Ask @transadvocate:

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I am a lesbian and I find people calling me transphobic because I will not date transmen. I will (and have) date a transwoman, so I am confused with the transphobic label. Can you help explain this at all?

Yeah, I don't know why it would be transphobic. People like what they like.

There is a trans convo around shame, body image and how that shapes beauty standards in a culture that devalues trans people. There's also an intersecting trans convo around the context in which human beings are reduced to walking genitalia. However, neither of those issues seem to be what you're dealing with.

Some folks like to define your experience for you. Don't let them. You love who you love - period. You are a lesbian who loves women and that's not transphobic.

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Is it responsible or okay that I've taken a hiatus from trans advocacy? That I'd rather get back to the goal of transitioning rather than stay in the middle and only dwell on my trans issues? Should I get back to correcting people through social media?

Of course! Neglecting yourself while giving to everyone else isn't compassion. The circle of true compassion extends to oneself as well as others. We cannot give from a dry well. The trick is finding balance and honoring the truth of where we're at and what we have the capacity to do.

Trans advocacy is about being conscious of what we do; it's knowing that everyone can do something in a way that is respectful of themselves and of their community. For some, that will look like helping to set up a trans support group. For others, it looks like being there for someone at 3 in the morning because they need to talk to someone who gets it. For others, it might look like lobbying, giving to trans orgs or having a blog.

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Are there any romantic films you recommend with transfolk in them?

I'm probably not the right person to ask. I'm not a fan of romantic movies of any flavor. I tend to be repulsed by the codependency worship and 'save-me' rhetoric generally found in many romantic films/books. I will instead defer to others.

Anyone know of a romance film that you'd recommend?

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I'm legally male and recently had a hysterectomy. My insurance is declining it because I'm male. The doctor's office told me to (get this) change my gender to F so they can get paid. I won't. But now I'm being held responsible for the bill. How do I go about this?

Appeal and keep appealing. The ACA states that you cannot be discriminated against. Cite the ACA and, if you need, file complaints with your state insurance board and since HHS oversees the implication of the ACA, you can also contact them:

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Does national coming out day mean anything to the trans folks?

Of course. On a historical note, 10/11 coincides with an anniversary on a LGBT March on Washington. The 1st March on Washington was held in 1979 and was organized. The lead organizer (Ray Hill) was a strong trans ally and trans people like Phyllis Frye were part of why the MOW happened. In fact, on our twitter account you can see Phyllis leading a march contingent.

Anyway, coming out as trans is a big deal and I love that we have a day set aside for that right of passage - to remember, honor and support that noble act of truth telling.

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What do you think about 'gender critical' trans people?

I can't say I approve but I understand this is a different generation and a different time So if you want to marry The Moon you have my blessing Son.

Marriage equality is about the 14th amendment. Civil marriage is a contract and isn't religious ceremony - which is why the government issues marriage contracts (AKA, marriage licenses). The 14th amendment's Due Process Clause guarantees equality in for all citizens wishing to enter into a contract. I'm glad that you have come to support the 14th amendment for all, and while I'm not the biggest supporter of marriage contracts in principle, if folks want to contractually tie each other together, I'm going to support their right to do so.

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I'm pre-transition (neutrois) and have always been scared of making friends because there's always been someone in the group who wants my female body, which sets off my dysphoria. How do I stop them from doing this?

Basically, I've handled it in the same way I've handled PTSD. From what I've seen, working with GD like one might work with PTSD helps. Judging yourself won't help. Be compassionate with yourself. Part of that is honoring what your limits are, having boundaries and engage in self-care.

For me, working with either PTSD or GD looked like learning to be aware of what was going on emotionally inside my body. I took up a practice of vipassana because I found that trying to force PTSD or GD to be something other than what it is makes everything worse. Some do well with meditation while others connect to their body states in a more kinetic way (running, painting, etc). The point is that as I learned the contours of my pain, the less it seemed to be an enemy. As the relationship with my pain became less adversarial, the more I was able to tolerate, understand and work with it.

For me, I was never able to command myself to feel differently - especially with something as visceral as PTSD or GD. I found that a great deal of my suffering was caused by my unskillful strategy of trying to force myself to somehow feel different. There's the stress of the what if stories I'd tell myself, the stress of "ugh, I freaking out again. WHY CAN'T I BE NORMAL!?!" and the stress of beating myself up for what I judged as emotional BS.

