Identical twins Angel and Fabian Griffin do everything together. They are both aspiring rappers, they train together at the gym, they wingman each other on a night out, and both drive trucks for a living.
And they also made the decision to transition from female to male together.
The 29-year-old brothers, from Atlanta, knew they’d have trouble as young black men in America and discussed in depth the difficulties that would come with it.
But they knew they were in the wrong bodies since they were 10 and decided to go through with the transition many years later.
The Mississippi-born twins moved to Atlanta with their mother and were always dressed in matching clothes when they were growing up.
One of the twins, Angel, tried to be in a relationship with a man in high school but knew it wouldn’t work out.
‘We only dated for a short period of time,’ he said. ‘I knew I was not comfortable dating men after that. I was like okay this is not for me. And I broke up with him and then maybe about three months later I had sickness and I was pregnant. So that’s how I ended up with my son Carlos.
After having Carlos, Angel, went to Iraq with the military. When he turned 21, Angel realised transitioning was a possibility.
‘I was in Iraq and I don’t even know how it happened or what made me do a search, I immediately called Fabian and I said “I’m changing my gender, you can change your gender” and he was like ‘I’m doing it too”.’
Fabian added: ‘When we finally came to the decision to move forward with our transition the first person we talked to was mum, we told her what we were gonna do.
‘I wasn’t nervous about it! I felt happy, I felt relieved! Actually telling her after I felt like I lost 10 pounds off my shoulder just by telling her, so yeah it felt good telling her.
‘Being transgender and being somebody of colour, I definitely want to knock down the stereotypes.’
Angel echoed Fabian’s thoughts about being introduced to new stereotypes as a black man.
was kind of a nerve-wracking thing to be driving or going out walking, you don’t know if you are gonna get pulled over by the cops, which we have.
‘We also got followed in a store and I was like “this is what black men go through”.’
They said their closeness helped them through the journey, as they understood from a young age they both felt the same way.
‘We knew that we were somehow different but we didn’t know what it was,’ said Angel.
‘We didn’t question each other why we felt that way we just knew to talk to each other about it. It was almost natural.’
Both attracted to girls, the twins tried to keep their sexuality hidden during high school.
After speaking to their mother about it and Angel’s son Carlos, they travelled to Las Vegas where they had surgery a month apart from one another.
Now trying to get into the music industry, the twins hope they can open up doors for other black trans artists and challenge people’s perceptions of being black and trans.