Transgender Terms

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There are a ton of transgender related terms out there. This post will give you a good idea of the main terms used in the transgender community and their definitions. If you have any questions about them please comment below and I will try my best to answer them.

Gender identity- A person’s innate, deeply-felt psychological identification as a man, woman, or something else, which may or may not correspond to the person’s external body or assigned sex at birth.

Gender expression- The external manifestation of a person’s gender identity, which may or may not conform to the socially-defined behaviors and external characteristics that are commonly referred to as either masculine or feminine. These behaviors and characteristics are expressed through carriage (movement), dress, grooming, hairstyles, jewelry, mannerisms, physical characteristics, social interactions, and speech patterns (voice).Those people whose gender expression is (1) neither masculine nor feminine or (2) different from traditional or stereotypic expectations of how a man or woman should appear or behave are sometimes referred to as gender non-conforming.

Transgender- An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender
expression differs from their assigned sex at birth (i.e., the sex listed on their birth certificates). Some groups define the term more broadly (e.g., by including intersex people) while other people define it more narrowly (e.g., by excluding “true transsexuals”). Transgender people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Transition- The process that people go through as they change their gender expression and/or physical appearance (e.g., through hormones and/or surgery) to align with their gender identity. A transition may occur over a period of time, and may involve coming out to family, friends, co-workers, and others; changing one’s name and/or sex designation on legal documents (e.g., drivers’ licenses, birth certificates); and/or
medical intervention.

Gender affirmation-Many people view their coming out as an affirmation of the gender
identity they have always had, rather than a transition from one gender identity to another. They may prefer to call themselves “affirmed females” (or just “females”) or “affirmed males” (or just “males”) rather than “transgender” or “transsexuals” because the “trans” prefix suggests they have changed, rather than accepted, their true gender
identity. This is consistent with the concept that people do not need to have any surgery in order to affirm their gender.

Androgyne- Refers to someone whose gender identity is both male and female, or
neither male nor female. A person might present as androgynous, and/or as sometimes male and sometimes female, and might choose to use an androgynous name. Pronoun preference typically varies, including alternately using male or female pronouns, using the pronoun that matches the gender presentation at that time, or using newly developed gender-neutral pronouns (e.g., hir, zie).

Cisgender- People whose gender identity and gender expression align with their
assigned sex at birth (i.e., the sex listed on their birth certificates). Cisgender is a newer term that some people prefer when writing and speaking about transgender and non-transgender people, with the nontransgender people being referred to as “cisgender”. In this manner, a transgender person is not singled out as being different or not normal.

Coming out- The process of accepting, and telling others about, one’s theretofore
hidden gender identity, gender affirmation, or sexual orientation.

Cross-dressers-  People who wear clothing, jewelry, and/or make-up not traditionally or
stereotypically associated with their anatomical sex, and who generally have no intention or desire to change their anatomical sex. Crossdressing is more often associated with men, is more often engaged in on an occasional basis, and is not necessarily reflective of sexual orientation or gender identity. Cross-dressing may be engaged in for numerous reasons, including a need to express femininity/masculinity, artistic expression, performance (e.g., drag queen/king), or erotic enjoyment.

Gender or Gender role- Refers to the traditional or stereotypical behavioral differences
between men and women, as defined by the culture in which they live, in terms of, among others things, their gender expressions, the careers they pursue, and their duties within a family.

Bigender-Similar to genderqueer and androgyne, these terms refer to gender
variations other than the traditional, dichotomous view of male and female. People who self-refer with these terms may identify and present themselves as both or alternatively male and female, as no gender, or as a gender outside the male/female binary.

Gender dysphoria- Some people prefer this term over “gender identity disorder” because it has a less stigmatizing impact.

Gender Identity Disorder-According to DSM-IV-TR, Gender Identity Disorder is the diagnosis used when a person has (1) a strong and persistent cross-gender identification and (2) persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex, and the disturbance (3) is not concurrent with physical intersex condition and (4) causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Gender non-conforming- People whose gender expression is (1) neither masculine nor feminine or (2) different from traditional or stereotypic expectations of how a man or woman should appear or behave.

Genderqueer- This term is generally used in two ways: (1) as an umbrella term that
includes all people whose gender varies from the traditional norm, akin to the use of the word “queer” to refer to people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual only; or (2) to describe a subset of individuals who are born anatomically female or male, but feel their gender identity is neither female or male.

Intersex- A spectrum of conditions involving anomalies of the sex chromosomes, gonads, reproductive ducts, and/or genitalia. The most traditional definition of intersex refers to individuals born with both male and female genitalia, or genitalia that are not clearly male or female. A person may have elements of both male and female anatomy, have different internal organs than external organs, or have anatomy that is inconsistent with chromosomal sex. This condition is sometimes not identified until puberty, when the person either fails to develop certain expected secondary sex characteristics, or develops characteristics that were not expected. “Hermaphrodite” is an old term previously used instead of “intersex”and is now considered pejorative.

Neo-vagina- While this is the technical term for when a vagina is surgically created
and is suitable for use when having a discussion with another medical professional, it is not a term that should be used with a client during routine office visits or routine gynecological examinations. A clinician need not remind a female client that she has a neo-vagina. Simply say “vagina”.

Outing- The unauthorized disclosure by one person of another person’s theretofore hidden gender identity, gender affirmation, or sexual orientation.

