Being trans* and trying to pursue any career in sports is incredibly hard. Most associations consider hormones to be performance enhancers, so when you try to transition and be an athlete, the road can be rough or even impossible. One woman at Mission College in Santa Clara is breaking those barriers.
There are so many facets to being trans*. Between community, relationships, and transition, it can be difficult to find a place to feel comfortable. But how do you find comfort when your body does not align with your image of yourself? How do you handle dysphoria?
Throughout our lives, we are burdened with labels, whether they are self-made or the creations of others. Within the LGBT community, they are especially prominent. There are bears, lipstick lesbians, bois, butch, femmes, baby dykes, studs. Even lesbian, gay, and bisexual are labels. I have been thinking a lot about labels lately as I try to identify myself. I have come to a few conclusions.
As I continue to think about myself and my gender, there are certain questions which sprawl through my mind. I often find myself quoting in my head Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare II. ii. 47-48). These lines are important to remember, meaning that no matter what the name, the make up of the individual remains the same. Names are assigned, only a signifier of the person you are. So why am I discussing names?
I am slowly admitting to myself that I really am trans, that I do want to transition. I feel more comfortable with male pronouns, with a masculine chest, with my hairy legs. So how do you tell someone that? How do you explain to someone that your gender is not truly female, the sex you were born, that you are really male? What can you say to someone to get a person to understand?
While researching today, I found a campaign working toward creating an equal environment for all genders at colleges and universities, The National Student Genderblind Campaign (NSGC). According to their mission statement, they question the way society has dictated that women should room with women and men with men. Why can’t students live with whomever they are at ease?
How many sexes or genders are there anyway, and how are they defined? I suspect there are at least 4 and possibly 8. It seems like we not living in a black and white dualistic world any more that is limited to just males & females. There are many shades of grey that make the world seem much more complicated.
Now Australia proposes passports with three gender options: male, female and unspecified.
I have written before about societal expectations and how they affect the way gender is interpreted. Now that I present as a male, though, what is expected of me has changed. I do not visibly reside outside the lines of normal anymore, so I must think about what society wants to require of me as a male.
A friend recently suggested I write about hate. It’s such a hard topic, something we as LGBTQ people encounter on an almost daily basis. The level of hate one encounters, though, varies by location. Places with laws protecting the community such as California and much of the Northeast tend to be more accepting. People also vary in their acceptance of the community based on their level of education (generally those who have experienced higher education are less likely to harbor prejudice), their religious beliefs, and their social class.