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Intro to Trans* (For Counselors)

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Scott Schneider

on 4 April 2013

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Transcript of Intro to Trans* (For Counselors)

An Introduction to Trans* for Counselors Scott Schneider and Wes Staley Being trans* friendly is about recognizing gender privilege
There is no one way to be trans* or one way to transition
Two trans* people taking the exact same path can have VERY different experiences at each step What to Take Away From This Presentation Trans* 101
Gender in your life
Tips on being an ally
Our stories
Trans* politics
Things you can do OUTLINE Trans* 101
What is "Transition"
Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients
Laws & Progress OUTLINE MTM FTF Third gender Two spirit Gender bender Tranny Trans Boi Butch MTF FTM Non-gendered Multi-gender Bigender Androgynous Gender fluid Gender unspecified Genderfuck Gender neutral Genderqueer Transsexual Transgender WHAT’S WITH THE ASTERISK? Identifying as a gender incongruent with the sex assigned to you at birth

Identifying as neither man/woman or as a combination of man/woman; feeling as if the gender binary doesn't accurately reflect your gender

Older term that identifies someone who chooses to physically modify their body to transition from one gender to another

To occasionally wear clothes traditionally associated with people of the other sex. Cross-dressers are usually comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity. DEFINITIONS Transgender: Genderqueer: Transsexual: Cisgender: 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.

People assigned male at birth who feel themselves to be a woman
MTF, M2F, FtF, transwomen, transgirl, Tgirl, MAAB/AMAB/CAMAB

People assigned female at birth who feel themselves to be a man
FTM, F2M, MtM, transmen, transguy, transboy, Tguy, FAAB/AFAB/CAFAB

A non-traditional feminine presentation/identity

A non-traditional masculine presentation/identity DEFINITIONS (CONT'D) Male-to-Female: Female-to Male: Transfeminine: Transmasculine: Female: she/her/hers

Male: he/him/his

Gender neutral:
Singular they/them/their

Food for thought: Does having two similar sets of gender neutral pronouns reinforce the gender binary? PRONOUNS The process of changing one's external appearance to better represent one's internal gender identity

Can be a SOCIAL transition, a MEDICAL transition, or a combination of both.

Think of it as transitioning OUT OF something rather than TO something. TRANSITION Coming out to friends/family
Pronoun/Name change
Name and gender can be changed on some legal documents without surgery SOCIAL TRANSITION Gender is EVERYWHERE!

Gender (as other people perceive you) is about PERFORMANCE

Many people are unaware of how gendered their lives are

You make gender decisions everyday SOCIAL TRANSITION Insurance claims
Individuals with an “M” on their birth certificate cannot legally see a gynecologist regardless of their need.
Using bathrooms/Dressing rooms Individual encounters (hyper awareness of people and surroundings)
Any time your name appears
Using your N-Card as a form of ID to take a test.
Roll call in class
Emails and social networks (blackboard)
Phone calls (voice)
Work/school dress codes, weddings, special events
Sports (even with co-ed teams) SOCIAL TRANSITION Paying with a credit/debit card with your legal name on it
Trying on clothing or shoes
Buying "opposite" gender clothing
Sizing for clothes and shoes
Buying gendered things (electronics, makeup, hardware, jewelry)
Bathroom essentials (deodorant, shampoo, tampons, etc) SOCIAL TRANSITION Fashionable androgyny is GENDERED
Unisex clothing is gendered (socks, hats, gloves)
"Opposite" sex clothing is gendered
"Boyfriend" clothing for women is feminized (boy shorts)
Feminine clothing for men (skinny jeans) is masculinized
Styling tips SOCIAL TRANSITION Can consist of a mixture of the following:
What does insurance pay for?
Usually nothing
Having any paperwork submitted to your insurance indicating trans* related care can often get you blacklisted for nearly all future claims even if the future claims aren’t trans* related. MEDICAL TRANSITION Surgeries
Facial feminization
Breast augmentation
Vaginoplasty (sex reassignment surgery)
Orchiectomy MTF MEDICAL TRANSITION Hormones: testosterone
Chest surgery
Genital reconstruction (sex reassignment surgery)
Scrotal Implants FTM MEDICAL TRANSITION Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Action Skills Knowledge/
Education Awareness Stages of being an ALLY: Always use a person’s preferred name and pronouns….always.
Even when referring to them pre-transition
Even if it makes you feel silly
Even if they use gender-neutral pronouns that are hard to remember
Even when they aren’t close enough to hear you

If you make a mistake, don't dwell. Correct it, learn from it, and move on.

