, , , , , , , , , , ,

Interviewing Jazz!

Huge, HUGE congratulations to our friend Jazz on all of her incredible recent accomplishments! In addition to her book, I Am Jazz, which tells the story of her life as a transgender child, she was also featured in a Clean & Clear commercial (just last week!), and announced a new reality show with TLC! Ahhh! She is a force to be reckoned with, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"Okay, so I'm a trans guy in my mid-teens, and I recently came out to my parents. However, they are confused about a few things (which I tried my best to explain), and I was wondering what resources I could give to help them find clarity amidst the chaos of gender..."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle and Kristin Say:


A few resources, from our brains and yours:

1. The Gender Book
2. The Gender Section of The Parents Project
3. Comprehensive resource list from Art of Transliness
4. This video (and channel!) from Skylar Kergil
6. Legal Know-How from The Transgender Law Center
7. Local Resource Listings from GLBT Near Me
8. Gender Spectrum‘s Ongoing List of Articles

Readers, comment on this post to help & add!!



Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"I’m a young (20) transman who is still mostly not out. I haven’t transitioned, etc. Well it’s about time I go to the girly doctor, because biologically I’m a girl. But the thought of going gives me incredible amounts of anxiety. I freak out just thinking about it. I don’t think I can go. Also, if I did go, I don’t think I can be honest with the doctor about being trans. Any advice would be great."

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Liam Lowery as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.

Liam Says:

First of all, props on planning to go to the doctor. Going to the doctor is so so so SO important! And it is so easy to let that get away from you because of everyday things like work or school or watching Netflix, let alone when going to the doctor means considering coming out (or not) to a healthcare professional and steeling yourself for all the negatives that can come of out that interaction. So good job, you health-nut! You are doing something very hard and important, but it is worth it.

Second, I take it from your questions that by “girly parts” you mean your internal reproductive organs—such as a uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, etc., as opposed to external reproductive organs like testes and penises. I also have those internal organs, but I don’t consider them girly parts. And my care provider isn’t a “girly doctor,” she’s just a garden-variety gynecologist. Here, this great piece by Dean Spade about gendering body parts is helpful. Because honestly (and this is a bit of a mind-f’er, the first time you hear it) there is nothing about any organ that is inherently girly or dudeish. Those categories (along with the idea that, somehow, reproductive organs “make” you one gender or another) is cissexist, and has been put in place without transfolks and intersex people in mind. Now, if we all operated using Dean Spade’s preferred language, there would still be room to say things like “Most women are cisgender, therefore most women have internal reproductive organs” but it would leave that all-important room to acknowledge that there are men walking around with uteruses, women with testes, and many people with a combination thereof, and that our gender identities are in no way determined by or determinative of our reproductive organs. Basically your junk and/or reproductive organs do not make you “biologically” anything.

Next, you need to find a healthcare provider. Remember, please, that finding a healthcare provider is a process, not a quick fix. When you go to your first appointment, treat it like an interview—is the office clean? Do you like the staff? This is a place you will likely come at least once a year, so you want to be comfortable and feel like you are getting your needs taken care of.

As to your relationship with your care provider, it is not my business whether/when you come out to anyone, but I would advocate for coming out to your healthcare provider (as long as you feel safe doing so) as early in the relationship as possible to derive the benefits being out can give you. I know this can be awkward and nerve-wracking, but it is worth it. For instance, since I am trans and have internal reproductive organs, I need to get those suckers checked out. I am on testosterone, so I need certain tests other people may not need. Moreover, a healthcare provider needs all the relevant information they can get to provide you with good care, and you need to feel safe and comfortable asking questions. I remember asking my pediatrician, who often called me “little lady” though I have never been either of those things, if it would be safe for my “friend” to procure injectable testosterone. She was like “Uhhhh no… that would not be a good idea.” I never brought anything up again, I just stopped going to the doctor for two years until I decided I wanted to get on testosterone and pretty much HAD to see a doctor, which I always thought would be a nightmare.

