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For anyone in the Baltimore area:
A new student group is being formed at Towson University for transitioning students and their significant others. Please spread the word and email email@example.com for more information.
Hi there! Im Alex a 17 year old transman from sunny san diego and I would like to tell you about an organization I set up called The Levamentum Project. The Levamentum Project is a new organization designed to help transgender youth with their transitions. Some of the features of the project include;
- A binder and packer exchange program
- A penpal program
- A newsletter that updates followers about the program and provides special discounts at the store.
-Inexpensive Transition Items;
-Packing Underwear: $10
-Silicone Breast Forms: $21-36
-Travel Breast Forms: $15
There are many more things we would like to add to the program and many improvements that need to be made. The only way these things can happen are if we gain more supporters and spread the word as much as possible. The program does not have any form of funding at the moment other than donations. In order to keep this program up and running we need your help! We are asking you to spread the word to all of your followers and to check out the program for yourselves. Thank You for your help and support.
The Levamentum Project
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“YOU ARE AN ARTIST OF YOUR OWN CREATION”
Creating a safe space for the exchange of ideas and resources for all people under the trans-umbrella and those exploring gender identity.
Through the development of on-line resources and social programming, trans-people and those exploring gender identity will come together to discuss and learn of similarities and the differences; bonds will form; barriers where more work is needed will be realized and through understanding ourselves we will unite and respect one another.
1. Listen to Music - create a playlist that you know will help you feel better. Whether it’s music that distracts you, empowers you, or that you can sympathize with it, just stop and listen for a while.
2. Watch Something - funny, distracting, a mystery; whatever will hold your focus and take you away for long enough for you to try and gain your footing again
3. Eat Something - make yourself a treat. Or buy something delicious. No matter how odd or sugary or anything, so long as it doesn’t pose you immediate danger, savor it.
4. Take it Out - take a pillow, leash, belt or something similar in both hands and attack something sturdy. It could be your bed or a table or a tree, but yell whatever you’re feeling and beat the daylights out of that inanimate object until you’re too tired to continue.
5. Activate! - do research, write a post, make a video; do something to contribute to getting to where you want to be and/or helping the community.
6. Art - create something unique and powerful. It could relate to your dysphoria or not – just design something and focus on creating it until it’s done. The good thing about art is that you can never run out of ideas, and it never has to get old.
7. Read - whether queer graphic novels, classic literature, or trans* fanfiction is your pleasure, find something and start reading, and don’t worry about how long you stay absorbed in it
8. Write a Letter - or a journal entry about how you feel. Perhaps write it to your future self, or to that person or part of society that manages to trigger you every time. Keep it, burn it, or stick it on your wall.
9. Write on Your Body - whether you want to draw a moustache on your face in eyeliner or put on full makeup, or write quotes, lyrics, symbols, images, or phrases on your body, do so. You can take the makeup off whenever you want, and you can write on a part of your body no one else will be seeing. Or you can leave it on/write on your face or arms or hands for the world to see. If possible, it might help to write on a particular body part that is making you feel dysphoric. Then, when you look at it, you can remember that you’re in control of your body, and see whatever reminder you left for yourself.
10. Change it Up - get a piercing, cut and/or die your hair, choose to shave as little or as much as you’d like, get a tattoo, wear something new and different, put on dramatic makeup. Do something to your body that you can control, that does show who you are (or who you want to be or someone else entirely) on the outside.
Disclaimer: Not all of these will work for everyone! Some will work wonders, some will work a little, some will do nothing, and some may actually make it worse. As always when coping with this sort of thing, know your triggers, and make choices based around those. Other than that, do whatever it takes to keep yourself relatively safe and make yourself feel better.
note: If you have other ideas/suggestions, feel free to send them to me! (I’m trying to keep a running list on this permalink that people can easily access.) Also, I didn’t include talking because a. not everyone has that resource b. it’s the only regular suggestion I’ve seen online for dealing with dysphoria.
