The Interview

After a couple of months of trying to figure out what to write about I finally decided to share the interview I had with my son.
I wrote a few questions ahead of time for him to answer. After he answered the questions we discussed his answers to make sure that I understood what he was saying and why he feels the way he does. Once again I was floored by his ability to speak with such candor and explain himself so well.
As a mother of a trans child, I feel like every day I have more questions. The questions I will be sharing with you were helpful to me. I want to understand my child as he tries to figure out who he is and where he’s headed. I feel like the more I know the more supportive I can be.
Questions:
1. Are you to the point that you just want to be you? What does that mean or look like?
“Yes. Being me looks like how I look. Transitioning helped me look and feel better. I am more comfortable in my body.”
2. How do you feel leaving the female gender role and taking on the male one?
“It’s scary sometimes when I realize that my voice is louder now, both literally and in a social sense. But I am using my voice (and platform, if I ever have one) to speak for those who are often overlooked, ignored, or cast aside. I am using my privilege in this world to make it a better place. As a man, I can infiltrate the cis white straight men and show them how to be respectful human beings.”
(I needed more clarification on this answer. I will explain at the end)
3. What was it like in a body you didn’t want to be in?
“It was confusing. I felt in my mind and my body I was boy. When puberty came, my body no longer felt like mine. I didn’t have the knowledge or the language to tell anyone how I was feeling.”
4. Do you have any advice for the people out there who may feel like you did at 18/19?
“Trust your instinct. Don’t let the people around you, even your closest friends/ family alter your own perception of yourself. Relax, meditate and learn how to listen to yourself.”
5. Did you ever really identify as gay or was that a stepping stone?
“I still identify as gay or queer. Although I presented a woman-living- woman, I never identified as a lesbian. I don’t care about genitals insofar as I care about someone’s personality and emotional connection between us.
*I found this answer eye opening. I am fortunate to have many friends. I love them each for a different thing(s) they bring into my life. I don’t think about people’s genitals. I fell in love with my husband because of his personality and how he made me feel. Is it the same?
6. Do you have advice for those seeking any surgery?
“Surgery will not dissolve your dysphoria. The worst dysphoria is between your ears. Learn to be comfortable with what you have. Take your time and do extensive research.”
7. Do you have anything you want to say to parents about a child they may have who is trans?
“Yes. Do not dehumanize them. They are still your child. Open a dialogue, hold space for them to talk to you and give them a safe space to do so. Go through it with them, if they allow.”
Back to number 2. At first I didn’t understand what he meant by using the word “privilege.” He explained to me that in our culture, since forever, men have more of a platform than woman.
I hope you found this to be informative. It is my hope that through this blog people will understand that it’s ok to just let people live their lives.

Redefining “Tragedy”

I suppose this word can have many definitions.  I guess it would depend on the person defining it.

Once a month, I am a host speaker for a group at my church. Each Monday there is a different topic. I was supposed to be hosting the topic of “Why, God?” Unfortunately due to the crazy winter weather the church closed and I didn’t get to host this topic. But it gave me an idea for a new blog.

A question one might ask in the event of a tragedy, even if you don’t believe in a higher power, you may have ask, “why, God?” Do we really expect an answer? I did at one time. When tragedy strikes we all want to know “why.” It’s human nature.

Remember the brain tumor I mentioned?  Well I asked “why, God” many times.  I waited for an answer.  I finally realized that in waiting for that answer, I could be helping someone else or just as good, helping myself.  I learned so much from that tumor. I know God had other plans for me. My life has changed for the better.  I feel like I turned something bad into something good.  I guess that’s why I call it a gift. I never saw it as a tragedy.  Yes it was scary.  Yes I suffered ptsd from it. I asked why me? I asked many times “why me”, and “why (now on the other side) don’t I have any mental or physical scars?

Back to the topic I was hosting at church, Tragedy and “why, God”.  Usually during the evening as the host I need to share something about myself that relates to the topic.  I do some preparing before I host.  With this topic I was going to share my tumor story but I did that with another topic a while ago. So I thought about the word “tragedy” for a long time. Which lead me to Kam.

