How did I just now find this transgender and genderqueer resource page?

http://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/resources/transgender/

donnie-header

Boston Fraternity Raises Money for Trans Brother | Out Magazine.

Transitioning Into You

February 20, 2013

Annika Penelope Gives Us A Peak Behind the Curtain

This blog post by Annika Penelope – read it!  She is wonderful at communicating the cultural pressures that we ALL need to get over before we can be happy with who we are. Yes, it’s about her transition.  Trust me – this post is also about something much more universal. It is about the cultural pressures we all face to be someone different than who we really are.  You will be glad you read her writing regardless of your own relationship with your gender.

Eating Disorders and Transitioning Genders:  What We ALL Can Learn From These Experiences

Of course recovering from an eating disorder and transitioning between genders are two completely different experiences.  Completely.  So don’t get me wrong when I talk about the things that I have learned from working with people on these two unrelated topics.

It is precisely because they are such different experiences that I find any similarities in these paths to be remarkable.  We live in a culture that thrives on making us feel bad about ourselves.  We are bombarded with advertisements, airbrushed images, reality TV shows, and so much more, all sending messages that beauty equals happiness, and anything less than a continual quest for physical improvement is akin to sin.  This cultural pressure to focus on our appearances – specifically to focus on continually “improving” our appearance – takes a toll on our self-esteem.

Recovering from an eating disorder and successfully transitioning share this one thing in common:

Success requires finding and then tossing out the pressure our culture can put on us to be someone who we are not, in order to finally love who we are.

The Culture Of Authenticity

The first step in escaping the death grip of our cultural pressures is to recognize that there is no right way to be a male or female.  Each one of us finds a new way to be the gender that we are.  Some gals love flamingos and pink.  Some gals are pilots.  I know one gal who is a pilot AND loves flamingos and pink.  Is she less of a female than me for working in a largely male dominant profession?  Is she more of a female than me because she likes pink flamingos?  Of course not.  As Annika says in her post, “You deserve to live an authentic life.”

  • Living authentically means recognizing that our cultural does a poor job of telling us how to live authentically.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that how someone else chooses to dress or what they choose to do has nothing to do with what is right for you.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that there is no one point that we are all moving towards.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that you choose what is right for you and your body.  Even if it is scary to let go of pressures to be something else.  Especially if it is scary to let go of pressures to be something else.
  • Living authentically means letting go of the idea of life as a destination, and begin to enjoy the journey of becoming.

I am actually very surprised that Medicaid will be covering these expenses, but I certainly welcome the news.

Oregon First to Cover Trans Youth Under Medicaid | Advocate.com.

This find added a smile to my day.

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Genderqueer Individuals.

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Transgender at 11: Listening to Jazz | Video – ABC News.

Jazz is an incredible kid.  I am so grateful to her family for allowing us to follow her story.

The transgender rights movement is in such a tricky place.  I am both happy and a bit worried about the coverage Jazz is receiving.  I’d hate for Jazz’s bravery to accidentally be interpreted as supporting the idea that being transgendered is earned by how much you “pass.” We must remember that Jazz is one of many brave faces.  She happens to have a lot of traditionally “girl” interests like dresses and sparkles and covering her room in pink.  That’s great!  But that’s just one way to be.  There is no “right” way to be transgendered.  At the end of the day, there is only the question of being yourself or being someone else.

This recent article by Riki Wilchins in The Advocate is a nice companion to Jazz’s story.

Just a side note for Barbara Walters – so you note a lot of transgender kids like mermaids?  Perhaps because a lot of KIDS like mermaids.  I’d prefer if you stuck with the reporting and dropped some of the psychoanalysis.  Lots of transgender kids also like pizza, and dogs, and soccer, and video games, and drawing, and laughing, and texting….  I don’t think we need to infer anything from any one preference.   But overall I enjoyed watching this interview.  Thanks for helping get the story out, Barbara!

norah-vincent

It took tremendous bravery for Norah/Ned Vincent to do what she did.  You can read about her 18 month experience of living as a man here.  I hope we can all learn from it.  And I would add that reality is even more complicated and beautiful.  Gender is so much more than woman and man.  No one experiences the same exact gender, and gender can change/shift/grow over time.  I hope for you that you open to your own experience of your gender and see the beauty in it while we all take this short ride around the earth a few times.

