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Adults Youths

Taylor’s Story

To continue looking at real stories from members of the transgender community in order to support you and help with the struggles you might be going through, we spoke to Taylor, who is non-binary/trans-masculine! Here is Taylor’s story…

My name is Taylor. I’m 25 years old and non-binary/trans-masculine. My pronouns are he/they. My story has been a slow but beautiful unfolding. From where I am now looking back, I can see a lot of signs from my childhood that indicate to me now that I was a little trans baby in a cis, heteronormative world. Growing up, I didn’t have the language or exposure to others like me, so it got suppressed for a long time trying to meet gender norms and societal expectations. I grew up pretty sheltered and went to a Christian private school, and played on a sports team that kept me from interacting with many people who weren’t cis and straight.

I started to break out of this in my senior year of high school when I first came out as a lesbian. Then, in college, I stopped trying to fit a feminized expectation that familial/cultural expectations had placed on me and allowed myself to be more masculine, which felt closer to home for me. Around this time, I decided to leave the sport I had been playing since childhood. This opened a path to redefining my identity in many different ways. During my time in college, I took a Gender Studies class and met a trans guy, and then everything clicked. I had finally met somebody and learned the language that expressed how I felt inside. I sat with this for a few years and during that time I socially changed my pronouns to they/them.

Left: Taylor now, after Testosterone. Right: Taylor pre-hormone therapy.
Image: @Taylor__Pop

At 24, I realized that starting HRT would be the right thing for me in order to help alleviate dysphoria and bring me closer to my true self. I came out to my partner and close friends and I’m fortunate to have loving and supportive people around me. However, coming out can be very scary and unsafe at times. Although I am out to many people in my life, I am still figuring out how to come out to my mom. Coming out is an ongoing process and you have to do it over and over again. This is why trans visibility is important, for the trans people that grew up sheltered, the trans  people that feel alone or scared, and for society to accept that we exist and have always existed. Not only do we deserve love. We deserve rights, healthcare, and protection. Gender affirming healthcare and a society that accepts us can literally save lives.

Since starting HRT, I feel closer to home each day. I’ve realized dysphoria hasn’t gone away completely, but my mental health has improved so much with the changes that have happened and I know will come. I’m fortunate to have access to trans-specific healthcare and it has made the medical process fairly easy for me. But again, socially,  we have a long way to go. Even at my trans-specific health clinic, I was misgendered on my shot day by the person administering my shot!

To wrap up my thoughts, being trans is not just about going from point A to point B, it’s a way of being. I think it’s important to highlight that gender is fluid and can mean different things for each individual person. My gender is my own.

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Adults

Brands to Shop With

Are you looking to shop with brands for or run by trans and non-binary people? We’ve selected a few of our favourite brands that put the trans and non-binary community into the heart of everything they do. 

Unofficial Rebrand

Image: Official Rebrand

OFFICAL REBRAND (or?!) is a sustainable non-binary brand founded by MI  Leggett, who is also non-binary themselves. They say that they wanted to redefine what it means to be sustainable in both the world of fashion and art. Official rebrand offers some amazing on trend and artistic pieces to really add wow factor to any outfit. They carry a wide range of pieces, from printed tank tops to elaborate coats. If you are edgy and out-going when it comes to your fashion choices, this is definitely the brand for you.

Radimo LA

Image: Radimo LA

Radimo LA is an online retailer. It started when founder Dan Owens got tired of seeing the misrepresentation of gender fluidity from brands such as H&. They ensure to show their products on at least 3 gender presentations, sized and skin colours, which is obviously amazing for the representation of gender, weight and ethnicity. Having a brand that does this is amazing as sometimes it can be hard if brand’s only use one model. For instance, if the model is white, size 6 and female, it can be hard for people outside of this bracket to see what the clothing would look like on them. With a brand like Radimo, they are pushing the boundaries of diversity and representation within brands. 

Origami Customs

Image: Origami Customs

Origami Customs is a brand which sells binders, compression underwear and more for transgender people. Before having surgery or even starting hormones, trans people struggle to feel confident with themselves due to their gender dysphoria. For a trans man who hasn’t yet had surgery, wearing a binder can conceal the breast’s in order to make for a more masculine look. Likewise with trans women. Thing’s like compression underwear can make for a flatter appearance to make it appear as though you have female anatomy. Having products like this can decrease stress and anxiety massively and this is a brand that we praise. Origami Customs pieces are something that trans people will highly benefit from and we’re glad to have came across this brand to help those of you that might need products like this. 

