Category Archives: transgendered

Gender “Theology”

The gender roles our society created keep order and help many feel comfortable and safe.  All born with a vulva must cook, clean; do most of the raising of the children; always defer to the one born with a penis and be happy with that.  Those born with a penis of any sort must like sports; want to play with trucks; play war games; have footballs;  grow up to do the yard work;  take out the trash and make all of the important decisions.  How did our world ever buy into this crazy gender “theology”?  Twenty years ago anyone who strayed from these gender rules was called names like feminist bitch, fag, and queer and usually were shunned.   Thankfully, these days society is a bit more comfortable allowing a little more variation in this strict gender “theology”.  Women are allowed to vote, become doctors, lawyers, work outside of the home and even allowed to do yard work — but it’s probably called gardening.  Men are allowed to cook (of course they call them chefs), design clothing, sew, be more involved in the daily raising of their children and they don’t necessarily all have to be jocks or macho to be accepted by society. 

The ends of the gender scale in the western world have expanded and there is still a lot more to learn and accept about gender.  Our culture and society in general still mostly views gender as a person’s genitalia.  Most people never see a person’s genitalia but still make judgments about them based on their perceived genitals.  This is ridiculous.  Now that I am no longer publicly perceived as female in anyway I get quite a chuckle about how people treat me and how differently they would treat me if they knew that I was not born with a penis.  I say I chuckle and sometimes I do and it also makes me very sad and aware of how shallow and fake much of our society is when it comes to gender and gender roles. 

I have heard of several small children, and have met a few, who have come out very early in life knowing that their physical bodies or genitals  do not match who they are inside.  It never fails to amaze me that our society is so shook up by a child who knows who they are at an early age.  Our so called civilized society would rather everyone go along like sheep; faking it to fit into the tiny tight boxes they have constructed for us.   Many are appalled when someone does not go along with the status quo.    Many people are outraged by parents and those allies who are supportive of these children, saying things like a kid cannot know that young who they are.  As someone who has lived this experience, and lived it in a society that puts out extreme pressure to fit into gender roles, this saddens me.  I truly wish I would have felt open to saying who I was at a young age.   I knew as far back as I can remember that I was masculine and saw myself totally as a boy.  No one should have to spend a lifetime, like I did, hiding who they are to be accepted, loved, or safe.  I commend schools, parents and any who allow a child to express who they really are and are supportive of them. 

I wonder if our society did not have so much invested in gender roles would children or people even feel any need to transition or declare their gender or a disorder know as “Gender Dysphoria”?  In other words, if we just allow people to be who they are from the start — did not have a culture that says right away if you are born with a penis you will wear more masculine clothing and like blue and if you are born with a vulva you will have longer hair, like pink and play with dolls — would there even be a need for transitioning? I propose that it is because of our society’s pressures that there is a need for such a thing.  If there was no shame for not fitting into this gender “theology” then would there be a problem?  People would be fine with their bodies if they were accepted and allowed to dress like they wanted to, play to roles they choose, wear make-up or not and not be ridiculed for any choices they make.   If people are actually accepted and loved for who they are inside, if their spirit and character is what really mattered who would care?  If people fell in love with a person for their kindness, compassion, sense of humor, companionship, integrity and did not prejudge on what genitals we think they have or do not have — how different would things be?  I propose that this is a problem our culture or society has created.  For many years people who did not buy into the gender boxes were made out to be like side show acts at the circus or fair.  People were curious about it but afraid of it and still are.  Because I am very out about being transgendered many people tell me I am brave.  Anyone who does not exactly fit in to what our society says is the norm and is openly being who they are I guess is brave.  I am just being who I am.   I know that the more of us that are not the societal norm who are willing to openly talk about it the more understanding and tolerance there will be in society.    Trying to force them to fit in and be something they are not is cruel.  The day we know that our society is healthy and has matured is the day we are not threatened by people’s differences.  I look forward to that day — when we are secure enough to allow and even enjoy others being whoever or whatever they are and realize that their being who they are does not threaten who we are. 

Celebrate Diversity!

Your “JUNK” & Sex Positivity

I hear many people refer to their genitals using derogatory terms like junk.  Where does this come from?  We also use words that mean sex or sexual body parts as curse words like “Fuck” or calling someone a “Prick” and I could go on and on.  When I moved to Seattle three and half years ago I heard the term “sex positivity” for the first time.  I rarely heard the words sex and positive in a sentence together in the south.  I was taken by this concept of creating such a thing as a positive outlook on sex.  I always believed sex to be a positive thing personally, and I am not sure how I managed to keep a positive view of sex when I was constantly receiving negative messages about the subject growing up.  Our culture and society usually paints sex as dirty, something to be ashamed of and something we should not talk openly about.  I grew up in the Bible Belt.  Ouch.  If you aren’t from the Bible Belt and you think the messages you heard about sex were negative the ones in the Bible Belt were worse.  We were taught more rules about sex or abstinence then lying or any other so called sin.  Sex, the evil thing that was portrayed to be and still is in many places gave many kids such guilt and hang ups around sexuality that they continue to be ashamed of their bodies and desires as adults.