Passing- When people are perceived as the gender they are presenting in (e.g., based on their dress and mannerisms match according to social norms). For example: an anatomical male dressed as a female who is perceived by others as female, or a transman who is perceived as a man.

Sex- In a dichotomous scheme, the designation of a person at birth as either “male” or “female” based on their anatomy (genitalia and/or reproductive organs) and/or biology (chromosomes and/or hormones). Sometimes “sex” and “gender” are used interchangeably. For clarity, it is better to distinguish sex, gender identity, and gender expression from each other.

Sexual orientation- A person’s enduring physical, romantic, emotional, and/or spiritual
attraction to another person. May be lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. Sexual orientation is distinct from sex, gender identity, and gender expression. A person’s sexual orientation should not be assumed based on the perceived sex of that person’s partner(s). For example, a man who identifies himself as
heterosexual may have sexual relationships with men and women.

Stealth- When a transgender person who has transitioned into a different sex or
gender does not divulge the fact of transition. When a person has gone through gender affirmation and does not disclose that fact to others. The risk or fear of being “outed” may be very distressing to a person who is living stealth.

Top surgery- is a term most often used by transmen to refer to the removal of breast tissue, relocation and resizing of nipple complexes, and chest reconstruction to a male chest structure.

Bottom surgery-is a term often used by both transmen and transwomen to refer to the alteration of their genitalia.

Trans-Short for a transgender person. Its use is similar to the use of the word “queer” by some LGBT people. Some people consider the terms tranny, trans, and/or queer derogatory, especially when used by someone who is not transgender or lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Transman/FTM- Generally refers to someone who was identified female at birth but
who identifies and portrays his gender as male. People will often use this term after taking some steps to express their gender as male, or after medically transitioning. Some, but not all, transmen make physical changes through hormones or surgery. Some people will refer to themselves as men of transgender experience. Some transmen do not use FTM (female-to-male) to describe themselves because they don’t think of themselves as having transitioned from female to male. Some people prefer to be referred to as men rather than transmen or transgender men.

Transphobia- Dislike of, or discomfort with, people whose gender identity and/or
gender expression do not conform to traditional or stereotypic gender roles.

Transwoman/MTF- Generally refers to someone who was identified male at birth but who identifies and portrays her gender as female. People will often use this term after taking some steps to express their gender as female, or after medically transitioning. Some, but not all, transwomen make physical changes through hormones or surgery. Some people will refer to themselves as women of transgender experience. Some transwomen do not use MTF (male-to-female) to describe themselves because they don’t think of themselves as having transitioned from male to female. Some people prefer to be referred to as women rather than transwomen or transgender women.

Two Spirit- People who display characteristics of both male and female genders.
Sometimes referred to as a third gender – the male-female gender. The term is derived from the traditions of some Native North American cultures. Two Spirit also means a mixture of masculine and feminine spirits living in the same body. This term also represents the self-identity description used by many Native American gay men who do not identify as cross-gendered or transgender.

These are some of the basic terms out there, but if you would like to find out more you can google transgender terms. There are a ton out there I just picked out the most common ones. I didn’t know a lot of these terms when I first came out so when I was doing research I came across a lot of these and had to google the definitions myself. I thought it would be great to have a list of some you could refer to for both transgender and cisgender people.

STI’s in the Transgender Community

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Did you know that STI’s are on the rise all over the world? Despite all the education and safety measures we have, the cases of reported STI’s is increasing every year. Mind you this is just the reported cases, can you imagine what the numbers would look like if you took all the non-reported cases and added them in. As of 2015 the CDC estimated there were 110 million cases of STI’s with approximately another 20 million each year after in the United States. The WHO organization estimates 357 million new infections each year world wide with approximately 1 million each day.

The CDC estimates approximately 1 million adults in the United States identify as transgender. The lack of knowledge regarding transgender people, and the social stigma and discrimination that accompanies homosexuality in our culture, transgender people regularly fall into a gray area that has very real and dangerous consequences. It is common that transgender people don’t get the healthcare they need which increases their chance of transmitting an STI or HIV as well as passing it on to their partner(s). Many doctors don’t have the training, both in terms of medical knowledge and sensitivity, to provide care for transgender people, especially if they’ve undergone sex reassignment surgery.

If a transgender person contracts an STI the physician can not go about identifying the disease the same way they would with a cis-gendered individual. The doctor needs to understand that transgender people’s bodies are different from cisgendered people. Despite me being a man I still have female genitals, therefore checking me for an STI would be different than checking a cisgendered male for STI’s. This is why it is important that the healthcare system is knowledgeable about transgender healthcare in order to properly diagnose diseases as well as be respectful to the person. In practice, transgender people may avoid screening procedures and physical examinations due to fear of discrimination, encountering providers who are inadequately trained in transgender health, or personal discomfort with the visit or exam. I go to the gyno on a regular basis because I take good care of my health, but it is a very unpleasant experience for me to do, like most transmen.

The prevalence of high-risk factors that are routine for many transgender people, such as homelessness, incarceration, unprotected anal sex, and being employed in sex work, combined with the fact that the hormones used can cause erectile dysfunction and lead many transgender women to assume the receptive role during sex, contributes to the reality that transgender women have the highest risk of contracting STI’s especially HIV/AIDS of all demographics worldwide. Additionally, studies have suggested that the increased anxiety caused by societal discrimination, abandonment by family, and sexual rejection lead to a higher instance of alcohol and substance abuse in the transgender community, which is associated with a higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV. Transgender women have a very high chance of contracting HIV; about 49 times the risk than the non-transgender population. Statistically, African American transgender women have the highest number of positive STI and HIV test results in the United States. According to the CDC more than half of all transgender people who were tested for HIV and STI’s were tested outside of a healthcare facility with 99 percent of them being transgender.