My point is this: to be comfortable and receive holistic care from a doctor, AND to make sure it’s not a terrible, harmful mis-gendering experience for you (that will make you not want to go again) it makes sense to be out to your healthcare provider. And now that I am out with all my healthcare providers (including my dentist, who is super gender-affirming) I love going to see them!

Full disclosure here: I live in New York, and there are heaps of LGBTQ friendly healthcare providers here, especially when compared to other areas of the country I’ve lived in. I can take a train half an hour and get a physical at a trans* clinic, and I know I’m spoiled. But regardless of where you live, I’d recommend asking other LGBTQ folks if they like their healthcare providers, and searching online using the GLMA “Find a Provider” search tool.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: That’s all great Mr. City Slicker, but I don’t live in a city and there’s no trans* clinic near me. But I still need a doctor. What am I supposed to do, tell my doctor what language to use for my junk? They’re the doctor, I’m just some schmuck! Well, my friend, print this column and that Dean Spade article out, and bring them to your appointment! Remember, there’s no Gender Identity 101 in med school—often doctors learn from their patients. So as long as you feel safe, come out to your healthcare provider, and see how it goes.

WARNING: sometimes it will go badly—they won’t get it, or they won’t care. But often, doctors care about their patients enough to at least try and respect their patients’ culture and identities.

If the healthcare provider is a jerk, just peace out. Seriously. Just stand up, say “I don’t really appreciate your disrespectful bedside manner, you are not the doctor for me,” and leave.

Make sure to treat yourself to a can of ginger ale in the waiting room, and try a new doctor next week until you find one who works for you. Keep trying new clinics and offices until you find one that works for you, you’re worth it. Remember: all it takes is one good provider to give you the care you need, the way you need it.

Good luck, and take good care!


Click through to read more about Liam and our other Second Opinions panelists!


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"I’m genderqueer and have been wanting to take testosterone, but something’s been holding me back. I recently realized men make me uncomfortable and there aren’t many I like so my brain says men=bad. If I take T I will be masculine looking and people will probably think I’m a guy, so brain says me looking like a man= me being what i don’t like. I know I want that for my body, but my mind is suffering. I don’t know if that makes sense."

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Liam Lowery as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.

Liam Says:

To me, your question makes loads of sense. It’s a really important question, and I’m really glad you asked.

I’ll start out by telling you where I am at today: I am on testosterone, I have had gender affirming surgery, I prefer he/him pronouns, and I wear what are widely considered traditional men’s clothes. But I am not a man. What I choose to do with my body does not make me anything at all—that is solely the province of my heart and my mind.

It took years to get here, but let me try to simplify the processes that got me here as much as I can.

Before starting testosterone, I thought hormones were a thing that definitivelymade you a man or a woman. And why shouldn’t I have? All the men I knew had physical similarities to other men, and the same was true of women, and I didn’t know any trans people. More than that, after an 8th grade sex ed class focused on how the hormones men and women have determine everything from emotional intelligence to sexual desire, I was pretty sure hormones were the secret ingredient that made gender what it was.

Imagine my conflict when I longed for those “manly” physical qualities, which were attached to people whose socialization and way of being repulsed me. I felt icky, to say the least.

I thought that simply the act of starting hormone therapy would make me into something I didn’t want to be, a man (cue vomit noise—in case you couldn’t tell, I also have issues with dudes, you are not alone) and felt so trapped because I wanted the physical effects badly, but didn’t want to lose myself or be seen as a man. There was one night in particular where I laid on the floor of a powder room in my parent’s basement and cried out into the void, “Why does arm hair have to be a man thing?”

What I really meant was, “What the hell does it mean about me that I want arm hair?”

Short answer, I would come to find out, is it doesn’t mean anything. It just is. So I decided to start testosterone. I signed all the waivers at the doctor’s office about the permanent effects with informed abandon, thinking This has got to be better than how I feel now.