We were all created as sexual beings.  Why should we be ashamed of something that is an innate part of ourselves?  The clitoris is an organ that’s primary function is pleasure.  We are supposed to enjoy this gift we were given.  It is supposed to be a positive thing and it is even good for our overall health.  They did not tell us this at the Christian School, in church or in any school in the South for that matter.  If the negativity that surrounds sexuality, gender and all that has to do with us as sexual beings is going to change; WE have to take steps to facilitate that change.  I believe by us using words that have to do with our genitals and sex in a negative fashion we are perpetuating the shame and negativity around sexuality.  I have been guilty of this myself.  I am rethinking this and consciously changing the way I use these words.  I want to be a part of creating more sex positivity in the world and less shame and negativity.

As a transgendered man I see even more shame around sexuality in the trans community.  Of course the fact that many trans people are not happy with the genitalia they were born with is a big part of that.  This is another piece of our sexuality.  The fact that so much emphasis is put on our genitalia in this society is amazing and shallow.  I mean really.  What is funny to me is the judgments people make about a person’s genitalia by their outward appearance.  Like, the big muscular guy has to have a large penis,(not always true).  One thing that I have found is that the size of the penis nor a specific way a vulva may looks does not make anyone a good lover.  In fact the way one makes love or their sexual skills really doesn’t have anything to do with what their genitals look like.  It saddens me the lack of depth in our society and that we keep participating in the continuation of these silly myths.

The other part that there is so much shame about is our own bodies.  If our bodies are not a certain way, don’t have the TV actor or runway model look, we don’t measure up.  Bullshit!  I love the variety that we humans come in.  Yes, we all want to be healthy and you have been given an amazing machine as a shell to carry you around this adventure of life.  Make friends with it.  Appreciate the wonder of it.  Be kind to it.  Enjoy it.  It serves you.  Each cell in this shell called a body that carries us around has intelligence.  These intelligent cells hear all of the messages we send them.  We can tell these cells we appreciate them and send them love and gratitude or we can tell them daily that we hate them.  It is our choice.  This does affect our health, physically, mentally and spiritually.  As an energy healer, I can tell you that almost everyone I have ever met with a physical illness has a strong emotion connection tied to that illness.  We all have tapes or messages that play in our heads.  Some are negatives things from our parents, from being bullied or from the shit that our society has fed us.  And as adults we get to choose to change these messages and create new ones.  Choose a better message to send to the cells in this amazing body you were given.  Focus on the wonder of it.  As a healer I believe you can make changes in your health and body but only after you have made peace and friends with the one you have now. 

I challenge you and myself to start being more conscious of the words we use and the way we talk about sexuality, gender and our bodies.  Let’s be a part of creating a more sex positive culture;  to speak up when we hear people perpetuating shame or negativity around the beautiful human body, sex, sexuality or gender.  The next time you hear someone referring to their genitals as “JUNK” ask them why.  Just getting people to think about the way they talk about their bodies and sex can create positive change. 

A Sex Positive Culture, what an amazing concept!  I wish I had grown up in one and we can make that happen for future generations.

Trans Dating Dilemma

When Transgendered people date, there are several things to consider that most people never think of.  When a transperson “passes” as the gender they know they are inside, they have a tough choice to make on how to their lives as who they are.   They have to choose whether or not they want to be openly out in their daily life about being transgendered or not.  Many transpeople choose to not be out due to society’s stigmas and judgments.  

The dilemma is even more difficult when it comes to dating.  If the transperson is Bi or is attracted to people of the opposite gender then they are considered straight in our binary gender world.  For many this can feel good after years of feeling like an outsider.  The dilemma and questions are when a transgendered person finds someone they like and are interested in dating when do they reveal that they are transgendered?  Do they let the person get to know them some as a person before saying anything?   Do they tell right away and risk that the person they are attracted to may choose to reject them immediately?  Or, if they’re post–op do they never tell?  There are pros and con’s for each question and every transperson has to come to this delicate decision on their own all the while being considerate for the other unknowing person at the same time.  A delicate balance for sure. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of these three questions:
* Do they let the person get to know them some as a person before saying anything?

