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Transgender 101

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Faye Seidler

on 1 May 2015

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Transcript of Transgender 101

Random Encounter: Gender Unicorn
Transgender 101
A Brief Overview of Transitioning
This is a topic that could easily be another maze. Mazception if you will. I feel you might.

Prof. Sapolsky made some compelling points about the science, but he made one major mistake and that is saying that transsexuality is an intersex condition. Let us explore just what being Intersex is, how it differs from being transgender, and the problems that intersex people go through.
Intersex 101
The Condition, the Science, the POWER!!!
The Room of Labels
Transgender is an umbrella term which captures many identities that don’t conform to sex roles, behavior, or appearance
The Science
Polyamorous Masculine Straight Male (assigned male at birth)
Butch Lesbian Female (assigned male at birth)
Monogamous Genderfluid (assigned female at birth)
Feminine Asexual Intersex (assigned intersex at birth)
Transgender Straight Male (assigned female at birth)
Queer Panromantic Male (assigned intersex at birth)
Examples of Labeled Identities
The Gender Maze
Welcome to the Gender Maze
Are you ready to risk life and limb to journey through our Gender Maze and learn what secrets it holds? If so, keep a cool head, ask questions, and beware the monsters and myths that will impede your way.

You may just find it an aMAZEing experience. (Sorry for the corny pun. Heh...get it? No! come back!!)

According to wikipedia, Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or intersex), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity.

As someone who studies gender, let me tell you that if you think that sounds dense, you are not alone! I just want information that answers some basic questions like: How do I know what Gender I am? What does it look like? Does it look like a unicorn or something?
What is Gender?
The Gender Unicorn is a resource created by transgender people to help people understand what gender is by breaking it down into its base components
Gender Identity:
One's internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or another gender. Everyone has a gender identity, including you. For transgender people, their sex assigned at birth and their own internal sense of gender identity are not the same.

: I get it! These people think they’re male or female. Gender is just a social construct anyways.
Gender Identity
Gender Expression/Presentation:
The physical manifestation of one's gender identity through clothing, hairstyle, voice, body shape, etc. Most transgender people seek to make their gender expression (how they look) match their gender identity (who they are), rather than their sex assigned at birth.

: Okay, so when a man dresses up as a woman, then they identify as a woman right?
What is Gender Expression?
Sex Assigned at Birth
Sexually/Romantically/Emotionally Attracted To:
Sexual Orientation. It is important to note that a sexual and romantic/emotional attraction a person feels for another, can come from a variety of factors including but not limited to gender identity, gender expression/presentation, and sex assigned at birth.

That means someone could be just sexually attracted to Femme Straight men (All about the sex sex), but romantically attraction to transgender masculine women (comfortable, emotionally intimate). Or someone could be both sexually and romantically attracted to women of any kind.

Sexuality and Romantality
Sex Assigned at Birth:
The assignment and classification of people as male, female, intersex, or another gender based on a combination of anatomy, hormones, chromosomes.

Someone’s sex is obvious and based on if they have a vagina or penis or the presence of a Y chromosome or not, if you really wanna get all scentific, but you shouldn't even have to, because it is sooo obvious!!

Why is sexuality part of gender anyway? Why are the LGB and T in the same group when three are sexualities and one is a gender?

While that question could use a whole other maze, such as the Sexuality Maze or the LGBT Relation Maze, the easy answer is because while we are different, while gender and sexuality are independant from each other. They exist and are expressed in the same spaces.

While LGB may not need to question their gender, a transgender person almost always has to question and explore their sexuality. Such that if a female who has a male partner, transitions to male, does that make both of them gay if they stay together?

So what happens is that while a transgender person will very likely keep their same attraction after transition (because sexuality is seperate to everything else), it will be labeled differently and they will be treated vastly different.
Room of Reflection
Gender Identity Exercise!!
We just learned that Gender was one's internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or another gender, but now it is time to practice that!

Everyone put their hands out in front of them and close their eyes. Now I’m going to ask you if you can tell where your hands are in relation to each other. This is something you should be able to sense without actually seeing your hands. That is a sense we all have called Proprioception.

The same way we can sense body parts next to each other without seeing them, we can sense what our gender is without being able to see it. It is a sense like hearing or vision and it isn’t about if we have it or not, it is about understanding what we are hearing and seeing.
***It is important to understand that a Transgender person's feeling about their gender isn't like a feeling about being happy or sad. It is a sense we innately and internally understand.***
So what did the Gender Unicorn Teach us about gender?