Don’t misunderstand me I would not at all call his being transgender a tragedy by any means. Not even close! I am saying that in my lifetime I have experienced two very difficult obstacles. Such obstacles that have lead me to find a new normal in my life. It is not easy to find a new normal.  It takes a lot of time and effort. Just like a diet. The new word for losing weight is “lifestyle change”. You need to change the way you eat and do that forever. It isn’t easy to just do it. Change does not happen overnight or even within weeks. It can take months, even up to a year. But y’all know that.

We all have these things called tragedy’s in life. It’s what we do with them that matters. I want to share that having a transgender child IS NOT A TRAGEDY. Believe it or not, I have had people respond to me in a way that is just crushing to my spirit. No offense taken. They are in need of education. Some of my family members are guilty. Of course I would have never thought I’d be dealing with the loss of one gender for the gain of another. Some of the responses I’ve heard…”oh wow, you’re a good mom”, “Oh my gosh what did you say when you were told” “what are you going to do about it” “how will you explain it to others”…many more than that but you get the gist. My child whether female or male, is MY child. I don’t mind at all being asked questions and I don’t get offended easily (if at all). But being transgender is not a tragedy. It’s all about finding a new normal for all involved. Some take longer than others. When people ask me about my son in and uneducated way, I respond with an answer that is short and sweet. I try to be as open and honest as possible. It’s not anyone’s fault for not being uneducated in an area that may not affect them. I hope our world is changing.  I mean when you’re talking about a human being just wanting to be the person they want to be. As long as no harm is coming to anyone why does it matter?

Everyone is born with the right of being able to become whatever they want. It is unfortunate that some people are born in the wrong body and never get to be who they feel comfortable as. If you aren’t comfortable with yourself, how do you form healthy relationships? Your mind is always telling you something different than how you want to feel. This is a big reason people in the LGBTQ community suffer from depression and heightened anxiety. As a parent I do not want my child to feel this way. That doesn’t make me a great mom. Doesn’t every mom want that for their child?

Moving forward

Recently Kam has expressed to me that he does not want to blog any more.  At first I was sad and felt let down.  I was so excited to start this blog with him for healing purposes and also the thought of maybe helping someone else. He too was happy about our blogging together. We had hopes of maybe writing a book.

One day while at work, he texted me and said that he had to talk to me about something.  Of course I said to myself “what now?” That is one of the worst things to leave a mom hanging with.  Later that night he came to me and expressed that blogging for him wasn’t easy.  In my head I was thinking, you’re transgender! How can you have nothing to write to about?! Well, actually the first thing he said was “he does not want being trans to define him. He said he struggled with things to write about.  Turns out blogging was bringing too much pain to him. The pain of remembering his feelings of wanting so much to be male while growing up female was causing him to be anxious. The memories were causing him to be depressed. In fact he wrestled with telling me this in the first place.  He was not comfortable revisiting those feelings.  Of course I said right away “sure Kam no problem”.  That wasn’t how I really felt at the time. I was selfish in thinking “what about OUR blog site? What about helping others? What about the healing?” I mean we said we would do this together. We were so excited.  It took me a couple of days to realize that if blogging was harming him instead of healing him, then he should stop. I texted him and said “I need to talk to you”.  He texted back and said “what did I do now?  What did I forget about? And I’m sorry.”  I should have left him hanging…lol but I didn’t.  I simply texted back and said I wanted to discuss his not wanting to blog anymore.

Later that night I told him how I felt at first but then after thinking about it my thoughts had changed. I told him that I had to take a few days to see his pint of view.  Yes he is trans, yes more people need to be educated but the thought of my son being in more pain because of blogging? He is SO much more than being trans. He should not feel defined by that. I told him I understood that. He then told me that he would still want to educate people and help but not through remembering the pain and embarrassment in his past.

He will again attend Camp Lost Boys in April. It is a camp for FTM people to come together and relive their past as male and do the things (as male) that they couldn’t do because at the time they were seen as female.  My hope for him is that he will learn more about who Kameron is and what Kameron wants for his future.