Letting go of trying to control something like PTSD or GD through force of will and instead honoring the fact that my 'scars' were very real and that they can and do hurt from time to time was a lot like putting down a bag of bricks that I'd been carrying around. GD is part of the trans experience. There's no way around that. For me, self-care looked like being judicious with the people who I chose to invest my time and attention in. I needed to know that they would understand that I really did suffer terribly with GD and that it meant that I had to make accommodations for that reality.

A skillful mental health professional, a support network, learning a way of directly working with GD via meditation, art, exercise, etc, learning boundaries and self-care is what helped me get through transition.

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Caught a convo I'd like to ask you about. The 2 were talking about how they didn't like wearing dresses all that much. It sparked something in me. Why is it that (at least my) 'transness' is questioned if I'm not in a dress/skirt? Is it the 'bathroom rapist' lie? 'You wanted 2b a woman, prove it?'

I ride a big Harley, wear army boots way too much, am heavily tattooed and I almost never wear makeup. I can't remember the last time I wore a dress. My transition wasn't about my body. I was never a cultural woman 'trapped in a man's body;' rather, my innate subjective experience of my body's sex was and is female.

There are some things that I do that are deemed female in our culture and I do it because I like it and not because I want to meet any standard of "realness." There are things that I do that are deemed male in our culture and I do it not because I'm trying to make some political statement; I do it because I like it.

Gender masks are BS. I transitioned to be comfortable in my own skin and so that I could give up lying to people about who I am. I transitioned because the taste of personal liberation is sweet.I transitioned because I couldn't live another day living a life of dishonesty, aversion and fear.

Having said all of that, I do understand what you mean. I was raped not too long ago and a couple of people reacted with the "well, this is what you wanted" shtick. At the same time, I was afraid of going to the Women's Center for help because I thought I might encounter a TERF who would exercise their need to be cruel on me when I was at my most vulnerable. I thought that maybe I should pretend to be more fem and lie about being trans when I went to the Women's Center. In the end, I rode my Harley up to the Center and was truthful because to do otherwise was to let the trauma take one more piece of myself.

All I know is that it hurts to lie about who I am. It hurts to pretend, to occupy and operate a persona in the day to day world instead of meeting the world with my feet firmly rooted in my authentic truth - my authentic self. I can't help but balk at systems that try to contort who I am into a more "accepted" shadow of myself.

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wtf is going on with men these day?

Mya Solomon

I don't know what to reasonably answer blanket claims like that. Sorry :(

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i think its ok to be happy with my cis female body but feel trans in my heart and feel and desire and think like a man... in terms of how gender has been defined as such all over the world... so is it possible to feel man on the inside but also be pleased as woman on the outside? i feel so mixed up!

First of all, it's important to define the terms I'm going to use in my reply:

1.) Gender Orientation: One’s subjective experience of one’s own physical sex.

2.) Gender Identity: One’s culturally influenced identification of one’s sex within the context of a social grouping.

3.)Gender Expression: One’s situational expression of cultural ques which communicate gender identity.

Taken together, this is what I mean when I say "gender." Since I have no idea what you mean when you say "feel and desire and think like a man" with regard to "gender," I probably won't be able to answer you adequately.

As a rule of thumb, I support a person's right to do what you need to do in order to be happy, productive and grow as a human being. If you think you "feel like a man" and are happy with the way your body is, then I'm happy for you.

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Why is Gia getting destroyed for pointing out that male/female/intersex isn't (and shouldn't have to be) men/women? She has never said transwomen aren't women, just not female. That is not radical. It is true. She is getting treated disgustingly.

Because asserting that the human body *is* its sex attributes is gender. There's a difference between saying that a person has XX chromosomes and saying that a body is its chromosomes. Sexing the body *is* a performance of gender. Sex attributes exist as a physical phenomena; how we contextualize that physical phenomena, apply that to human bodies, create norms, taboos and penalties around labels - both personally and within society - *is* gender. Understand, there is a difference between how you contextualize a body and that body. Your understanding only exists in your head, regardless of what combination of sex attributes a body might have.

She's getting shit because in one breath she says that the labels and usage norms around those labels we use to contextualize sex is gender but the labels and usage norms around the binary labeling system she uses to contextualize sex isn't gender.

She's appealing to essentialism. When you hear an anti-trans group assert that because our genes/chromosomes (terms usually mistakenly used interchangeably) make a body male or female, trans people therefore remain the sex they were assigned at birth, they are appealing to a constructed concept of the body. Genotype refers to the genes of a person and many TERFs appeal to this as an essential sexed substance to advance a system of behavioral norms.

Leaving aside the fact that one can go from having XY chromosomes to XX chromosomes, the appeal to genes/chromosomes as a male or female essence that if present, defines a human body in our culture, is an appeal to essentialism. The presence of this a male essence means that the human body in question is itself male and that the (now male) body and society alike must now regard it in a certain way or face certain social consequences.