Also, I dislike using the word dysphoria because it is so…inadequate to cover all that it does. But it’s the best-known word, so I’ve chosen to use it here.
More ideas, whether for you or your boyfriend or girlfriend. There are several here that I know we have not posted when the question has come up before. Do be sure to read the disclaimer and have a discussion with your boyfriend about things he’d like to try/things he has done before and try to be aware of some of his triggers before you suggest doing anything in particular. Communication is key.
I would like your help.
I’ve decided to compile a list of coping strategies to deal with dysphoria.
Obviously, different things do and don’t work for different people. But I’ve had a pretty hard time finding a good resource on even suggestions on ways to deal with it. And the scattered answers I’ve seen to anon questions on trans* topics blogs are typically very specific to the person answering and very few.
If you feel comfortable doing so, send over your (minimally harmful, if possible…but I realize that self care can be a wide range of things, and will try to include all submissions) coping/distraction/whatever strategies to my ask. And, maybe (if I get enough suggestions) I’ll write up a little zine about dysphoria and coping. Or at least publish a list.
Thanks! Have a great day/night/morning/twilight zone!
Signal boost! Once this list is compiled, I’ll be sure to provide a link for it here.
Recently, a well-meaning friend of mine disclosed my trans status to a friend of his, someone I hadn’t known previously. I don’t know that I ever would have found out that he had done so if his friend hadn’t slipped up and referred to me as “she” in front of a group of people.
He quickly corrected himself and moved on with whatever he had been saying, but for me, the damage had been done.
That one little pronoun ripped away my confidence and left me stunned and confused. Although it still happens once in a while, being seen as female has been a rare occurrence for me over the past six months, so I asked myself why this person whom I had just met would confuse me with a woman? Was it obvious that I was trans? Was I kidding myself, walking around in the world thinking that I no longer appeared female to most people?
Unsure as to whether the guy had read me as female/trans all on his own or whether someone had told him, I took my friend aside and asked him. He seemed genuinely confused as to why I would have an issue with his disclosure of my trans status when he has been one of my most thoughtful, supportive friends and he was trying to be helpful.
This situation has me thinking that just because a person might be a relative, friend or ally of the trans community, or even a trans person themselves, that doesn’t mean that they know and understand the possible consequences that could result from disclosing someone’s trans status, so I am offering some information here that I hope will be helpful regarding this topic.
I thought I would start with a page from The Gender Booklet at thegenderbook.com(which I actually found at the transbeautiful blog) because it gives a handy summation of issues to consider when being an ally (or even friend or relative) of people in the trans community.
A number of blog posts could be written about the statements on this simple yet informative document page (and probably already have been by others), but today we’ll just focus on, “Please don’t out me as trans without my permission.”
In listing the reasons behind this statement, I am presenting them in no particular order or priority and I am writing them as though directed toward readers who might not understand why it’s problematic to out people as trans.
When I refer to trans folks in this post, I basically stay within the man/woman binary, but there are trans people who do not identify within the gender binary. I think that what I have written here would, in principal, still apply, with the exception of some of the references I make to people identifying as men or women.
I should also mention that pretty much everything you’ll read here is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
1. Safety first
In April of 2010, Colle Carpenter, a 27-year-old trans man, was physically assaulted in a men’s room at Cal State University Long Beach, the attacker using a knife to carve the word “it” into his chest. Two months later, a man attacked trans man Lance Reyna in a Houston Community College men’s room, putting a knife to his throat, then beating and robbing him and giving him a concussion by kicking him in the head. In April of 2011,Chrissy Lee Polis, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was brutally attacked by two women in a Baltimore-suburb McDonald’s while employees stood by and watched, one of them filming a video of the assault that went viral after being posted on-line. The attackers beat Chrissy so severely, she went into an epileptic seizure on the floor of the restaurant.