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Adults Youths

Transparent Podcast: Jess King

In this episode we speak to Jess King. Jess is the long-time best friend to our founder, Jordan Burrows. This podcast explain’s the journey Jess went on after finding out her best friend was transgender. She also discusses how it actually brought the pair closer together, forming a friendship that has lasted close to a decade.

We hope that seeing the bond that this friendship duo have can help those of you who are worried to come out to your friends, and realise that your friends will be there and continue to support you.

Enjoy!

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Adults

Love Life 101

Dating can be hard at the best of times. It doesn’t matter who you are, some people are just unlucky with love. However, transgender people face so many problems when it comes to dating. Here’s a guide at how to ensure your relationship remains healthy and the dating experience can be as positive as possible.

Ensuring your partner or the person you’re seeing accepts you is key. If you are with someone that is with you and they use your gender dysphoria against you than put them in the trash. It is key to ensure that the person you are with is understanding and accepting of you and your journey. Make sure you are transparent with them about your gender journey and ensure everything is laid on the table at the very beginning.

Don’t rush – from my own experience, being trans can lead to being unlucky in love. Sometimes you might date people who have only ever been with one gender and being trans can sadly complicate things. If you have been unlucky then make sure that you put yourself first and don’t rush anything. Once you start to fully love yourself, then someone else will start to love you. If you still aren’t at a place of 100% acceptance, then any relationship won’t work no matter who it is with

Be sure to notice the signs of domestic abuse. 28% of trans people have experienced domestic abuse. It can be scary being a trans person and seeing these figures. So, make sure you’re alert and see how the person you are dating acts. If they start showing signs of aggression, especially early on, then see this as a sign of their character and end the relationship as soon as you can for your own safety. It’s important to stay alert of these things early to ensure that you don’t get too involved with someone who may be a suspect of domestic abuse.

Don’t feel pressured. Sadly, some people fetishise the idea of being trans. Something completely normal and something that a lot of people struggle with, can be a fetish for other people. If you are dating someone that feels this way, they may pressure you to have sex early on. Know your worth and don’t allow someone to use you for sexual intercourse if you feel it is too early. If you are in a situation where you feel like you are being used sexually because you are trans, act on it. There are plenty of people out there who will like you for you and not like you initially because you are trans. Find someone who loves you, but still accepts you’re trans rather than someone who loves that you’re trans and is mediocre about you as a person. 

From my own struggles with past relationships, I hope that these tips can help you and your love lives and ensure that you stay protected when it comes to these aspects in a relationship.

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Adults Youths

Coming Out

Many people struggle with coming out. Due to the stigma surrounding the transgender community in society, often people wish to keep it private as long as they can. We have some tips on how to come out to your loved ones, and what to do if they don’t accept you.

  1. Plan: planning how you are going to explain this to your family and friends will be easier than springing it on them. Try writing down key points on your phone, or imagine you are sending a text but don’t actually send it. Plan everything you are going to say and exactly how you will explain that you are trans, and then ensure that they are actively listening when you tell them

2. Set the environment: It is very important that when you tell your loved ones information like this, that you are in a calm environment. You want it to come as naturally as possible. For parents, it can come as a shock, so ensure the environment is right and that they are listening. Make sure that they are sat down and not busy doing housework or anything else. Ask them to sit down and tell them that there is something you wish to tell them whilst in a calm environment.

3. Allow communication: When telling someone news like this, a lot of questions may be asked. Your parents will want to fully understand. Make sure you plan ahead and be prepared to answer questions so you can gain their full support and guidance. If you aren’t prepared for the questions they may ask, you may feel bombarded, so ensure you think of anything they might want to ask so that they understand the full story.

4. Do research: When first coming out, you may feel a little lost. Some people are aware they want to transition, but don’t have the information on who to speak to or what steps to take first in order to start your journey. Make sure you do your research. Start by speaking to your GP. They will give appropriate advice based on your case. We also have articles on Hormone Replacement Therapy, so have a look at articles like this to get more information on the journey you’re about to embark on.

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Adults Parents Youths

Hormone Replacement Therapy: The Basics

Disclaimer: The information found throughout this document has been provided by the NHS. If you wish to find more information on Hormone Replacement Therapy, please visit the NHS website.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (or HRT) is the process of a transgender person starting to take the appropriate hormones to start the physical process of becoming their desired gender. Here is your basic guide to what you should know before starting HRT

What are hormones?

