Transgender University student interview [part two]

Part Two of our interview! ( See part one first)

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What issues do you encounter in your everyday life being trans?

Compared to before I started transitioning, everyday life has gotten much easier regarding my gender identity. I still have to deal with a few things that are trans related, but not to the same degree as I did a year ago.

I have to deal with a lot of stress regarding planning my medical transition. This was much harder initially as I did not know how to navigate the medical world myself, but I now have experience doing so. Currently I am trying to sort of Private Health Insurance to cover hospital costs and reduce the overall price of my chest reconstruction surgery (top surgery). The reason for this surgery is because I experience dysphoria regarding my chest. This dysphoria inhibits my ability to engage in activities such as going swimming or playing sports as I am currently left to wear a compression shirt which can slightly restrict upper body movement and breathing capacity.

I still have not changed my name legally and so I often have to book appointments with my dead name (name I was given at birth). This causes discomfort when my dead name is called out (such as University interviews and appointments) reminding me that I was indeed assigned a gender I did not want to be assigned as.
Are there any/many medical issues with the transition process?

With T hormone therapy, it is common to see an increase in cholesterol, which may lead to an increased risk in developing diabetes. There is also an increase in blood pressure and thickness that comes along with T. Compared to cis males (those who have a endogenous source of T) it is normal. With surgeries, there are the obvious chances of complications that come along with other surgeries. Some medical health professionals may gate-keep and hold trans people back from transitioning as medical transition is still not widely understood. I have experienced a medical health professional dismissing my gender dysphoria, writing me off as someone with depression.

How do you fight personal prejudice against the trans community?

I try to point things out when transphobic things are said, and get the person thinking about why it is transphobic.

What advice do you give to youth that are gender confused?

I think a better way to ask that is “questioning their gender” as there is a bit of stigma towards being confused about one’s identity. Advice to those questioning their gender: try things out. Look into the trans and/or non-binary communities. Try get the courage to talk to trans and/or non-binary people. Youtube is also your friend, where you can see heaps of videos of other people speaking of their experiences and how they’re navigating their gender and the outside world. Surround yourself with people who are willing to back you up on your journey to self discovery and love yourself, regardless of what identity you may or may not be.

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Trangender University student interview [ part one]

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The other day, I was discussing this campaign with a friend. My friend said “ It’s not that I have transphobia or that I am against transgender people in anyway. It is just that I do not understand what it means to be ‘transgender’”. I thought this was a very important point and it is probably one of the more common ways that prejudice feelings and bullying towards the transgender community starts, a lack of understanding and ignorance.

Well, In order to educate and help understand what it means to be ‘transgender’, I interviewed a transgender Uni student, who was kind enough to allow me to ask some pretty personal questions and he answered them in great depth, in order to help educate those who have unanswered questions.

I will be publishing the interview in 3 parts. All Questions are in bold. T.E.A is 19 and is Transmasculine ( he, him, his, they, them, theirs).

What does the term ” transgender” mean to you?

To be “transgender” to me means to be of a gender that is different to the one you were assigned at birth.

When did it occur to you that you were trans?

From a very early age I knew I wanted to be more masculine. I remember wishing I was born in a typical boy’s body and to be treated like one of the boys.
However, I did not know I was transgender until I was in yr 9, where I came across a FTM trans narrative on Degrassi that completely resonated with me. Up until then, I knew that something was odd, that I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what to do until I came across the portrayal of a trans individual.

Can you tell us a bit about the process of transitioning? 

From what I know, the process of transitioning can be categorised into 3 types; social transition, legal transition, and medical transition.

Note: no transition is the same. People have different levels of gender dysphoria and may take different means to be comfortable with themselves. For example, not everyone can or feel the need to start hormones, or opt for surgery. Some may take longer to transition, others faster. It is wholly dependant on the individual and their needs.

1. Social transitioning: For most, this means coming out and telling those around you, or select few that you are trans. This may mean changing your name, your pronouns, how you present yourself through your clothing, your mannerisms. Transitioning in a way that effects your social life.

2. Legal transition: This may mean changing your name legally and/or changing your gender marker on your passport, credit cards and other forms of identification.

3. Medical transition: For some this may mean getting onto hormone replacement therapy. This can also include getting surgery to reconstruct certain physical features. Psych approval is needed in order to get onto hormones and surgeries.

Are you out to your family and friends, do you openly discuss being trans?

I am out to the people who knew me before I started testosterone and to other trans people and queer people. I do not usually openly discuss being unless there is discussion regarding gender identity and if someone asks for information regarding transitioning.

Part 2 and 3 will be posted up soon, so make sure to keep checking in!

Let us know what you think and I really do hope that you help us share this story in order to prevent bullying and transphobia. You can comment, Share or like!

xx GB

Transparent review: Episode 3

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Yes, I know, another review so soon! But I just can’t stop watching!

So episode 3 is a little different to the other episodes as Maura is not really the focus and the focus is more on Maura’s children. What seems to be evident is that at the same time that Maura is learning to not hide who she really is, her children’s personal journeys shadow this. Each of her adult children is dealing with past demons and past secrets that are now haunting them.