I provide these examples here to highlight the threat of violence that trans people face simply for being themselves, and to illustrate that outing someone as trans compromises their safety. Granted, these are high-profile incidents, but don’t think that these are isolated cases. Aggressions against trans people occur at various levels of severity on a fairly regular basis. I know a number of trans men and women who have been harassed and/or physically assaulted by people they had come out to or by people, including complete strangers, who had somehow learned of their trans status. Trust me on this one;you cannot predict how anyone will react to this information, so it’s best not to disclose it.
2. It’s private, medical information
Steps that a trans person may take to transition are recognized by the American Medical Association, other health-care organizations, the U.S. Tax Court and by many trans people as medical treatments for the misalignment of their physical sex and gender identity. Information about a trans person’s status and/or transition should therefore be held in confidence just like any other person’s private medical issues and treatments and should not be disclosed.
3. Not all trans people are activists and those who are might not want to be all the time
Some trans people don’t mind being in the public eye. Trans people involved in activism may be fully and publicly out as trans, such as community activists and educators Matt Kailey, Jamison Green, Kate Bornstein or Donna Rose. However, not all trans folks want to be involved in activism – they just want to live their lives with a level of anonymity that’s no different from that of non-trans people – and those who are involved as activists might not wish to wear that hat all the time. Maybe in the corner of their world where you happen to be, a trans activist might want to be incognito. It’s best to leave it up to the trans person as to when and where they care to disclose their trans status, if they care to do so at all.
4. Match making or un-making
Let’s say that a non-trans person you know has met your trans friend/relative, finds them attractive and would like to get to know them better. Your first knee-jerk reaction might be to inform the individual about the trans status of your friend/relative, but please consider why you might be having that reaction.
Perhaps you think that the trans person’s body might not be what the other person expects, but unless you have seen the trans person naked, you do not know what their body looks like, and even if you have, how can you know with certainty that the potential suitor won’t find their body appealing?
Or maybe you decide that you will out your trans friend/relative so you can spare them the negative reaction that you’re sure they’ll receive once they disclose their trans status to the interested party. That’s your own opinion, however. In other words, what you might consider to be a deal breaker (i.e. someone’s trans status) might not be an issue for another person. People are rejected in the dating scene for all sorts of reasons and these two potential love birds might not ever make it past the first date for reasons that have nothing to do with the trans status of one of them.
Ultimately, whether a trans person and a non-trans person are a match for each other should be left for them to discover. Don’t be a match un-maker by disclosing someone’s trans status.
5. Admirers, chasers and other people attracted to trans folks
In point number 4 above, I talk about people who might become attracted to a trans person they have just met but are unaware of their trans status. For the issue I discuss here, I refer to certain people, non-trans men and women, who have a significant attraction to trans people in general. Sometimes these individuals can be easily spotted vying for the attention of (or maybe even harassing or groping) trans people at transgender conferences or at public community functions, and some of them post ads on Craigslist looking for sexual hook ups and/or dates with trans men and women.
These particular folks might be classified as “chasers” or “admirers.” While some of them objectify, sexualize and fetishize trans people, some do not. Personally, I sometimes find it hard to tell the difference. (Matt Kailey has written a couple of posts about people with trans attractions and the fine line between preference versus fetish, where trans people can be either sexualized or considered sexy.)
And so if someone tells you that they are attracted to trans people and/or would like to meet a trans person for dating and/or sex, the proper response would not be to tell them about any trans people whom you might know personally. Some trans people don’t want anything to do with a person who has trans attractions, whether that individual happens to be an admirer/chaser or not. If you feel that you must do anything at all, it’s best to ask the trans person(s) you know whether they would be interested in being introduced to such a person.
6. When trans people don’t look male or female “enough” (to you)
If you know a transitioning trans person, the sex they were assigned at birth might be imprinted in your mind, especially if you’ve known them since an early point in their process or before they started transitioning. Consequently, you might not have really noticed their slow physical transformation and/or you might think that despite their physical changes, they don’t really look like their true gender. And so when you introduce the trans person to others, you might think that you have to out them as trans as a way to provide an explanation for their androgynous or gender-variant appearance. You might think that outing them would be helpful, so people don’t get confused.