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More research is needed to identify and begin to tackle the issues plaguing the trans community, including the high risk of HIV infection, which in turn leads to a high risk of co-infection with other STI’s. The CDC provides support for health care and community organizations dedicated to helping transgender people. Campaigns designed to reduce the stigma associated with being transgender also help by creating a kinder, gentler environment and, hopefully, reducing the instances of physical and sexual violence against transgender individuals. As with any other demographic, getting tested for STI’s and HIV is pivotal for preventing the spread of disease. The problem in the transgender community is the lack of healthcare out there. Trying to find an educated physician who understands what transgender is, is hard to come by. Confidential STI testing can also alleviate the stress and potential mistreatment that comes with visiting a physician’s office.

 

The biggest factor in not contracting an STI or HIV is have protected sex and don’t reuse needles, especially from other people. Transgender people may be at a higher risk on contracting these diseases, but that doesn’t mean we can combat that and lower our risk through education and safe practices. Don’t be afraid to get checked and make sure you go to a reputable physician that hopefully is well versed in the trans community. Provide knowledge to your physician if they don’t know because the best advocates of our own healthcare is us and other people in the trans community. Stay protected out there and make sure you get tested.

 

 

Transgender Medications

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There are different medications used in the trans community to replace our natural bodies hormones, suppress these hormones, and others to help alleviate some of the side effects of the hormone replacements. Trans men, trans women, non-binary, and all other people on the trans spectrum might choose to take these medications as part of their transition. Of course some people who identify as trans may choose not to transition medically or at least not choose to take any medications to transition. Taking medications as part of someone’s transition is a personal choice and everyone has a separate journey to walk.

Lets start with some of the feminizing medications out there on the market today. Currently on the market there is estrogen (oestrogen), conjugated equine oestrogen, and ethinylestradiol. The most common drug used is estrogen (oestrogen) in a pill format, typically taken by trans woman. Estrogen (oestrogen) comes in different delivery methods other than just a pill. It also comes in a patch which is considered to be best for people over 40, smokers, and those with circulatory problems. Estrogen also comes in a gel delivery method which is applied to the thinnest part of your skin which is typically the under part of your forearm. With the gel you need to be cautious of not transferring it to other humans especially children and animals. The exposure to estrogen gel to children can be alarming, they can develop enlarged genitals, grow pubic hair, and grow breast. For animals who are exposed to estrogen gel they could act like they are in heat even if they have been spayed or neutered. Another form of feminizing hormones that can be used is conjugated equine oestrogen. This hormone is taken from mares’ urine and put into a pill delivery method. The method of collection of this hormone from horses over the years has been seen to be unethical so it is not commonly used as well has higher risk of side effects. The last feminizing hormone that can be taken but is not typically recommended by most medical professionals is ethinylestradiol. It is taken in a pill format and has the highest risk of side effects from all the feminizing hormones out there on the market today.

Individuals who take feminizing hormones are typically trans women who are also producing high levels of testosterone. Testosterone is considered a stronger hormone than estrogen so sometimes just taking a feminizing hormone isn’t enough to combat the effects of testosterone on the body. Medication to reduce testosterone effects is quite common when taking feminizing hormones, but isn’t always necessary in all cases. There are two medications typically given to help combat the effects of testosterone cyproterone acetate and spironolactone. Both medications are taken in a pill format and block the testosterone hormone. Cyproterone acetate works by blocking receptors and it is effective against testosterone produced by the adrenal glands as well as the testes. One thing people need to be cautious about with this medication is if you intake a large amount of alcohol it will reduce the effectiveness of this medication. Spironolactone is a well-tolerated and effective anti-androgen medication, but only focuses on the testosterone that is produced by the adrenal glands not the testes. Despite that this is the most common one dispensed by pharmacist for testosterone blocking medications.

Now on to masculinizing medications typically taken by trans men, but of course can be taken by anybody on the trans spectrum. Testosterone is the hormone used for trans men in their medical transition and is typically administered by way of intramuscular or subcutaneous injection every week to ten days. There are other ways in which to receive these medications as well, some of these methods are patches, gels, buccal (tablet held between cheek and gum until it’s dissolved), and tablets. Like I said the most common delivery method is injection because it more likely to consistently work and keep the testosterone levels up where they need to be. Depending on where you live depends on the type of testosterone you typically receive. The doctor may prescribe testosterone esters which is injected, testosterone enanthate which is also injected and typically used for people with peanut allergies, and testosterone undecanoate given in injection and pill format.

There are medications out there that someone could use to reduce their levels of estrogen. Typically this is not needed if the person is taking testosterone as the testosterone takes over the estrogen levels. There are two medications out there on the market that can be used to help reduce the amount of estrogen produced in the body. Goserelin and Leuprorelin are administered by subcutaneous injections and typically have few side effects. A lot of the time it is given to trans kids to stop puberty in order for them to determine later down the line if they would like to be put on testosterone.