Gender Identity
is an innate neurological sense we all have, which allows us to know what our biological gender really is
Gender Expression
is the culturally assigned categories of feminine and masculine to specific roles, clothes, speech, behaviors, etc from. Since they are artificial, anyone can express there gender in any way.
Sex assigned at Birth
is the presumed gender identity someone will have based on their genitals
Based on our gender identity, we may identify as
Two-spirits (only applicable to Native Americans)
Intersex (only applicable to Intersex people and not all Intersex people will or have to identify as this)
Transgender (Same as with Intersex)

Gender Identity Labels
Gender Expression Labels
Based on our Gender Expression here are some common identities:

Gender neutral
Hyper masculine
Gender Fluid
Sex Assigned at Birth Labels
Based on our Sex assigned at Birth we may be assigned:

Third Gender (This is used in some countries for Intersex people and also by some people to identify their gender as something beyond the binary)
Sexual and Romantic Labels
Based on our Sexual and Romantic Labels we may identify as:
Gay / Lesbian
Asexual (Straight, bi, gay, pan - romantic)
We've explored a lot of different identities and labels, but we didn't by any means explore every which way someone can identify.
The thing to keep in mind with labels is they don't define us and we can't use them to define other people. The purpose of labels isn't about that, the purpose is to start a conversation. What they are is an invitation to explore a complex human being.
Why Choose Transgender or Trans* to identify?
Well, the word emerged in the nineties and is used by most (not all) people who once identified as transsexual, because the word gives more ambiguity, privacy, and agency to those individuals who identify as it. It also helps allow people to understand that our gender (all definitions) is more complex than our genitals.

But labels are what we choose identify as, not what defines us, so it is up to the person to decide what they'd like to be called!
Gender Dissonance
is the primarily driving force beyond most transgender identities and most prevalent in Transsexuals who may feel such severe dissonance that if they aren't able to transition, there is a strong risk they will kill themselves :(

Dissonance means holding two contrary things true at once, so Gender Dissonance is when there is a mismatch between the brain in the body. Remember we learned earlier how we have a sense of gender, well, with transgender people that sense is constantly sending conflicting information!
Tiny disclaimer!!
A lot of what we'll talk about going forward will relate primarily to transsexual people and not to people who only transgress the social construct of gender, such as drag queens.

The primarily difference will be the presence of gender dissonance or how we internally feel in relation to our gender. Another term to be aware of is gender dysphoria, which is the clinical diagnosis of anxiety/depression caused by being transgender.

But before we go on, you should know the amount of Dissonance between people can vary widely and it isn't a requirement to being transgender or transsexual. The thing that matters most is our sense of who we are.
Transgender Room of Reflection
So what do we know about being transgender?

It is an umbrella identity representing a wide gambit of people who transgress gender in some way
They use the word to give themselves more privacy and agency
Some feel great pain in the gender they were assigned at birth and need transition through hormones, social roles, or surgery
They've been around for a long time and any many cultures, it isn't a new thing
There is strong scientific precedence to support transgender existence.
Tran$itioning i$ expen$ive.
Surprise Myth Room
Myth: Transgender or transsexual people are
a new invention of modern science. They didn't
exist before.
On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders. Terms such as transgender and gay are strictly new constructs that assume three things: that there are only two sexes (male/female), as many as two sexualities (gay/straight), and only two genders (man/woman).

Yet hundreds of distinct societies around the globe have their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders. Fred Martinez, for example, was not a boy who wanted to be a girl, but both a boy and a girl — an identity his Navajo culture recognized and revered as nádleehí. Most Western societies have no direct correlation for this Native “two-spirit” tradition, nor for the many other communities without strict either/or conceptions of sex, sexuality, and gender. Worldwide, the sheer variety of gender expression is almost limitless. Take a tour and learn how other cultures see gender diversity.
Predictable Fact Room!
On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders.

