Not a Woman. But not quite a Man.

As you may or not be aware – I identify as a transmasculine nonbinary person. In a nutshell, this means that I don’t identify as female or female, but I do identify as being a bit more masculine. But if not – then hi! My name is Casey, and my current pronouns are he / they, and I would like you to try and use them interchangeably – but I wouldn’t mind if you used one over the other. 

I don’t identify as being a woman at all – so terms like ‘girl’, daughter’ cause me a bit of social dysphoria, as they say that I am a woman, when I am not. Though I think I feel more comfortable and euphoric with more masculine terms like ‘handsome’ and ‘dapper’ – but not quite with the terms ‘boy’ or ‘man’, because they feel to binary. But at the same time, I do like the term ‘boyish’, because it implies that I’m more masculine, but I’m not a binary boy / man. In addition, I prefer ‘partner’ over ‘boyfriend’ because, again, the term boyfriend feels to binary for my liking – as I would like some room for my non-binaryness to feel valid. I guess I would like the term ‘partner’, but that’s simply because I don’t know any other terms. 

In terms of gender expression, I like to wear more masculine clothing, simply because it makes me feel more validated in my gender identity, and this results in a). more gender euphoria, and b). a better understanding of how I understand my gender. Furthermore, as of the 22nd of March 2019, I have been binding my chest once a week, and this has definitely given me a boost in confidence in my appearance. 

So yeah, I’m not a woman, but I’m not quite a man. I feel as though I am more masculine than feminine, and that’s why I like the term transmasculine so much – I like it because I can use it alongside nonbinary, as both terms can coincide, as well as be used seperately.  I don’t know where this is going, so I’ll stop. 

But please remember that you are valid no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum. 

The Power of Presentation

There is a difference between gender identity and gender expression. Gender identity is how someone chooses to identify their gender, whilst gender expression is how they choose to express it. For example, I am nonbinary (this is my gender identity), and I choose to present in a more masculine way (and this is my gender expression). I wanted to write this because all to often equate gender identity with gender expression, and this isn’t true – you can express your gender however you want. 

This means that I feel more comfortable wearing typically more masculine clothing – such as button ups or jeans. Despite this, I am still a transmasculine nonbinary person if I choose to wear a dress or skirt, and my pronouns are still currently he / they. This is because gender identity = gender expression. 

This doesn’t just apply to trans and nonbinary people – but also to cisgender people (those whose gender identity matches their biological sex). You can still be a cisgender man and wear a dress, and vise versa. But I want to focus on trans and nonbinary individuals because to some extent, we are held to higher standards. Trans men are expected to hypermasculine, trans women are expected to to hyper feminine, and nonbinary folks are expected to be androgynous 100% of the time.  But this isn’t true, for  a number of factors. More serious factors include safety or fear of rejection, while less serious factors may be due to choice or convenience. But no matter what your situation, I want you to know that no matter how you express your gender, it valid – you are not harming anyone. 

Now I do understand that gender expression, to some extent, equate to your gender identity. This is because typically gendered clothes may give you more euphoria than dysphoria, and thats also valid. I can 100% understand why someone would want to dress in a binary way – it may validate them more, meaning that they will have a more confirmed sense of their gender identity. And that’s OK. I just wanted to say that there is no wrong way to present your gender, and no to people will present their gender the same. 

How you present your gender is your choice, and no one can take that away from you.

 

Queer: A Graphic History By Meg-John Barker & Illustrated By Julia Scheele: A Review

 

DSC_0004 (2).JPGThis an academic look at the history of ‘queer theory’ and queer thought throughout history – something that I was introduced whilst studying for my Media A Level. This book explores identity politics and gender roles, as well as a number of other topics such as exclusion and privilege. It also explains  how we came to view  sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these binary ideas are challenged by theories such as Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble’ (1990). 