Another medication that is used for trans men or individuals using testosterone is Finasteride. This medication is taken in a pill format and it reduces the effect of testosterone and promotes a modest regrowth of hair on the head if the hair follicles have not been inactive for too long. One of the side effects of testosterone is hair loss so this is one way that someone could combat this side effect. Typically your doctor will not readily prescribe this medication to you, you typically have to ask to have it prescribed.

The medications transgender individuals use need to be monitored by a license physician. Never try to monitor these medications yourself, or buy them off the black market. You are not a licensed physician and need to make sure you are monitored carefully to avoid any other health problems. Like any other medications these too have side effects and some can be life threatening which makes it even more imperative that you are followed by a licensed physician. If you have any questions about these medications leave a comment below.

 

Hate in the Trans Community

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Hate in any community is terrible, but when it happens in a community you are part of it always seems worse than others because you are directly affected by it. Being part of the LGBTQ community I have encountered a lot of hate from outside the community as well as inside the community. When I identified as a lesbian it was lesbians against gays and vice versa. I find the hatred to be even worse in the trans community. I’m not really sure why its worse in the trans community and maybe its my own perception, but I feel like its worse in the trans community than it was for me in the lesbian community. The hatred isn’t just transmen against transwomen it’s also transmen against transmen and transwomen against transwomen. We are all apart of the same community and should be supporting one another through our journeys whether they be easy or hard. People let envy and jealousy take over their thoughts and it gets in the way of how they truly feel about someone. The envy and jealousy turns to hate towards someone when you should be happy for that person instead of hateful towards them.

I personally had not experienced this type of hatred being trans until this last week which made me want to write this post. I recently posted on a social media website an update on my transition, not expecting a response from anyone on it just simply giving an update on my journey. A couple of days later I got a very nasty comment from a transwoman that stated that transmen think they are under represented in the trans community and we need to get over it. That we are all full of ourselves and that all we care about is male privilege. They went on to say that I should give up trying to be a man because I would never amount to what it takes to be a “true” man. When I read this my mouth dropped to the floor. To be perfectly honest I was flabbergasted by such a rude and uneducated comment from someone who didn’t even know me. The hate towards me was insatiable and this person couldn’t think of anything better to do, but hate on someone else. You expect these kinds of things from the cis community typically due to a lack of understanding on their end, but from someone within my own trans community was just more than I could even begin to imagine. I didn’t know how to respond to this person at that moment so I waited a couple of days to respond until I had my thoughts together. I simply told them that they were ignorant and need to educate themselves on transmen. Also that they shouldn’t hate on someone that is within their own community. They never did respond back to me after my comment, but I had a great response from other people in the community on backing me up and encouraging me to keep going with my transition.

Whether you understand something or someone or not you should never jump to your own conclusions about them. Trust me I know this is something that the human race does most of the time without the person even realizing it. We jump to our own assumptions about something or someone typically based on how we were raised and the environment we lived in or currently live in. This is not the way we should handle anything especially things we don’t understand. Ask questions, obviously appropriate questions, but ask questions so that you can become knowledgeable on the topic you don’t understand. This way if you become knowledgeable about the topic you can educate someone else on it. The more people understand things the better off our society is as a whole. For me I have been educating people on transgender information. A lot of people I have run into have had no knowledge of what transgender even means let alone knowing anymore about the topic. Considering I am trans I feel like the best knowledge comes from the people within that community at least that is where I went when I first started figuring out if I was trans or not.

Regardless of what community you are in hate is not good nor should we partake in it. Stop hating on people within your own community and those outside your community. If we are hating on people in our own community how do you expect people to see our community. People already don’t understand or like the trans community so why go hating on each other we have enough haters out there as it is. Instead embrace each other differences and all. Come together as one and be there to support the community as a whole. This is extremely important in today’s society especially the month of June since its pride month. Encourage each other, love each other, carry each other threw the good and bad, listen, and just be there for someone.

Birth Names and Pronouns

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BIRTH NAMES

Why are people so interested in knowing trans people’s birth names? It doesn’t define who they are at the stage in life that they are in and they obviously don’t identify with that name anymore so whats the big deal. On multiple occasions from people who obviously never knew my birth name, but know I am trans have confronted me and asked me what my birth name was. I simply just stated that my name is Kayden and if they persisted in knowing my birth name I would tell them it’s none of their business. Because frankly it is not.

Some people refer to their birth name as their dead name. I personally don’t like this verbiage because it has a false connotation that the person is dead when in reality you are still very much alive. The only difference is you are becoming the person you identify with on the inside. Of course its up to each individual person what they want to call their birth name, just personally that doesn’t sit well with me.

Birth names can either be something that is sentimental to someone or just done right disgusted by it. Some people despise their birth name and cringe every time they hear it come out of someones mouth. Personally I don’t have this dilemma with my birth name. My grandparents still use my birth name so it’s a good thing it doesn’t bother me because otherwise I would be in cringe mode all the time considering I spend a ton of time with them. I can understand where people are coming from though when it comes to their birth name. There could be a multitude of reasons why people do not like to hear their birth name; some being they don’t get along with their parents who named them, they don’t identify with the name, people have used it in a malicious act, etc. No matter what your feelings are on your birth name at some point it was the name you went by. The best thing to do when someone uses your birth name is correct them and move on. If they are doing it in a malicious act simply tell them you won’t tolerate that kind of behavior towards you and for them to leave you alone from than on. No one needs people like that in their lives.