November 28, 2012

Casey Legler is adorable! I love how comfortable she is with using her body as part of her art, and recognizing that there is a difference between who we are and how others perceive us.

Style & Design

Casey Legler is a woman working as a male model. She looks wonderfully comfortable shrugging into tailored suits and chomping on cigars. But assigning words to the experience isn’t as easy. In an interview in her New York City studio, Legler steers around phrases like “gender identity” and “gender expression” in favor of having a conversation about freedom.

“I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other,” she says. “But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something.”

Androgyny has long been celebrated in the fashion world. Women have modeled as men, and men have modeled as women. Andrej Pejica young male model from Bosnia, made a splash in recent years with his feminine beauty and knack for wearing women’s clothes. (“Andrej is gorgeous,” Legler says. “In many…

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Defining Ourselves.  Defying Others.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” –Audre Lorde

So true, Audre.  And defining one’s self is no easy task.  First, this task requires us to know who we are and where we have come from.  That can be a challenge.

But the second part of defining ourselves can be even harder.  To fully define who we are, we must also be aware that parts of ourselves are still becoming, growing, shifting, changing, and existing outside of the world of things that can be adequately described by words (words!  Oh – rough instruments that you are!).  Ideally we are trees in Spring time.  Most of the self is sturdy and has been around for a while, but parts of our identity are just starting to shoot and bud.  Some of this new growth will become another branch of us, eventually easy to label, easy to see in ourselves.  Some of this new growth won’t become much at all.  But we can’t know the future.  We can’t know where all this growth will end up.

Our identities are a mix of solid and evolving parts of self.

Why We Must Know Of Our Inchoate Edges

When I first read this Lorde quote, I thought these were wise words to help protect me from people who aren’t looking out for my interests and needs.  Now I read a new layer in this quote.  It is sometimes the most well-meaning, supportive people in our lives who can accidentally squash us in their need to understand us.  This truth becomes most visible for me in the stories that I hear from people who are transitioning.

It is understandable that when a person decides to transition, supportive people will have questions.   These well-meaning people with their well-intended questions can be VERY insistent.

“Did you always know?”

“WHEN did you know?”

“You don’t look like….  “

“Won’t you miss….”

I recently read a great post about how other people’s insistence for a clean narrative about transitioning can block someone from understanding the often richer, deeper complexity of their story. Here is a sample from this super post (I highly recommend you read the whole thing!):

But it’s true that, before I said it, I carefully mined my personal history for examples of how I was never really a girl. And when I presented my decision to transition to my friends and family, it was with the “always knew” narrative well rehearsed. In that, I’m like almost every other trans* person I’ve ever talked to about the coming out process.

Why is “I always knew” the common narrative? Why do so many of us tell some version of that story even if it isn’t true?

There are several reasons that come to mind, and I think they all play a part.

These words make my heart heavy. Sweet Lorde, I wouldn’t be able to neatly answer many of the common questions people get when they are transitioning, and I’m in a relatively stable spot in my life!

So this post has two endings.

ONE.

I love my fuzzy edges. I look forward to seeing what I become. I embrace the journey.  Parts of me are easy to explain to others.  Other parts of me are hard to even explain to myself.  And when I think about it,  it’s the fuzzy parts of me which are hard to pin down with words that are my very favorite parts of me.

TWO.

Psychologists can get a pretty bad rap in trans communities.  If you are in the process of transitioning and looking for a psychologist, I want you to know that we psychologists aren’t all the same.  Good psychologists don’t see themselves as gatekeepers.  We don’t need to hear the “Right Story.”  In fact, I’ve never heard the same story twice.  I know my profession has created a problematic structure with “Gender Identity Disorder.”  But hey – I like to think of my profession as being a big ol’ dysfunctional family.  PLEASE don’t assume I share the views of my kooky relatives.

I largely see my role as helping keep you safe from being “crunched into other people’s fantasies and eaten alive.”  I largely see my role as helping you embrace your own story – including learning about the fuzzy, wonderful edges of your being.

Voting While Trans

October 11, 2012

Be sure your voice is heard.  Don’t forget to vote.  Get more info at http://www.votingwhiletrans.org