Though I will say that though the illustrations were enjoyable and added some much needed visuals to the book (much like Ash Hardell did for their book), I did find this book a bit boring to read – but don’t get me wrong, I did appreciate the information this book holds, and it is nice to go more in depth with a theory that I always liked – but damn, this book felt like a chore to get through. Maybe it’s because I haven’t studied in a while, and I have gotten out of the habit, but I did find myself getting bored in places.  

That’s not to say I didn’t learn quite a bit from this book (e.g. I wasn’t aware of critical sexology), and I do appreciate it being written – I just aware that it could of been written better. This is because for a graphic novel, it didn’t exactly feel like one – I was kind of expecting it to be told in a more comic book like way, rather than like a standard textbook with illustrations with no colours. That didn’t mean I put the book down completely though, it simply meant that it took me longer to read. 

It also would of been nice to get some personal accounts, or at least some discussions  about the word queer and its connotations. I for one personally don’t mind the word queer, and though it’s not a word I identify with, it’s not something I find offensive (providing you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community and I know and trust you of course). So it would of been nice to see some differing opinions / thoughts on the word ‘queer’ and / or queer theory, Ash Hardell did in their book. This was a nice added touch because it added a personal touch to the book, and is the biggest reason why I like the book. 

Furthermore, I would of liked to see more discussions about the word queer (or maybe labels in general?) There is also no discussion of these words with open arms, because it’s always interesting to have different perspectives. A solution to this would be to have a few questions about what you think about the word ‘queer’, and what you feel about certain topics within a chapter. 

In addition, I would of like to see a quiz / check up page between each chapter. This would of made the book easier to understand, especially if you are just starting out with queer theory. Furthermore, and speaking of illustrations, I did appreciate the fact that illustrations were in the book – it would of been a lot more dull if it didn’t have any. But I’m going to compare it to Ash again – the illustrations has no colour. What I mean by this is that what I liked so much about Hardells book is the fact that each page / chapter had illustrated pictures with colours, as well as having a photograph. 

I also had problems with specific pages within the book – for example, nn page 83, which talks about disrupting binary / sexuality / gender norms, there are three celebrities pictures (Miley Cyrus, Ruby Rose and Kristen Stewart). I have nothing against these specific celebrities, but I believe that all of these women do identify as cisgender women (but please politely correct / inform me if I’m wrong). But there are no trans / nonbinary people involved – and non-binary people are mentioned until page 160+. I have a problem with this because it doesn’t allow for nonbinary individuals, for example,  to talk about how they  may disrupt the gender binary. 

Overall, I felt as though the book was to broad, and this could of been solved by possibly making it a series of books. But I did learn a lot from this book, but it was a chore to get through. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Trans during Warmer Weather: A Guide

Since it’s getting warmer outside, I wanted to make a guide on how to survive the warmer weather – especially because it can be difficult, as there are a lot of things to consider. So this guide will hopefully help give you some ideas for how to make the spring / summer seasons a bit easier and less dysphoria inducing. 

In addition, this will be my first summer as a transmasculine nonbinary person, so ‘passing’ will become harder. But I do know that the summer is harder for some trans folks – especially for those who are pre – everything. But I can only speak from my perspective as a transmasculine nonbinary person, as I don’t want to talk over any other nonbinary person who expresses their gender in a different and valid way. I’ve also split each piece of advice I have into sections so it’s easier to digest. 

Clothing:

  • Vintage Shirts: I’m slightly biased because I like buying vintage clothing from vintage clothes stores or charity shops. I would recommend trying to find some button up t-shirt. This will mean that you will be comfortable as well as fashionable – they will also hopefully hide your chest and more importantly, you will be able to breathe. Plus these shirts are often fun, patterned and stylist – so you will be able to not draw attention to your chest with the pattern. 
  • Layering: But if you want to wear layers, wear a simple t-shirt with a buttoned up shirt unbuttoned. 
  • Shirts that are a little bit big: This basically means that get a shirt that is in your size, but it just a little bit big. Again, this will mean that you will have room to breathe. 
  • Broad Shorts: If you feel dysphoric about your hips, then these may help – they’re also apparently fashionable and convenient. I’ve never worn any but I may want to wear some this summer. 
  • Basketball Shorts: Again, if you feel dysphoric about your hips, then these may help – they’re long and may hide your hips. 

