A New Kind of Normal

I’ve never really had anything close to a social life, even when I was in high school. Even though I’m an extrovert I’ve spent most of my life in a reclusive state. Part of this is the fact that I am transgender, and the discrimination that I’ve faced because of it, part of it is because of my sensory issues, and part of it is the fact that I was never really allowed to socialize outside of the halls of my middle and high school. Growing up I was never allowed to have friends over nor was I allowed to leave home to go meet with anyone that could be considered a friend outside of school related activities. 

Since moving to New York, and beginning to emerge myself in the world of the SCA, I’ve found something akin to a social life. There are people around me that understand, or at least accept my eccentricities and it doesn’t seem to bother them in the least. I’ve found something that I never thought that I would have, and that’s a community. I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I can belong not hide away from society as life passes me by like I’ve been doing for the past twenty years. 

It’s past time for me to let go of what happened to me in the past and start working towards the future that I want for myself and for my family. 

For the first time in my life I’ve joined a gym so that I can get into shape. I’ve started attending rapier practice within the SCA, and archery as well. While there has been a few bumps in the road, I am actually starting to look forward to the future with excitement rather than disdain or upset. Things are still rough, I’m still fighting for SSI because of my autism, in July of this year it will be two years since I’ve applied. I went into my final appeal in November of last year and that can take up to 15 months. 

I’ve scheduled an appointment for the 22nd of March for the consultation for my chest reconstruction surgery, and my insurance here will cover it and all other SRS surgeries that I need. I can’t believe this year I’ll finally be able to take that step closer to being whole. 

My depression was really bad for a while, but it’s a bit better now. I don’t wake up every morning wanting to die. I hope that this is a permanent change, but I know that there is the possibility that it isn’t. It’s just something that I will have to deal with as it comes along. I know I’m going to have to find a therapist and stick with them, but for once I have a few clear goals in my life that aren’t just ideas. 

I have an idea of where I want to be headed by the end of this year, I’m not completely lost to the chaos anymore. 

#depression, #letting-go-of-the-past, #lgbt, #mental-health-2, #mental-illness, #moving-on, #new-york, #srs, #trans, #transgender

Trans*Muted

After a difficult time of trying to think of what words I can use to portray the meaning and purpose behind my upcoming Transgender Visibility Project, I have come up with a name that I feel that does just that.

Next month I will be launching Trans*Muted: A Transgender Visibility Project to bring a positive, uplifting, and refreshing view to the lives of people that identify as being transgender. For far too long the transgender population of the United States and in many parts of the world have viewed as taboo or even subhuman and that clearly needs to change. Those of us that are transgender are just like any of member of society. We are teachers, parents, doctors, professionals, blue collar workers, artists, writers, siblings, caretakers, etc.

I feel that the name Trans*Muted encompasses the fact that the transgender population has been muted and silenced for so long, as well as playing on the word transmute which is to change into something new. That is exactly what we are seeking to do, change the negative attitude to something new, something positive and more accepting and understanding that it was previously.

I am currently seeking people that would like to be interviewed so that their story can be told during the project. If you or someone that you know are interested, please feel free to contact me at aydanoconnor@icloud.com or you can fill out an introduction survey at https://goo.gl/forms/6mwEaxlAbDfuW8EH3

I’m really excited about moving forward with the project, meeting a lot of wonderful people and getting to know them so that I can help share their stories.

#gender-expression, #lgbt-visibility, #trans, #trans-visibility-projects, #transgender, #transgender-activism, #transgender-stories, #transgender-visibility, #transmen, #transsexual, #transwomen

Out of Ignorance and Into my Pants: Bathroom Laws Against the Transgender Community

With the passing of North Carolina’s Bill HB2 into law, the war against the transgender community reached an all-time high, or rather low. The bill designates that no one shall be allowed to use a public restroom or gender specific facilities that does not match the biological gender on their birth certificate. The aim of this bill was to prevent transgender women from using the women’s restroom, but it has done so much more than that. It has elevated the risk of men actually using the woman’s restroom and defeat the equal protection clauses in the United States constitution.

Being a transgender I know all too well the outrageous costs of transitioning from one sex to another so that your mind and body can be at peace with one another. Basic chest reconstruction surgery for  female-to-male transsexuals start at around $5,000 and the price goes up depending on the quality of surgery. Gender confirming surgery, or as most people call it “bottom surgery” costs even more than that, and has less than desirable results for those transition to male.

Due to the extremely expensive costs of surgery, and the fact that there are more states than not that allow discrimination based on gender orientation, affording these surgeries (which are rarely covered by any type of insurance policy) is often an unobtainable goal. It is effectively a pipe dream for a lot of transgender men and even transgender women who seek their own gender-confirming surgeries.

This often results in many transgender men or women unable to have complete gender confirming operations. In effect, many of us are only able to partially transition due to financial reasons. A simple google search of transgender unemployment rates will give anyone a good idea of why.

The rallying cry behind HB2 was without it women were vulnerable and needed protections to keep men out of their restroom, by men the backers meant anyone that was not born with a vagina. As happens far too often, they most likely forgot that this would put transgender men in the women’s restroom simply because they were born with a vagina.

Most transgender men look just like their cis-male counterparts after several years of hormone replacement therapy, and often before. I have yet to have chest reconstruction surgery because my family cannot afford it and I do not bind my chest, yet I have not been perceived as female since I began HRT a little over three years ago. Most people that meet me on the street have absolutely no idea that I am not a cis-gendered male unless I tell them otherwise.

This means that anyone that is male or perceived as a male could walk into the woman’s restroom and promptly announce that they were a transman or that they had a vagina, regardless of the truth. This bill has now allowed the predators that it sought to keep out of the women’s restroom to stroll right in, since demanding to see one’s genitals could be construed as sexual harassment or sexual assault.

This bill has also set the grounds for cis-gendered women who appear butch or gender nonconforming to be assaulted by overly zealous bystanders for daring to use the restroom that matches their sex and gender. It puts lesbians at an extremely high risk for assault as well.

HB2 has also forced transgender women to use the men’s room where they are more likely to be beaten, raped or worse, have their lives taken.

When someone that is transgender goes into the restroom, it is not to trick anyone or assault someone, it is to urinate or defecate. There is no master plan to molest anybody, in fact, 95% of the reported cases of molestation are perpetrated by someone the family or child personally knows, not a stranger in the restroom.
Banning transgender people from using the restroom of their perceived gender does nothing but denies them a right to privacy (it purposely outs them to anyone paying attention when they are forced to use a public restroom), it puts them at a high risk of sexual assault, physical assault, or being murdered. Most of all it furthers fear, hate-mongering, and ignorance that has the power to ruin innocent lives.

#bathroom-bans, #bathroom-discrimination, #discrimination, #hb2, #lgbt, #lgbt-discrimination, #nc-bathroom-ban, #nc-discrimination-against-tg-community, #nc-discrimination-against-transgender-people, #north-carolina-bathroom-ban, #trans, #transgender, #transgender-bathroom-ban, #transgender-bathroom-laws, #transgender-discrimination