However, you’re making an assumption that everyone else sees the trans person the same way that you do and you might be wrong. You might actually create confusion if you out the trans person to people who already see the trans person as their true self.
And even if someone is confused about a trans person’s gender, so what? A person’s confusion should not supersede a trans person’s privacy. Personally, I can’t imagine an individual suffering harm from their confusion over the appearance of someone else, but outing a trans person can be harmful to them, so let the confused person muddle through. More than likely they’ll manage just fine.
7. Because being trans is not necessarily who we are
Many trans people simply see themselves as men and women. Being trans is not who they are – being a man or a woman is who they are. The trans piece is a medical condition and not a definition of them as a person, so they shouldn’t be identified by it.
8. Education, enlightenment, diversity training and the “poster child excuse”
Very early in my process a (former) friend of mine outed me to her college-aged children without my permission and then tried to justify it by making me the poster boy for her kids’ diversity training. Since then, I have been surprised at the number of people who have wanted to do the same after I have come out to them (but at least they asked me first).
So if you have an urge to teach someone about diversity and you want to enlighten and educate them in order to help them be a better citizen and a more accepting human being, and to do it, you are going to tell them all about the trans person you know, stifle that thought. Unless you have asked the trans person involved whether they would mind being the subject of someone’s education on humanity, it would be best to leave the trans person out of the lesson.
9. It doesn’t matter that a trans person is out to some people
A trans person you know might seem to be out to a lot of people, and that might lead you topresume that they don’t mind being out as trans, and so that might let you assume that it would be okay to disclose their trans status to someone else, but as with other assumptions, it’s best not to make this one because you might be wrong.
10. Outing a trans person to another trans person
On the surface, it might seem okay to tell one trans person about another trans person you know, but that would be another assumption that might be incorrect. Each trans person should be asked whether they wish to be a subject of discussion between you and another trans person or whether they want to be introduced to the other as trans. Believe it or not, some trans folks don’t even want other trans folks to know that they’re trans.
11. Outing a trans person sets them up for discrimination
I don’t think that I have to convince anyone reading this blog about the existence of rampant discrimination against trans people in jobs, housing, education, health care, social services, etc. It stands to reason, then, that outing a trans person can set them up for discrimination. I can think of several trans men I know who lost their jobs when their trans status was revealed to the wrong people. Once you release that information, you lose control of it and you can’t track where it goes, which might be to someone who can discriminate against the outed trans person. Keeping their personal information safe and discreet helps the trans people you know avoid becoming the victims of discrimination.
12. Outing a trans person can erase who they are in the eyes of others
If you disclose a trans person’s status, you can render them invisible. It’s like magic. One minute, the trans person is no different than any other man or woman, then they’re outed and poof, in the minds of some people, they’re immediately transformed into the gender they were assigned as birth, or they may be seen as a non-person or a fake person or someone who’s trying to fool everyone around them. The trans person’s true self disappears and they become, in the eyes of others, someone who doesn’t even really exist. Speaking from experience, that feels like crap. Please don’t put people in that position by outing them as trans.
13. Disclosing the birth names of trans people
This point is a bit different from the others because it’s about outing one thing about a trans person, but it fits into the topic of disclosure. I have decided to add it here because a number of non-trans people over the past few years have nonchalantly disclosed to me the birth names of other trans people that they know.
What they likely did not realize was that some trans people fiercely guard the name they were given at birth and would consider its disclosure to be embarrassing, hurtful and/or offensive. For some trans folks, their birth name represents a person who they are not and a period of their life they would like to leave behind them.
All that aside, what is the point of revealing a trans person’s birth name anyway? A trans person’s real name is the one they have chosen that matches their gender and true self and that’s the only name that people need to know.
Therefore, unless a trans person has specifically and directly asked you to please disperse their birth name about with wild abandon, the polite and respectful thing to do would be to keep it to yourself if you happen to know it.