So from now on I will be the one blogging. We will still have the same website name and post pictures of usJ.  Please continue to share our site and ask questions!  WE LOVE IT

#ilovemyson

Picture from the Past

In an earlier blog I spoke of a beautiful hand painted sepia picture I had to have of “her”. We hung it in our family room over the fire place where most if not all of the people that come to our home would  see. It was my favorite thing to look at during my recovery from my brain tumor. At that time in my life “she” was the most precious thing I could ever have wanted in my life. Seeing that picture on a daily basis made me feel calm.

I have two little nephews that knew him as “her” for 5 years.  It’s really hard for them to comprehend his transition. They don’t really ask questions too much anymore but I know they are confused.  Some days I am still confused.

I have been thinking of taking the photo down for a little while now. I am updating all photos in the house partly due to memories.  It gets so confusing for me when I look at old pictures. By confusing I mean my emotions go back and forth. I want to remember “her” and yet I want to forget. I will of course, never forget. That even sounds harsh as I read it. My emotions run high when I think about “her”.  I am still getting to know him. I raised a girl for 18 years. Or at least I thought a girl. I feel like when I look at pictures of him now, he is truly happy. He is happy with the photo he is in. He is happy with how he feels and what he is seeing whether in the photo or mirror.  

The thing is, is did I ever really know “her”? I thought “she” was happy. Yet I knew there was something different about “her”.  I just didn’t know what. I remember feeling frustrated as to why “she” didn’t do all of the stereotypical things girls do and share. When I look back at the photos of “her” I almost feel like I want to ask him multiple questions about the photo.  For example, I want to know the following: what were you feeling when this was taken? Were you happy at this time in your life? How do you feel when you see such photos of yourself as “her”? I don’t want to feel that every time I look at of photo of “her”. “She” just wasn’t one of the stereotypical girls and I was mad because that’s what I wanted. I focused on gender way more than my husband did. It’s not easy to admit that I wanted “her” to look and act a certain way and if “she” didn’t I felt judged by my peers. I was embarrassed and I feel terrible for admitting that. Going through his transition I have learned so much and have so much more to learn.

I love taking selfies with him. He is so happy. I love buying clothes for him. I can do it and know he will love what I buy. Buying clothes for “her” sucked.  It was just an awful experience. Now with all of the social media (Facebook especially) I hate when old memories pop up with photos of me and “her”. It just resonates all of the things that were hard for me as a mom raising a girl that never wanted to be a girl.

And yet now, I love posting pictures of me and him.  I love that he is so happy. I hate that he had to be “her” first.  Could it be I do not like being reminded of “her” because “she” existed first? I don’t know.

Camp Lost Boys

Earlier this year I attended a sleepaway camp for adult trans men who never had a boyhood camp growing up. When I was there I tried to capture, via journal, everything I felt and experienced. Here are my journal entries I over the three days I was there. Warning: it is lengthy. But, I learned a lot and personally I think it’s worth the read.

Day One: Friday April 4th, 2018

 

The flight from Chicago to Denver is going smoothly so far. My first flight from Buffalo to Chicago also “flew by” since I slept through most of it.

I’m really looking forward to this brief sleepaway camp. I’m going to meet so many other guys like me, who all understand what it’s like to be a trans man. I’m hoping to make some lasting connections that will be beneficial for me now as well as in the near and far future.

I wish I had more time in Colorado–it truly is a beautiful state. I can see myself living there someday.

I’m not sure how long this flight is. I probably should’ve checked, but as long as I’m there by noon to meet up with my carpool, that’s all I care about.

It’s a little nerve-wracking thinking about how I’m not going to know anybody at camp. It’s the perfect opportunity for new friends! Have I established that I like making connections and am excited for more? I’m trying really hard to not have expectations so I’m not disappointed if it turns out to suck (which I doubt it will, but just in case). I keep imagining the awesome pictures I’m going to take, both of the scenery and selfies with new friends. I’m really aiming for a kickass Instagram post.

My phone decided to stop playing Spotify, so I plugged my headphones into my seat’s headphone jack and immediately heard this kickass drum solo–I stumbled onto the oldies station. I instantly had enough of that and switched my wifi on and connected back to Spotify.

The view from this plane is really pretty. We’re above the clouds, coasting at around 30,000 feet. There are thick clouds above us, and fluffy cumulus clouds below. I wish I could see the ground so I could see all the different ways people till their land. I’d also prefer to see the Rockies as we get closer.