Pros                                                                                   
They can learn more about your character and who you really are.
Gives you chance to see if the relationship is worth the risk of revealing yourself
Gives a chance to learn more about the person’s possible bias and prejudice

Cons
You or the other person falls for the other,  then they find out they cannot handle your history
They could become very angry and  feel tricked if you wait to tell them — which could be dangerous

*Do they tell right away and risk that the person they are attracted to may choose to reject them immediately?

Pros
If they have bias of prejudice you will know right away
You don’t have to worry about being outed
Creates more open communication
Relationship starts out with honesty

Cons
Person may choose to bail and not give you a chance
Person may out you to others if you have common friends or work together
Person could feel this gives them the right to ask many very personal questions very early

*Or, if they’re post–op do they never tell?

Pros
You fit into society’s so-called  “Norm”
You live your fantasy life

Cons
You have secrets –the relationship is never based on total honesty
You always have to worry about being outed.
If they somehow find out they feeling lied to.

Of course, I don’t think we should be judged based on the physical but based on who we are inside –our  spirit, our character, our heart.  However, our society creates a world that bases so much on the outward shell of a person and many times one never sees the true person at all.  This is like judging a book by the cover and never reading any of the story and is a shame. 
At the same time to try and see the other side — I have to admit that our society has brainwashed people into thinking that gender is all about the outer shell.  It is a rare person who can escape the societal imperative to look at gender as all about outward appearances.   Look at how much people spend on the making their outer shell look good.   There is an amazing sense of importance we give to appearance, even though it reveals very little about a person’s true nature — their heart, spirit or character.   I am by no means taking all of the responsibility off of the individual for judgmentalism, sexism or any other  ism, however I do feel we have to look at how our society keep this monster of non-acceptance alive and thriving. We are part of our society so we have have to take responsibility for its prejudices and biases.

I choose to be totally out and upfront from the beginning.  I am a very out activist and have chosen that path on my own free will.  If someone has biases or prejudices regarding who I am, I want to know right away — which is one of the reasons I no longer live in the South.  Sadly, there are transgendered people who live in areas where there is little education and acceptance.   Their choices are tougher.   The choice of when to tell can be swayed by demographics as well as other factors.    Coming out to potential partners is a tough decision and it’s never an easy one.  My hope is that one day our world will judge based on who a person really is or better yet not judge at all.  As far as dating, one day maybe it will be about a person’s character, how much fun you have with them, compassion, kindness, and how they move through this world instead of  how someone looks or what exactly is in or not in their pants.  Here’s to that future.

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The World is Your Bathroom

Most people never think about the fact that when one can stand and pee, the world becomes their bathroom.  Think about camping or on a long road trip when you cannot find facilities, or the line is long.  Those who have the stand and pee privilege can go behind a tree or building.  Everything about relieving themselves is more convenient.  For many transgendered people both FTM and MTF there is so much stress that comes with using public restrooms.  These are some of the messages that go through many transgendered people minds on the subject;

  • will I pass
  • Is anyone going to stare at me
  • will I be called out
  • am I safe in here
  • & some are figuring out which restroom to use ~ which will be less embarrassing or more safe

Many try to hold as long as they can to avoid this entire scenario. Being someone who has now experienced both the women’s and men’s restrooms in our crazy world, I can tell you they like two different countries.  In the women’s room, women talk!  They make friends.  They ask complete strangers to help them fix their bra strap, or solve any number of female issues.  Women’s room are also sooooo much cleaner.  That is the only thing I miss about the women’s room.  In men’s rooms no one hardly makes eye contact or speaks.  There is an occasional nod as men pass each other entering or exiting and that is it.  It is not a social time as it many times is in the women’s room. 

One big dilemma for FTM transgendered people is – what will people think if I always use a stall and sit to pee.  Most FTM’s are very self-conscious about this.  In some other countries many mothers teach boys to pee sitting so the don’t end up with drips on the toilet.   There is nothing wrong with sitting and peeing! Own it or buy something to help you stand and pee. 
There are now many products meant to help one pee standing.  Check them out

That should give you enough to check out for now.  There are also videos on how to make your own. All of these devices take some practice in the privacy of ones home before venturing into the mens room to stand at the urinal.  I recommend practicing in your shower so you don’t have to wipe up the mess you will make while learning.  People also say peeing from a vagina sounds different and are concerned that someone will be cognisant of the sound variation.  FLUSH – or wait until someone else flushes.
 All of this being said if you are a lover, family member or friend of a transgendered person be sensitive to this bathroom issue.  That is can cause a great deal of stress especially early in transition .  Many transgendered people are embarrassed to talk about this.  Let me point out that I have also seen this rest room dilemma effect butch lesbians or feminine men who are not transgendered but don’t fit societies norm for the labeled rest room they choose to use.  It would be mature and more user friendly for most if our society would get over this need to label rest rooms all together.  Until they do my advice is be sensitive to others and walk into whatever bath room like you own it. 