When you hear an anti-trans group assert that because what is taken to be an acceptably long phallus was discovered at birth, a male sex was established and therefore cannot be changed, they are appealing to a fallaciously constructed concept of phenotype permanence. If a baby is born with a phallus - the phallus being the essence of a man - the infant is said to have been born a man. Like appeals to genotype, this essence is regarded as an ever-enduring locus from which a human body drives linguistic currency in our social system. If an AIS or trans woman has vaginoplasty, a TERF will assert that their sex phenotype has not changed because to admit this change is to admit that a body's sex attributes can change.

In biology, phenotype is expected to change via genetic and non-genetic forces during one's lifetime. This view of phenotype is frowned upon by TERFs. In the Segen's Medical Dictionary, sex reassignment is defined as, "The constellation of surgical and medical therapies intended to physically change a person from one sexual phenotype to another."

She's obtusely appealing to a standard she claims to reject: the gender binary is false; the MAAB/FAAB binary is tots real.

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How do you tell if you have Gender dysphoria or are just confused?

Go to mixed trans meetings. Talk to a lot of different types of trans people because there's a lot of different ways of being trans.

Also, get a good therapist who has worked with trans folks for years, journal, take up a practice of contemplation and do a lot of hard looking at yourself and talk with safe people.

BTW, the "just confused" thing is a BS cis-phrased judgement. You are where you are, period. Instead of judging yourself and thinking that you must have an ultimate answer now, take your time and do the work of getting to know who you really are. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the support you need to know really who you really are.

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What makes you smile?

Dawn Henderson

Improving the quality of life for trans people.

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I've pondered the possibility of transitioning many times throughout my life. I've come to a place where I've realized that I don't entirely identify as either female or male. Would I still be considered trans? How do I refer to myself in regards to gender? What if I want just top surgery?

Those are answers that should be between you, your trans-positive therapist and your doctor. The internet is not the place to find those answers.

When one does any type of transition, it's a bit like taking your home and turning it upside-down and shaking it. YOU will have to go through it all and decide what's BS and needs to go and what's authentic and needs to stay.

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Do you think it's possible to have sex-neutral housing in higher education institutions without having cisheterosexual couples using it as a reason to co-habitate? Can you envision a policy that protects the diversity of gender identity in housing? My college does interviews, but that seems intrusiv

Sure. I would first call up HUD and ask them to point you to some best practices that shelters and housing programs use.

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Think there'd ever be an effort to build trans-inclusive health centers (in the style of Fenway Health in Boston, Whitman-Walker in DC, Mazzoni Center in Philly) in every county in the US? I know it seems far-fetched but I can't think of any single initiative that would do more to uplift trans ppl

That process starts with meeting. I accomplished this around 15 years ago - long before the creation of FQHCs - by meeting with a health center in the "gay area" of town. Their doc was very resistant and I had to help them figure out how to pay for some of the visit via current funding streams (HIV prevention funding). Then my group would pay them $65 bucks each time they saw a trans person to make up for the shortfall. We paid for that with community donations. We went on like that for around a year until the heath center was able to find funding that would cover the entire visit.

All it takes is someone willing to do whatever they need to do to get things going. But, it all starts with an initial meeting to talk about options, needs and resource allocations.

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How does someone without any real experience develop a community, garner support, and lobby for city/state ordinance/laws to protect transgender people in a place that is otherwise hostile or indifferent?

Remember that unity =/= uniformity. Check your ego at the door, work night and day for it and give away the credit.

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What happened in 1995 that made the HRC betray trans folk? Where can I find information on it?

Riki Wilchins sold out the trans community and teamed up with HRC to lobby AGAINST trans inclusion in ENDA during their 1997 meeting together in Sen. Harkin's office. Wilchins formed GenderPAC and was supported by HRC. GenderPAC was HRC's answer to It's Time America and NTAC. GenderPAC eventually stopped being a trans-focused organization, lost its relevance and shut down.

