In light of Transgender Awareness Week, I wanted to share a poem I wrote about my transgender experience! It’s definitely a piece that would be in my future poetry book!
What is Transgender Awareness Week for?
Transgender Awareness Week starts on November 13th and ends on the 19th. This is a week dedicated to help raise visibility of transgender folx and the issues faced by individuals of the community.
My Personal Trans Experiences
I have faced many adversities being transgender; especially in the ‘awkward’ transitioning period. I experienced sexual/verbal harassment, aggression, discrimination, verbal abuse, etc. For obvious reasons, experiencing all of that was hard. I would never wish this amount of emotional pain onto anyone; not even people who appear to be horrible. I can say, feeling like the world was against me was the absolute hardest moments of my journey/life. It led me to turn against myself.
My experiences has led me to write the poem, “The Power of Labels“. I wrote this poem to shine light on a struggle members of the gender expansive community face. The hardship(s) of not being addressed by our underlying identity but rather by the gender binary social construct of appearance.
Labels are powerful. Please be kind to people! And please respect transgender individuals. Say their chosen name(s) and correct pronouns. Those are really important to us!
– Dez 🙂
Things I Hate Hearing as Someone Who’s Transgender
As someone who’s transgender, I can tell you that there’s a lot of things I’m tired of hearing from people about being trans. There are a lot of things that people say to me that I just can’t stand but these are some of the ones that I hate the most. These are the things I hate hearing as someone who’s transgender:
I’ve always wanted a trans friend!
Glad I could fill that stereotype for you, buddy. No, but seriously. This just isn’t something that’s appropriate to say and can be quite hurtful at times. I don’t want to be your friend just because I’m transgender. I wanna be your friend because you have a friendly interest in me. I’m quite interesting, and I’m way more than just someone who’s Transgender.
What’s your old name?
This is a question you should never ask someones who’s Transgender. Unless it’s for safety reasons, there isn’t a real reason you should need to know a person’s deadname. This is an especially uncomfortable question for me because I don’t like talking about myself pre-transition.
You are so brave!
Some people like hearing this, but it’s something that is weird for me. I don’t like it when I tell someone that I’m Transgender and their immediate first response is “You’re so brave!”. It’s just the fact that it’s a really backhanded compliment.
Why did you choose/decide to be Transgender?
I didn’t choose or decide to be Transgender. I didn’t wake up one day and just decide that I’m gonna be a boy. It took years of therapy and realization for me to realize that I’m Transgender. And it also took a lot of time for me to actually come out and say to everyone that I’m Transgender.
Did you have any surgery yet / have you started hormones?
Some people might be okay with answering this, but it’s not something that I would personally want to talk about. You don’t need to know if I have had surgery, or if I have started hormones. If I decide to share it with you, then that is fine. But I only share personal things like that on my own accord, not when you wanna know.
Can I see a picture of you before?
I have likely deleted all photos of me pre-transition, but nobody owes it to you to show a picture of them before they transition. You should be happy with how your friend looks, no matter what. Not to mention the fact that asking for something as absurd as that is a breach of privacy. So refrain from asking this question.
Which bathroom do you use?
This is another case of a breach of privacy. This is an extremely private question for people, and I just don’t see why someone needs to know this.
Are you sure this is what you want?
Yes, I am 100% sure. I have had several months of thinking, and therapy. I am very much sure that this is what I want. In fact, I know that the only way to make me feel better is to transition, which I have, and I am feeling much much happier in my new skin.
Check out Planned Parenthood’s article about transphobia here!
You can also read my post The First Time I Got Misgendered right here on TurningPointCT!
The First Time I Got Misgendered
On September 29th, 2020, I came out as transgender. Of course, I knew that coming out would come with it’s troubles, but I didn’t expect it to come so fast. And one of those troubles is being misgendered. I never knew that it would hurt so much to be misgendered. I wish I knew, cause then I would’ve been able to prepare myself. Now I know that it’s inevitable.
The first time I had someone misgender me was a tough time. Until this day, I still have trouble with misgendering. But I’ve become better at correcting people. Some people don’t catch on, but others do. It’s tough, being trans with people who just assume all the time. It sometimes makes me worried to go out in public. I even skipped 3 weeks of school because it brought me too much anxiety.
But the first time I got misgendered will be a day I always remember. I remember the feelings I had, and how much it really affected me. I walked into the store with my mom and sister, I finally bought my first binder, and I was feeling amazing. The sun was shining on me and I really felt at my happiest. That soon would change drastically.
