Why do you need to know? What would knowing about someone’s trans status change about how you’re treating, relating to them, interacting with them? If it’s a relevant topic of conversation, you’ll find out if they decide they want to share than information. Otherwise, it’s not your business or your problem if someone wants to not be out as trans in that instance or to everyone in the room.
Basically what I’m saying is that there isn’t a way to ask that without sounding offensive, because there are some trans people that will ALWAYS be offended with that sort of question, though there are plenty that will also NEVER be offended with that sort of question. Get to know your social circle, get to know how your friends relate to their trans identity, and that will help you figure out how to go about this much more than asking us.
Well, that particular question I would say is offensive because it brings into a lot of doubt about what transition is and does to the body and to your appearance. The way it’s usually phrased is to the effect of “I didn’t know you were that old!” or “Wow, you totally don’t look that old!” And it’s offensive because people treat youth differently (well, people treat all ages differently, and it sucks to not be treated like your actual age). People tend to look down on youth. I am routinely treated as if I am in high school, i.e. my ID is questioned not only at bars but also at movie theaters. When I was in college people thought I was lost or looking for a prospective students tour. At work, people think I’m just a volunteer or just hanging out waiting for one of the adults. And I’ve seen the same thing happen to many trans people. One of my friends was denied a beer at a restaurant even though she was 26 or something because the waiter was convinced she’d “stolen her brother’s ID”—after a good 30 minutes a manager finally came and apologized to us, but it was still pretty scary since we ALL got outed trying to explain the situation.
If it were simply about “oh you’ll love looking young when you’re 40 or 50” that would be different. But it’s about questioning your legitimacy, which already happens for your gender, so adding age on top of it makes it that much more stressful. If your ID is already scrutinized for your name, your gender marker, your photo, adding the question of if you’re ~really~ old enough to have that ID is enough to tip the scales to just not wanting to go out anymore, and every time someone asks about age it just adds to that.
Hope that explains it.
The visibility project by Mia Nakano and Christine Pan, is one that seeks to bring images of Asian and Pacific Islander queer women and transgender individuals to the forefront; and to build a supportive, progressive community through social, political and educational activism.
This project is dope for a number of reasons - the primary being the positive, compelling, and beautiful imagery. Queer folks are all beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes with different styles, gender-identities, and personalities. The Visibility project is doing a great job of showing that very fact, and filling the media with positive images of queer people. Check out the beautiful photos via the Visibility site and view Mia Nakano’s portfolio HERE.
There are a few that I have heard of. Big Brother from Transitional Male, FuckYeahFTMs tumblr offers exchanges of one sort or another. If you just offer one up and tag it “FTM” someone will probably request it.
Neither of us are Canadian, so we can’t answer anything specific to Canada that is different from the US. Followers?
Kyle: I make it a personal policy for myself to not refer people to these kinds of resources. Yes, requirements for transition have changed and therapy is no longer the gatekeeping institution it once was, but I still see the usefulness of it, and I especially still see the importance of getting hormones through a medical doctor. While it is not the same concern with estrogen as with testosterone, there can be underlying conditions that you don’t know about that can cause serious harm if you take hormones without being monitored by a doctor. Or on the flip-side, you might require a dose that isn’t average among MTF-spectrum folks on hormones, and without seeing a doctor you won’t be aware of that. I know someone who needed a super high dose of spironolactone compared to other trans women, and thus for about 3-4 years she had minimal effects from estrogen (the moment her spiro dose was finally adjusted it was as if she suddenly started puberty!). So while I wish it were easier and more affordable for trans folks to get care, I personally don’t feel right giving out information on self-medication. If you are fortunate enough to be near a large metropolitan area chances are there is a doctor or clinic operating on an informed-consent basis; this means that you would not need to have been in therapy or have a letter from a therapist to start hormones, and many clinics that offer this service also offer low-cost hormones for folks who need it based on income. If you live elsewhere, try getting in touch with local trans folks and see what resources they use, be it a certain doctor, maybe a women’s clinic (local or like Planned Parenthood), or even a campus clinic. Best of luck!
Kyle: I’m sorry you’re feeling so confused. Based on what I’m picking up in your story I first really want to emphasize that being read as male or looking more male than other girls doesn’t make you trans. It might make it a little more confusing, or if you are trans might make transition easier, but it’s its own thing. Now, to the rest of what you were saying, I would say I can definitely relate to the feeling of hating my biological (born-as/assigned/etc.) sex. I would say that’s a common experience for many trans people, but in some ways it’s also experienced by cis people. I would ask what it is about your sex that you dislike, and what are your feelings on alternatives that you could be. The last point I see is that you don’t like to “correct” people when you’re read as male, and that is something that again is a common experience among many trans people, but doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trans. Really think about why it makes you uncomfortable, and what it would feel like if you did “correct” them. I hope this gives you a starting point to sort this all out. I would suggest also that if you have the resources to find a gender therapist, because while we can give advice as trans people ourselves, we moderators are not therapists. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s an incredible tool even for just hearing yourself talk and sort things out, because the one thing I’ve found therapists are pretty good at is asking the right questions and repeating things back in ways that articulate my thoughts better.
Kyle: Not knowing you, I don’t feel like I can answer that question. But if you are questioning that you might be trans, I would suggest reading up on some of the basics and getting to know some trans folks in supportive spaces IRL or online to see if those experiences ring true for you. Whatever the case, just remember that there is no rush to transition, so please take your time, do what is right for you and only you, and know that it’s OK to question being trans and realize you’re not or even transition and later on detransition if it ended up not being right anymore even if it was for a time.
Gabe: Well, there is no real answer to a “now what” question here. There’s no set of rigid guidelines to being trans* and anything for transition. If you’re still questioning, perhaps you should start small. Change up the wardrobe some - since you did specifically mention that - and maybe you could even ask a few close friends to test out new pronouns if you’re comfortable with that. Other than that, please read some material about being trans* and transitioning. And if you need to talk to anyone, my ask is always open to you.