Regarding the changes in my life

I follow a lot of people on Facebook from my past, and recently saw a post by someone I went to high school with. Brian recently changed his name and gender on Facebook to Danielle, and made the open and honest declaration that she is transgender and transitioning to living as a woman full time. I cant even begin to imagine with Danielle is going through and what she has gone through in the past, and I wish her all the best on her journey of, in her own words, “less becoming and more being” herself.

I’m posting Danielle’s revelation below, with her permission (thank you thank you thank you!), as it pertains to terminology because I think know that the transgender community is grossly misunderstood.  For starters – if you dont know the term “cis-gender”, you should probably consult Google right about now.   Tragically, the trans community is very misunderstood by the gay community; Danielle has mentioned that some of the worst transphobia she’s ever received has come from gay men. And frankly, that’s shameful. To steal some of Kerry Washington’s words – it’s about time us “others” looked out for some of the “other others”. I’m hoping that Danielle will eventually agree to guest spot on this blog, as the input from a trans individual would be highly valuable.

So, I finally changed my name and gender on Facebook.  For those that don’t know already, I’m transgender and I’m transitioning into living as a woman full time.

I bet that might take some people who’ve known me a long time by surprise.  If so, while I understand and I know it will take some getting used to, frankly, I don’t really care to hear it :).  My gender is something I’ve dealt with and denied and fought against for years, so I’ve had more than enough tsuris from my own mind over it and I’m all done with that. If you don’t like my gender orientation or don’t want to hear about it/be reminded of it etc, please do us all a favor and just quietly unfriend/unfollow/block/whatever.

This has been a very scary and loooooong road so far, and I’m not anywhere near “done” yet (if such a thing exists for trans people). But it’s time to work on less “becoming” and more “being,” and being open and honest with everyone in my life is a major requirement of that.  You can ask me anything you want to about this and I’ll happily answer so long as the questions are phrased responsibly and non-critically.  If you’re a jerk about it, please expect a blocking from me.

Here’s some of the basics:
-I consider my gender to be a woman.  Gender does not equal Sex.  Sex is genetic, gender is social and self-determined.
-I have been under psychiatric and medical care for my transition.  I take estrogen and anti-testosterones and have for more than a year and a half. I get regular check-ups and blood work to make sure I’m not having a bad reaction (very, very low chances of that) and so far, so good
-Here’s some good terms to use when speaking to/about me (you know, basic human decency and all 😉 ).  of course, I realize we’re all human and this takes some getting used to and there will be slip ups now and then.  no biggie 🙂
   *woman (I like this unqualified term better than “transgender woman” or “trans woman” though I don’t have any particular problem with those. I just think it’s good to remind people that trans people are still people, and their gender itself is no different than any cis person’s)
   *trans (an abbreviated convenient form, and covers any number of possible preferred terms)
-Here’s terms to AVOID.  I find them insulting and demeaning
   *normal/regular/usual when describing cisgender people.  let’s not be judgy/ostracizing in our language
   *drag queen.  I’m not a cis man trying to “entertain”.  In fact, I and most of the trans community find “drag queens” themselves offensive and insulting (sort of the trans version of blackface, though obviously that has a MUCH stronger negative history behind it)
   *shemale. #1 most insulting term you could use. I’m not doing porn and don’t care to be associated with those who do
   *transsexual. Another porn-heavy word, though some trans people use it to describe themselves proudly and that’s cool, I just don’t like it for me
   *crossdresser. reductive, has fetish-implications and a “side interest” connotation
-I’m working on transitioning with my company, and it is in motion.  However, until such time as I finalize that, I remain Brian for work communication.
-Legal paperwork is being filed for documentation name/gender change

-I’m still the same person.  I still like most of the same things.  I just have moved on from some of them and gained new interests along the way.  This is not the end of me and the start of a new person, simply a name change and some personal growth.  We all grow, please respect mine and allow me to do so as I have all of you 🙂

This is not an un-scary step to take, so I appreciate everyone who’s helped me along the way.  99% of the people in my life have been SO supportive and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for this.  You have no idea how much it’s helped me.  In my darkest moments, the love and kind words of my friends and family have sustained me when nothing else would.

Being transgender is not a choice.  If it was, who on Earth would choose to be treated like some parts of society treat us??  The only choice I made was to stop avoiding and denying my gender and to begin living genuinely and openly in it.  And I’ve never been happier in my life.

Thank you all for your understanding and taking the time to read my ramblings 🙂

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