Below is a map provided by pbs that shows every culture that has had more than one gender
History Fact: Trans Throughout the Ages
In the Middle East, MTF (male-to-female) priestesses were known to have served Astarte, Dea Syria, Atargatis and Ashtoreth
MTF "gallae" served Cybele, the Phrygians' embodiment of The Great Mother.
Trans expression was also present in the early genesis of the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahbad (India).
In Africa, intersexed deities and spritual beliefs in gender transformation are recorded in Akan, Ambo-Kwanyama, Bobo, Chokwe, Dahomean, etc.
In Europe, MTF priestesses served Artemis, Hecate and Diana. Early traditions thrived longest in Greece, and the mythology of the day incorporated tales of cross-dressing by Achilles, Heracles, Athena and Dionysus, as well as literal and metaphorical gender changes

Source: transgender_history_trans_expression_in.php#jYmdoldJcq0gs3hp.99
Being Transgender
Okay, okay, I get it. This has been around forever, in most cultures, it is a science thing, and some people feel there is a mismatch between their brain and body. I got that. But...what does it mean to be transgender? How do you verb that word?
Small Disclaimer
Under the Labels
We're about to talk about labels again. What will be discussed is generalities that occur in those identities and not absolutes. Labels were never meant to be absolutes! :D
: Who knows what lies in the heart of man?

: Pockets. They want Pockets.

: A person who puts on the dress or mannerisms of another gender. There's a ton of reasons to do so, but it is mainly attributed to entertaining, exploring or experiencing a new role. The main difference between this an other identities is that this one is primarily external and the others are internal or a mix of both.

: A freak'n Gender Chameleon! A person who goes between each gender, presenting male or female at different times, usually without a strong preference.
Under the Labels
: Someone who lives outside the binary of male and female. They don't play by anyone's rules but their own! In scrabble they allow abbreviations and diagonal words.

: Someone who lives inbetween genders, not very feminine or masculine. The Switzerland of Genders one may say. Very neutral.

: Someone who transitions from one gender to another, such as male to female or female to male, but why they do so and who they will be when they cross that line is anyone's guess! Some people think the answer will be revealed in season seven of Lost. LOST REFERENCES ARE ALWAYS FUNNY! Ever play "Lost: The Game"? Because you just have and did. You were warned of the danger in this maze!=3

STOP!! Warning!
There is a lot of information in this maze! But the goal isn't to have you memorize a bunch of facts; this maze exists to start a conversation, give you ideas to play with, and let you understand the "why" of things!

As we go, feel free to ask questions and engage with the topics.
Why do people Transition?
In this context, that question always means transitioning to a different gender than you were assigned at birth and the answer to why is because they have to.

It is nearly impossible to live with gender dysphoria, but what we need to do to cope with that changes from person to person.

Some people will be okay with just letting other people know and asking people to use different pronouns. Some people only use their gender expression to communicate their gender. Some people get hormones and/or surgery.

Some people want to do all of those things but can't because of social or financial reasons. It is important we respect people as who they tell us they are and not what they can afford.
What goes into a transtioning?
Voice therapy
: Learning to talk in a certain pitch (2 years, 40 sessions, 4000$)

: A counselor is often required as a gatekeeper even if someone is emotionally stable and understands themselves and their desires.
->Even if you know your trans and you just want to get the appropriate medication it will take 2-3 months to be seen and another few months for the counselor to determine if you're authentically transgender. That means it can take six months to get treatment for a condition you know you have (6 months, 6 - 12 sessions, 900$ - 1,800$)

Hormone Treatment:
Used to cure gender dissonance by changing our endocrine system, which is how our brain communicates to the body. (A letter of referral, 3 month waiting period, second evaluation, 500$ visit, 50$ monthly prescription. Six months to start working, 2-3 years for full results)

: Used to cure gender dissonance by correcting how the anatomy is shaped. (requires 2 years living full time, 2 letters of referral, a month worth of recovery time, and between 20000$ - 150000$ which is often not covered by insurance)

Correct Legal Documents:
Needed to function in society. (3 months, 500$ for name change. 10$ and a specifically worded letter for an updated Social Security Card. Some states won't even let you change your birth certificate.
When is the transition complete?
A person who transitions perfectly, who has all the financial resources and is able to do things as soon as they are needed, will stop getting much benefit after three years. But in many ways, cis and trans alike, nobody ever stops transitioning. We all make minor changes to who we are every day.

