Transgender University student interview [part 4]

Last part of the interview! Check out part 1,2,3!

transgender flag

Why are there so many mental health issues connected to being transgender and how do you think we can help make this not the case?

It may be due to the fact that gender identity is not taught at school, and so when a person is questioning their gender/realise they are transgender more often than not, the individual may feel isolated and different to those around them.
The cost of medically and legally transitioning is also expensive and is a big source of stress. Reducing medical costs by allowing it to be covered by health care and making legal name changes cheaper/free for transgender people will reduce this financial stress.
There is also lot of waiting that comes with transitioning, which can lead to increased feelings of hopelessness and depression. Promoting the idea that taking longer to transition is ok at that they will get there eventually may decrease this. Unaccepting parents is a big reason why young transgender people face so many mental health issues. Again, increasing awareness will help. In this case, advertising support groups aimed at parents of transgender people will help further.
Homelessness is an issue seen amongst trans people as there are a high proportion of transgender people who are kicked out of home or have had to leave home due to terrible circumstances. To reduce the mental impact of homelessness, providing more housing for transgender individuals is an initiative that can be taken on.

Is there a big transgender community in Sydney, can you tell us a bit about it?

Compared to the lesbian and gay community, it is not as big. I am only aware of support groups and organisations. In Sydney, there are organisations such as Twenty10 and The Gender Centre that help out trans people. The Gender Centre holds monthly groups where you can meet up with people with the same identity and discuss things regarding transition. There are also trans groups on the internet that allow for trans people to connect regardless of location.
Are there many support groups for transgender people in Sydney or do you think there needs to be more? Do you think the government should be doing more for the transgender community?

There is a small number of support groups around the city. I think there should be more situated further from the city, as this will increase the accessibility to those who live a bit further away.
I think the transgender community is one of the many minority groups that the government should be doing more towards.

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Transgender university student interview [ part 3 ]

Part 3! ( See part 1 & 2)

Transgender laverne

How do you think we as a society can help diminish or get rid of transphobia?

More representation of trans individuals that are not negative; show that transgender people are in fact people. Educate people about what it means to be transgender, and the difficulties faced with being trans. Educate individuals about what is considered transphobic or cisnormative (trans exclusionary) language and behaviours.

What are your feelings about famous transgender individuals such as Caitlyn Jenner, Jazz Jennings and Laverne Cox?

I think it is great that there are famous trans people out there who aim to represent and give light to the community. Laverne Cox especially has done so much for trans representation, and also bringing up intersectionality into discussion. I haven’t seen Jazz Jennings around much, but from what I have seen I think she also creates people to question and understand what it may mean to be trans, especially a young trans person.

As for Caitlyn Jenner, she has brought being transgender into light but there has been a bit of contention in regards to her views, as she is quite conservative.

It is important to note that such famous people, such as Caitlyn are privileged; have the money and are at a place to be able to transition, and that most trans people do not have the same type of accessibility that she does.

What do you think family and schools can do in order to make transgender youth feel more comfortable in their skin and avoid feelings of dysphoria?

Introduce gender neutral bathrooms. Allow uniform to be worn regardless of gender. Allow people to have their preferred names on the roll. Don’t make such a fuss over whether or not someone adheres to gender stereotypes, accept them for who they are. If your child comes out as transgender, listen to what they have to say. Buy them clothes if they want to start dressing more ‘masculine’ or more ‘feminine’.

Understanding Transgender

I have recently stumbled upon a couple of paragraphs that I believe sums up the notion of being a transgender from a book ‘Transitions – A Guide to Transitioning For Transsexuals and Their Families’.

‘Generally speaking though, transgender people do not know that what they are feeling about their gender is wrong until someone points it out to them that they are not acting appropriately for their gender, or they learn on their own what society deems appropriate for each gender. Let’s face it, society generally believes there are just two genders, male and female, each with its own set of associated behaviours, norms and dress. Modern western society has not generally embraced the fact that there are gender variations beyond male or female. Society tends to ignore the fact that some people are born intersexed and the fact that some people have gender identities that do not match their physical gender.

When a transgender person starts to realise that his or her gender identity is discordant with his physical gender, there develops within the person a level of discomfort. This level of discomfort may wax and wane throughout life. The way individual copes with this discomfort level is low, a person may just act effeminately or tomboyish. When the discomfort level rises, the person may start cross-dressing privately. If the discomfort continues to rise, the person may venture out in public cross-dressed on a limited basis. if the discomfort level becomes too great, the person may start to consider living as the other gender permanently. Hence, what really defines the different variations of transgender spectrum is the action that is required for a person to manage the discomfort caused by his or her gender identity incongruence.’

I think people need to have the basic understanding of transgender that is outlined in these two paragraphs. This seems to be a great book to read for transgenders who are considering transitioning, as well as for families and friends of transgenders who would like to better understand your loved one. This book is written by Mara Drummond, who is a transgender herself.

Get this book from Amazon -> http://www.amazon.com/Transitions-Guide-Transitioning-Transsexuals-Families/dp/0557052610

SL

Transition

Cosmetic surgery is not always necessary for transgenders to get into a transition. Taking hormones is one of the most common method if one wants to undergo a transition. Hormones can amazingly and dramatically change your body from inside to the outer physical appearance. Transitioning with hormones takes time, it can goes from one to three years or longer. Taking hormones will change the soft tissues of your body, they will change the shape, the curves, they way you look and how you feel. However, hormones can only give and cannot take away. They can’t take away what you have such as breast or sex organs. That would have to be done by surgery, which is the next step after hormones taking.

