Happy #InternationalNonBinaryDay!

I am a proud bisexual nonbinary person who uses they/them pronouns – I’m lucky to be allowed to be my authentic self, but I’m aware that some people may not be able to be out and proud, so it’s crucial for those of us who can be out to talk about our experiences (if you want to, of course). But if you want to take a small step and support trans / binary people, you can start by putting your pronouns in your social media bios

Besides, please take the time to be proud of your nonbinary identity today, and every day by using their pronouns and remind them of their validity – this could be by correcting people who misgender them, or by complimenting their outfit.  

May your outfits continue to be awesome (both today and every day) and remember that I’ve written a piece on the brief history of the nonbinary flag here. But for my cisgender/binary trans readers, you can read about how to be a good trans ally here – you can also read my post on pronouns here.

 

My Pride Plans for 2020 (yes, I’m already planning ahead..)

Pride, as many of you may be aware, is my favorite time of the year – so I wanted to write about my plans for the next Pride season. It’s a time where you can hopefully celebrate your identity (though you can do that throughout the year if you can). So I wanted to write about what I want to do for the next Pride season because it’s fun to think about – and because why not?

In terms of pride parades, I’ll obviously be attending Bristol Pride because I live in Bristol – so it seems like a no brainer. I also might go to Trans Pride Brighton (but it’ll depend on how my first one goes – more on that when I actually attend my first trans pride event!) – and as much I would like to go to London Pride, I’ll have to sit it out due to expenses. In terms of other events, it’ll heavily depend on what’s on and when I’m available, so I’ll have to see! 

I also want to try and support more LGBTQ+ artists etc – since I’m currently unemployed (finding a job is proving to be difficult), I’m worried about spending all my money. But if I do get a job (anything within reason will do), I’ll hopefully have a bit to spend on patches and pins, as well as other pride related things. I also want to support more LGBTQ+ creators, especially those in other minority groups (e.g. disabled people within the LGBTQ+ community) so that I can help them get their work out there. 

But I’ve still got some Pride events to go to (e.g. Bristol Pride this weekend and Trans Pride Brighton next weekend) – and even then, I’ll be doing lots of things at those pride events! So here’s to next Pride season! 

 

Pride Is All Year Round, not just June

Since Pride month has come to an end, I wanted to remind you that you should (if you are able), to be proud of yourself during the rest of the year. But don’t get me wrong, I look forward to Pride month every year as much the next queer person – its the one month of the year where you can celebrate diversity, self-acceptance, and inclusivity within the community (hopefully in spite of all the discourse). But Pride means lots of different things to lots of different people – and you don’t even have to celebrate that during Pride month. For some, it might be a time to celebrate how far they’ve come (for example, in terms of their transition), or it might be a time to reflect on how to support more marginalised members of the LGBTQ+ community – but no matter how you choose to celebrate, its correct.

However, I wanted to acknowledge about the fact that we’ve still got a long way to go, and that we should be celebrating our complex identities all year round – because pride is still crucial. Now, I’m very vocal about being  visibly queer, because by being yourself is the most radical thing you can do, and it is a way that you can be an activist. By being yourself, you may allow someone to come out, or at least give them the courage to be comfortable in their identity. Now I’ve been out and proud for a while, so I’m aware of the process, but I understand that not everyone can come out, so I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. 

We still have a long way to go however. It’s crucial that we support the trans community (especially since Pride was started by two trans women of colour) – but it’s still stands that we support the trans community because a). the media isn’t great on reporting on trans issues (at least in the UK)  and b). trans people still face a lot of discrimination. It’s also crucial that we support transfeminie people of colour, because they are the most marginalised members of our community – so it would be a massive disservice if we don’t support and raise up their voices. I’d recommend finding LGBTQ+ people in other minority groups and listening to them and raising their voices – because they know best about their experiences, so by sharing a thread on Twitter of theirs, or a blog of theirs for example,  you are using your privilege to give a voice to less privileged members of the LGBTQ+ people. 

Thirdly, and simple put, we still need to fight for our rights – even in 2019. Though we have made great strides in the UK for example (e.g. marriage between same sex in the UK has been legalised) – we still have a lot of rights to fight for (e.g. its still illegal to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community in many parts of the world). Even if you can’t help directly, you are not powerless – you can use your voice to share about it on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. 

You can continue to support queer creators year round, not just during Pride Month – especially since rainbow capitalism  unfortunately exists – so support actual LGBTQ+ creators, bloggers, film makers etc, rather than big corporations who take advantage of Pride month. 

Finally, try and balance partying and protesting – because whether you believe pride is a protest or a party– find a balance. I personally believe both can coexist, because it’s important to celebrate how far we’ve come,  but I also understand that we still have a long way to go.

I hope you’ve had a fabulous pride month, and remember that you should be proud to be yourself throughout the year, and not just June. 

Why You Should put Your Pronouns in Your Social Media Bios / Name Handle

Social media bios (e.g. what we choose to put in our Instagram or Twitter) – we all have the power to choose what to put, as this will give our followers a vague idea of what type of person we are (though this is also factored in by what we, for example, choose to retweet or post on our Instagram page). It’s not hard nowadays to stumble across a social media profile and can instantly see some aspects of the owners (carefully curated) online personality and identity. For example, I choose to retweet a lot of LGBTQ+ related stuff because that’s something I’m passionate about – so someone may guess that I’m very passionate about the LGBTQ+ community. 

