BBC Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?

BBC Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?

Recently my timeline became flooded with outrage over a television programme created by the BBC. This programme was called ‘Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?’ and due to the negative reaction over this controversial programme I decided to give it a watch.

Now be warned this blog may be quite controversial as I don’t necessarily think it was as bad as the uproar suggested.

As I sat up the Iplayer, got comfortable and began watching I heard the line ‘If a child was to say they were a dog would we go out and buy them dog food?’ – one of the lines these outraged watchers focused on. But they lacked to mention this viewpoint was followed up by another’s stating how Transgender kids needed to be listened to or else they may kill themselves. A very true fact, and a non biased perspective as I expected from the BBC, to show both sides of the argument.

Admittedly, the comparison of a dog (a non human animal) in relation to gender dysphoria (a genuine issue which can cause great distress in individuals) is a far-fetched comparison and not one I feel comfortable with. However this was spoken by Zucker a gender ‘specialist’ who had been dismissed from his line of work due to resisting the idea that transgender children needed to transition. Now a lot of these outraged watchers had an issue with Zucker being involved with the show at all, apparently he has been involved in conversion type therapies, although the full nature of these wasn’t explored in great detail during the show. Zucker’s approach was that children who state they want to be the opposite sex shouldn’t be ‘pandered’ to but examined as to why they feel like this and explore the issue with the child.

The people complaining about this show stated Zucker shouldn’t have been on the show on this first place, but the BBC were obviously looking to examine both sides of the transgender kids argument and to be honest they could have picked a far worse representative. Would they rather a religious backward person who claimed being transgender altogether was a sin? (something I have experienced myself) Or someone who stated this is a genuine issue that occurs in families today and it is important to realise how the binary of gender stereotypes needs to be broken down before transitioning in pursued?

The reason why I think this isn’t as awful an approach as the complainers made out is quite simple – I wouldn’t push anyone down the path of transitioning from one gender to the other unless absolutely necessary.

This journey is tough- it requires a lot of surgeries , lot of rejection and ultimately a lot of stress.

What I took from the show was that gender can often be an area of confusion for a child because they are taught girls should act a certain way or boys should dress a certain way. What needs to be done first is explain that there are many types of ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ and there’s no set narrative of what these genders are. Obviously if this approach didn’t work and for example they are seen taking drastic measures towards their genitals then a more advanced approach needs to be taken. But what I would try to teach my child is the diversity of humans and how girls can have penises, and boys can have girls names etc. Explore the concept that everyone if different regardless of gender and we don’t have to fit binary norms to be one or the other.

If I had a AMAB child who desperately wanted to live as a binary girl, then maybe I’d have to reconsider my approach but if it was simply a case of ‘I wanna be a girl’ I’d respond ‘Okay, you’re a girl – it’s that easy – you don’t have to change anything about yourself, girls can have short hair and be called Jack etc.’ rather than going out and buying them princess dresses and dolls, thus contributing to the idea that genders have to be a certain way to fit societal norms.

Overall, I guess, this blog is simply to state; that if I as a transgender person, took good from the documentary despite my vast knowledge on the topic. Someone with very little knowledge probably heard the same as I did – break the binary, allow the child time to consider what they’re feeling, then contemplate the idea of transitioning if it’s right for the child.

In my eyes the BBC did a good thing, addressing this is an issue and normalising the idea that this topic may occur in families and isn’t necessarily to be frowned at. They fairly showed two sides of the argument: one who says to wait and one that says go for it. Not even including the concept of an absolute NO. So despite all the negative reviews (which have their valid opinions and reasons to be disgruntled)  I’m a transgender watcher who wasn’t all that offended.

Over and out.

Harry

 

 

 

Sexism: My Perspective

Sexism: My Perspective

You may say ‘reverse sexism doesn’t exist’ but recently I was in a discussion which really hit home where I am in regards to my transition, and made me think about how I now sit in the world in relation to my gender identity.

Whilst having a mild debate my argument was dismissed using the wording “Actually I don’t need you to mansplain”, despite me never bringing gender into the discussion.

This lead me to googling the correct definition of this phrase; Mansplain: To explain to someone typically a woman in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

This definition gives me the imagery of a Neanderthal man, who is more concerned about ‘grabbing girls by the pussy’ and how fast they can down a can of beer. Which, contrary to this person’s belief, I can safely say I am not due to a number of reasons:

  1. My Transition: The person in question knew that I am a trans man, and yet they didn’t take into consideration that this means I have experienced sexism from both sides.  I’ve been both a girl who should ‘know her place’ and a man who apparently ‘hasn’t faced the struggles of a woman so can’t talk’ (Note: from people that didn’t know my gender history) This history means I would never use my position of appearing cis-male to somehow dominate a conversation, or look down on women due to their gender. Yes, there are some transmen who adopt all male privileges and will forget their past, but honestly my life has been a tough journey and it still shapes me to this day so confidence and arrogance are not qualities in my nature. Plus, there are privileges on both ends of the gender spectrum so it’s all a matter of perception.
  2. I’m Ready to Have my Ego Knocked to be an Ally: On numerous occasions I have been asked if I’m not into girls (either gay or asexual) because I refuse to join in with the ‘male banter’ that degrades women in a sexual manner. I actually convinced a colleague in an old workplace I was related to the girl he was saying how much he’d like to ‘stick it in her’ just to get him to stop.  I’ve questioned taxi drivers on ‘women drivers pfft’ comments, essentially anything that degrades a woman’s ability due to her gender I WILL and HAVE questioned.
  3.  I Don’t Walk the Average Male Life Walk: How I picture it, someone who ‘mansplains’ hasn’t a care regarding his identity, he is a ‘jack the lad’ type and saunters on this earth without a care in the world. I on the other hand, still do not yet feel 100% male. Dating for me was a nightmare (thankfully now I’m with a beautiful and understanding girl)  and using male public bathrooms currently is an anxiety ridden experience of limited cubicles and broken locks. Not to mention adjusting outfits that show off my ‘hips’ or are too snug around the crotch, stretching to try and look as tall and broad as my cis-male friends or simply not having the male strength I should have been born with. All these insecurities mean that AS IF I am going to look down on someone due to being female. When women are strong, ambitious and brave figures, and I’ve my own issues anyone could look down on me for.