For Long Haired Folks:

  • Get a Haircut: This is obvious, but if you have long hair, you may wish to get it cut off. But I do understand that this isn’t so simple – you may not be out yet, your parents may not accept you, or you may like your long hair. But don’t worry – there are ways around this. You could convince your parent / carers that a). your head gets really hot with all that hair, b). say that your head itches and that you get rashes constantly with all that hair, or c). show them female celebrities who have short hair. Or get gum stuck in your hair – that will convince them. 
  • Styling your Hair: But if you want to keep your long hair, or are forced into a situation where you have to keep it, then style it in a masculine way. This could involve trying to get a long masculine haircut, or putting it into a messy man bun.
  • Beanies and Clips: You can also buy beanies and clips, put your hair into a ponytail, flip it onto your hair and clip the extra hair to the top of your hair. Position and play around until it feels right then simply put the beanie on, mess it up a bit and perfect it – then you have a short looking haircut. 

Binding:

  • Half Tank Binders: These are binders that stop near your ribs. These binders will help you breathe more easily, and will hopefully make you sweat less – but the same rules apply regardless of season, so check out my binding advice post here. I would recommend gc2b, as thats where I got my full binder from. 
  • Go outside at specific times: If you are unable to get a half tank binder, or worried about wearing a binder generally during hot weather like I am – then don’t worry. You can go out at specific times (such as the evening, as it will be less hot). So try and figure out your areas / towns temperature each day and plan. 
  • Colour of your binder: Try and get a light coloured binder, as it will soak up less heat (this could mean getting a white binder for example). But if you have a darker coloured binder like I do, I would stick to a gray one because black will soak up heat. 
  • Take a Break: This is just a general piece of advice for folks who bind, but please take a break – even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Also drink a lot of water and stay in the shade if you can. 

Swimming / Exercising:

  • Don’t bind whilst Swimming or Exercising: I wouldn’t recommend this at all. It’ll restrict your breathing, which is the last thing you want to want in this hot weather. Just don’t do it, it is not worth fainting over – while I have no direct experience with this, I would recommend instead wearing a sports bra for exercising. 
  • Swimming Shorts: If you can, try and buy some swimming shorts from the mens section. But since I don’t recommend wearing your binder whilst swimming, I would recommend getting a bikini top – I know it may make you feel dysphoric, but being able to breathe is more important. 
  • Sports Swimming Suits: But if you aren’t able to get a pair of swimming shorts, then get a sports swimming suit.

Miscellaneous Advice: 

  • I also like H&M for shopping, or if you really need help finding for your spring / summer wardrobe, I would recommend making a Pinterest Board for all the clothing you like. But it’s more expensive, so I’d recommend thrift stores if you are short on money. 
  • Don’t forget to wear deodorant during the summer –  regardless of gender identity and expression, we all sweat and smell! 
  • Drink water – again, regardless of gender, we all need to drink water in order to stay hydrated, so try and drink as much water as you can during the day. 

 

We Will Not Be Erased

There are numerous accounts throughout history where, unfortunately, people have judged, and continue to judge others. I wanted to write this not because I am a trans person, but because of the memo that was released on the

So I wanted to write about why being visibly trans is so crucial. Firstly, its It’s not important for all of us. What I mean by this that visibly can have the potential to do more harm than good – having visible trans role models may make you feel more validated in your gender identity and / or gender expression. I believe that if you are able to live loud and proud – then we should. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone has the privilege to be out and proud – so I wanted to say that if you are not able to come out as trans, then please remember that you are still part of the trans community, and that your gender identity is valid and real. 

You have the right to identify however you want, and you also have the right to express your identity however you see fit. It sucks that we, as a community, have to constantly fight for our rights – so being open and visible about your trans identity is a form of activism. Whether that involves loving your trans body regardless of what stage you are at in your transition, or putting patches and pins on a denim jacket – you count as an activist in my book. Hell, this could even include simply having some Pride flags in your room. 