Regardless of whether you call the name you were given at birth your birth name or dead name it’s no ones business what it was. The only thing that matters is the name you currently go by. Whether you have changed it 500 times it still is the name you go by and the name that is most important to you and should be just as important to other people. So when people insist on knowing your birth name simply tell them its none of their business and that is not my name now.

 

PRONOUNS

Pronouns are very important to trans people and no matter what the pronoun is it’s important for people to use the correct pronoun for each individual. There are a multitude of pronouns out there today so if you are unsure of what someones pronouns are ask them. Some of the pronouns used in today’s society are below:

Nominative (subject) Objective (object) Possessive determiner Possessive Pronoun Reflexive
Traditional pronouns
He He laughed I called him His eyes gleam That is his He likes himself
She She laughed I called her Her eyes gleam That is hers She likes herself
It It laughed I called it Its eyes gleam That is its It likes
itself
They They laughed I called them Their eyes gleam That is theirs They like themselves
Invented pronouns
Ne Ne laughed I called nem Nir eyes gleam That is nirs Ne likes nemself
Ve Ve laughed I called ver Vis eyes gleam That is vis Ve likes verself
Spivak Ey laughed I called em Eir eyes gleam That is eirs Ey likes
emself
Ze (or zie) and hir Ze laughed I called hir Hir eyes gleam That is hirs Ze likes hirself
Ze (or zie) and zir Ze laughed I called zir Zir eyes gleam That is zirs Ze likes zirself
Xe Xe laughed I called xem Xyr eyes gleam That is xyrs Xe likes xemself

Recently I was at a conference and had a lady come up to me and ask me my pronouns. She had known me by my birth name previously but saw my new name on my name tag and knew I was transgender. This made me extremely happy and meant a lot to me. She didn’t just assume what my pronouns or gender was instead she asked out of respect for me and not wanting to screw up my pronouns or name. Of course you are going to get idiots like some I have that will simply ask you or someone else what is it a boy? or girl? This is just plum ignorance on the behalf of these people. This has happened in my workforce and the person ended up being counseled because of this issue. No one should ask anyone like that instead they should ask your name and what pronouns you use. Some trans people overtime tend to change their pronouns and everyone in their lives need to be respectful and change the pronouns they use for them. Sometimes people aren’t sure what pronouns they want to go by in the beginning. For me at times I have wondered if I would be better off going by they/them, but in the long run know that I want to identify as male and want names like Daddy and male pronouns to be used. No matter what pronouns you go by make sure people use the correct pronouns.

Life, Transition, and all the other things that go along with it….

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Life alone can be challenging, but when you throw transition into the mix the challenge gets a tad more complicated. Transition isn’t easy no matter what anyone says. Never determine whether someone has an easy transition or not based on what you see or hear about the person. Instead listen to them and hear their story of transition because even though the outer appearance of their transition might look easy does not mean they didn’t or don’t have battles they fought along the way. Just remember we all have a different journey and fight different battles.

A little update on my journey and where I am at in my transition. My life journey hasn’t been easy so far as I stated in my very first post and coming out each time was difficult. Since that post I have come out at work which was something I was extremely scared and nervous about because you never know what people’s beliefs or reactions will be. I have had nothing but, good responses so far on the work front. I currently work in the public sector which made it a little more tedious for me to come out. They changed my name badge, my email, and have continuously called me Kayden and used he/him pronouns. Of course every now and than they mess it up, but its the effort to me that counts. I know this isn’t an easy part of everyone’s transition so I am definitely not downgrading what it takes to go through this part of everyone’s transition. For me personally it has been an easy process so far and I hope that as I encounter more people that work for the City they have the same understanding as my immediate coworkers.

As you know I have not started hormones, but have my first appointment with the endocrinologist on the 16th of June to get my first shot. I am so excited to start my medical transition and know that along with that their will be some trials and tribulations. Over the years I have done my fair share of research on hormone therapy and what can or may happen along the way. Of course I think like most of us there are things I am not looking forward to and some other things I am super excited about. The day after I get my first shot I go on a ten day vacation so I sure hope I don’t have any strange side effects from my first or second shot. If anyone who has used hormones and has had a reaction if you could please leave a comment below and let me know what it was I’d appreciate it.

Another part of my transition that has changed is how my grandparents are slowly starting to come around. My grandmother is a diabetic and gets sharp containers all the time at a place that is in town. My grandfather was going out there to get her some and I asked if he could pick me one up while he was out there. To my surprise he did and I was very thankful and hopeful for what is to come. They still use my birth name and she/her pronouns, but they know I start hormones soon and are easier to talk to about my transition now that it has been a while since they found out. I wasn’t really sure they would ever start to come around in any way what so ever. I thought they would forever stay in their denial world, but we recently had a conversation that once I start growing a beard and looking more masculine that they are going to look stupid if they call me my birth name and use she/her pronouns while we are out in public. My grandfather said he wouldn’t use them out in public at that time. I feel like this is a good first step for them and because I don’t want to ruin the amazing relationship I have with my grandparents they are the only ones I allow to continue to call me my birth name or use she/her pronouns. I know most people would probably say, but it’s your life and you should be called what you want to be called. I agree with you, but when it comes to my grandparents I am more lenient and willing to compromise for the sake of our relationship. Another positive note on the grandparent front is that my grandma is going to go to her first support group with my partner in July. This makes me hopeful that by hearing from other family members that shes not the only one out there that has a transgender grandchild or child.