I’ve been to Colorado twice, but never to Denver–so this is a new experience all-around. Flying on my own is nothing new to me: my parents used to send me to Baltimore every summer in high school. I’d stay with my aunt and uncle until they had their first daughter, and then it probably would’ve been too much for me to be there too.

I’ve always loved opportunities to be independent: traveling alone, doing errands alone, getting tattoos alone.

There’s only a sliver of blue sky visible right now. It’s far off in the distance, like a huge blast door on the Death Star coming to a close.

 

Now, after napping lightly on that flight, I’ve found an empty space in the Denver International airport with an outlet, so I am sitting here recharging until Jamie (my carpool driver) lands and gets the rental car. I’m really hoping we can stop at a dispensary since I have yet to go inside of one, and what kind of stoner hasn’t been inside a recreational dispensary?

I wish I had brought food that is more substantial than cheese puffs and Nilla Wafers but I am a child so…that’s where we’re at.

Jamie said he landed, I’m now waiting for him to get his bags and then he’ll meet up with me and we can start being friends!

I’m so excited to be doing this. I’m glad I am branching out and meeting more people in my community. I can’t wait to learn new things and gain new perspectives on being trans. I need to find an ATM so I can pay Jamie for gas, but this airport is so big.

 

So, a lot has happened in the last six hours or so. I met Jamie and he is super chill. He travels the country with his wife in their RV and he wants to start a rescue farm. He also loves birds! We went to a dispensary (the strictest place I’ve ever been to–we had our IDs checked at least three separate times and had to be let into a locked room where we waited in line to be helped. Then I bought one pre-rolled joint and one container of THC gummies–the watermelon flavor), then we went to Ruby Tuesday’s. I had never been there before, so their salad bar was phenomenal–I was also high.

After hanging out with Jamie we had to drive back to the airport to pick up Kaydon, our other carpool buddy. From there we drove straight to camp. It took a little over an hour and we  listened to bluegrass and jam bands on the way. Minimal highway, majorly backcountry roads.

After we checked into camp and received our drawstring bags with the camp’s info and a coffee mug, we went to our cabins to pick out our spots in the bunks. I was the first in my cabin to arrive, so I chose the bed closest to an outlet. I set up the linens I borrowed from camp. Once I felt set up, I went for a walk around the ranch we were staying at. I ran into a group of guys doing a scavenger hunt and they asked me to join, which was nice of them because I was feeling nervous about meeting new people.

 

I left the talent show early. I’m in my sweats, listening to Kate Nash’s new album. Also, I ate a gummy and shared a blunt, which both contributed to why I left the crowd early.

Anyways, dinner was really good–we had roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli soup, and oatmeal raisin cookies. They also prepared a delicious salad. I have never eaten so much salad in one day, I feel like a rabbit.

Way back before I started T, I was virtually introduced to this guy Jay who was a few months into his transition at that point. I talked to him quite a bit about what it’s like being on T. I would tell him my concerns and he’d reassure me or give a new perspective. One time, right before I started T, we skyped and talked about my biggest fears about transitioning. His other trans friend was with him so the three of us talked about it together. Well, that other trans friend – Tyler – is here at camp! The best part is that he didn’t recognize me! He said I don’t have “the baby face” anymore.

I’m feeling very Sylvia Plath tonight. I always sit away from everyone, behind the crowd, distancing myself from the event. When people walk around and mingle, I aimlessly wander and listen to the pointless thoughts swimming in my head. Will I ever fit in? I hear. Over and over. Even in this highly marginalized group, I feel I don’t belong. I tend to feel this way at big group events. Why do I always pull myself out of big social events? Why do I like to be separate and alone all of the time?

Something fun I’ve noticed is that a lot of the guys here style their facial hair the same way I do. It must be a trend or something. Everyone I’ve met so far has been exceedingly nice and welcoming, and it’s really cool to be surrounded only by guys who know what it’s like to be trans.

There’s 16 of us in this cabin; it’s the most people I’ve ever shared a sleeping space with! It’s kind of weird. I really wanted to try doing stand-up comedy at the talent show, but I was too nervous and not confident enough in my jokes.