This is a fairly good history:

"There was plenty of blame to go around, not only for a Congress that didn't understand or care about trans people or the issues affecting us, but also for an activist community that centered almost exclusively on the interests and issues of non-trans gays and lesbians, often even displaying overt animosity and disdain for transgender people and our inclusion in the overall movement for American civil rights, most famously evidenced by the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) then-president, Elizabeth Birch, who was quoted in the media as saying that transgender inclusion in ENDA would happen over her dead body.
With the creation of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) still years away, the only national organizations focusing directly on the issues of importance to transgender people were the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC), a grassroots transgender advocacy group, and GenderPAC (GPAC), an organization led by transgender author and activist Riki Wilchins, which started out advocating exclusively on behalf of trans people but later expanded its focus to a broader agenda of gender rights.
Both organizations hosted annual events in Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress on transgender-inclusive legislation, though GPAC was criticized for what many trans people believed was a much too cozy affiliation with the Human Rights Campaign. GPAC was accused of pre-lobbying against transgender interests at the behest of HRC and the Democratic Party leadership, going to Congressional offices in advance of Lobby Days events and telling legislators and staffers that while they could expect visits from trans people advocating for an inclusive ENDA, in reality activist leaders were fine with an ENDA that didn't include protections for trans people. While there was certainly plenty of circumstantial evidence to back up these claims, they were never conclusively proven."

That last little piece "never conclusively proven" is BS. The (now) EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum is the person who outed HRC/Rikki's pre-lobbying efforts. Sen. Harkin's office confirmed that HRC lobbied to keep trans people out of ENDA.

@TransGriot can give you the lowdown on everything that went on. I was on NTAC's board after all this went down, so the info I have is second-hand.

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Okay, if "“All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves.” " could not the reverse, or at least similar, be said of lesbian feminists that alter their appearance towards the masculine end of the spectrum?

Obviously you're a violent MRA activist who won't listen to TERFs who speak for lesbians, women and girls. If you're a real non-rapist, you'll accept that you're a man, are prone to violence and subjugate actual women with your mere existence. If you don't agree with that then you support corrective rape and the silencing of political lesbians everywhere!

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It's been almost 10 months since I ended things with my ex...yet...I'm still thinking of him and even though I try to let others in, I still have feelings for him...what advise do you have to help someone get over someone? :'(

From what I've seen, it can take years for the wounds of a painful breakup to scar over. It seems that telling one's self that one *should* be over it by now, that one has used up their airtime talking about the pain, that one *should* feel something different than what one authentically feels is to be about shame. Shame isn't usually productive in these situations. All it seems to do is make people feel even more shitty.

I tend to be a proponent of radical acceptance. However I'm feeling is okay. Instead of trying to push it away through work, gaming, or some other activity designed to distract me, I found that it's more useful to give that part of me attention. Meditation helps (if one has is a practiced meditator, otherwise it can just be annoying) and "working with" an emotional state - being with it and expressing it in meaningful ways - seems to be useful. In my most painful moments, I've put it to paint and canvas, spent hours being present to the emotion and letting it pour out into art... which I then sold for cash :)

The point is, I've not found it useful to wish to feel differently when I'd dealing with something difficult. Accepting the reality of how I'm feeling and working with the emotion - giving that part of my "spirit" time and attention, instead of trying to hide it or push it away - seems to be helpful. Sometimes sitting with the emotion in meditation is helpful and sometimes being kinetic - running, walking, painting, playing guitar - while being with the pain works best for me.

For the record, I never dish out advice. I can only share observations and experience.

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Why do you think TERFs hate trans people? What makes a TERF? I wonder.

There's a significant body of research which takes up the issue of lateral violence (the tendency of oppressed people to oppress others). As with practically all issues of lateral violence, it's a nuanced issue. Some attack trans folk for the same reason closeted gay people attack queer people. Some will find a substitute for authentic power in oppressing trans people. Some are taught to hate trans people by a culture that hates trans people. There are other reasons and some of these reasons intersect to create particularly obsessive and cruel TERFs who dedicate untold hours each day attacking trans adults and children.

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Hello, I am 15 and I want to become a politician . I am very into politics . The thing is that I also want to climb up the political ladder and hopefully one day become president . Beware this is like 30-40 years from now . So my question is do I thrive to become president or give up ? I am a TWOC

I think politics is less about who you are and more about how well one's political office machinery is able to spin BS effectively. Holding high office is, in many ways, about craven showmanship. Whoever controls the beltway narrative gets to define pop culture's 2 second attention span.

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I am a young transgender. I will be transitioning this month. The thing is I am a trans girls of color. I live in Houston Texas . I'm asking for some help to me coping with the teasing/bullying I will receive. I am also just now entering high school. Next year I will be a 9th grader. Please help..

Fortunately, your covered under HISD's trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. In Houston, that means that trans kids *must* be able to transition and enjoy a school environment free of anti-trans harassment and bullying. Additionally, several schools have a GSAs. The Montrose Center in Houston has a queer and trans youth group that you might want to check out:

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Why do so many people seemingly take actual pleasure in others' suffering?