One part of my transition that is still far away, but am looking forward to is top surgery. I decided to start a gofundme page to try and get my friends and family to help with freeing me to be me. I know we are all saving for something in our transition and mine right now happens to be for top surgery. If anyone else has advice on how to save for top surgery let me know. Of course I put money away each paycheck for it, but I am always up to hearing new ways to earn money and save it. I know this post wasn’t on a specific topic it was really just an update on my transition so far. Obviously once I start T I will have a ton more to  talk about in regards to my transition. I appreciate all the support I receive from you all! Stay tuned for more topic post to come.

 

 

 

 

Self Care

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Self care is the most important thing you can do for yourself. We get so wrapped up in what we do on a daily basis that we tend to not stop and think about what we need for ourselves. I am one of those people who say I am going to do self care for myself, but put it on the back burner like most people and never get around to it. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized how important self care is and how determined I have become to do this for myself.

Everyone has different forms of self care ranging from reading a good book to skiing down the rough slopes in the mountains. It depends on the person and what makes them feel good and relaxed. The purpose of self care is to have fun and feel relaxed. We are so tense and stressed out in every day life that we need to slow down and realize that you only live once. Self care isn’t hard to do its a matter of finding the time to do it in.

There are a ton of different things you can do out there, but here are a few that I think are easy, quick, and you can find time to squeeze them in anywhere.

  • Take a leisurely walk/stroll
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Read a book for an hour
  • Learn something new
  • Listen to your favorite song
  • Call someone

These are just a few quick things you can do during the day. None of them will take much of your time to do and it will give you a break from the every day stresses you encounter. When you take care of yourself you end up being a more productive person in the long run in your personal and professional life. Self care should be your number one priority because you should be our number one priority. You should always put your own needs first because you are who you have to rely on the most at the end of the day.

By providing self care to yourself you keep yourself healthy, happy, ready for the next thing, courageous, and bold. In our busy lives its hard at times to find self care time, but that’s why little things just like listening to your favorite song are important task for you to do. Yes of course taking longer self care time for yourself is also important, like vacation, but unfortunately you are not always able to do that so you need to take advantage of the time you have.

Some of the things I do for my self care is read, exercise, talk to my grandma, take vacations when I can, outdoor relaxation and more. It’s very important me to do these things when I am able in order to keep my mental health state positive as well as my own physical health. That’s another part I want to talk about is your own physical health. You need to make sure you are going to the doctor once a year to get your yearly physical to make sure that you have nothing that needs to be watched or taken care of. This is also a form of self care because if you don’t take care of your physical health the rest of your health can go down hill as well. Self care is an important part of your daily life so make sure to find come time even if its only ten minutes to include into your daily schedule. Trust me in the long run you will appreciate it and you will benefit from it on a daily basis.

Support Groups

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Support groups are something that I think many people don’t think of regardless of what the support group is for. There are tons of support groups out there ranging from the most common like alcoholics anonymous to the Harry Potter Alliance Support Group (Yes it does exist Google it). The point I am making no matter what it is you need support with the help is out there it simply is just a matter of finding it in your area or online.

The traditional form of support groups is of course in person, but with the rise of technology especially the internet we can do anything via other ways in today’s world. There are your traditional in person support groups, but you also have online support groups, Skype support groups, other platform groups, etc. Utilizing these other platforms you are able to reach out to other people in the world not just in your local area. It might give you more perspective on things than just utilizing your local support groups. Not that I am dissing the local support groups I think they are great and vital to a community. I just think in today’s age we should also take advantage of the other things that are out there for us.

For me I was never a huge fan of support groups when I was younger and my grandparents sent me to alanon for teenagers dealing with someone close that is an alcoholic. My father who is now deceased due to the disease was a severe alcoholic. Maybe I wasn’t fond of the support groups when I was younger because I didn’t utilize it like I should. I wasn’t very vocal and I tended to just sit there and listen to others instead of sharing my own stories. As I have grown up into the adult I am today support groups are a lot like therapy. In order to get something out of it you have to put effort into it. You can’t just simply show up and listen to get the best results from either. Therapy requires you to talk about your problems or issues that are bothering you in order to work through them and over come them. In order to get the most from support groups you also need to talk so that you can get other peoples perspective and support.

When I first came out as trans I didn’t know a single person that was trans. Obviously I knew that existed, but I didn’t personally know anyone even online let alone in my area. The first thing I did was google trans people and started watching youtube videos which ultimately at that time became my support group. It wasn’t until I was researching stuff online one day about trans that I ran into a website about a local trans group here in Florida where I live. I called the lady and she asked me a few questions and she said I could start attending the support group whenever I wanted. That it was once a month and they meet for about an hour and a half. My first thought about attending this support group was what are you thinking you aren’t trans enough for that support group. Of course these thoughts were my own problems of not being on T yet and not through my transition enough that I visually identified as a male 100 percent of the time. To be perfectly honest I was scared to death. Worried about meeting other trans guys and wondering what they would think of me. Plus I am older and knew that probably most of them were younger than me and further in their transition. But the truth of the matter that group couldn’t have been more welcoming.

