By Leea Pronovost
Being transgender or non-binary can be very confusing. In the beginning of your journey, trying to figure out, if you are part of this community or what part of the trans community you think you belong to. So, the first thing I want to tell you there is no right nor wrong way to transition or even how far you want to go into transitioning. Whatever you do take your time, please do not feel rushed into anything. No one should ever put pressure on you to be a certain or tell you what you have to do. Take your time and enjoy the journey of self-discovery.
For the record I'm a MtF (male to female) transsexual, just so you know as to what perspective this is coming from. The first part of this blog will deal with that perspective. The second part is more about having to think about what needs to get done to change genders.
Just so you know I actually identify as “Two Spirit”: The term “Two Spirit” was coined in 1990, in Winnipeg, Canada as a means of unifying various gender identities and expressions of Native American/First Nations/Indigenous people. The term is not a specific definition of gender, sexual orientation or another self-determining catch-all phrase, but rather an umbrella term. Two Spirit people have both a male and female spirit within them and are blessed by their Creator to see life through the eyes of both genders. I state this for those that may not know the meaning.
I have lived most of my life as a male person, even though it always felt like I was a character in a play. Around 12 years ago I decided to start my transition after a lifetime of struggles. I cannot deny the fact that I lived almost 50 years being socialized into society as a male. I couldn’t shake this feeling something was off. I decided to transition to female as I felt most comfortable at that time and figured the male part of myself needed to relinquish the control over my body that we both inhabited. It was “her” time to come out and show the world who “she” was. That is why I identify as “Two Spirit”, even though my outward appearance is more towards the feminine aspect.
Enough about me let’s get to the “Trans Life Hacks”:
Trans Feminine Hacks:
1. From a femme side of the transgender spectrum if trying to pass then the first thing is to know what you want to look like.
Is your goal to blend in or just pass?
Or do you want to stick out and make a statement as gender-queer?
Do you want to be on display like in a fashion show/show of your style?
Or do you simply want people to just notice a specific feature?
2. Be aware of your body language. There is a huge difference in feminine and masculine body language. More curves to your stance or sitting pose. Showing confidence and poise will reflect that you belong there.
Here are the four thing that are important to your body language:
Gestures/use of hand signals for talking
Eye contact (women make more eye contact than men)
3. Wearing the proper colors to highlight express yourself. If you want to be seen as #1.
4. Check your grooming habits. This is a huge aspect of how you want to be seen. Being well groomed, can make or break first impression.
5. Women typically make more eye contact than men. It shows empathy, they are willing to be more personable than men. Most women use more hand gestures when speaking and I have to admit, women tend to smile more often than men as well.
6. Tip for trying a new name.
When trying out a new name for the first time and you don’t want anyone else to be aware of it, go to a Starbucks and when they ask for your name for your order, give them the name you want to try. When they call the new name see how it feels to you, if you like it adopt it and if not keep trying a new name until you find one that feels good to you.
Make a plan:
Some things to think when considering transitioning. Researching information below is vital.
1) Information, one can not express the need for information to be able to make a well-educated decision.
a) Look up what it means to be transgender for me, this is an umbrella term for many people who do not identify with the gender assigned at birth.
b) Not all people recommend this but I know having a therapist helped me. My therapist was a trans guy. Do your own research. In today’s legal system, it’s not necessary to have a therapist for your transition.
c) Find some sort of peer support especially if you decide to do this without a therapist having what I call my “Chosen Family”, friends that are trans, or at least allies to our community, is of great importance.
2) Make a “Timeline” as a guide. Remember take your time, don’t rush anything unless of course that is your goal. I say make a plan because transitioning cost money. As far as the wardrobe go to thrift stores. There’re tons to choose from, and it is fun.
a) Have a plan for how your going to “put yourself” out there socially. This is where the “Chosen Family” would be of great help.
b) Legally changing your name and gender marker, this could cost you some money, or if needed you can apply for waivers.
c) Medical needs to be considered. Are you going to take hormones? Do you need to have surgery? What kind of surgeries do you need?
3) Now the fun part you get to come out to the ones that you believe will be supportive. You don’t have to come out as anything but come out telling them that you’re questioning your gender. Maybe they could be part of what I call your “Chosen Family” if they were not already part of it. Also come out to maybe your actual family. This is where a therapist and/or your “Chosen Family” would be of great help. They could help you with role playing, also give you different reactions as to what might happen when you come out. One thing I learned when I did so, is that “people will surprise you”.
4) Come out at work or school. There will be legal aspects to coming out. Do the Research!
5) Do as many of these things you can or feel comfortable with doing before living full time in the gender of your designation. Whatever that means for you.
6) Start living the life that you want and need to be based upon what makes you happy. Remember this is about your happiness and not somebody.
Enjoy your new life, and remember, HAVE FUN!