Problems with looking “binary”

Problems with looking “binary”

Note: Sorry for being off the grid, I have been very busy with work and have barely time for myself these days. Decided to buckle down and write something to remove this writer’s block.

For a long time since I started my transition (medical and otherwise), I was presenting as a transgender man. Growing up in your standard Latinx family, gender was strictly enforced – I had to wear makeup, dresses, you name it.While not necessarily hating it, I didn’t feel comfortable and, if you ever met me during these years before my self-discovery, you could see it plain as day. When I started to go through this major identity overhaul, I flipped the switch and started doing things that men were expected to do. It all went well for a while until I found myself stuck with the same problem that I did when presenting as female. Did I really hate being female or was it something else?
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The Trouble With Pronouns

The Trouble With Pronouns

“Hi, my name is Gabriel and I use they/them pronouns.”

Sounds like an easy way to introduce yourself and your pronouns, doesn’t it? I thought it would be. That is, until I got a seasonal retail job.

Once I got that call to schedule an interview, I got excited. Excited at the prospect of finally having some sort of income coming in since I was let go from my previous one several months ago. The interview happened in two parts but, despite my low self-esteem, I managed to pass with flying colors and landed the job.

I was skipping my way home and tell my friends all about it, when my orientation would be and what my schedule would be like. It wasn’t until my friend asked me if I told them my pronouns during my interview that it hit me.They/them pronouns are hardly used among my own friends who are a part of the LGBTQ+ acronym, let alone coworkers. Despite the company’s strong support for LGBTQ+ folks, why was I afraid to let my coworkers and supervisors know? Continue reading “The Trouble With Pronouns”

The Balancing Act of Gender

The Balancing Act of Gender

I didn’t sign no contact that states that I wanted to do everything that society labels as “appropriate” for my gender – or even what they assume my gender is.

After my uncle staged a family intervention  when I reached the 6 months on testosterone mark, my family flipped a switch and started respecting who I was. But it all came at a price: now it feels like my perceived gender is now a mask I need to wear to make them and other people comfortable. I was expected to do the heavy lifting, know the answers to people’s questions, hold back my feelings, not be scared of insects and get a haircut when my hair gets longer than 2 inches.

All this gender policing, aimed to get me to adjust to navigating the world as a man, drove me to be more fed up about the gender binary and just do away with it.
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Navigating Gender Roles and Privilege

Navigating Gender Roles and Privilege

From the moment my voice dropped, I thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out. While no one questions my gender or has any trouble seeing me as male at around 3 months on T, I figured that I can just navigate the world without worrying about transphobia or not let complete strangers find out I was transgender.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, however.

It was tough adjusting to my new new role as a man. Aside from clothing choices and fashion, there were so many unspoken expectations (is this what they call the bro code?) that were thrust upon me all of a sudden. As a guy, I was expected to like sports, physical fitness, winning at everything and fixing stuff. It was as if they assumed that testosterone would automatically increase my knowledge in all of those areas! I can’t tell you how many times my father would ask me if I had seen the recent games of the U.S World Open over dinner despite telling him repeatedly that, aside from FIFA World Cup, I still have no interest in sports.
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Debunking the Popular Trans Narrative

Debunking the Popular Trans Narrative

When you search the word transgender on Google, you’ve probably have run into many success stories or videos of children or teens that have been safely transitioning thanks to to the support of family and/or friends.With new state policy changes,  online resources and  medical institutions offering trans-inclusive/trans-sensitive services increasing each year, transgender people are starting to discover themselves earlier than ever before and are able to live more fulfilling lives.

While transition is unique for each transgender person, the most common themes tend to appear in transgender stories:

  1. They have known they were transgender (or least felt something was wrong) since they were kids.
  2. They were extremely masculine/feminine presenting before coming out.
  3. Invasive details or plans about their surgeries and other changes (if any).
  4. Highlighting their birth name, as if it’s extremely important for the reader to know.
  5. Title explaining how the transgender person used to be female or male.

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Different Type of Dysphoria?

Different Type of Dysphoria?

Disclaimer: My experiences and narrative are mine and mine alone. Every transgender person is different and this should not be taken as a universal truth.  I don’t shame anyone for being part of the gender binary or being outside of it. Respect, love and understanding is key.

When reading online about gender dysphoria or hearing about what is dysphoric to other transgender folks like myself, I start to question whether or not I’m really transgender. Not so much because I haven’t had dysphoria (I know I have) but that it didn’t manifest itself in ways that most transgender people commonly described and it’s a shame that there are transgender people out there broadcasting their close-minded beliefs that you need to have a certain type of dysphoria to be transgender or else you aren’t.

My physical form was, ultimately, not the biggest obstacle for my transition as most described.
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What White Trans People Need To Understand

When researching about transgender folks back when I was questioning my gender identity, I found myself unable to relate to many transmasculine YouTubers that documented their transition as they were predominantly white and most of their troubles were generally just coming out to families and gaining acceptance as a man. While those are common issues we have to deal with, transpeople of color like myself additionally deal with cultural barriers within their own families and systematic racism. No amount of YouTube videos could have prepared me for my own transition as a Latino immigrant. What’s worse is when transpeople, who have white privilege, feel the need to talk over (more like erase) experiences of transpeople of color because it personally hasn’t happened to them.
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Transition Is Not A Choice

Transitioning to male liberated me in ways most people would never know. It went beyond developing muscles and facial hair: testosterone gave me the courage to simply be myself. I think my family finally realized this after fighting tooth and nail with me for several months to cut my hair short and just present myself as a butch lesbian once I started to come out of my shell. Granted, they have definitely come a long way from their black and white thinking about gender but there are times that make me realize that their acceptance of me doesn’t translate to being allies or desire for the world to change.
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Caitlyn Jenner Has a Lot to Learn

Oh Caitlyn Jenner. If you’ve been up to date on transgender current events, you’ve probably heard of her. Or at least the name will sound familiar.

For those that don’t know who this person is, Caitlyn Jenner is a newly out and proud transwoman celebrity associated with the Kardashian family who appears on Keeping Up with the Kardashians alongside her ex-wife Kris Jenner. She is also a retired Olympic athlete who won the 1976 Olympics decathlon who recently starred in an eight-part documentary series I Am Cait. As a result of her fame, she is unexpectedly thrown into the limelight as a transgender advocate which so far has been…disappointing at best.
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I Am Enough: The Past and the Present

Note: This post is a bit more personal but seeing as this might be something that would hit home for many transgender folks like myself, I decided to open up and write about it. Trigger warnings for suicide, rape, depression and dysphoria.

Losing a job is never easy for anyone, including myself, but this reminded me of past events and I thought now was a good time to reflect and come to terms with my past in order to keep moving forward. To be clear, the issue isn’t because my source of income is gone. It is because this event added onto the broken record that played over and over in my mind as a trans person: “You’re not good enough.”. Whether it’s a potential romantic partner telling you this when a relationship is on its last legs or when a family member isn’t supportive of your transition, the message is there. That message definitely was in the back of my mind when my bosses took me to the back room to tell me that I wasn’t a good fit for the company. The message “I am not good enough.” repeatedly rang through my head and brought me back to that dark, scary place I was in two years ago when I had received a rejection letter from graduate school and a phone call hours later telling me that I was being let go from my job.
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