Hormones are naturally produced in the body from glands. These hormones are released into the bloodstream so that they can be carried around the body. Amongst many others, the body produced sex hormones: Testosterone produced by the testes and Oestrogen by the ovaries. 

What effects do naturally produced hormones have?

Overall, Testosterone produces masculinising effects and Oestrogen produces feminizing. In-hand with genetic factors, sex hormones impact your reproductive system, your brain, and physical characteristics like height and build. 

Then, during puberty, more changes occur as a result of sex hormones. For instance, in women breast development and periods will occur and in men, facial and body hair will begin to grow, along with height, muscle bulk and penis growth. 

What do trans people aim to achieve with HRT?

The overall aim of HRT in transgender people is to allow the body to produce the hormone linked to your desired gender. This causes physical and psychological changes so that you can appear and feel as the gender you wish to be. 

For trans people, starting HRT and seeing and feeling the physical changes in your body to become who you really wish, it is a huge deal. Starting HRT is a start to your transition and begins the process of changing your body to look and feel more feminine or masculine. Blockers may be needed in cases where the hormones in which your body naturally produce must be blocked in order for HRT to work.

HRT is often the first stage for transgender people, following surgery if wanted or needed. 

What physical effects does HRT have on transgender people?

Trans Women:

  • Fat may be distributed to the hips
  • Slight reduction in the size of penis/testicles
  • Erections and orgasms may be harder to achieve
  • Muscle bulk and power might be reduced
  • Breasts may feel tender and lumpy and may increase in size
  • Facial and body hair production becomes weaker. This can be helpful in the hair removal process

Trans Men:

  • Promotion of facial and body hair growth
  • Male pattern baldness may occur
  • Clitoris increases slightly in size
  • Sex drive may be heightened
  • Increased muscle bulk
  • Deepening of the voice, but may not be to the pitch of other men
  • Periods will stop occurring
  • Acne may develop

Once start HRT, you will have to stay on the medication in order for your body to keep producing the new hormone.

There are no large risks to taking hormones, and they are considered ‘remarkably safe’ according to the NHS. 

The most serious risks when taking Oestrogen are:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism (block in a blood vessel in the lungs)
  • Altered liver function

The most serious risks when taking Testosterone are:

  • Polycythemia (over-production of red blood cells)

Although these risks are extremely rare, if you start seeing signs of the above, or have side effects following the start of HRT, make sure you inform you GP immediately. 

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Adults Parents Teachers Youths

Mental Health Helplines

Mental health is something that is no surprise within the transgender community. Whether it’s the fear of telling your family, you’re being bullied, or you’ve faced harassment (physically or sexually), mental health issues are prevalent within the trans community.

It’s always good to have someone to talk to. This doesn’t have to be someone you know. There are trained professionals on helplines and online 24/7 to ensure that your mental health and well-being is paramount.

Here are our recommended mental health helplines:

Mermaids

mermaidsuk.org.uk

0808 801 0400

Samaritans

Samaritans.org

or call 116 123

Childline

Childline.org.uk

or call 0800 1111

Supportline

Supportline.org.uk

or call: 01708765200

YoungMinds

youngminds.org.uk

or call 0808 802 5544

Students against depression

studentsagainstdepression.org

The calm zone

thecalmzone.net

Bullying.co.uk

It is okay to accept help and speak to someone about your feelings and struggles. Unfortunately, being transgender can be difficult. Speak to someone and make sure you get support if needed.

Feel free to message us via our social links on the ‘contact us’ page!

Categories
Adults

Tell Tale

Do you want to relate to an author who has written about their journey? Transpire has put together some of our favourite read’s so that you can sit back and take a look at transgender history and other people’s experiences.