 

Day Two: Saturday April 7th, 2018

 

Today has been jam-packed, and the weather is so nice. It’s sunny, there is minimal wind, and it feels like the upper 50s.

I woke up at 6:30am, took some pictures, then went to eat breakfast. I had oatmeal, a hard-boiled egg, palenka, and some yogurt. After that I attended a “dad chat,” where a bunch of us spoke with one another about being a parent as a trans man. People talked about adoption, carrying a child themselves, artificial insemination, and other methods. We also talked about talking to your child about gender identity and transness.

A few guys shared their personal experiences with conception. One guy had a close friend of his ejaculate into a cup, and then they used a testosterone syringe to inject it into his wife. A different gentleman carried his own child, and he said it was the most beautiful and enlightening experience he’s ever had. A third guy found an anonymous sperm donor, a fourth man picked a donor, bought the sperm, and conceived at home. Someone else had his eggs retrieved and implanted in his wife with a known donor, and then for their second child, they plan on using the same donor but with the wife’s eggs this time (I personally really like that idea. That way both children are related to both parents. I think that’s a really smart and creative way to make a family.)

Basically, there are many options for trans men who want to be parents. For myself, if I want to have my eggs retrieved or if I want to carry a child (which I really do not want to do), I have to act sooner rather than later. The longer I’m on T, the more sterile I become. What I did decide, though, is that if I do have a child, I want to raise them as gender-neutral as possible for as long as possible.

After the dad chat, Mason, Charlie, and I went to the tye-dye station to color some white shirts. I did mine pink and blue, of course. We also got to pet, brush, and feed the horses who live on the ranch.

We went to another chat where a trans rights lawyer (who is also a trans man) spoke about legal issues, especially surrounding family law and Trump’s trans military ban. If I ever have a child, I’ll need to adopt them if they’re not biologically mine or else I could have custody taken from me. He also suggested that a prenup that states that my spouse is aware that I am trans and is ok with it so in case we get divorced, my transness can’t be used against me.

There’s currently a chat going on about long-term transition things but it was starting to make me feel anxious with all the talk of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms…I had to leave. Now I’m sitting in the sun, writing. It’s so peaceful. I’m learning there’s still so much more left to accomplish as a community.

I’m so tired. The most exhausted I’ve ever been, I think. We were out in the sun today (shirtless, of course) playing basketball and this newer game called Gaga ball. I also climbed a 30 ft pole and ziplined across a field, tye-dyed a shirt, made a bracelet, and really developed a sense of community and oneness… it’s something I’ve never felt before.

After dinner we watched two films on the trans masculine experience. I left halfway through the second one though, because I was (and still am) feeling extremely emotionally drained as well as physical – and the higher altitude does not help my case.

I’ve learned a lot so far. Mostly, I think I understand now, that “trans” is an experience. In a way, it’s a path to enlightenment.

Most of all, this camp has given me hope for my future as a man, after most/all of my “transition steps” are completed. It has also encouraged me to stay creative and interested in multiple facets of creative outlets – like book writing, filmmaking, photography – they can all be a part of me just like my transness is. If I plan ahead, I can find the time to pursue a long-term project like making a documentary film on the trans experience.

So much has happened today, I’m not sure how to process all of it yet. Writing helps. I feel like a baby tran compared to most people here.

Another guy just came into the cabin and went to bed. Same.

 

Day Three: Sunday April 8th, 2018

 

The final day (or half-day, rather). I was originally supposed to leave camp right after breakfast because I couldn’t find anyone to take me to the airport later, yet early enough to catch my 4:20pm flight. But, right after breakfast, Mason mentioned that he was going near the airport – so I asked him if we could leave at 2pm instead of 3pm and we did – so I got to experience some really great things.

I hung out with a few guys and we walked around the ranch on another scavenger hunt – but this was after the hike I went on. So I did a ton of walking this weekend, which probably isn’t ideal for my ankle. Oh well.

I really connected with this guy Garrick. Some other guys I formed good connections with and hung out with are Caysin, Mason, Charlie, and Ajay. These are just the main ones. I had a lot of great conversations with pretty much everyone there, which is really cool. There were no cliques.

