This story originally aired January 21, 2017.
Malcolm Rene Ribot has been busy exploring America for the past year and a half. He’s hiked mountains, swam in hidden lakes, touched the waters of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and slept under the stars. He’s done this in 48 states and plans on visiting the last two — Hawaii and Alaska — in the next few months.
Everywhere he’s gone, he’s had the company of new friends.
The reason he’s been traveling the country is to reach out to individual transgender men on their turf and introduce them to other transgender men who live in the area. Malcolm hosts casual meet-ups in bars and restaurants, invites transgender men to attend and get to know each other, and then he spends a few days exploring the local scenery in their company.
So far, he’s met a thousand transgender men in the tiniest towns and the biggest cities in our country.
For the past three years, Malcolm has been chronicling his transition experience online, from female to male. He’s well-known under the name “GorillaShrimp,” which is an old nickname and a hat-tip to his short size.
Malcolm says he was able to transition, in part, because he had lots of support from trans men who helped guide him through the unique process of taking hormones, having surgery and changing legal documents.
As Malcolm became popular online, other transgender guys began reaching out to him and sharing their stories and asking him questions. And many of them told Malcolm the same thing: that they didn’t know anyone else who was transgender, and they wished they did, because they felt isolated and lonely.
Malcolm knew he had to do something to help people connect with each other and so he began what he thought would be a short roadtrip, but it has since grown into something much bigger.