But I’m getting sidetracked (as a media student and lover of the concept of identity, I could probably go on for ages about how people use social media to construct their identity, as well as identity and labels as a whole). Today I wanted to write about people, regardless of gender identity – putting their preferred gender pronouns in either their bios or, like I have, in their name handle. Before I get started, I have written a guide for cisgender people on how to be a good trans ally, which you can read here– so if you would like to go a step further, which I highly recommend you do, then please take the time to read it. I would also urge you to read my guide on how to use someone’s pronouns, for some extra added context surrounding pronouns.  

Now, what’s the point of using someone’s preferred pronouns? Well, firstly, then you know how to properly address them. The act of misgendering someone means that you are not using the pronouns that they have told you (for example, if someone were to use ‘she/her’ pronouns for me instead of ‘they/them’ pronouns, that would be misgendering). This can obviously make social interactions very stressful, and if happens over some time, it can lead to gender dysphoria (specifically a sense of social dysphoria). 

Additionally, though it may be awkward to put your pronouns in your social media bio or name handle (after all, you did spend a LOT of time carefully constructing your social media and internet identity and personality) – it normalizes the process if it’s done enough. It also lessens the marginalization of trans people. 

Though it’s a small, inconsequential action, it can have a big impact. Though it isn’t the same as showing up for trans people in the streets, fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, it is a nice gesture and I would even say it’s a nice start if you are thinking of getting into LGBTQ+ activism. 

The Return of They / Them Pronouns & Normalising Gender Exploration

Since the 19th December 2018, I have been using he/they pronouns as a way of expressing my, at the time, identity as a transmasculine nonbinary person. But as of late May 2019, I have felt as though this no longer feels right – so I will be going back to using the singular pronouns they/them/ theirs. 

I also wanted to write this because I wanted to look back at how far I’ve come in terms of my gender identity – since, so far, I’ve gone from being a cisgender female to a demigirl, to a transmasculine enby, to a nonbinary person. Honestly, I’m proud of how far I’ve come in terms of gender (despite all the hardships us enby folk face), and I could not be happier with all the support from friends that I’ve received, both online and in real life. 

Additionally, I just wanted to say that there is no wrong way to explore your gender – even if you end up identifying as a cisgender man/woman, the fact that you took the time to question this stuff is extremely brave, especially since cisnormativity is so ingrained into us as  from before we are even born. 

It also creates an unnecessary gender binary, both complete with rigid gender roles and expectations – which is why I think being trans is such an interesting experience – because, for example, binary trans people get to experience both ends of the gender spectrum (e.g. trans men will gain male privilege whilst trans women will lose it). However, I do understand that intersectionality plays a crucial role in one’s life, so you have to take that into consideration (e.g. the expected life span of a black, trans woman is statically 35 years.

But I do feel as though we need to allow people to explore and question their identity without the criticism of others – with all the dull discourse surrounding who and who isn’t ‘trans enough’, it honestly makes me less optimistic about the future of the trans community – we need to come together, especially at a time where we are constantly having our rights questioned and debated. It’s also crucial that we have supportive, genuine allies who will speak on our behalf when we feel we are not able to. 

Basically, we need to come together and raise each other up – not put each other down. 

My Pride Plans 2019

Pride Month is my favourite time of the year – it’s the time where we should be proud of our identities.  So I wanted to take the time to write about what I plan to do during this fabulous season. But before reading this, you should check out my post about  what to bring to pride, if you intend on going to any Pride Parades this year. 

I kicked off pride month by performing with my choir, Sing Out Bristol which was honestly a blast and I’m so glad that the audience enjoyed it. We then went to Queenshilling – Bristols Award Winning LGBT+ Nightclub (which was a first for me because I’ve never been clubbing, let alone an LGBTQ+ friendly one with gender neutral toilet). It was also my first big concert with them. 

In terms of Pride parades, I’m going to Bristol Pride, after having a pre Bristol pride BBQ and potential sleepover with some of my friends who are in the community. I ‘m also going to Trans Pride Brighton & Hove (again, this will be a first because I didn’t know I was trans until late August 2018). I also intend to go Pride in London and  to and possibly stay with a friend overnight. Though I do understand that there is a lot of discourse surrounding whether or not pride is a protest or a party, but I think that we can’t have one without the other. 

Obviously I also intend to support LGBTQ+ creators etc if I can, as you can read my thought on Rainbow Capitalism here. I also intend to be visibly queer as I can , because that is the most radical act an LGBTQ+ person can do (but obviously don’t feel pressured to come out – you can also read my coming out story here.)

So happy pride month everyone! Remember that your identities are completely 100% valid, and that Im proud of you! 

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. 

Besides, 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 differently and validly. 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 clothing 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 stylish – 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 parents/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 that’s 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-colored binder, as it will soak up less heat (this could mean getting a white binder for example). But if you have a darker colored 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 men’s 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 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, 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 can 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 color). 

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 important, but I won’t judge or criticize 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 the 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.’