We walked throughout the store for a while, and everything was still going great. We got to the check out and nobody had misgendered me. Yet. When we were leaving the store, the cashier said something that turned my whole entire world upside-down.
“Have a good day ladies.”
I never knew how much 5 words could hurt. It felt like I had just been stabbed through the heart and punched in my gut 50 times. I felt sick to my stomach. Not because it disgusted me, no, but because I thought I looked like a male. Those few words sent my whole world crumbling. I looked to my mom and my sister to help me out, yet they unfortunately did not. I don’t know if they heard it or not. It’d hurt if they did hear and just decided to not say anything.
The rest of the day was painful. That situation stuck in my head forever. After that, I pretended to be okay. I was in the car, acting like everything was fine, yet the dark depression grew inside of me. Once we got home, I got in my bed and laid there for a while. So many thoughts and questions raced through my mind. Why did she say ladies? Don’t I look like a boy? Should I have corrected her? What would anyone else do? Am I a chicken for not saying anything?
Where did I go wrong?
I thought I looked like a boy, so where did I go wrong? This is when I started to be extremely dysphoric about my chest. I would constantly look down and see what it looks like, fix my hoodie, and cross my arms over my chest. But this still didn’t stop the misgendering. It continued, and the hurt continued as well.
Sometimes people will reassure me that I look like a boy, but my problem is that I worry too much about what other people see. They didn’t see a boy, how come everyone close to me did? This led me to believe that people started lying to me just to get me to shut up about it. I felt trapped at this point. Like nobody wanted to tell me the truth.
At this time, I became distant from people. I tried not to speak to anyone and I tried not to draw any kind of attention to myself. It was a fairly dark time for me. I had just gotten out of the mental hospital a while ago, and I was feeling better. But after that incident, I felt like absolute crap. Nothing made me feel better.
A little while after that incident, I did start to feel better. Because I told my sister and she reassured me that she actually didn’t hear, but the next time, she will help me. She also reminded me that I have to sometimes advocate for myself when she doesn’t hear. That’s when things started to take a turn for the better. I started to speak up for myself and correct people.
So, to my sister, I love you. I love you for loving me as who I am, and for motivating me when I can’t. I’m truly grateful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better sister.
You can read Healthline‘s article Misgendering: What Is It and Why It Harmful?here!
Also please check out some of Turning Point CT’s resources for LGBTQIA+ youth under our Support by Topic 🙂
Welcome To The Transicle Stand
Hi, I’m Dante. I am a young transgender male. This is my blog, and here I will be talking about my gender identity, my mental health, and what it’s like being a transgender male who is out and proud. This post will introduce me, to you!
Trigger Warning:self-harm, suicidal ideation
From a young age, I have never really—‘fit in’. Everyone always told me I needed to stop playing in the dirt or stop playing on the monkey bars because those are only for the boys. I never understood that. Why are they only for boys?
I remember when I went to an elementary school that required uniforms, the girls wore skirts and the boys wore pants. I asked my mom to buy me khakis, and she did. The next day, I went to school all happy with my new pants, but my teacher was not. She told me that I couldn’t wear pants, and that tomorrow I would have to wear skirts or I would be sent home. Sadly, I didn’t tell my mom about it because I didn’t think it was a big deal. I just saw some pants and thought they were cool. I brushed it off, but deep inside—I was very upset. Yet I couldn’t understand why I was upset.
Now (in the modern-day), I realized that it’s because I hate skirts. I hate things feminine because they just don’t feel right. These kinds of things made me realize who I am. If you’re a boy then you could wear skirts, I just prefer not to.
Around the early age of 8 or 9, I started to have thoughts of suicide, and every day I woke up, I felt gross. It didn’t feel like this was my body. I thought that I just hated myself. So, I resorted to self-harm. The first time I self-harmed, my thoughts were getting dark. There was a little voice inside me saying, “Do it. Nobody will care anyways.”, and unfortunately, it was right. I locked myself in the bathroom and cut myself using a pencil sharpener.There was a brief period of time where I started to feel better, but then reality set in. I realized what I had done, so I cried. The tears didn’t stop flowing, and that night, and I cried myself to sleep.
A little while after that, I began seeing a therapist, because I told my mom about it. But I never expressed my suicidal feelings to anyone, because I knew they’d be mad. I only knew this because when my mom found out that I was self-harming, she yelled at me, called me stupid, and told me that I need to think before I do stuff. Those words really hurt. Because I couldn’t control it. Self-harming became a comfort. It engulfed me and was the only thing that made me feel better.