The first meeting I went to was a loved ones meeting so I brought my partner along with me. It made me feel more at peace and not so anxious about talking in front of other people. I wasn’t sure I would talk the first time I was there, but I actually found myself opening up more than I ever had about being trans. I no longer was that little kid that just sat there and listened to other people’s stories instead I vocalized my own too. That support group has given me friends I wouldn’t have had, challenged me in ways I didn’t know I could be challenged and most of all gave me strength to be who I am and not afraid to be me. To me that has been the best thing about this support group. I can’t tell you how important support groups are and how helpful they can be. I know that support groups aren’t for everyone and not everyone can easily open up about things. It takes time, courage, and honesty to yourself in order to get there.

I am an introvert so I was challenged with those things in the beginning and even when new people join the group I get worried about what others will think about my story, but than I realize it doesn’t matter because its my story and as human beings we all have different stories especially in the trans community. We all go down a different path and have different plans for our lives. We live the journey we feel fits us the best and we find courage and believes in ourselves. No matter whether you go out and try to get involved in a support group or not remember you are not alone and there are people out there just like you dealing with similar thins. Whether they be good, bad or indifferent. There are months I don’t necessarily want to go to the support group, but I get up put my clothes on and go because I know at the end of it I will be thankful I went to know I have the support of other people in the same shoes as me.

Your best friend when trying to find support in your area typically is the lovely Google search engine. You can also reach out to your local LGBT center if you have one in the area and they might be able to direct you to a local support group. Also high school or college Gay Straight Alliance groups might have sources for you as well. Just go out there and start searching that’s what I did and I stumbled across something that has changed my life and helped me know I am supported even if the people I love don’t always support me. The last thing I will say is keep your head up and utilize all the support you can get out there.

How to be a good Cis Ally!!

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Are you a cis ally? Or do you know a cis that wants to be an ally? I think we all have at least one cis person in our life that could utilize this information. Transgender people are outnumbered by cis people in today’s society and cisgendered people should be aware that we are the minority. Trans people are easily degraded and put down by people who are ignorant and don’t understand anything about what being transgender is all about. Cis allies are important to combat that kind of behavior and to have another voice in the community fighting for our rights just as much as your own. Truthfully unless you’re a white cis male you were a minority at some point or still are.

Which brings me to my point. Just because you call yourself an “ally” does not make you one. Unfortunately, there are innumerable ways to be a bad one. This is even true of people at large LGBT organizations and in the LGBT spectrum who really should know better. Instead we see the same mistakes being made over and over again. Even more pervasive are people who they they’re open-minded and tolerant but, in truth, hold views that keep transgender people firmly in second class citizen status. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard or seen the following:

  • “You can do whatever you want to your body; I just don’t want to pay for it.”
  • “I have nothing against transgender people, but I think businesses should be able to hire or fire whoever they want.”
  • “I don’t think people should use a different bathroom until they have had the surgery.”
  • “You should only be able to get a new ID if you’ve had the surgery.”
  • “Businesses should be able to serve whoever they want. You have to respect the owners’ religious beliefs.”
  • “I don’t want my children having to deal with issues like transgender teachers.”
  • “I was in favor of repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but I don’t think transgender people should be in the military because [fill in the blank].”
  • “I have nothing against transgender people, but I could never date one.”
  • “Transgender women shouldn’t play against real women. They should just have their own league.”
  • “Schools aren’t equipped to handle transgender issues. Why don’t they just have separate schools for those children?”
  • “You may be a woman, but you’re not the right type of woman.” (Hat tip to Lisa Vogel.)
  • “I don’t believe that really happened to you when you transitioned.”
  • “I don’t care how my actions affect you.”

After all these bad examples, however the question remains: What makes a good ally? In all the examples above, people take these positions based on a lack of understanding of the lived experiences of so many transgender people; of how hard it is to find work, or medically necessary health care, or accepting partners, or athletic activities where we’re welcomes, or safe spaces; how hard it is to simply not be othered.

The starting point to being a great ally is listening and not just listening but hearing what we are saying. Here is a list of 5 ways to be a good ally.

1) Don’t assume.

Don’t assume anything. Don’t assume that because someone passes as a certain gender, that you shouldn’t ask what their preferred pronouns are. Don’t assume that just because trans* women are more frequently victimized that they also aren’t creating art, contributing to their communities or seizing political positions as well. Don’t assume that feminist services, like women’s shelters, will be safe places for trans* women. Don’t assume that you know anything about their experiences, their lives, their sexuality or politics. Don’t assume that because someone came out to you as trans*, that you can now out them at every chance by adding that they are your “transgender friend.”

All gender issues involve all people of all genders. Don’t assume that a feminist issue only affects cisgender women or that misogyny doesn’t affect trans* men because of their past experiences with gender. Don’t assume that trans* people even want to be male or female and not somewhere on a gender spectrum or that medical transitions, which are often inaccessible to poor trans folks, are the only ways to “legitimately” transition.

Check and double-check that spaces have access to gender neutral bathrooms and that your organizing includes resources that actually understand trans* issues. The best way to find this out is by asking trans* folks what services they use.

Create spaces where everyone can identify with their preferred pronouns. Suggest folks begin their introductions with pronouns when they enter an organizing space. Tell people your pronouns first, creating a space where it’s not weird for someone to follow-up with their own. Create spaces that don’t just focus on transphobia, but celebrate trans* folks.

2) Use your privilege.

Sometimes activist events can be problematic, but you still really want to go and they’re doing their best, with no funding and inclusivity is expensive… Don’t buy into this. If an event has a strict “women only” policy, don’t go. Tell others why you aren’t going. Tell the organizers. Let them know that transphobic spaces aren’t acceptable. Use social media to get the word out to local media, other organizers and even the venue. In 2012 a transphobic “radical feminist” conference had its event space pulled after activists denounced their exclusionary agenda.