Furthermore, please remember to lift those up who are not as fortunate as you – so to use myself as an example, I’m a white, somewhat masculine enby person, so I get white privilege, and I also greatly benefit from the representation from the media. But that doesn’t apply to POC enby people (especially transfeminine people of colour). 

But please remember to take a break once in a while. I understand that being an activist is crucial, but burnout is a thing, so it’s important to take a step back once in a while. Though I have the stance that being visibly trans and queer is a important, but I won’t judge or criticise those who choose not to be visible, because it’s your life and it’s not my place to intervene.

I also loved seeing all the positive posts on trans day of visibility, and this gave me hope that the trans community is capable to radically love themselves – and with hashtags on Twitter like #bodyposiLGBTQ is also a way that you can choose to love yourself and your LGBTQ+ identity, which is crucial and radical because body positivity is important regardless of your identity. 

But at the end of the day, it is a personal choice, and you have right to choose what to do with your trans experience. But it still stands that Trans rights are human rights. We will not be defined out of existence. So to all of my trans siblings, I see you, but do you?

The Importance of Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV)

 

Diana’s Little Corner in the Nutmeg State: Today Is ...
The Trans flag with text which reads ‘Transgender Day Of Visibility’ March 31st

Transgender Day of Visibility is vitally important. But for context, being transgender means that someones gender identity does not match with their biological sex, whilst nonbinary is both an umbrella term and identifier that means that someone does not identify as being male or female. 

Furthermore, yesterday was Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). Shortened to TDOV, it is a day (31st March) where trans and nonbinary people like myself celebrate their identities – it is also a day where we, the trans community, can make ourselves visible on various social media sites (if we so choose to of to). This is crucial because by making ourselves visible on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram, we are standing as role models for other trans and nonbinary individuals, as well as be open and proud about who we are. 

So I wanted to write this because I think that it’s important to celebrate how far we’ve come in terms of trans rights – but I do understand that we still have a long way to go. Because, unfortunately, there are difficulties when it comes to being trans – from misgendering to struggling to decide to which toilets, being trans isn’t easy. 

Hate crimes are also another issue that trans people face from day to day. For example, be it at school or at work  where students or employees face bullying – or be it from transphobic members of the public. If you are victim of a trans based hate crime, I can’t imagine how you may be feeling, please report if you feel confident to do so – even if it’s to someone you trust like a friend.

This is why we need allies. Allies are people who are not trans, but support the trans community in anyway that they can, and this could include friends, a family member or supportive colleague. They advocate for trans equality, which is vital because any good support is greatly appreciated and welcomed. So this TDOV, and this is specifically aimed at allies – please educate yourself on trans terminology and issues, and you can use this blog as a resource if you want. 

I also wanted to write this post because choosing isn’t so clear cut – some may not choose to be visible for various reasons – maybe they are in an unsafe situation, or maybe they feel as though being trans isn’t a big part of identity, and both of these reasons are perfectly valid examples of why an individual may not want to be visibly trans. So even if you did choose not to be out and proud about your gender identity, please know that you are trans enough. 

I just loved seeing all of the trans / non binary positivity yesterday. It was a pleasure seeing all of the tweets of support, love, acceptance and validation – but I do think that we should celebrate trans people everyday, and not just one day of the year. But it is nice having one day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of trans and nonbinary individuals, despite all the struggles we face (especially those with intersecting identities). So yes, please remember that you deserve to be proud of your trans identity – no matter what stage you may be at. 

But thats not all TDOV is about. It’s also an opportunity to educate, advance equality, and to highlight the different experiences that all trans people face – though the fight for complete trans equality should be continuous, and not limited to one day. So remember to celebrate your trans identity and experience at some point. 

So I hope everyone had a wonderful , and remember that your gender identity and expression are valid, and that you are trans enough. 

A light blue poster with various stats about trans people. The title is ‘Why Trans People Need More Visibility.’ 

My Favorite LGBTQ+ Blogs!