If you are unsure about a person’s gender/pronoun preference….
Listen for cues in introduction or during a conversation
Ask politely and privately (“What pronouns do you prefer?”) Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Avoid asking…
“What did you look like before?”
“What was your ‘real’/other/girl name?”
“Have you had ALL the surgeries?”
“Are you going to have ALL the surgeries?”
“How do you have sex/pee/etc.?”

“I never would have known”….isn’t really a compliment.
Feels like we're out to deceive people

Neither is “You were such a pretty girl” or “You were a handsome man.” Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Don’t offer “how-to” advice unless the Trans* person asks
This implies that there is a "standard" and they aren't meeting it

Transition doesn't always include hormones/surgery
Is often based on economic status
Myth of "authentic" trans* identity supports classism

Respect confidentiality
Always get consent before sharing someone’s trans* status
“I’m sure they won’t mind, they’re really open about it” doesn’t count as consent.
Ask when and where it is safe to use their chosen name & pronouns. They might not be out to everyone yet. Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Derogatory words
Tranny, shemale, he-she, it, shim.
SOME trans* people may not find these offensive

Trans* people can and do have a variety of sexual orientations

Refer to "all genders" or "any gender" (plural) instead of "both genders" or "either gender" (dual) Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients TIPS ON BEING AN ALLY Individual Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Societal Institutional Use preferred names and pronouns
Use inclusive language (partner, etc)
Have visible signs of inclusion (Safe Space card?)
Be familiar with campus and community resources
Move beyond the binary when you ask questions:
Sex: M,F, I
Gender: Man, Woman, Transgender, Another identity
Optional identity questions (asexual, bi/pan, hetero, trans*, queer……)
L.G.B.T.: consider each letter carefully
Do you have the resources, information, and understanding? Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Individual Many of the things individuals can do can be applied to institutional policies and procedures

De-gender forms or make them gender inclusive (move beyond the binary)
Ask optional identity questions
Ask for relationship status v. marital status and include domestic partnership
Recognize committed relationships
Gender neutral or inclusive restrooms and changing facilities
De-gender dress codes
Include gender identity / expression in non-discrimination policies
Visible signs of inclusion Gender Inclusion Institutional (aka Your Office/Staff) Protection Laws
Federal – none, ambiguous protection under Title VII (employment) and Title IX (education)
Nebraska – none
Lincoln – none, Fairness Ordinance pending
Campus – non-discrimination under “gender”

Be sure to research any state or local laws or institutional policies and procedures that pertain to your practice. LAWS AND PROGRESS WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health): http://www.wpath.org/

National Center for Transgender Equality: http://www.transequality.org

UNL LGBTQA Resource Center: 346 Nebraska Union

Community support:
Scott Schneider: sas331999@gmail.com
Wes Staley: westley.art@gmail.com
Ejay Jack: ejay.jack@ppheartland.org Useful References When is your gender under the microscope? Let's go shopping!...or not. Why "Androgynous" fashion is anything but. Hormones: estrogen, androgen blockers, sometimes progesterone Trans* 101 Definitions and Pronouns What is "Transition"? Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Gender Inclusion Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Cross-Dresser: (Transvestite) Intersex: (Hermaphrodite) "Results may vary" Tips for Seeing Trans* Clients Be aware of places trans* people may not be able to go. (like the bathrooms in Arizona...)

Everyone has their own comfort zone.

Understand that there is a difference between talking to individuals about their preferences/perspectives and asking someone to become your educator.

Coming out as LGB is often seen as revealing a truth. Coming out as T can be seen as deceitful. "So you're really a ____?" Identifying as a gender congruent with the sex assigned to you at birth. Typically aligns with the gender binary.
Gender Binary:  the classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. WPATH (World Professional Association for Trans Health): http://www.wpath.org/

National Center for Transgender Equality: http://www.transequality.org

Positive Trans* inspiration: http://www.wehappytrans.com

Gender neutral restrooms: http://www.safe2pee.org

UNL LGBTQA Resource Center - 346 NU: http://involved.unl.edu/transguide

Trans* Awareness Project: http://www.transawareness.org/

Individual and community support for transmasculine/transfeminine identities:
Scott Schneider: sas331999@gmail.com
Wes Staley: westley.art@gmail.com
Trans* Wiki Project: https://sites.google.com/site/transwikiproject/ USEFUL REFERENCES
Full transcript