14. Whose business is it anyway?
Ultimately, the bottom line is that a person’s trans status is their personal information,their history, their story, their life, and it’s not anyone else’s place to disclose it.
The only instances I can think of when it would be okay to out someone as trans would be if the trans person specifically requested it, say, for example, during their coming out process and they asked a trusted friend or relative to help inform people, or if they were involved in some sort of medical emergency and couldn’t speak for themselves, and for the latter I’d still be hesitant.
And with that, we come to the end of 14 reasons why outing a trans person is not okay. I hope that this little public service announcement has helped to shed some light on this topic for readers who previously might not have realized these issues. Some readers might disagree with some of my points or might have points of their own to add. I invite everyone to join the discussion.
I wish for no one to be labeled as a “(wo)man”, or even as “(fe)male-bodied”, because of their anatomy. I wish for the chance to describe my own body and to name my own parts.
I wish for discussion about how to come to terms with my body, how to ease the pain of dysphoria (mine or someone else’s), how to be connected with the parts that change and how to accept the parts that do not.
I wish to be shown the tools that I may need to have good, safe sex: not just condoms but dental dams, gloves, finger cots, and plastic wrap. I wish to be shown strap-ons, packers, harnesses, gaffs, binders, and prosthetics, and told how to use them and keep them clean.
I wish for information about contraception and pregnancy options that acknowledges that not everyone who can get pregnant is a woman, and not everyone who can impregnate is a man.
I wish to learn how to take charge of my sexual and reproductive health, and I wish for realistic advice about finding safe medical providers. I wish to be told what procedures I need, what to expect from them, and how to make them easier; what my rights are as a patient, and what to do when those rights are violated.
I wish for people I might become sexually or romantically involved with to be described with gender-neutral language: “partners”, not “boyfriends” or “girlfriends” (and certainly not “your husband” or “your wife”).
I wish for everyone to be given a rich language to describe their identity, their body, and their orientation — and to know that these things may change. I wish for everyone to understand that a trans man is a man, a trans woman is a woman, and nonbinary people exist, and to consider that when they define their orientation.
I wish for everyone to be taught that gender identities are not fetishes, and that other people’s bodies are not objects to exploit.
I wish for open, frank discussion of how to disclose gender history to a partner (or how to respond when someone discloses to you), how to ask respectful questions, how to grow accustomed to a new set of pronouns, how to support a changing body and an evolving identity.
I wish for everyone to be taught the inquisitive, patient care to learn to please someone who’s body is different from what what they know.
I wish for everyone to know that sex is not about penetration, genitals, nudity, or orgasm; it’s about pleasure, it has no requirements, and the only boundaries are the limits of what feels good to everyone involved. I wish for everyone to be given the words, the confidence, the sense of safety to ask for what they want and say no to what they don’t.
I wish for everyone to be told until they really believe it that there is nothing wrong with their body, their identity, or their desires; that someday someone will embrace them for who they are; and that they don’t have to settle for anything less.
- Biologically male
- Male at birth
- Any transmisogynistic slur
- XY-chromosomed or anything referring to chromosomes
Terms you should use:
- Coercively Assigned Male At Birth (CAMAB)
(Or simply “female” could be best)
This works equally and oppositely as well. Please do not use:
- Biologically Female
- Female at Birth
- Any slur
- XX-chromosomed, or anything referring to chromosomes—claiming chromosomes can be inaccurate in any case
- Coercively Assigned Female At Birth (or simply “Assigned”—it’s the “assigned” that’s important)
***The reason behind it: mentioning ‘biology’ can trigger strong dysphoria in an individual.***
ALSO: you should never assume what is ok to say to someone/call them. This list does not go for everyone. Some people DO identify as “FtM,” for example, while others prefer to simply be referred to as “male.” Unless otherwise told by the individual him/herself, please NEVER call them/refer to them as anything on the list besides their identified gender: male or female.