If you live within reasonable travel distance of Rochester, NY, please join us for this free public event! It will be held at Open Arms MCC (707 East Main Street Rochester, NY 14605), Sunday November 15, 2015, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.
Knowledge is power and I’m all about empowering people!
About the event
Transgender people face a variety of social and economical challenges. Issues such as: discrimination, disparagement, ridicule, assault, murder, and lack of access to affordable healthcare from qualified providers, are just the tip of the iceberg.
This adversity isn’t limited to the transgender population. It also affects friends and families of transgender people, who may feel powerless to help. Our loved ones want to be understanding and supportive, and sometimes need a little guidance and support themselves.
My answer is: absolutely! Later this month (July, 2015) the New York State Public High School Athletic Association is expected to create new guidelines for transgender athletes.
Lynette Adams, reporter for News 10 WHEC Rochester, invited me to talk about whether or not transgender athletes have any inherent advantages in sports. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the realities about such concerns and met with her for an interview. A brief sound byte from the interview made it into the final story and can be seen in the video posted above. Here’s a link to the story on the WHEC News 10 website where the video and text copy can be found.
As stated on the official website: “Transition Transmission is a podcast by, and for, transgender people. We are also a transgender and lgbt news conduit. Our mission is to push for transgender rights, visibility of transgender women and men, and let our readers and listeners know what’s going on in the world.”
I highly encourage you to listen to episode 62 of the podcast for thought provoking, in-depth exploration and discussion about Caitlyn Jenner’s big reveal in the Vanity Fair glamor spread earlier this month.
In this episode, I had the honor of joining the Transgender Trio, along with Bunny, as a guest during the roundtable discussion about Caitlyn Jenner and a variety of topics, including “transrace” and Sense8. It was fun and exciting to be on the podcast and add my thoughts and feelings to the mix. I’m so very grateful for the opportunity! Apologies for the poor quality of my audio (due to hardware issues on my end). I was able to remedy the problem after the recording was in the can. Doh!
Podcast discussion points
Do looks matter? Would there have been a different reaction if Caitlyn wasn’t as glamorous? Is passing important? Caitlyn thinks so – do you? Is Caitlyn a hero? Is she a good representative for the trans community? Is all the publicity about Caitlyn Jenner a good thing or a bad thing for transgender people?
Much of the episode revolves around Caitlyn Jenner and the very diverse thoughts and feelings evoked by the recent explosion of publicity. This serves as a springboard for important discussions about the underlying issues that many within the transgender population feel so passionate about: positive, negative and everything in-between. There’s more going on than just Caitlyn-talk and you’ll find plenty of intriguing discussion contained within.
But don’t stop at just one episode – this podcast is a collection of coolness, informative, entertaining and all out fun. Transgender talk is just the tip of the iceberg.
Website: Transition Transmission
iTunes: Transition Transmission
Psychology has long been a topic of much interest to me. Over the years, research and study in this field has been immensely helpful in understanding myself better and maintaining a level of sanity in an insane world. My enthusiasm for psychology continues and there are so many handy resources to tap into, including a number of excellent podcasts.
About a month ago I discovered The Savvy Psychologist’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health. Podcast host Ellen Hendriksen, PhD, invites listeners to, “Meet life’s challenges with evidence-based research, a sympathetic ear, and zero judgement.” She offers “quick and dirty tips” using “practical psychology to help you be happy, relaxed and most importantly, yourself.”
Transgender 101: 6 Essential Questions and Answers
This week’s episode is about a topic near and dear to my heart: transgender awareness and education. In preparation for the show, Ellen enlisted my help as a consultant. As a fan of the podcast, it was fun to get involved behind-the-scenes and play a supportive role. Her dedication to providing useful information and treating the subject with dignity and respect was clear from the start, and very much appreciated. To say I was impressed with the end result would be an understatement. I encourage you to check it out for yourself here on the audio podcast and transcript page.
Line in the Sand
This short documentary by University of Rochester student and talented filmmaker: Hayden Freedman, explores being transgender in a society that doesn’t quite understand “transgender”. Trans woman: Natalie Robin shares some of her experiences in coming out, gender roles/expectations and discusses a rather questionable suggestion from her therapist.
Also included are interviews with my friend and mentor: Jeanne Gainsburg, Education Director for the Gay Alliance, and another trans woman you may be familiar with: me.
Natalie has a YouTube channel and Tumblr blog where she shares her transition progress, thoughts and feelings. I encourage you to check out her offerings and maybe send her a little love and support in a thoughtful comment.
Painful realities that are difficult to share
Rather than rehashing what the documentary covers (and rather well, I might add), I’m going to take this opportunity to talk a little about gender dysphoria and share my personal struggle living with it.
Almost daily, I hear accounts of transgender people having a difficult time in public, often being disparaged, laughed at, or otherwise treated poorly/different just for being trans. It used to be that way with me, too. It wasn’t long ago that I also experienced being laughed at and disparaged. Today however, it’s a pretty rare occurrence.
Christmas shopping is a pretty common activity. Most people do it, and their biggest complaint is finding a parking space. I’m happy to say that on this particular day, I had little trouble finding a good parking space at a local mall, packed as it was.
The reason I’m posting this is to draw attention to the very positive experiences I have out in public, and why I believe no one gives me a hard time anymore.
Passing isn’t everything
Within the very diverse transgender community, there is some debate as to whether or not it’s important, or even desirable to pass (ie: to look like a cisgender person; to not look trans). Some feel it is very important to pass, others don’t care, some don’t want to, and there are even those who look down upon trans people who do, want to, or go out of their way to pass.
Personally, I do want to pass. I want to look like an attractive cisgender woman to the rest of the world. There is no shame in being transgender. I’m rather proud to be trans and plan to continue speaking publicly to educate about trans realities. For me it’s a vanity thing, and I don’t care what anyone thinks of my desire to pass – good or bad.
The December/January issue of The Empty Closet is honoring a mother and her transgender daughter for their volunteer work with the Gay Alliance and efforts to make the world a better place. If you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s my mother and I. :)
From coming out to volunteering
On January 16, 2014, I came out to my mother as a trans woman. Earlier that day, I had just completed my second (or third?) public presentation about LGBTQ awareness and education. Mom took the news rather well, commenting: “I always wanted to have a daughter!”.
She had a lot of questions about what it means to be transgender. We talked for about 2 or 3 hours the day I came out. Eager to gain more insight about her trans daughter and learn as much as she could about the diversity within the LGBTQIA, Mom started volunteering at the Gay Alliance as an office worker.