So after the hike and the scavenger hunt, we went to the bottom surgery chat. It was intense, emotional, and informative. Three very brave guys showed the group their results (two phalloplasty and one metoidioplasty) and talked in detail about their surgery experiences from early decision-making to recovery and post-op complications. From what I gathered, phallo poses a bigger risk for complications, and one in eight guys lose sensation in their genitals. Although, I was pretty impressed with how the phallo results looked. One guy had testicular implants, the other didn’t. A commonality among guys who had phallo is that the recipients experienced extreme pain after surgery, and they had an overwhelmingly emotional (and long) recovery period. One gentleman cried as he told us about his wife and how she had the majority of the burden of his recovery due to his limited mobility.

On the other hand, meta seems to come with fewer risks, yet not as “cis”-looking results. There are different kinds of meta, and you can get testicular implants too, if desired.

There’s so much to think about and process from this weekend, my brain feels like jelly and I’m so worn down. At least I got some sun on my face! The exhaustion is totally worth it. It was truly incredible to be surrounded by people who are just like me. I’ve gained some wisdom about becoming a man, defining my own masculinity, and transcending the binary. In talking with one dude, he described his gender identity as both a man and a woman – possessing womanly parts and a masculine outward presence. I really connected with that aspect – just being me regardless of how society labels my body and my social presence. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s something I can strive for as I continue on my crazy journey and become the person I am meant to be.

Being trans is an experience. It differs vastly from person to person, similarly to how sex, sexuality, and gender are all on a spectrum. Every body is different. Surgery results are incredibly variable. Life experiences are all over the place, and it has been amazing learning so much about my own community.

I am returning home with a newfound love for myself, my identity, and my community. I no longer feel isolated or like a freak, or like a girl who was just pretending. Society may not have a safe, comfy spot for me and my ilk, but damn it, I’m gonna fight for our spot because we are human and we deserve equal treatment.

I am returning home feeling whole, accepted, loved, and most importantly – understood.

Trans 102

(K+M) Back in July, we teamed up to write a blog defining terms and concepts in the LGBT+ community. We focused on terms related to being “trans,” as that’s the main focus of our blog. We’ve decided to do that once again, to provide some more educational material.

(K) Back in the spring of my senior year of high school, I boarded a bus at 4am with other members of my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), and we drove to Albany where we spent the day learning about the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and attended other various conversations about sexual orientation and gender expression throughout Albany’s convention center.

GENDA is sort of a follow-up bill to SONDA (Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act), which passed in 2002. SONDA prohibits discrimination on the basis of one’s perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights. GENDA is essentially saying the same thing, but its protections are for transgender/non-binary/gender nonconforming, since SONDA did not explicitly create a protected category for these aforementioned individuals.

Fast forward to now, and GENDA has been passed in the State Assembly for eleven straight years, but the State Senate has never brought GENDA to the floor for a vote. This means that the transgender community in New York State is without explicit protections for over fifteen years!

If GENDA is passed, it could not be overturned by a future governor. It also stands up against transphobia, and sets a good example for other states to protect their transgender residents as well.

(M) Recently my husband and I attended a Gender forum. We, as parents of a child within that community, took in an incredible amount of information that never would have occurred to us with just our own experience.

We were greeted by a transgender woman who really knew her stuff. For example, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association define being transgender as a disconnect between the sex assigned at birth and the gender the brain identifies with (being transgender IS NOT a lifestyle or a choice). A noted statistic (according to a 2016 Williams Institute Report) approximately .6% of the population identifies as transgender. This equates to approximately 1.4 million Americans and over 100,000 New Yorkers. She provided us with a great power point presentation.

The slide that resonated most with me is that every one can be described by four basic factors: biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  Gender is more than the biological tissue you are born with. Not everyone’s gender identity matches their reproductive organs. Sexual orientation is not based on biological sex or gender identity. Not everyone fits the gender binary (the binary demonstrates that there is only male and female, nothing else can exist). These are things I would have never thought of on my own. It’s like saying, “you don’t know what it’s like to be someone else unless you’ve walked a day in their shoes.” Well, let me tell you the panel that was there to share their stories and answer questions CLEARLY were very different from one another. I learned that every single person in the community has walked very different paths and has their own journey to celebrate because all they want is to be accepted as who they are and what they contribute to society.

