I’m a 17 year old transmale and I’ve identified as male for about 2 years now. I am 100% confident that I am a boy, but I am also fine having breasts and a vagina. I don’t think of them as female. They’re just my parts! I like wearing things like dresses and skirts as well and I enjoy makeup, none of these things make me less of a boy in my eyes. However, I fear that people will not take my identity seriously because of this. Even in the LGBTQ community, I feel like people will say I’m not “really trans.” Dressing the way I want to really boosts my self-esteem (and I have struggled with horrible self esteem my whole life, so I really need it) but being called “girl” and “she” really hurts. I guess my question is, how do I deal with wanting to present a certain way but hating how it makes others perceive me? I will be going off to college in a few days as well, and I know that could be a time to show how I really want to be, but I’m scared of how people will react or treat me.
Molias replies: I’m going to make probably the biggest understatement of the year: gender is complicated.
As obvious a statement as that is, it’s still true, and I think it’s worth repeating.
I think one thing a lot of people - even many gender-savvy folks or fellow trans people - sometimes forget is that there are a lot of components to gender and that knowing someone’s gender identity doesn’t provide much information about what their gender expression or presentation will be. Plenty of people, whether cisgender or transgender, have gender identities and expressions that don’t fit neatly into a rigid and binary system of gender norms.
There’s not much you can do, ultimately, to control how others react to your gender presentation. Expressing your authentically-gendered self, whoever that is and however you present that at any given time, might mean that some people might question or disrespect your gender identity, but those reactions are outside of your control.
Trying to manage the way other people interpret your gender presentation is only possible to a very limited extent - I can’t tell you how many times in my past I’ve gone outside feeling really excited about my gender presentation, only to have the majority of people I encounter read something completely different in what they saw. People are diverse and complicated and they bring their own backgrounds and experiences to the table; you can’t know what gender cues any one person will pick up on.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here!
I came to know a similar mistake had been made, except that at that time, I didn’t have words to explain it. I learned to live a lie. Pretending to be what you’re not, hoping things will magically fix themselves, seems easier at times. But lies have consequences.
It is unfortunate that Coy’s school has not learned the lesson that so many other aspects of our culture have already acknowledged, that a person’s gender is more complicated than a body part or a chromosome.
Workplaces across this country are recognizing the challenges that their transgender workers face and are removing deeply embedded barriers to health care and wellness benefits. Organizations ranging from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to the Girl Scouts are accepting transyouth, sometimes under fire, treating children based on identify, not body parts.
Transwomen have openly competed in mainstream beauty pageants and have been featured in magazines such as Vogue. Transgender athletes, artists and writers, people in all fields, have shown there is a pathway to a happy, well-adjusted and fulfilling life — not as an “other,” but as the men and women we know ourselves to be.
Apparently none of this matters to the school that denies Coy the use of the girls’ bathroom or to the parents who demonize her and her family. Arguments to treat Coy with dignity often fall on deaf ears. Why? Because discussion of the topic quickly becomes emotional rather than rational.
Read the rest at CNN here.
After years of campaigning by trans activists, the American Psychiatric Association has removed “gender-identity disorder” as a mental illness, and replaced it with the more neutral diagnostic term “gender dysphoria.”
“The label of mental defectiveness really places a burden on trans people to continually prove our competence in our affirmed roles,” says activist Kelley Winters. Previously, an individual’s gender identity could be used against them in custody battles and other legal cases. But removing it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) could cost trans people insurance coverage for hormone treatments and gender-reassigment surgery.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a member of the APA subcommittee handling the revision, told the Associated Press, “We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.”
The move comes almost 40 years after homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the APA in 1973. Just this week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement confirming the Affordable Care Act protected against discrimination based on gender identity.
The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has published two groundbreaking booklets on sexual health for trans people. Each one contains basic – yet valuable – information on trans bodies and health needs.
Each booklet tackles a whole bunch of common questions, such as: do post-op trans women still need prostate examinations? and: can trans guys get pregnant after going on T? There’s some trans specific information on HIV prevention, and also some more general health advice.
The language is broadly respectful and acknowledges the great range of trans identities. There isn’t as much of a binary division as might appear to be the case from the titles, with each booklet noting that the information contained within is also relevant to queer or non-binary individuals…
Read the rest from transactivist here (and thanks to our user Redskies for the heads-up!).