But what people really ask when they ask this question is: "When are they really a boy/girl." And the answer to that is the second they say they are, because it is sexist and demeaning to reduce us to anything other than our identity.
Proof That Lost References Are Funny
Faye was a girl old enough to ride a bike but too young for her parents to let her stay home alone. Even though she totally could. She liked coloring with all the crayons even when she didn’t need all the colors. She also liked reading pirate stories and playing Mega Man, but what she liked the most was adventures on the wooden playground in her backyard.

It was this BIG wooden tower that had a ladder in the center for climbing onto the platform on the top. A platform so big she and her friend could sit up there and play without much problem, but only if they were careful and they told her parents they always were.

If they needed to quickly escape and they sometimes did, there was a metal slide on one end. And in times of desperation a metal pole on the other end. Having two ways to escape was very important!

To most people that playground was just a playground, but to Faye it was everything. It was her secret lair when she pretended she was a super-hero. It was her ship when she pretended she was a pirate, stranded on some island.
And once she even pretended it was a broken down starship that she got working by recharging the warp core using the swing set attached to the tower.

Picture of playground. It could be a pirate ship or spaceship. It could be the natural looking of it and the girl imagining what it was. Like a 50/50 divide between real and imagination. The actual playground is described above. But feel free to indulge ^_^*

Faye considered herself a lucky girl. She didn’t just have that playground, but she also had a willing sidekick in all of her adventures. A boy named Peter, who was her best friend and neighbor. They’ve been together for so long she doesn’t have memories without knowing him.
Even now she was on top of her playground waiting for him.
She had her puffy green winter jacket on with matching green beanie covering her short blond hair, as well as a red scarf her grandmother knitted that her parents made her wear, but she hated because it made her look like a christmas present.
“Peeeeter! Where are you!?” Faye said to herself getting impatent. It was winter break and they had adventuring to do!
They had planned an exploration of the woods surrounding their homes for months, ever since they learned about Lewis and Clark at school. Their parents always told them not to wander out of sight, but they knew how to take care of themselves. Geesh!
They even had all the supplies they needed planned out. Already in her backpack, for example, were blankets and flashlights. Then besides that she had her walking stick that she crafted out of a branch that fell a year back. And when her parents weren’t looking it doubled as a sword!
The rest of the supplies she needed from Pete. Then, then they’d be ready! Faye and Peter were going to become the first to kids to tame the great wild beyond their backyard! Name the unnamed!

And it wasn’t like they were running away, they were just going to explore for a few hours. No need to tell their parents.

Maybe they’d find the lost city of Faytopia! Or maybe the Fayzer, a mythological beast that can phase through solid matter! Enchanted ruins, magical swords, lost treasure? It was all in a days work for them.
But she needed Peter. He had the doritos and soda, after all.
And after what felt like thirty years of swinging her legs over top of the playground she got up and went down the pole.
“I want answers. Now!” She said to herself.

She walked straight up to Peter’s door and rang the doorbell.
She rang it again, harder.
She went over to the window and rubbed the frost off. Then she looked inside and couldn’t see anybody. She was getting worried.
She went back to the door and knocked. Politely at first.
Then she started banging on it.
Still nothing.
This meant war!

She ran to Peter’s backyard, then she jumped on the drainpipe and climbed up to the second floor using random odds and ends as foot and hand holds. It was something she’d been doing for years and only trained experts should try it.
On the roof of the second floor, she carefully walked to Peter’s window and knocked.
She bite her lips and then knocked louder.
Still nothing.
“For Pete Sake!” She screamed then started to lift the window open from the outside. It was frozen shut, but after some effort she managed to get it open. She peeked inside and saw nobody.
She crawled in, turned on the lights, and saw a bunch of stuff was gone. All of his bed sheets and most of his clothes and games and...like everything.
She walked over to his desk and saw a letter written there.

Dear Faye,
I know you will probably break in, so I left this for you to read. I’m so sorry! It’s four in the morning, but my stupid parents have to leave and they’re taking me with them. I don’t know why! They won’t say anything and it’s so unfair. I begged them to let me stay with you, but they didn’t listen. My brother is saying we won’t be coming back. He’s the one who helped me write this. I have to get going and pack. I’ll find some way to call you, but I don’t know how long it’ll be. I’ll miss you!

“Wow!” Faye screamed, “Just wow. Seriously?”
She took the note and fell down on his bed that didn’t have any sheets anymore. Then she read it again. Then she ripped it up. Then she laid there staring at the ceiling for what felt like forever.
“I couldn’t even say goodbye,” She said to herself, then rolled off his bed.
“Oh well, who needs that dork,” She said again to herself as she walked downstairs and opened the fridge.