There were six people on this panel and of all ages 25-60+. Sadly, the only thing that was the same for them was that at one point in their life they were not accepted and felt unloved. Feelings are very hard to deal with sometimes. You want to suppress them, ignore them, or fill up your time keeping busy so that ‘feeling’ doesn’t take up your every breath. I have seen the anxiety and depression first hand and it’s not easy to watch. It is reported that 40% of transgender individuals have tried to commit suicide. 40%! At one time our child was part of that statistic.  That being said, the love and support he receives keeps him safe and happy. Many people don’t want to tell anyone due to lack of support, love and acceptance.  That leaves one to think “no one wants me and I’m better off dead.”  I just don’t understand what gives a person the power to make someone else feel so helpless and ashamed.

(K+M) Here are some of the highlights from the presentation, and these are the things we feel are important to share and educate people on.

Genderbread-Person-3.3-Minimal.jpg

We found this chart to be informative and easily digestible for people who may not know the proper terminology behind these topics, or for those who may not understand the several different aspects of gender expression/identity/biological sex/sexual orientation.

Terminology

Transphobia: a dislike or prejudice towards the transgender community. Transphobia can also be internalized, when a trans person experiences hatred or shame towards themselves.

Gender Identity: Our deeply held, persistent, internal sense of self as a man, a woman, somewhere in between, or not at all. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “By age four, most children have a stable sense of their gender identity.”

Heteronormativity: The way our culture views heterosexual men and heterosexual women as “normal” and “natural.” All other genders are viewed as abnormal or inferior.

 

Some things to remember when interacting with a gender-expansive person:

You don’t have to understand a person’s gender identity to respect them and their identity. Be sure to use the person’s pronouns of their choice. Do not be afraid to ask someone which pronouns they use. Respect their name, regardless if it has been legally changed or not. And remember, be mindful of the questions you ask them (do not ask about their birth name, genitals, or sexual relationships).

Thank you for reading our second educational blog post! Stay tuned for more. 🙂

Now, go VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!

 

 

Miracle on Ice

I started playing hockey when I was eight years old. I played for various house leagues and a few different travel teams as well. I wasn’t particularly good, seeing as I never made any of the teams I tried out for. But I played because I loved it. I loved the feeling of the cold air on my face and the feeling of gliding quickly across the ice.
The only significant achievement I accomplished with ice hockey is that I was on the inaugural girls varsity hockey team at my high school. I had to take a few years off after getting a couple of concussions, but when I was ready I joined my college’s girls club team for a semester. I loved being able to play competitive hockey again, but at the end of the semester I had to essentially choose between playing hockey and starting my medical/physical transition. I chose to transition because I had reached a low part in my depression and I knew I couldn’t put that off any longer.
After beginning my transition, a friend of mine introduced me to this program where you pay $12 and play a pickup hockey game. It’s all adults, and it’s pretty low-stress. It’s great when I need the exercise (which is often), and it’s a great way for me to do something I’ve always loved doing since I was a young child.
I haven’t played hockey since before I had top surgery, until last night. I hadn’t even considered this as a big milestone for myself until I was sitting in the locker room shirtless. Growing up, I never knew the words to describe what I was feeling and what I meant by, “I want to look different.” During practices, I’d stare at my reflection in the plexiglass boards and wished I didn’t have hair draping down out of my helmet. I wished my shoulders were wider. I wanted to look like a boy–because that’s what I was.
Playing hockey post-top surgery was such an incredible feeling. The shoulder pads sat flatly on my chest, and I could feel the cold air flowing beneath my jersey. Playing hockey now connects me with my younger self, who dedicated so much of his time to the sport. I feel like I’ve come full circle in this aspect of my journey, and that was only affirmed when I saw a picture of myself after the game.
In the picture, I see the person I always wanted to see looking back at me in the plexiglass. I see the guy I’ve always envisioned and dreamed I’d look like one day. I made it. Every time I see this picture I feel incredibly emotional. I made it.

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