When you hear a joke with a transphobic punch-line, call folks out on it. It’s not comfortable being the person to bring a context of oppression into someone’s privilege. Do it anyways. Start by checking out this tool on calling people out. Refuse to tolerate transphobic language, even when it’s used by drag queens (even RuPaul). Talk about trans* issues, successes and celebrities. Draw attention to trans* culture and how often it is silenced.

Lead by example. How you interact with trans* folks affects the actions of those around you. Folks are much more likely to take cues from a non-trans person. Use this privilege to be respectful and inclusive.

3) Insist on action.

Many radical campaigns mention anti-transphobia as a tenet of organizing. Hold these folks to task. Ask for concrete action. Adding a “T” to an LGB organization isn’t enough. How exactly are spaces being made more inclusive? How is the policy against transphobia going from paper to the real world? What trans* perspectives are organizers using, what trans organizations have they reached out to?

When organizing a protest with the possibility of arrest, make sure trans* folks know their legal rights and risks. In Canada, people are placed in prisons based on their sex assigned at birth, not their chosen gender. This means that trans* folks are often at an increased risk of violence in holding cells and prisons. Follow the tips in this tool about safety for trans* folks during direct action.

4) Don’t ask.

Don’t ask trans* folks to identify within the gender binary. Don’t ask trans* folks about their genitals, their sex lives or their surgery/hormone status. Don’t ask trans* people to educate you on their oppression. Don’t ask trans* folks to fit into a narrative of being “trapped in the wrong body.” Don’t ask trans* folks to be responsible for breaking apart the gender binary when they are just living their lives. Don’t ask to be included in trans* only spaces. Don’t ask to speak for trans* people, to lead trans-focused organizations or committees. Actively seek out trans* folks for these roles, making space for their experiences.

5) Listen.

When trans* folks speak about their experiences, just listen. When a trans* person tells you that your space is not safe for them or uncomfortable or inaccessible, hear them out. Never be above putting your own voice as a person with cisgender privilege aside to create space for trans* experiences. Listen to the kind of change trans* people are working towards and take cues.

It’s amazing to see mainstream media taking notice of some of the work of trans* folks and their experiences. Trans activists will continue to do important grassroots work — it’s up to cisgender allies to support them and make sure that there is always a welcoming space to celebrate it.

Remember listening and actually hearing what we say is number one priority when being a good cis ally. It’s important to continually stay a true cis ally and not stray away from that even if people are trying to talk you into another direction. Be true to what you believe in because at the end of the day you have to answer to yourself. We need your support through every aspect of our lives so go out and be the cis ally we all know you can be.

 

Trans vs. Cis

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The term “cisgender”, sometime shortened to “cis”, means someone’s gender identity aligns to their sex assigned at birth. Basically if your mom and dad’s reaction of “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl” is accurate than you are cisgender. Although I never heard of cisgender until I came out as trans it has been in use since the mid 1990s. Many people tend to find it as a useful term because it helps shift understanding about gender, making cisgender into a specific gender identity rather than a default setting. The Merriam-Webster dictionary officially added the term “cisgender” to its unabridged edition.

Critics of the term “cisgender” have complained that it’s unnecessary, and some have mistakenly concluded that is it somehow related to sexual orientation. I’d like to know what your take is on this. (Please comment below) In reality, though, it’s an essential word in understanding and acknowledging a spectrum of gender identities. By using cis woman with trans woman as opposed to trans woman with just plain woman, we’re spreading the message that said trans woman isn’t abnormal. Same applies to trans men and cis men.

The term cis privilege which describes the societal advantage of being cis has also become part of the discussion in society surrounding gender identity in recent years. This being said we know that in today’s society cis gendered people just like white people have privilege over others. Although we wish this wasn’t true unfortunately our society has not crossed that barrier yet.

The term “Transgender” sometimes shortened to “trans”, refers to a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned at birth. If you look it up in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary it states “someone who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth”.

A lot of people consider it an umbrella term and points out that transgender can refer to people who identify as a trans man, trans woman or simply as transgender. The term transgender encompasses a wide range of identities, and identifying as transgender does not necessarily mean a person has undergone surgery to alter their body or is taking hormones, or that they wish to modify their physical appearance at all. The fight for transgender rights has been in the spotlight recently, partially because of the national fight over North Carolina’s HB2 law, often referred to as the “bathroom bill,” which effectively bans trans people from using the public bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Trans and cis are equally important in identifying different aspects of gender. I know some trans people inherently aren’t fond of cis people, but unfortunately they are part of society. Your parents might be cisgender, grandparents, friends a lot of society is cigender it doesn’t make them less equal than us just as much as we aren’t less equal than them. As trans and cis people we need to come together to achieve a common goal of equality no matter what you are.

Studies have shown that transgender people typically have the brain makeup of the gender they identify. Unlike cisgender people whos brain makeup typically is based on the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. There are a multitude of facets about transgender and cisgender. It’s only now that we are starting to get data about transgender people. We are able to now see how being on HRT has effects on people after 20 years where before we were unable to see those because the data didn’t exist.

No matter what side you are on we were all made equal and should all stand up for our rights as human beings. Make friends with your cis allies and make friends with your trans people. As a society we focus so much on relationships so go out and make them even if the person is different than you.