Dear Faye,
I knew you’d look for the soda and doritos! I can’t believe you’re going to explore without me! Well, I expected this and hid them in the cupboard we sometimes hid in during hide and seek. My brother wanted them, but I told him I’d tell mom and dad about that girl in his room and he owed me. Just be careful, promise?

“I’m less mad at you,” Faye says to herself smirking, “But like I need you to tell me to be careful. As if. I’m always careful”
Faye rounded up all of her supplies and went back home. Then she told her parents she was going to be staying at Peter’s. That way they wouldn’t worry. She always had to look out for her parents like that.

Faye set off with her supplies: a walking stick, green coat, red scarf, and cute yellow snow goggles. She marched boldly forward into a wilderness that totally didn’t scare her.

She had wanted to map it all out, but that was what Peter was suppose to do. She would rather just wait until he got back or she knew he’d be upset and feel left out. So, she just thought that she’d get a feel for the area. Walk around and get to know the land as they say. Maybe she’d could become a tour guide here one day.

There was snow on the ground everywhere and once she got out far enough she saw a whole field covered in pure white snow. It didn’t have any footprints or anything. It was sooo perfect!

Too perfect to walk on. So, she started to walk around it.
After a good amount of time she got to the other side and kept going. She climbed up a hill and kept going. After some time and she knew it was a while because the sun had moved a few inches across the sky, she found a frozen stream.
She knew it wasn’t deep, because it was barely a foot wide, but it was long enough to slide across. She decided to take a break here and put her soda on the ice to let it chill.
She then spent a while just ice skating with her winter boots before
getting tired and sitting down to eat some of her doritos and drink the soda. Afterwards she tried to skate some more but that became boring and she kept going.
It was more trees, more hills, and fields, but she was always ready to spot something nobody has ever seen before. The Fayzer still lurked in these woods. She knew it! Another few minutes and she’d find Faytopia.
But she got so excited with her hiking and adventuring that she noticed it was starting to get dark. She wasn’t worried because she had a flashlight, but she figured she better head back home, feeling she already got a good lay of the land.
The problem was it had started snowing. The sky was clear just an hour ago!
She traced her steps back over the hills and fields and trees, but it kept getting less and less light out. By the time she came to that big open field, snow had covered all of her tracks and she could only see by flash light.
She had no idea which way was the direction to her house. But this was just another adventure!
So, she kept going forward, knowing she’d luck into it eventually.
She circled the field and started walking home, but after half an hour
she realized this wasn’t the way home.
She turned around and around and felt completely lost. Then she started to feel scared.
It was getting really cold. She needed to find shelter. In the morning she could find her way home better. Probably.
“Come on, Faye, you got this,” She told herself, but started to shiver as she walked.
Then, out of nowhere, the sky lit up in a beautiful display of lights like fireworks.
“No way!” Faye said looking up. Every color was up there and some she didn’t know and she couldn’t look away. It was so beautiful. She forgot about all her worries for a few seconds.
“No way!” Faye screamed running to it. It was a robot! About as big as she was. It had a metal boxed body with wavy arms and legs and a boxhead with two red eyes. It was in a standing position with legs spread and hand outreached like it froze trying to grab something.
“Sooo cool,” Faye said walking around it and noticing it was still giving off heat and the snow all around it had melted. She put her hand against it and felt a tiny bit of warmth, so she put both arms around it in a hug to warm up.
“Beep-Boop! Hello! My Name is Berty!” What is your name?” The robot said and Faye stumbled backward into a snowbank.
“I’m Faye,” she said getting up and brushing herself off, “Pleasure to meet you.”
What is Intersex?
Intersex Society of North America (http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex) says “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Since sex is a spectrum there are many different ways someone may be intersex, but here are the key points

Intersex people are born with ambiguous genitals or chromosome

They typically will have no problem with their bodies, nor wish to "Correct" them to look more like the "traditional" binary

They may identify as one gender or neither or as intersex

They have the same potential to grow up to be happy functioning adults like anyone else!

They may be transgender, but it is independent of them being intersex.
How is Intersex different than Transsex?
The biggest difference is that an Intersex can and often is okay with their body. A transsex person by definition is not.

