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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Nominated for Liebster Award

Thank you (janitorqueer) for nominating me for this chain award. I was a little confused at first but basically this is a pay-it-forward kind of thing for bloggers to get to know each other and everything. If I nominated you in a comment on your blog, do the following:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.

3. Nominate bloggers who you think are deserving of the award but also help promote newer bloggers with less followers.

4. Tell the bloggers you nominated them, in a comment on their blog.

5. Give them 11 questions of your own or use these:

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
Why did you start this blog?
Boxers or briefs?
What’s your favorite Prince song?
What makes you smile?
What important values do you live by?
Who do you credit with instilling those values?
What goals do you have for the rest of 2016?
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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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How the Internet Helped Me Cope With Dysphoria

How the Internet Helped Me Cope With Dysphoria

There are many ways to help cope with dysphoria; this was how I did. For as long as I could remember, I knew something was off but with no words to describe what I was feeling. Even when my mom slapped the lesbian label on me when I was in high school, something else was eating at me and I didn’t figure out what until I finished college. Good thing I hadn’t found out sooner because I didn’t have to seek the approval of my parents for taking hormones. Armed with my life savings, I used the money to pay for doctor appointments, bloodwork, hormones and medical supplies.
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The Race for Post-Transition

There’s no denying it being transgender is tough. Reaching a point in life where my transition didn’t pollute every inch of my thoughts was my ultimate goal.

Or so I thought.

When I first started questioning and looking for guidance, I participated in a few transgender Facebook groups. The people were inherently nice and I got my questions and concerns answered but I noticed that transition was treated as some sort of race to get hormones, change your name, get surgery and just move on with life. Now that I’m farther longer in my transition (but not necessarily post-transition), the most common questions I’ve seen were either “When would it be a good time to change your legal name?” or “When did you get <insert surgery>?” While these can be done whenever, I noticed many people rushed to get it all done and went either stealth or went on to help others early on in their journey. Being close to 2 years on testosterone, most transgender people I meet would, while asking me about my transition, automatically assume that I was post-op only for me to tell them otherwise. For a while, I also originally thought that rushing to get it all over with and then go stealth was the right way to go until I realized it wasn’t.
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How to Make a Top Surgery GoFundMe Successful

How to Make a Top Surgery GoFundMe Successful

Let’s face it transition isn’t as accessible as it seems. Despite every transgender person having different needs, transition can get very expensive and not all transgender people are fortunate enough to afford the cost. To make matters worse, not every insurance company (or plan, even) covers trans-related care and it can leave a transgender person to fend for themselves and pay out-of-pocket. Depending on where you live, hormones, bloodwork and fees for changing your legal name and documents can easily rack up and put someone in debt.

And even when you get to the point of being on hormones and you finally changed your name and gender marker on your documents, there’s still the question of having surgery (if you feel you need it). According to the FTM Surgery Network, top surgery costs are generally in the range of $3,500 – $9,000 with most recent price quotes being on the higher end. While some can afford these surgery costs on top of hotel, travel and additional fees (if traveling elsewhere) right off the bat, most of us have to pinch pennies and raise money after choosing your surgeon and having the consultation.

With surgery costs easily in the thousands and having bills to pay, what’s a transman to do?

Fortunately, with the Internet, it has become easier than ever to reach out to others for help in raising money for surgery. There are multiple ways to help raise money on the Internet and even in real life. While I’m pre-op at time of writing this, I’ve got a few ideas and methods to help fuel the fundraising that I want to share that can help.
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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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Signs That You Need Better People In Your Life

Going through transition, whether social, physical or emotional, is exhausting enough. It can be emotionally draining having to jump through hoops for a healthcare system that seems to act as a gatekeeper when trying to get hormones, surgeries, etc. or navigating different institutions (work, school, etc.) in order to be seen as you really are. Depending on where you live, trying to navigate the world as a transgender person can put your safety at risk.

That’s why, for most of us, it is definitely important to have a support system of people to help you get through these potentially hard times that you are or will be having. However, the question remains: who is willing to be supportive?

Here are a list of red flags that may mean that you need to drop some people in your life (from personal experience):

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