Transgender University student interview [part 4]

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

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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)

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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’.

Transgender University student interview [part two]

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

Feel free to comment, like and share!

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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.

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

Transgender Toilet

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Today’s societies are more open toward LGBT community than it ever has been. Transgenders have slowly become more acceptable and recognised as a third gender in many societies. However, their civil rights still remain as a contentious subject. One of many transgender social problems is their right to use public toilets that correspond to their gender identity. Many transgenders may feel unease and come across mistreatment, harassment and assaults, resulting in them feeling unsafe in either of the toilets.

I don’t think people realised or understand the issues of using public toilet for trans people. It may seems to be a small issue, however imagine yourself having to feel nervous every time you want to use a toilet, whether it’s in public, workplace or at uni campus. We can all help fix this issue by being considerate and respectful to transgender you meet in the toilet and help campaign for trans toilets. 

There is an organisation called #Illgowithyou that offers support for trans people who feel afraid or concerned about going to the toilet alone. We can also help out by getting the ‘Illgowithyou button’ and attach it on your clothes or bag to publicly offer support to be a ‘bathroom buddy’ to trans people who needs it. This is such a great campaign, while the society is slowly working towards providing more toilets for transgenders or unisex toilet that indicate inclusion of trans-gender, we should do our best to make  trans people feel like they belong in our society just like everybody else. 

I’ll go with you Campaign – http://www.illgowithyou.org

SL

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

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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

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

There Are Different Ways to Be Transgender

In the previous post, we talked about Gender Dysphoria, which is when one has the emotional and psychological want to be identified as the opposite of one’s biological sex. Gender Dysphoria is a condition defined in medical term that label a condition, however it need not to be applied to everyone.

Being a transgender is not a diagnosis, and it is not something that you have to tick off the criteria to be qualify as one. Although reading books and seeking advice can help you understand yourself and other people more, it doesn’t mean that you have to relate yourself to that feeling, emotion or condition that other people have. There are people who want to undergo medical and surgical transition, and there are people who don’t. There are many different ways to be transgender. Trans people can also have different sexual orientation, but we won’t get into that because it can get complicated! So the point is you are the one who should define yourself. Books, online information, medical terms or other people experience can be useful as guidelines to help you figure out who you are and who you are not. But you should not have to stick to one criteria or definition.

SL

Life is complicated! Meanwhile, check out the trailer of this heartwarming TV series that show just that.