Pedro started developing breasts in middle school. When he first noticed them, he stopped taking his shirt off at the beach or the pool. But Pedro loved sports, and by high school, he couldn’t hide his breasts from his teammates. “People picked on me, and I tried to laugh it off,” he said. “In the locker room they would call me names and flick my boobs. It wouldn’t stop.”
Pedro said he didn’t let the relentless bullying from school stop him from playing sports, but when he came home he would release his anger on his family. “It caused me to damage the house,” Pedro said. “I broke my hand punching the wall.” His mother, Debbie, said, “It broke my heart with him coming home and lashing out. Me and my mom didn’t know what to do but give him love and affection.”
Now graduated, Pedro works full time and hopes to raise enough money for the operation to have the breasts removed -- an operation that has, so far, been too expensive and out of reach for the family.
As one of the thousands of young men suing Johnson & Johnson, Pedro says “they need to pay us what they owe us. They need to be held responsible. They need to admit that they hid something from us.”
If Pedro gets a recovery from Johnson & Johnson, he said “the first thing I’m going to do is get my body where I want it to be.” That, he hopes, will make it more likely for him to have a relationship and possibly get married. For now, he says that he’s had a lot of time to live with his body, and that he’s no longer ashamed. And then he added a caveat: “90% not ashamed.”
Pedro sits at the dining room table in the home he shares with his mother, Debbie, shown in the background. The bandage on his arm is from a blood donation he made earlier in the day.