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.

 

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!

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

IMG_0043.JPG
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.

UBRO8109
Me looking very happy in my binder
IMG_0034
My gc2b binder, which arrived on the 22nd of March 2019

 

IMG_0035.JPG
Another picture of me in my binder 

 

 

Be Gone, Chest Dysphoria!

My chest binder should be hopefully coming tomorrow! Which will mean that some of my dysphoria will be alleviated – anyone who knows me knows that I never shut up about my chest dysphoria. I am more excited than nervous about chest binding, I’m now 100% sure that this will be the right thing to do (for me at least) – moreover, I’m also excited because it’ll bring me more gender euphoria than dysphoria (though having dysphoria isn’t a requirement for being trans).

Obviously, this will be a stepping stone which will help me decide if top surgery is the right choice for me. But, if I do decide to get top surgery, then there would be a list of things I would want to do post – op. But if you are pre – op, or are thinking about if binding your chest is right for you, please know that whatever choice you decide to go with, you are 100% valid! 

Though in terms of wearing it, I plan to maybe wear it around the house in order to get used to it, then maybe – just maybe – wear it in public. If I do decide to wear it in public, I  plan on wearing it to Freedom (an LGBTQ+ youth group in the UK) – though unfortunately I can’t wear it to choir because it’ll restrict my breathing. I’ll also remember to stretch lots. 

I just wanted to write and post this because it is some very exciting news that I want to share, as it will improve my body confidence, as well as help with my gender expression. It’ll help with my gender expression because it will, hopefully, help me feel more masculine. But I’m sooo excited about getting my gc2b binder, because it’s something that I’ve wanted to do. I will also try and post a picture of myself on social media when my binder comes tomorrow, so you all will be able to see it. 

 Though I am over the moon about binding, it has been a bit difficult to stay 100% positive and patiently waiting for my chest binder to arrive – I’ve been waiting a while for it to arrive, so for it to be so close is almost unbearable.  However, I am nervous about taking it off afterwards, and I know that my chest dysphoria will come back afterwards, so that’ll suck. 

But overall,  I know I have to be patient for my chest binder  to arrive. 

 

A Post Top Surgery Bucket List

As I continue to wait for my binder, I think about some of the things I want to do if I decide to get top surgery – though I’m now definitely sure that I want to give off the appearance of a flat chest (because anyone knows me knows that I never stop venting about my chest dysphoria). While I believe that you don’t need dysphoria to identify as trans, I will admit the possibility of getting top surgery will hopefully rid of any chest discomfort that I already have. Though it will not eliviate all of my dysphoria, I do feel as though it will help with my overall  gender expression goal (which is to look more masculine) – despite the fact that I have no current desire to start testosterone.

But I wanted to make a bucket list of all the possible things I want to do if I decide that top surgery is right for me. I also wanted to make this list because if any of you are considering top surgery, or have already had it, you may find this useful in some way. 

So here are some of the things I want to do if I decide that I want top surgery:

  • Not having to wear my binder: I am aware that I won’t be able to wear my binder 24 / 7 which means I will have days where not wearing it will make me feel weird as well as wrong. But if and when I get top surgery, I will no longer have to worry about remembering to put my binder on. 
  • Donate my binder: Due to the fact that I will no longer be wearing a binder, I could donate it to someone who needs it, which will make both them and myself feel good. 
  • Get my binder signed: If I decide not to donate my binder, I would like to get it signed and possibly framed in a future apartment. 
  • Feel more confident: This will also improve my self- confidence, as I will not feel when envious surrounded with other flat chested folks. I will no longer hate my chest, as top surgery may make me feel a lot happier with my body – though, overall, I do love being a transmasculine nonbinary person.
  • Feel clothes against my skin: Not wearing sports / my binder will mean that I will able to feel clothes against my flat chest, which is an experience I hope I will enjoy. 
  • Be shirtless on the beach: Wearing swimming costumes makes me dysphoric, so if I can find some swimming shorts that are for AFAB individuals, then I will be able to wear swimming shorts and show off my chest. Even if I don’t swim, being shirtless on the beach will be a euphoric experience.
  • Be shirtless more often: Even if I’m not on the beach, I may have the confidence to be shirtless in other places, or simply just have more buttons exposed – this will be because, like I mentioned earlier, I may be feeling a lot more confident. I may even have the confidence to be shirtless at a future Pride event. 
  • Sleep with no shirt on: Due to this new found confidence, I may feel confident to sleep without a shirt on, as I will hopefully be more confident and comfortable with my chest overall. 
  • Showering: Due to my chest dysphoria, I hate looking down at my chest – but with top surgery I will be able to look at my chest and feel a sense of pride, comfort and freedom – as well as a sense happiness.
  • Get a tattoo across my chest: I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but getting a tattoo where my surgery scars will be might add some much needed validation to my chest – maybe I could get one that says ‘freedom‘ across my chest? Who knows. 
  • Wear more masculine coded clothing: I would say that my style is already pretty masculine coded, but if I were to get top surgery, I feel as though it would be easier to wear more masculine coded clothing due to my flat chest. This, I feel, would be a euphoric experience. 

Furthermore, and like I mentioned before, I’m still waiting for my binder to arrive, but I will try to remain optimistic and hopeful that one day it will come. But for now, my chest dysphoria may get pretty bad, but I have hope that one day that my binder will arrive – and I know this will eliviate some of my gender dysphoria.