raised $250 for the Transgender Law Center and now we are raising funds for Mermaids in the U.K. Both shows are on Facebook.

Tell me a little bit about your acting career?
My favorite role from before was as a gun-wielding fast-talking Western girl in a web series called “Bagmen,” which sadly never aired. I’m in this film called Invasion of the Killer Cicadas, and it’s the only film I’ve been to a premiere for. It’s such a fun film, and I just watch the girl like she’s some other actor. It’s a silly creature feature. Plays are really difficult to make time for in my life, with a business, schoolwork and kids, but someday I’ll do them again.

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In what ways are you involved in the LGBTQ community?
I’m a member of the Charlotte Gaymers group and also the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group. I love helping to make sure people in our community can access care that is knowledgeable and affirming.

What is your involvement with the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group (CTHCG)?
Last year, I was the chair of the Community Outreach and Education Committee, which didn’t leave me with a lot to do, due to the pandemic. In November, I transitioned to administration of the CTHCG COVID-19 Grant, where we have been able to provide Hormone Replacement Therapy and mental health care for some members of the community. As a group, we are looking forward to expanding offerings in the future as we apply for more grants.

What is your favorite food?
Boxed mashed potatoes. I don’t know why; they’re not fancy, but I find them very yummy and comforting.

What is your favorite color?
Yellow.

What is your and your family’s favorite restaurant?
We love Pure Pizza.

Tell me a little about your spouse and your children? How have they supported you during your journey?
My husband and my kids are my staunchest allies. My kids are the first to correct anyone who gets my pronouns wrong, as they have all adjusted with great ease. I think they can see how much more comfortable I am in general. It’s great when they make an effort to point out how “masculine” I look.

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