After a while, I couldn’t handle it and decided to tell someone about it (besides my mom). So, I told my sister about it. Instead of yelling at me, she offered me support. I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember that she told me about her experience. It made me feel better, knowing that I wasn’t alone on this. I knew that from that day on, I could count on her for endless support. Around that time, my therapist diagnosed me with depression.
Therapy continued and at the age of 10, stuff started to happen to me. I started to experience the symptoms of depression’s close cousin, anxiety. These random waves of anxiety washed over me, and I literally felt like I was drowning. My heart would randomly start to race, the blood would rush to my head, and I would get the overwhelming feeling that I needed to cry. It became so much, that I relapsed on my self-harm. My mental health was in the most horrible condition.
Unfortunately, on September 9th, 2020, I was admitted to the psychiatric ward of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. My mom had found out I was self-harming again, and she mistook it as me attempting suicide. She called the cops on me, but I refused to go anywhere without my dad. That night she was drunk, and I tried to tell them that, but they only cared about the cuts on my wrists. Due to the fact that my mom is my legal guardian, nobody could protest against her, therefore meaning I had to go whether I liked it or not. That night was excruciating. I spent the night alone, only allowed to be visited a few times by my sister and my father, but never at the same time.
In the hospital, they gave me medication. It was a medication that put me to sleep. When I told my dad and sister, they were outraged, because it was given to me without their knowledge or consent. So, you could probably tell that I didn’t have the best time. That experience changed me. Because soon after, I came out as transgender. It shaped me into being the boy I am today. My anxiety and depression soon became better, yet it is still there. I suffer from time to time, but now I am much happier! Being a boy has made me feel comfortable in my own skin, and everyone tells me that I look much happier. I’m proud to be a transgender male.
To my sister and my brother, thank you. Your endless support has made me feel much better in my body. I love you.
“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.“ – Elliot Page, who is also an out & proud transgender male
You can read Planned Parenthood’s article about appropriate labels for transgender people here.
And you can read my story right here on TurningPointCT.org!
I’m The Proud Sister of A Transgender Teen
I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen boy. That transgender teen boy is my little brother Dante.
Dante decided to come out as transgender in March of 2020. He has always struggled with his gender identity. I remember that he would tell our mom how uncomfortable he felt in his body but she just brushed him off. He never enjoyed playing with dolls or dressing up, he just always wanted to be one of the boys. He knew he wasn’t meant to be a girl. And sure enough, he was right.
If you asked me a year ago how I felt about having a transgender sibling, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. The whole thing was completely new to me but it has absolutely changed my life in more ways than one. Dante has taught me so much about not only himself and what he’s been through but also about myself.
Being the sibling of someone who is transgender is not easy but absolutely worth it to me. I am fighting battles for him that I know he may not be able to fight on his own and that’s okay. I will always fight for him. He needs to know that there will always be someone in his corner, even if it’s just me.
People constantly misgender him when we are in public. Sometimes, Dante is too shy to correct them so I know that I need to step up and say something when he feels like can’t. I don’t always catch it right away and later find myself feeling bad. He often reminds me that it’s okay if I don’t say anything because he knows I would have if I heard it but I still feel bad because I know it bothers him. He doesn’t deserve to feel that way.
I don’t want my brother living in a world where people are unkind to him or don’t respect his pronouns. He absolutely deserves to live in a world where he can be free to be whoever he wants. My brother has grown into a wonderful young man. It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him in my whole life. He doesn’t care what other people think because at the end of the day, he knows who he is and that’s all that really matters.
Dante is proud of the person he’s become and he shouldn’t have to hide that. He inspires me to be a better person. I want to become a better advocate and make the world a safer place for trans teens like him to exist in. My brother is almost every part of the reason that I am who I am today.
I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will always fight for my brother and his right to live freely.
I love you, Dante.
You can also check out Ariane Thornton-Mason’s article about having a transgender sibling here.
Under Turning Point CT’s Support by Topic, you can find a list of LGBTQIA+ resources, feel free to take a peek!
Monster by S.M.’s (Mental Wellness)
Steve strives for mental wellness – he created a very detailed monster to represent various aspects of his life. Starting with Batman outlining his monster, with both red and blue wings representing the fire and ice (mania and depression) of Bipolar Disorder, green to represent the awareness ribbon color for Bipolar. On the belly of his monster is to represent the transgender community, which has been a very big turning point in his life. Behind the bat is caution tape for blind pedestrians. Steve is legally blind, but uses extremely powerful contacts to help him see. Followed by lightning because of the intensity of his illness and rainbows because he loves rainbows. What an amazingly detailed monster!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help. Learn More »