Sometimes, and quite recently, I read other LGBTQ+ blogs for inspiration for post ideas. So I wanted to share some of the blogs I have been reading recently. It’s also important to give recommendations to other media products that people might enjoy, especially if you are in a minority group, or have intersecting identities. 

So below are some of the LGBTQ+ friendly blogs I have been enjoying recently: 

I wanted to share these blog because it is important for all LGBTQ+ people to feel represented, and having blogs written by actual LGBTQ+ people makes it more authentic. So please check these blogs out and give them a read!

Normalise Identity Exploration & Change

Identity is complex, fluid and confusing – and everyone has the right to explore it. Trust me. But part of learning and understanding that both gender and sexuality aren’t so black and white means that sometimes these labels – and as a result your identity – will change – and that’s OK.  Let’s use me as an example – I didn’t know I was bi until late into my secondary school experience, and I didn’t know I was transmasculine until December of 2018. I also didn’t realise I was nonbinary until late August 2018. What this means is that I discovered my queer identity in three (3) different parts, and I discovered my gender identity after my sexuality – which is 100% ok and valid. So no matter what stage you may be at, please know that you are valid – and even if you come to realise that you are cisgender and heterosexual, guess what? The fact that you were brave enough to explore your identity was super cool! 

Though while the labels I currently use have not changed, the way in which I define them has – and this is especially with my sexuality. When I first started using the term bi to describe my sexuality, I used the traditional definition (‘sexual and / or romantic attraction to both men and women’), and while that was valid for a time, I then discovered my gender identity. And though my label hasn’t changed, the way I define it has – I now define it has, ‘sexual and romantic attraction to multiple genders’ – this includes men, women and nonbinary people. Could I qualify as pansexual? Yes! But I prefer the label ‘bisexual’ because it makes me happy and comfortable! But I’m also aware that I could wake up and realise that I’m actually a completely different label, and that would be perfectly OK!

Questioning your gender identity and / or sexuality is hard – and thats ok, and I believe that you’ll find the right labels that suit you – and even if you come to the conclusion that you don’t like labels, that’s also fine! But unfortunately, the existence of gatekeepers means that someone may feel unable to explore their identity due to these gatekeepers being quick to judge and erase the idea of explore your identity. 

You are valid and brave for exploring your identity. I’m very proud of you for doing so, and you deserve all the love, validation, acceptance and support that is aviable to you. 

Trans / Nonbinary Body Positivity: You Are Valid & Enough

Feeling confident in your body is crucial – regardless of your gender, race etc. But I want to talk about trans and enby body positivity specifically – because a). I’ve got a binder, and b). because I wanted to spread some positivity! I know dysphoria can be rough, so I wanted to spread some much needed love to any trans / nonbinary person who may need it – or if you need a reminder that your body is super rad! So whether you are fat, tall, thin, disabled, short, etc. are all qualities in line with being nonbinary and trans. 

Firstly, your label? 100% real and valid – yes, even that lesser known label! As long as you are happy with the label that you currently use, then you have my support. I say currently use because you found a label that fits better – because thats also valid! But also remember that even if you choose not to label yourself, you are valid – and if you use multiple labels, that’s also fine! Speaking of labels, even if you are unsure of what labels to use, take your time – there’s no rush! Gender identity is super complex and you are allowed to change your mind over time. 

Also, your gender expression? Super valid and dammn, you look good! If you feel cute and euphoric, then wear it! Don’t let anyone gate keep what you can and cannot wear – and that means you can go against what the mainstream media expects of trans and nonbinary people look like, if that’s your jam! But if you feel as though you want to fall into these stereotypes, then please, go ahead! Just don’t be a jerk! Just remember – no matter how you express your gender identity, you look – cool, amazing and extremely rad! Plus you deserve that cute piece of clothing! 

Furthermore, what you’re doing with your body? It’s ok – its your body, you should do whatever you want with it. Whether you decide to bind your chest, take HRT, or get surgery or not – your body is right for you and is your real body. Don’t let anyone define or control  your body — because it is yours! If you are trans and have not decided to physically transition for whatever valid reason, that’s ok – your body is still cute, and you are still the gender you say you are.  Just remember that there is no wrong way to have a nonbinary body, and there is absolutely no rulebook on how to look nonbinary. 