Before beginning a transition, you should make sure that you really want this. A transition will change your life. You should also do a sufficient research before making a decision. Different people experience different journey of a transition, so by checking out others’ experience might give you a brief guide of what you should expect.

Again, there are so many transgenders out there that are making a record of their transitions. Take a look at Jamie Raines’s amazing Transition Video down below. Jamie is a trans guy, who took selfies of himself for three year during his transition. He took hormones and had a top surgery. He also gives advices and share his experiences on his blog and YouTube channel. From this video, you can see how hormones alone can change Jamie’s appearance. It is amazing, and certainly inspiring.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Jamie on YouTube to continue follow his transition.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHSIA2JRC5PWvUX4Sl8OrcA

SL

Transparent review: Episode 3

transparent 3

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

Interview coming!

Hey guys,

Guess what?

We have an amazing interview coming up with an amazing Transgender Sydney Uni student and activist.

The interview will be up later this week, we cannot wait to share it with you guys!

We have compiled some great questions and we are sure we will receive incredible answers.

It is our aim to share with you the stories of some incredible individuals.

If you would like to share some stories with us please let us know!

Be sure to watch out for the interview later this week,

xx GB

The Danish Girl

The-Danish-Girl-2

Another most anticipated film ‘The Danish Girl’. Just watching the trailer makes me so excited for this film. The movie is based on a book by David Ebershoff about the life Lili Elbe, a female transgender pioneer. Lili was one of the first known recipient to get a gender reassignment surgery.

The film portrays a story of a married couple Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda (Alicia Vikander). Einar and Gerda are both painters. Einar begins to rediscover himself after his wife Gerda asked him to be a stand in female model for her painting one day. After that he couldn’t get over the experience of wearing a dress and start developing attraction for feminine clothes. He begins living as Lili and decided to walk down the journey of getting a full transition, that is getting a gender reassignment surgery. Out of expectation, Gerga supports Lili’s decision, even though it means that she has to let go of her husband Einar. For the look of it, it’s definitely going to be one emotional ride watching this film!

The film explores the deep relationship between the characters and take us through profound aspects of being a transgender. ‘The Danish Girl’ is about how Lili learns to accept her true self and how Gerda accepts and understand the true identity and desire of her love one. With one of my favourite actors, Eddie Redmayne, who won Oscar’s Best Actor Award and Tom Hooper, Oscar’s Winning Director of ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘Les Miserables’, the film promises an outstanding performance. ‘The Danish Girl’ had already screened at the Toronto and Venice International Film Festival. The release date (US) for the film is set on the 27th November 2015. I think the film will be such a big step for both the transgender community and the Hollywood film industry, in which it will definitely bring a massive attention internationally to the transgender issues. I am so looking forward to this film, make sure you don’t miss out when the film releases. In addition, I am so happy to see a long list of LGBT related films release in 2015 from around the world, check out the link down below!

LGBT related films of 2015:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lesbian,_gay,_bisexual_or_transgender-related_films_of_2015

The Danish Girl Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

SL

Voice Training

EVA

Voice is a very important factor when it comes to transitioning. Voice may also be the hardest thing to adjust for most male-to-female transgenders unless one undergoes surgery. Testosterone injections can help transgender men deepen the voice, however hormones for transgender women have no effects on the vocal cords.

Even our star Caitlyn Jenner also have to face this problem. She mentioned on her blog after accepting an award at the ESPYs that “while I felt like I looked great and that the gown looked fabulous, I still have a voice issue”. So this is something that would be very hard to overcome in a trasition.

Many of you might not know this, but believe it or not there is a voice training app just for transgenders! It is called Eva. The app provides exercises, strategies and techniques for building a strong foundation for the voice of your choice of gender. Other than this app, you can also find a organisation or professional that offer voice therapy and training. Although you can’t completely change your voice, you can train it, “..it will become a skill you know how to perform” says Kathe Perez, the founder of Eva. In the end, it’s not all about your voice, it’s about you got to say!

Approach to Voice Therapy: http://www.nyspeechandvoicelab.net/transgender/approach

Voice Training Resources: http://www.tsroadmap.com/voice/transsexual-voice.html

SL

Reach Out

“A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting

suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population,2

with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias

(55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low

household income, or were the victim of physical assault

(61%) or sexual assault (64%).”

(A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey)

These statistics are staggering indeed! These incidents are pretty much from almost every aspects of our lives, from family, school, workplace and the public. Not every trans people have the courage to stand up for themselves, given the injustice they are facing at every turn, which in many cases may lead to depression and/or anxiety disorder. Trans people with depression are no different than other people who have depression. If you know anyone who you think is going through a tough time or depression whether it’s family, friend or someone you know at work, you can always reach out. And as a transgender, you should also try your best to do the same, reach out for yourself. There are so many supportive people and organisation out there, who are willing to do whatever they can to help. There are still discrimination in this world, but there are also people who are fighting against it.

If you are a victim of insults, threats or assaults..

STOP IT, TALK, ACT, REPORT

I would like to end this post with this emotional video that will show you that there are people out there with kindness and compassion for the LGBT community.

Helping a friend with depression: http://au.reachout.com/helping-a-friend-with-depression

SL

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