Holding the amber vial in my hand for the first time felt very much like holding a pipe bomb. That’s because, at best, you can only be about 82% sure you want to start hormones because you can’t calculate the effects they will have on you or not, since they effect everyone differently. But after reading the list of side-effects, you can be 100% sure that you want to try, that it will make you better off. So as I plunged the needle into my leg, I thought to myself I’ll figure out the rest of this stuff later, I guess.

It turns out what I thought was the end of my figuring out that divine question, (“Who am I?”) was only the beginning. That was three years ago and I can still ponder for hours.

I will tell you what helped me decide to start testosterone:

Imagine you are on an island. And on the island there is an unlimited supply of testosterone and needles and alcohol swabs, and no one there to lay any judgment on what it would mean for you to start T, no men there to say ”You’re like me now!” and no women to say “You are less like me now,” and no other members of the trans community to analyze your choices. There is only you. There is also food and clean water of course, so whatever decision you make you will have to live with for a while. What would you do then?

This may sound like a silly hypothetical, but the truth is no one has to live in your body but you, so in a way you really are on an island. And when you lay down your head on the pillow, you will be the only one who feels your body breathing, you will be the one who has to live in this shell, this envelope, this body for the rest of your life.  The question is less about what it will mean if you modify your body with hormones, and more about how you want your body to look and feel.

I can testify that T doesn’t make you into anything. It does, typically, make you hornier and hairier and deeper-voiced. It might make you slightly more muscular; it might make it harder for you to cry. It might also make you crave buffalo chicken when you never even liked buffalo chicken before! But no one determines whether you a man or a woman or a beautiful snowflake living in between except you. For better of for worse, you alone are the one who knows who you are. And no, I am not doing a Yoda impression.

That being said, I realize you don’t exist in a vacuum, and some things that happen after you start T and start passing or pass more can’t be changed. Now, women on the street at night walk a little faster when they see me walking behind them, men make comments about women’s bodies in my company, and I throw up in my mouth. But perhaps most painful of all is when other trans folks question my choices about hormones and surgeries, call me an assimilationist because I dress and appear a certain way.

I can tell you that these experiences feel gross, and that they make me want to change how people see me. So I come out to people as often as I can—a general rule for me is that I want to be out to anyone I will see more than once. Part of this is to help increase trans visibility, but an equally large part is that I want to correct the errant assumption that to look masculine = to be male. We all deserve better than that.

No decision around starting or not starting hormones is wrong, and it’s important to think about why and how you are making that choice. Additionally, you can decide something today, and change your mind later—many trans folks postpone hormone therapy or stop it at some point, and the world never stops turning. So take your time and let your mind explore what you’d hope to get out of hormones, and what you’d be afraid to lose.

Hormones could never change you inside, my friend. They could never turn you into a man, regardless of what people may see. The flawed assumptions people make based on your appearance about your experiences just go to illustrate how little room there is for trans people in the minds of cis people, and how many trans people pass judgment on one another’s choices. For every one person who may applaud you, there will be one hundred who think you are shirking your identity or trying to gain male privilege. So you can only be accountable to yourself in this decision, and take care of your own needs.

Inside you, there are oceans of contemplation that no one but you will sail. You are on a journey. Don’t let the way others see you or the way you may see others slow you down, just do what you must to get to a safe port. You can always sort out the problematic nature of conflating some physical qualities with gender identity later.


Click through to read more about Liam and our other Second Opinions panelists!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"How did you come out to yourself as transgender?"

by Liam Lowery

I first heard about The L Word at an indoor track meet my freshman year of high school.

A group of cool lesbian teens, sitting on piles of blankets and passing around a box of Cheez-Its, sat across the way from my lowly duffle bag and pile of books. I knew they were lesbians because they all had cool haircuts and two of them were totally making out.