Secondly, the name you so carefully picked out? It suits you so well – and it’s your real name! As long as you like it – keep it! But if you find another name that suits you better, then go ahead – you aren’t harming anyone for trying on multiple names in order to find the perfect one! Speaking of names – go wild! It’s also perfectly ok to name yourself after someone you look up to, or your favourite fictional character. Again, take your time and remember that you are allowed to change. 

Thirdly, your pronouns? Awesome! I will try my best to use them! Even if you can’t use them for safety reasons, please know that these are your real pronouns, and that the people who misgender you are jerks. Just remember that anyone can use any pronouns they want! They / them or he /him  lesbians for example? 100% real and valid! Yes – you can even be nonbinary and use typically binary pronouns – because gender expression doesn’t equate to gender identity!

Your definitions of yourself are what makes the real you. Always.

My 1st Chest Binder

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Me in my gc2b binder

As you may be aware, I received my first ever chest binder on the 22nd of March 2019. So I wanted to write about my feelings now that I’m finally binding, as I do have mixed feelings about binding my chest – but I must emphasis that yes, I am very happy that I’m binding now, and it has definitely alleviated a lot of chest dysphoria that I had before. I’m sure that this is perfectly normal for anyone who chooses to bind their chest – and as long as you are not hurting your body, you should be fine. 

But first I want to start with the positive sides of binding my chest. Besides from getting rid of a lot of dysphoria, it has given me a brief look at what a flat chest looks like – which is useful because top surgery is something I may want in the future. 

In addition, in terms of my mental health, I would say that it is mostly positive when I have binded before. Like I mentioned earlier, it has alleviated a lot of my previous chest dysphoria. It’s also positively affected my mental health because I get this sense of gender euphoria, and it has positively affected my body confidence / image. It has also made me like my chest a bit more, which is always good. 

However, this doesn’t mean that I still have a bit of subconscious dysphoria that I wasn’t aware would come due to binding. So for example, binding has made me more aware that I have a chest, which makes me dysphoric because top surgery is something that I am considering as part of my overall transition – so this emphasis on my chest and its lack of flatness is something I don’t enjoy. 

Additionally, I feel as though my dysphoria has shifted a bit – whilst before I would rant about my chest dysphoria to friends (trust me, anyone who knows me knows that would not shut up about my chest dysphoria). But now I feel as though my dysphoria has shifted my focus onto other parts of my body – specifically my hips and butt. Again, this may be normal for those of us who choose to bind our chests. 

Moreover, in terms of how it has affected me mentally, again, binding my chest has its negative side effects. It re emphasises that yes, I still have a chest, and this makes me dysphoric because I don’t like my chest. I also feel anxious when wearing it because since I may want top surgery in the future, I constantly worry that I’m doing something wrong, and that my body will be too messed up for top surgery. 

In addition, it also feel wrong when I don’t wear my binder – I do understand that I do need to take breaks from binding, but it feels wrong when I do have it on – but I feel weird and euphoric when I do have it on. I’m not sure if this is normal, but it could be. 

Anyway, below are some more pictures of me in my binder – though I am glad that I did choose a binder from a good company (my cousin Emily from the states recommended them – though she got those from people she knows who bind their chests). I also worry sometimes about the size of my binder – I’ve got a medium sized binder, but it still leaves marks on the skin ( don’t worry, it’s nothing serious, just faint marks ) – but I don’t want to return it because a). binders are expensive and  b). I’d feel bad because Emily and I went through so much trouble to get one (plus I don’t want to pay the custom fee again). 

Though what I may have to do is have a negative binding to not binding ratio – what I mean by this is that I may have to have less binding days than non-binding days.

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Me looking very happy in my binder
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My gc2b binder, which arrived on the 22nd of March 2019

 

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Another picture of me in my binder