Updated: Jan 7, 2019
So, you feel a bit odd? Something not adding up in your life? if you, like many others are feeling bit off with the whole gender thing but don't know quite what to do about it, I thought I'd put together a bit of a resource list from stuff that I have written, and other authors, which might help you navigate you own personal journey as it pertains to gender. Note I say "gender" not "trans gender" because this a bout the wider conversation. perhaps you or some one in your life is transitioning and they (or you) have questions? Maybe you're not sure you believe in all this "new" stuff about gender, after all it aint that complex, is it?
Whatever your reason for being here, I hope the following is useful. First off, the basics. A three part series written by me some time back now covering the Sociological, Physiological, Psychological & Legal of gender and some of the arguments pertaining to transitioning across boundaries.
you can find them at the following links:
Part 1 Sociological
Part 2 Physiological & Psychological
Part 3 Legal and moral
It's useful, when discussing anything, to figure out the foundational underpinning knowledge that other conversations will be built upon. Gender is no different. As with any philosophical discussion, there will also be dissent, so it might also be useful to read this where I outline the "6 & 9" problem. So, after you have read all that I guess you'll need a break! The gender rabbit hole goes pretty deep to be honest, and over the coming weeks I, and perhaps a few guest writers, will be adding to a "library" of stuff here that I have collectively labeled "gender 2020 - a clear picture" Feel free to comment, question , or email me at Sarah@stubbornlyoptimistic.me if you have any thoughts.
So, if you've had cuppa, Here are my current thoughts and advice from anyone starting out on gender transition. This is UK based since thats where I live, so any legal or health service stuff will naturally be along that vein. 1) Be patient. Realise at the outset that this particular race is a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared to learn, educate and assist the systems that exist for your transition. It's still a rare occurrence in medical spheres with some parts of the medical profession working off older outdated models. So Stoic patience is your friend here.
2) Apply that patience to others. Pronouns and names will change, and some people may resist, others may slip up. so be discerning in reacting to the difference. In may cases those of us that transition have known in our own mind of the issues we face for a bit longer than our families. So give them time to adjust, argue, and we hope accept this change in their relationship with us. Allied with this is acceptance that some may never accept at the level you wish. BUT, ignore the naysayers and other chicken little types who suggest that if you transition the sky will fall in. It won't.
3) Find other trans people. No two journeys are the same. (I can testify to that some 8 years after I first came out) There is no "right way" to be trans gender, and although there is a certain process to it, try not to compare your journey too closely to that of others. Identity is a complex thing and it goes far deeper than just gender. Yet how we view, and express our gender is uniquely part of. that identity. These days I view my transition as large part of the process of finding "me", but just part, not the whole story. To that end be aware: you take yourself with you. Transition IS NOT and could never be a catch all cure for what you feel is "wrong" with you or life.
4) Prepare.set the scene for your eventual transition with the important people, family and work etc. Ask your GP for a referral to the gender specialist practice in your area early, as this is the part that can take the longest, so starting early pays dividends in the long run.
5) Take a sense of the ridiculous with you. I started out saying that "if you're gonna do something as serious as changing gender then you may as well have laugh with it" There are many ludicrous things about going through a second puberty as an adult (once you start hormones) Or figuring out simple things that will change in life, all dependent on which bits of expression you find yourself drawn too. Heres a few of mine:
1) Boobs hurt... mind the fridge door!
2) Sleeping with long hair is harder (and hotter) than it looks.
3) Getting your nails done, picking up the guitar, then realising you can't make the chord shapes.
4) Pockets in ladies jeans... or indeed in any thing! Either too small or absent WTF?
5) 8, 10,12,14,16, 18 etc are not dress sizes, but random expressions of the designers guesstimate.
6) Running upstair without a bra .hurts.... (see point 1) 7) The first time someone holds the door for you, you will grin I guarantee it, cos its weird.
8) Apparently I get to win arguments by default now.
9) Burping "lady like"
10) Haircuts. These will become much more time-consuming and complex, yes you're gonna have to forget the short back and sides.
And the bonus for an extra:
The ability to reverse park will decrease. (Just kidding - don't Lynch me!) Obviously all the above anecdotal stuff is from my perspective as a MtF individual.
All in all, keep in mind that transition, in whatever direction and whatever way is your decision to act upon becoming the best version of yourself and it's gonna be fun finding out who that person is. Get curious, cos after all:
"The best things exist on the other side of fear"