There is room to argue whether being transsex is an occurrence within the natural biological (intersex) spectrum or not, but as categories, the distinction is needed because of the different challenges each group faces.
What challenges do Intersex people Face?
How often is "I" included in the spectrum?

Intersex people by and large experience great amounts of erasure and appropriation. They are told by their doctors that they're mythicly rare and will never find other people like them.

Even today, they are victims of genital mutilation surgery, where doctors will destroy healthy tissue and functionality to make genitals look more "appropriately" one sex or the other

This causes many of them to transition later in life, not because they're transgender, but because a doctor did significant damage to their authentic sex when they were babies.
The Struggle Bus: All Aboard!
It is worth remembering that most transgender people just want to live their life like everyone else. They want to live with the same dignity and respect entitled to all human beings. They aren't trying to make a statement with their life or their gender, they're just trying their best to live and be happy.

Sometimes that doesn't work out very well. :( We'll look at suicide, unemployment, bath/locker rooms, and state/federal rights
There is no greater testament to the reality of Gender Dysphoria, its hardships, and the cultural discrimination that Trans people face than the plethora of Trans people who decide to end their own lives instead of continuing to struggle against it.
41 percent of transgender people will attempt suicide at some point in their life
http://www.translifeline.org/ (877) 565-8860 is a suicide hotline run by and for trans people.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a s**t which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s f***ed up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

(Leelah) Josh Alcorn
Transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole (14% vs. 7% at the time the workers were surveyed).
More than four in 10 transgender people (44%) who are currently working are underemployed.
Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of under $10,000 (15% vs. 4% at the time the workers were surveyed).

What reasons contribute to high unemployment?
Pervasive Misunderstanding, Hiring Bias and On-The-Job Discrimination.
Wage Inequities
Lack of Explicit Legal Protections.
Inability to Update Identity Documents
Unequal Access to Health Insurance Benefits
Denial of Personal Medical Leave
Locker room / Bathroom
A key issue for nearly all Trans individuals is what bathroom to use, both in the workplace and more generally while out in public. Lack of access to a gender neutral bathroom, or being denied access to the bathroom that matches their gender presentation can put Trans people in a vulnerable situation because going into a bathroom that does not match ones apparent gender represents a high risk for confrontation, harassment, and possibly assault and finding other facilities to use isn't always a viable option.

: Men pretend to be woman to get into woman's locker rooms and rest rooms
: There has never been a recorded case of this happening, additionally transgender people have much more risk using the bathroom than cisgender people.
State wise:
Transgender people have no specific legal protections in the State of North Dakota

: The bipartisan EEOC—the federal agency in charge of enforcing
employment discrimination laws—declared unanimously that anti-trans bias was
sex discrimination under Title VII

Ally City
Want to be an Ally or already are and want to be a better one? The most important thing you can know is that you're going to make mistakes and
it is okay.
Gender is confusing and complex!

Pronoun Etiquette
Most people send a strong message of what pronouns they want to be called and it's okay to make assumptions based on their gender expression if it is explicit
If it isn't explicit, it is better to ask what they prefer, than to misgender them, "How do you prefer to be referred to as?"
If you make mistakes, apologize and correct yourself, then move on.
If they correct you or inform you that they go by different pronouns, apologize and try hard to use them
It isn't important that you get it right 100% of the time, but it is vastly important you correct yourself, because if you don't it sends the message you don't think they're really who they say they are.
It doesn't take long to ingrain the correct pronouns and eventually you won't even have to think about it!!
The word "Tranny" is a slur, respect it as such, looking at you D-Savage! <3
The T isn't Silent
Let transgender people speak for and define themselves when talking about issues relating to them
Stand up for them when they are not there
Discourage transphobic jokes
Correct pronouns when someone gets them wrong
Educate yourself on their struggles
In a very real way, we all started this fight at Stonewall, together. That is how we should end it.
Whites standing up for blacks, Men standing up for women, cis standing up for trans, and Trans standing up for Intersex. We have differences, but we are connected in our desire to be treated like humans, with dignity and respect.
Long List of Reference and Resource Links
The glorious light of a new day
You have survived the gender maze! Now it is YOU who are a-MAZE-ing! XOXOXO

But before you go, please take a moment to reflect. Everything that is possible today is because of the sacrifices and struggles of thousands before us. And if we work just as hard to be accepted, maybe our sacrifices and struggles will mean the next generation doesn't have to fight to be treated human. <3
Transgender is a biological condition


