Transitional talk

Transitioning is such a personal thing even for binary people. Top surgery, bottom surgery, facial surgery, hormone levels, social circles, and a thousand other decisions to be made. Some of the answers are clear for emotional or psychological reasons; some are financial; some are practical or based in personal safety.

It would probably be fair (well, maybe a bit hyperbolic) to say “times a million” for us #NBFolks.

A lot of what I’m about to say could also apply to many binary trans people, and while I don’t mean to belittle (or ‘other’) their experiences in the slightest, on this particular occasion, tough. We love you, binary trans allies, but I’m talking nonbinary people here.

Much of the difficulty for nonbinary folks specifically stems from the ultimate question: What does a nonbinary transition look like? The simple answer, and one I feel is pretty darn accurate, is that a nonbinary person looks like whatever a person who is nonbinary looks like (just like a woman looks like whatever someone who identifies as a woman looks like, and same for a man, and so on). Unfortunately, society at large doesn’t always agree, and getting access to any kind of medical treatment often requires us to obfuscate or outright lie about our identity.

Then there’s that awful pervasive poisonous myth that a ‘nonbinary look’ is a skinny white masculine-of-centre appearance, often youthful (heck, media androgyny itself is rife with skinny masculine looks; hey there patriarchy!). We’ve covered presentation before and the response was overwhelmingly that while many of us love playing with expectations and using or subverting traditionally gendered appearance to our own ends, ultimately how we look is most often an expression of self, regardless of how the binary world reads us. But additionally, many nonbinary people seek medical assistance to balance their hormones in a way that more accurately reflects their gender (though getting the NHS in England to do that without causing a fit about how you’re maybe on the way to trans but haven’t quite got there, yet, is apparently hell, sickeningly enough) or go for surgeries to decrease dysphoria and increase body confidence. Some just go for a social transition, ensuring the right pronouns are used and maybe using their presentation to imply a gender queerness without medical intervention. And some don’t transition at all, and I need to add that is just as valid and right and true for those people if that’s done by choice and not out of fear or being roadblocked somehow. I’m (medically) non-transitioning, at present; that might change, but for now, I’m right there with you, ‘pre’-(as if it’s inevitable?!)-everything folks.

So tonight we’re talking transition in all its forms. As ever, unfortunately, some of the points raised might be emotionally difficult or triggering, so please please ensure you look out for number one and participate only as much or as little as is comfortable. And I know I don’t have to tell the #NBFolks regulars this, but be nice: all experiences are true and the vast majority of choices right for the person living them.

Here’s some questions to get the discussion going. As ever, these are jumping off points… What you can come up with in situ is probably much better than these anyway!

Q1. Telling people and politely insisting your pronouns are right, etc, is part of social transition. How’s that going for you?

Q2. Some may consider this rude but among friends (though remember, twitter is public), would you consider surgeries/hormones?

Q3. Do you need your body to change? If you can articulate it and feel comfortable doing so, why/why not?

Q4. Those who have had medical help to be themselves, if you feel comfortable sharing, how did that change things?

Q5. Has anyone any advice for people looking to pursue surgery/hormones?

Q6. End on a positive: share your personal no.1 tip for beating dysphoria when it strikes.

Tis the season! (Well, almost…)

#NBFolks Twitter Chat Sunday 08-11-15 20-00 BST

It’s just been Bonfire Night here in the UK; plus there’s Diwali, Dia de los muertos; Thanksgiving is coming up in the US; then there’s Pancha Ganapati, Saturnalia, Hannukah and goodness knows how many other festivals around this time of year (my sincere apologies if I’ve missed yours; the list above is not intended to be exhaustive or representative!). Winter, it seems, is packed out with excuses for family get-togethers.

And for many nonbinary folks, family get-togethers are a stressful time. This week we’re talking strategy, coping mechanisms, and personal experiences for getting through ’em unscathched. And not decking the relatives, instead of the halls.

As ever, questions are a jumping-off point; discussion is encouraged!

Q1. Are you getting together with family this winter season? If not, do you have plans with friends?

Q2. How do you tackle awkward questions about gender (& related things) from dear old great-aunts and granddads, if a short F.O. isn’t appropriate?

Q3. Share your greatest coping mechanism! It might not just be for this time of year, but applicable all over the place.

Q4. Do you have any fears about upcoming get-togethers? Air them if you wish; community, please hop in to discuss and share tips or experiences!

Q5. If you’d like to, share your favourite holiday tradition or fond memory – family, friends, or anything else. 🙂