Happy Peeing!

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Making love with a transgender person

It was recently brought up in a conversation with a friend that there really isn’t much information out there for partners dealing with certain aspects of transition. I have been coaching some trans guys and their partners on just this subject. One question I have been asked several times by partners, girlfriends or boyfriends of transgendered people is “How do I make love to my transgendered lover in a way that makes them comfortable and a way that makes them feel loved?”.  First of all, if you are having sex with (or thinking of having sex with a transgendered person) one very important thing like the use of the correct pronoun will make that person feel more comfortable. How you refer to the person’s body parts is the same way.  Most transgendered guys do not have bottom surgery because it is not that good and you could loose feeling.  Therefor we are guys who technically still have a vagina but I,certainly, and most of us don’t want you to call it that and after being on testosterone for a while believe me it is not the same.  Each individual is different in how they want you to address their genitals. So as with pronouns; when in any doubt- ask.  This is one way to make your transgendered lover feel more comfortable and that you understand them.  Some transgendered people are very uncomfortable with their bodies the way they are now, helping them feel that you see them the way they see themselves, and want the world to see them, will open them up to you and help them feel understood.
Sex does change on hormone therapy, even for partners that have been together a long time.  For transmen your clitoris become much larger and much more sensitive.  It also gets very hard and reacts very similar to a penis.  The sex drive for transmen increases and for transwomen usually decreases.  These are general things that can help, but when making love to anyone communication is the most important part of being a good lover!  Don’t be afraid. Even if it makes your trangendered lover a little uncomfortable at first- TALK about it.  Everyone wants a lover that cares enough to find out want they want and like and what drives them wild.  Everyone wants a lover that is sensitive to how they receive love.
So– HOW do you bring this topic up in conversation? If a potential lover approached me I would want them to say something like “I want to make love to you in a way that makes you comfortable. How can I do that for you?” It is important to me that my partner tell me that they love my body and want to learn my language. Everyone has “trigger” words they don’t like. For example; some women (straight, gay, or trans) don’t like the word “cunt”. Other women are totally fine with it. It is all a matter of learning your lover. Some people try to have sex the same way with every partner. As if they run on auto-pilot. This is ridiculous, and won’t help anyone enjoy themselves. Taking time, and making an effort are the keys to creating the right environment to have amazing sex. Even though these intial conversations are uncomfortable to have at times; when a lover cares enough to ask these questions- at least for me- it means a great deal.  Whoever you are making love to- make the effort to learn them. Ask the questions. Study your lover. Now get out there and make some GOOD lovin’!

There is no easy way to fly

I have been asked the question several times and seen this question posted on sights, “How do you love a Trans person”?  This amazes me, arent we all individuals and different?   But I will try and tackle it.  We Trans people are like all other people, we want to be seen, heard, loved, felt, understood, adored, and we want someone who can get us and connect. You may think we are more complicated but actually we are all complicated.  It takes someone caring enough to explore what makes you tick.  Each person is different.  Maybe a few things that we have in common best I can tell is that we want you to judge us for our spirit not just our physical bodies.  We don’t want you to think you know who we are or judge us due to the body we were born in.  We want you to get and respect our energy, our spirit and value that more then the exterior.  We want you to understand that gender is not black and white and just let us be who we are and not try and put us in a box.  We Don’t FIT!  We want you to be willing and open to explore even though you don’t totally understand, because really we don’t totally understand, we are just being who we feel.  Give us that FREEDOM! and we will give you the FREEDOM to be whomever you are. We can all be FREE, what an amazing concept.  We are all forced by this confining society to be or present as things to please or fit into this convuluted world that are not really true to us.  We all wear some mask and put them on to make it in this judgmental, conforming world in order to survive and have some simulation of success.  You want to know how to love a Trans person… its really simple.  I don’t really think its different from what ANYONE else wants.  The FREEDOM to be who ever the fuck they are and be respected, seen, hear and loved in that.  There is no easy way to fix this, there is no easy way to fly.  These gender boxes are ingrained deep within our society and our training. We just do our best to try and understand each other, be open to one another and to walk this journey together giving each other room to be and grow, love and expereience and succeed. I want to care about you and your journey and I want you to care about mine.  We are afterall, all connected weather that is hard to admit or not.  Maybe I’m living in a dream, but I like my dream.