Transgender suicide

Support if you or someone you know is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
LGBT National Help Center
Toll-free 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
Monday thru Friday from 1pm to 9pm, pacific time
(Monday thru Friday from 4pm to midnight, eastern time)


Trans unemployment and work rights

Transgender bathroom


North Dakota State Rights
Trans 101

Transgender Pronouns

Great Trans books
Transgender At Stonewall
Key Issues For Transgender People
Health Insurance:
Our basic needs aren't covered and until recently were considered cosmetic, even though the American Medical Association says they're life saving
Youth Bathroom/Locker room:
Anti-trans groups use the idea of male predators to deny trans people safe spaces
: Until very recently, most trans people were fired not because of their performance, but directly and indirectly because of who they happen to be born as.
Appropriation and Respect in Media:
While changing, transgender people are mostly played by cisgender men and are often made the punchline of jokes. Interviews focus on questions of genitals and appearance.
: We can be put in the wrong prison, denied treatment and risk severe harassment and/or being raped.
Legal Documents:
Some states still require surgery to legally transition, something not everyone even wants nor could afford. Especially transmen.
: Trans people, especially of color, experience disproportional amounts of violence. Tragically they are also often turned away from women's shelters.
Stop! Trigger Warning!
This maze contains some profane language and heart wrenching situations. They are few and presented in the context of education, but the material may still be very difficult for some to read or hear.

: The reason we say assigned-sex-a-birth is because that is all it means. The doctors will take a look at the genitals and if they fit a typical range of female or male, that is what they’ll say the child is. People are not born men or women, they are assigned those categories on birth.

Tragically, if an infant doesn’t have genitals that look typical, in the case of intersex people, surgeons will often perform surgery to make them look "normal", often destroying healthy tissues.

Lastly, the coding for how we masculinize or feminize within the womb isn’t strictly located on any chromosome. It is a complex system that is encoded from several different points and it is possible for a typical XX chromosome person to develop male and a XY to develop female.
Local Places for Transgender People
Tristate Transgender:
A warm, lively, and welcoming group of transgender people and allies who meet every third Saturday
Their website hosts a plethora of information and resources pertaining to gender, labels, identity and what it means to be transgender and if transitioning is for you. It then covers counseling, hormones, insurance, hospitals, hormone therapy and surgery, the moves to getting legal documents changed.
The website is meant to be a one stop all encompassing guide for people questioning their gender, people who know they're transgender, and people who want to be better allies to the transgender community through outreach or education
The Pride Center:
An inclusive and safe space for the whole spectrum
Acts as a hub for resources and communication to all other LGBT Communities
Local Resources for Transgender People
(877) 565-8860
A suicide hotline run by transgender people for transgender people
A LGBT Youth Support group
The Family Therapy Center:
A Safe place that provides safe, affirming, and affordable counseling to individuals, couples, families, and children in the FM area
Rape and Abuse Crisis Center:
A LGBT Inclusive organization to help deal with sexual and domestic abuse
Jesseca White
: http://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/Police/AboutFargoPolice/FieldServicesDivision/GLBTLiaisonOfficer/
Police Liaison to LGBT Community
Gender Unicorn:
Helps people understand the complexities of Gender
The Gender Book:
A very approachable guide to help anyone understand their own gender
Copy available at pride center!!
Whipping Girl:
One of the best books explaining transgender people under a scientific, sociological, and political lens. Julia Serano masterfully deconstructs several biases that exist in everyday interactions.
Copy available at pride center!!

Resources for the future!!
Trans Mentor Program:
this program is designed primarily with the intention of a transgender person being available to listen to, understand, and help other transgender people get the information and resources they need to live successfully and happily.

It is not meant to replace traditional counseling or therapy and it isn't meant to tell someone who they are or what they should do with their life. The position of Trans Mentor is one of friendship and listening, where people are able to engage in conversation with someone who innately understands gender dissonance and the cultural stigma associated with it and is very fluent in all aspects of transgender life from psychological and sociological, to legal documents and employee rights.

The Trans Mentor is thus someone who has gone through all of that and has found happiness. They stand as an embodiment of hope and a role model for a possibly confused or struggling transgender person to look up to. They are there to help anyone who is questioning, find out who they are.