They were led by Ashe, she was soft-butch teen royalty–lanky and tan, with boys underwear hanging out of her skinny jeans. Who wears jeans at a track meet? I thought, but it totally didn’t matter. She was so cool, cool in the way that only a teen lesbian with a Justin Bieber haircut can be cool. I sat near her encampment the entire meet–alone, as I usually was at school events–and after 20 times hearing them say “The L Word,” I figured out it was a television program, not a secret code. I was so enthralled in their conversation that  I missed running the 55 meter dash.

My parents didn’t get Showtime, and I wasn’t going to ask them to get it so I could watch a show that was so clearly for lesbians that it was called “The L Word.” So I opted for plan b. While pictures popped up on social media of Ashe and her friends having watch parties (complete with, from what I saw, wine that was given to them by Ashe’s mom, they were so cool), I searched various Eastern European torrent sites on the shared family desktop between the hours of 3am and 6am, in the foggy area between Sunday night and Monday morning.

It usually took around an hour of searching, following dead links until eventually hitting live ones before the familiar message about the torrent violating Showtime’s copyright would start popping up. At some point, I’d find the show and watch with the volume turned really low, listening hard for footsteps coming down the stairs, erasing the browser history when the episode finished. I’d creep up to bed as the sun began to ascend, pondering what I’d just witnessed.

This show, I determined, was a canon every kind of lesbian there is. I wanted very badly to be Shane–lady lothario who dared to leave Carmen, the sexy dj, at the altar. I would have also accepted Dana–tragic, beautiful, closeted, zany Dana–the Subaru sponsored tennis-star. Or even Alice–who was the perfect blend of “out,” and “out-there.” God, they were so good.

This was The L Word: Were the plotline perfect, or even well-developed? Not a chance. Were the characters all on a pretty narrow race and socioeconomic spectrum? Absolutely. Did the show leave much to be desired? For sure.

But–despite these flaws–the characters knew who they were, and that was much more than I could say for myself. For cool girls like Ashe or Shane, it seemed like the biggest part of being gay was being a lady who crushed on ladies. Which I did, sure, but I was most concerned with sneaking off to Goodwill to try on men’s clothes or joining chat rooms with names like “If I were a boy” (and no, they weren’t on Beyonce fan sites).

There’s lots of different ways to be a lesbian, I thought, crossing my fingers that The L Word would show me mine.

And soon, it did. Not one season later, we met Moira.

Moira was like me–awkward, uncomfortable all the time. Moira’s clothes were baggy. She didn’t have any friends of her own, and she never quite fit in with the L Word crew. Even Shane, the otherwise butchest character on the show, made fun of the way Moira dressed and didn’t want to be compared to her.

Then, one episode, Moira started going by the name Max. Max explained that he’d always felt like a guy, inside. Then Max started wrapping ace bandages around his chest, while my heart sped up inside my own. Finally, I thought, someone who totally understood what I was going through.

Then it hit me. Oh no. Max was the first trans person I ever met, and he was terrible. He was a reedy-voiced crybaby, prone to fits of rage, obsessed with passing as a cisgender man, perpetually unhappy, and disliked by all.

I’m cursed, I thought, If I am like Max, there is no hope for me. I immediately searched online for an L Word character quiz and sped through the questions. My result? “You are: Moira/Max. You’re not comfortable with your body right now, but you’ll become the person you’re meant to be.”

I tried again. Same result. “You are definitely trans,” the screen shouted, “deal with it.” I refreshed the page, feeling sweat break out across my forehead. “You are still trans,” the screen announced, “Which kind of explains everything, right?”

I closed the browser and sat back in the chair, exhaling through gritted teeth. I looked out the kitchen window, and the first hints of sunrise were stirring on the horizon. There’s at least eight different ways to be a lesbian, way more if you count everyone who hooked up with Shane, I thought, there’s got to be more than one way to be trans. The sky was turning purple now, the stars fading from diamonds to pinpricks of light. No one can decide but me. A streak of pinkish red began to push its way up into the lavender sky.

So, I’m trans. I nodded to myself, heat swelling in my chest and sudden moisture in my eyes. This is going to be good.