Perhaps what this episode is trying to show us is that maybe having a father who was never truly himself affected his three children in various ways. Non of his children are the person they need or want to be.

Josh is a very warped and multi-fasciated character, he is very self indulged and can’t see past his own insecurities. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to Maura. Maura could not come out to Josh and backed out last minute because “ boys are the hardest”. I think this is a good topic to dwell on, do you think gender matters in this case? Is it easier to come out to your daughter because “they are more sensitive”. Or is it about the person no matter the gender? This was some fascinating dialogue and it would be interesting to hear others opinions on this.

Maura’s youngest daughter struggles to find who she really is, she lives off her parents and is perhaps the most unconventional character in a way. To me she is weird and quirky and fabulously entertaining, I think she has a great heart and is most defiantly a “ daddy’s girl”, so I feel she will not take Maura very well.

What is also interesting about this episode is that Maura’s oldest daughter ( who she is out to) still girls her “daddy”. This is a very interesting concept and I am interested and curious to see if this changes.

As usual this episode just made me want to watch another one, with the incredible writing and fantastic acting.

Until the next episode! Let me know your thoughts xx GB

Transparent: Episode 2

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So I just watched episode 2 of Transparent and WOW what a perfectly excellent cast in every way. We start off where the pilot left us, at the introduction of Maura. She is beautiful and eloquent. Her response to her daughters question was striking- “so you’re going to start dressing as a women?”. Maura replies “No, I have been dressing up as a man my whole life.” In that moment i felt my body shiver and develop goose bumps, I felt as if I was in that room with Maura.

You get the feeling that Maura is still very much learning how to accept herself and how to live the life she always lived in secret. Every character has their own secrets and their own journeys and you feel the authentic and realness behind each characters story and personality. Not once when I’m watching do I feel that I am watching a television program, it is only once the show ends that I realise “oh these are actually actors”. Their performances are so real that it is chilling.

I do like that I am now seeing transgender actors in the show as this was obviously a factor that has lacked within the main cast. I am excited to keep watching Maura’s journey and meet other characters that have taken similar journeys to Maura.

I am interested in how the other siblings will find out and what their initial reactions will be. I am most interested in seeing how Maura’s ex wife reacts or weather she had any idea.

Transparent is an example of how entertainment can also double as a form of activism. And whilst I am very aware of the issues that the Transgender community feel towards Transparent ( such as Maura being played by a cis individual), I think that a mainstream show about a Transgender persons journey, does wonderful things in terms of getting a conversation going about  Transgender acceptance.

Maura’s son, Josh, is an interesting character who I don’t fully understand at this point and I am interested to see how his character further develops. He is multi-fasciated and there is something important about him we do not know yet ( I sense) and I will keep on watching to find out!

I would enjoy some more flash backs to fully understand how Mort hid Maura from his loved ones.

Stay tuned for episode 3!

xx GB

Transge

Spirit Day!

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As most of you probably know, it was recently Spirit Day. But do you know what Spirit Day actually is or how it came about? If your answer to that question is no then have a read below and hopefully we will answer all ( or most) of your questions!

What is Spirit Day?

Spirit Day began in 2010 as a way to support LGBT youth. This was in order to stand up against bullying! There was a string of high-profiled suicides of LGBT teenagers in 2010 and therefore GLAAD was adamant in spreading acceptance and ending bullying that was leading to mental health concerns in the LGBT youth community.

Where did the Idea come from?

The idea actually came from an amazing teenager called Brittany Mcmillan, who wanted to remember those who lost their lives to suicide and to take a stand against bullying.

Who participates?

Students, schools, organisations, corporations, media professionals, celebrities, parents and a whole lot more! Oprah has gone purple for spirit day so has Facebook and even MTV and Cher have joined in!

Here at TransTeens Aus, we think this is incredible and we congratulate GLAAD on their amazing work!

Did you participate in Spirit day on the 15th? If so you can tweet your pictures with  #TransteensAus, mention us in your tweet or send them as a comment on FB or wordpress. We would love to see all your great pictures from Spirit Day!

Check out http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/about to know more!

xx GB

Born in the Wrong Body

Channel 4 (UK) is starting a new documentary series ‘Born in the Wrong Body’, beginning the series with ‘My Transgender Kid’ episode. I get emotional every time I watch these videos of transgender kids. They make me realise how real this is. “Actually I don’t want to be a girl, I am a girl” said Paddy, a seven-year-old trans girl from ‘My Transgender Kid’ episode.

Imagine how hard it would be for other trans kids who are not fortunate enough to have accepting and supportive family. The majority of society’s view on Transgenders need to change and we need to show more support, in order to get these families to begin accepting and understanding their child. Media plays a very important role in the change in our society.

People need to see how hard it can be for transgenders to get accepted by society. Thus, we are so grateful for these shows that put our trans people in the spotlight. Look out for trans life-changing stories from Channel 4 and don’t forget to check out our ‘Transgenders on Screen’ section, to get news and updates on transgenders in the media. 

Born in the Wrong Body Season: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/born-in-the-wrong-body-season

Article on ‘My Transgender Kid’: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-10-06/my-transgender-kid-all-they-want-is-to-be-loved-for-themselves-and-accepted-for-themselves

SL