Additionally, the Trans Mentor is someone who is there to talk to family members of a transgender person, to help them understand everything a little better. They also are there for allies who want to better understand the condition and the people associated with it.

They will hopefully be available at the Pride Center for a set time, twice a week, to allow anyone to be able to walk in and have a conversation. They will also be able to respond to email, but the Tristate Transgender website should serve to answer most questions.

Hi, my name is Faye! I just wanted to take a room to share with you some important things to me. When my Girlfriend was looking over this, she exclaimed, "You put sooo much work into this!" I looked at her somewhat in shock and said, "I don't feel like I've even done anything."

That isn't humility speaking, it is appreciation. I don't feel like I did anything because I'm only sharing with you hundreds of years of research, struggle, and activism other people have contributed. I am only who I am and where I am because of countless people pushing me up and forward, because I wouldn't be here today if not for many specific people who believed in me at the right times and held me close when I needed it. I am nothing without the help and work of so many people, tristate transgender and pride center included.

When I was raised as a boy, they told me it was weakness to accept help, but I now know it is a strength. Because it takes courage to be vulnerable, to admit you've made mistakes or need help, and that help doesn't make us less, it makes us more. It makes us part of a whole that is greater than ourselves, a community of connections and supports vastly stronger than any single ego.

And I'll share with you right now, that I make mistakes. I don't get everything right. Sometimes I'm bullheaded and sometimes I get clouded by ego or overreach or put my foot in my mouth. But I keep my mind open, I listen, I learn, and I try to evolve. I may not know the right answer, but I will do my best to find it. If there isn't one, I'll do my best to make it. If you have a problem, I'll do my best to solve it. Where there is a Faye, there is a Way, because to me it doesn't matter if something is possible or not, I'm going to try anyways, because if we don't, we'll never know.

You can contact me about gender at Fayeseidler@gmail.com, I may not be the right person to talk to, but I'll do my best to find the person who is.
All of the Love
Faye Seidler
Trans Men
: Gender, as we know it, is a social construct, but it isn't only a social construct. Gender is how we define and put meaning to things that already exist. While aspects of that can be subjective, like the kind of clothes we wear or the roles we take in a given society, our biology never is.
Our gender expression doesn’t have to say anything about our sex, our gender identity, or who we are attracted to. A woman who always acts and dresses very masculine and has a masculine associated occupation like construction worker, may still identify very strongly as a straight woman.
Trans men exist!
While that may seem obvious to some people, trans men often don't have representation in media and are ignored in the conversation that likes to focus on trans women.

It is important to understand they go through all the same hardships, while experiencing many unique ones.

When you're looking for transgender voices and perspective it is important to include them and make sure they are represented in resource and policies.

A Cute Puppy to make the Sad go away
Trans Luminaries
Janet Mock:
is an American writer, transgender rights activist, author and the former staff editor of People magazine's website

Chaz Salvatore Bono
: is an American advocate, writer and musician. He is the only child of American entertainers Sonny and Cher

Lana Wachowski:
American film director, screenwriter and producer

Laverne Cox:
is an American actress, reality television star, television producer, and LGBT advocate,

Carmen Carrera:
is an American reality television personality, model, burlesque performer, and actress,

Andreja Pejić:
is an Australian model of Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb ethnicity.[4] Pejić is a transgender woman, who until 2014 was billed as an "androgynous" male model, self-described as living "in between genders".[5]
Influenial trans people
Trans Women of Color
"Violence against trans POC (people of color) is buried under six feet of blatant disregard while Brandon Teena, a white trans man, had two films produced in honor of his life and death. Laws are likelier to be made in honor of white trans people. In death, humanization can be a reality for white trans people. I need us to challenge the hypervisibility of a white trans tragedy, and the subsequent invisibility of the tragic deaths of trans POC. I want people to give a shit when trans POC have our voices, our histories, our lives, and our legacies stolen from us.

Where is justice for Islan Nettles, who was beaten unconscious by her murderers across the street from a police station? What about Alejandra Leos, harassed and shot just steps outside her home? Where was widespread coverage of the murders of Tiff Edwards, Jennifer Laude, Gizzy Fowler, Zoraida Reyes, Kandy Hall, and Yaz’min Shancez? "

From a January blog post at Black Girl Dangerous
Trans women of color
Trans men
Full transcript