Trans Like Me
By C.N. Lester


This book is written by academic and activist CN Lester and looks at some of the greatest issues within the transgender community. Including pronouns and issues regarding feminism, this book will be all the education you need.
Transgender History
By Susan Stryker


This non-fiction book from Susan Stryker looks at the history of transgender people from the mid 19th century all the way to the 2000s. Each chapter is linked to a specific period in history.
Trans: A Memoir 
By Juliet Jacques


This memoir follows the transition of Juliet Jacques – a transgender woman who under-went gender reassignment surgery in 2012. Read this if you are going/wish to go through the same, and want a detailed account of the journey.
Redefining Realness
By Janet Mock


This book looks at the life of Janet Mock as a transgender woman. It follows her story from childhood to adulthood. The book starts in 2009, with Mock telling her boyfriend that she is transgender.
A Safe Girl to Love
By Casey Plett


This book consists of eleven short stories which  stretch from a rural Canadian town to a gay bar in New York. It follows experiences of transgender women going through loss, sex, harrasment and love.
Transgender 101
By Nicholas Teich


This book, written by a social worker and educator, delves into transgenderism. It includes history of life as a trans person and also looks into the discrimination in which transgender people have and still do face…
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Adults Parents Teachers Youths

Mental Health Advice

Mental health is a topic that is prevalent within the transgender community. There are multiple factors that impact mental health for trans people. Whether it be due to bullying, deadnaming, people using incorrect pronouns or most commonly, gender dysphoria overall, a mass proportion of the trans community suffers with mental health in a major way.

Stonewall claims that 27% of trans young people have attempted to commit suicide, with 89% having considered it at some point in their life. 72% have also self harmed at least once. Although these figures don’t state the reason behind these cases, there is always something you can do to help your trans allies and support someone in the trans community who may be struggling mentally.

What can you do?

Lend your ear. Sometimes, not only for transgender people but for anyone suffering with depression or other mental health issues, having someone there to speak to can help massively. Just knowing that whoever is struggling is able to open up to someone and not have any judgement is an amazing feeling and can make a huge difference. Make sure you offer your support and allow that person to explain how they feel and try and give them the advice you think is best.

Provide the person with information on mental health. Transpire has mental health helpline recommendations, along with information on mental health and a mental health journal. This allows you to write down how you are feeling if you don’t wish to talk to anyone yet. Some people who haven’t come out as trans may not feel safe enough to talk to someone, so being able to write down your feelings can help. 

If you are a parent or teacher, use these resources. If not, do your own research as to help you can receive for your child or student. Ensure that you have done your research so that if your child does come to you feeling a certain way about their mental health or transition in general, you can give them sound advice and ensure that they get help if needed.

If you yourself are a trans youth or adult, make sure you open up and ask for help. 

Don’t be ashamed to receive help if you need it. Speaking to someone and getting help in any form sooner rather than later can make all the difference. Often, people with mental health issues are afraid to talk to people or receive help as there is still sadly a stigma attached to mental health. Make sure you trust who is in your life and who is around you and ask them to listen and try to understand you. It is vital that you speak to someone and do not suffer in silence. 

Do your research on transitioning. 

It can all be very confusing at the start of your transition. At the beginning, you might not know the first steps to take, who to tell, and how to go about things. First of all, tell your loved ones and make sure you are very transparent with them. It can be hard for parents, friends and family members to understand if they are new to this subject. Make sure you explain exactly how you feel. Sit down and be an open book. Reveal your preferred pronouns so that they know how to address you and so they don’t get it wrong. Then, when you are ready, speak to your GP! They will give you advice and guidance on the next steps based on your case and what you have told them!

Transpire is always here to listen! Give us a follow on:

Instagram: @transpirezine

Twitter: @transpireweb

Facebook: Transpire

If you need to speak to us just give us a message and we will reply as soon as we can!

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Adults Parents Teachers Youths

What is Transgender?

For many parents, finding out their child is transgender can be a sensitive topic. Often parents find it a big shock to the system and feel overwhelmed with information. Of course, any parent loves their child and wishes to be there for them, and it can be a lot of information to process all at once. 

Being transgender is when one’s personal identity does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth. For Instance, someone may be born physically male but they identify as female and vice versa. 

Gender Dysporia: according to the Mayo Clinic, Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people might experience gender dysphoria at some point in their lives.

A lot of the time, people can get misconstrued with the meaning of cross dressing and being transgender. I myself have experienced people with a lack of knowledge being unaware of the difference. Cross dressing is when someone wishes to remain the sex they were born as, but seeks fulfilment from dressing as the opposite sex. Transgender is when one wishes to take action (whether it be hormones, surgery etc) to permanently change the sex they were assigned at birth to the opposite sex and have that permanent role in society. 

Each case between transgender people is different, so it’s important that if your child comes out to you as trans, that you listen to his/her/their preferences on how they wish for it to be addressed and what they wish the next steps shall be.