This list could go on but what is more concerning is this one word made me realise people can so easily erase my identity of being from the LGBT community and therefore being an accepting, understanding person. They lumped me in with generic cis men who haven’t faced any gender struggles and it left me feeling somewhat – empty.

This is a feeling I had during my stealth* years and one of the main reasons why I decided to ‘come out’ and reveal my trans status. So having someone from my own community (this person was from the trans community although not on a stereotypical binary transition**) making me feel the discomforts I felt during this time period and why I revoked my cis male passing privileges just seemed rather cruel and uncomfortable. Though this specific trans group seems rather notorious for chipping at peoples insecurities, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Which honestly is sad since as a community we should learn to support each other and think before we speak, rather than be angry at those who have adopted binary norms so meet their own self identity and therefore attack them for making this honest decision.

However, what I want to use this blog post to point out most is that fact that dismissive gendered phrases like ‘mansplain’ needs to be thrown out with phrases similar to ‘like a girl’ or those that refer to a woman being only capable of making food. Unless, a person is openly being like a male chauvinistic pig then fine, work away, but if they are simply a man and making a point, consider what they are saying before displaying sexism towards them.

As much as we are fighting to show the LGBT rainbow is made up of a wide spectrum of people, not just camp men and butch lesbians, society in general are exactly the same. We need to not place the same limitations on others as we don’t want on ourselves and realise that as humans, male, female, or otherwise, people come in all shapes, forms and opinions and therefore gender and behaviour can no longer be linked so easily together. Women are no longer seen and not heard, while men are no longer self entitled beings and this needs to be acknowledged by all people.

Your comment of linking my gender to my discussion is only adding to societies issue which feeds the differences between male and female rather than saying we all are simply human.

Over and out.

Harry

*Stealth = Living as if you were born male and hiding your trans identity therefore adopting cis passing privileges

**Stereotypical binary transition = binary refers to the two end of the spectrums; male or female. So a typical binary transition would be male to female or female to male. However, trans is an umbrella term meaning anyone who does not relate to their assigned at birth gender, and this person is a member of that spectrum.

 

Didn’t your Mother ever teach you it’s rude to stare?

Didn’t your Mother ever teach you it’s rude to stare?

During my time of gender ambiguity I didn’t really get that many looks on the street. The odd occasion maybe but nothing overly major.

Sadly, this is not the case for my fellow sisters, Transgender sisters that is. Who have to deal with the whispers, the stares and the negative comments on a daily basis.

You see, we seem to be living in a world where it is ok for ‘women’ to adopt masculine qualities but if someone is viewed as ‘male’ and they adopt feminine qualities this is perceived as a negative.

What I see is someone who is brave enough to disregard the social norm that masculinity should be held onto, who is embracing themselves, their happiness and simply causing no issue, just being the true person they were meant to be all along.

Honestly, I had never considered the lifestyle that societies stigma may create for Trans women until recently. I’d adopted my white male passing privilege very quickly after starting HRT and hadn’t looked back or explored my own community much until this year. Sadly, the truth of it is each individual prolonged stare, sideways glance, muffled whisper or passing comment adds up. It becomes a burden to those who have to go through it making the simplest of tasks e.g. going to the shop, a dreadful experience and ultimately ends up reducing the quality of life they live.

If someone is different due to something they cannot help, we tend to advert our eyes, to not draw attention to their differences and not cause them any greater stress.

You know it’s rude to stare in that situation so why can’t you advert your God damn eyes when a Trans woman walks past you in the street?

They didn’t ask to be transgender, they’re not intentionally being different. So don’t stare, whisper or make a comment. Just let them live their life, that’s all they wanna do. Trans women are humans who want to go to the shop, get a bus or any other generic task the same as anyone else – in peace.

That’s not too much to ask is it?

Over and out.

Harry.

We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

Figures report that on average 1 in 5 women have been abused by a current or former partner, in fact a lot of the research on the internet links domestic violence and women as going hand in hand with one another. But what is the case when the abuser in the relationship is a woman?

This is something that happens rather frequently yet isn’t often talked about. Society still paints women as the ‘frail and fragile’ and men as ‘tough and abusive’ when it comes to discussing domestic violence however in this day of gender equality these perceptions can often be flipped. This issue isn’t talked about that much though because of these social norms and the misunderstanding that men in fact can be domestically abused. So here’s my experience, through talking about these issues – that men can get abused- hopefully it’ll bring to light others who are still suffering. (Despite my role in the argument ‘men can be abused’ being a bit different as I was beginning my gender transition – but transmen are still men so alas I shall continue)

Allow me to describe a typical day with my abuser.

“A day in town shopping with my partner then I’ll come home and make dinner for us, this will be a pleasant day” I told myself, trying to kid myself that today would be different from all the other times we’d tried to have ‘pleasant days’.

After her taking her time to get ready, whilst getting angry about everything that didn’t go correctly, she would turn and say to me what I was told every morning “Ew, you look like a girl today, don’t you dare touch me when we’re out” – Now as someone who so desperately wanted to live as male, thought lowly of themselves as it was and was close to suicide as they couldn’t access hormones this was not something I needed to hear on a daily basis. I could go further into the extent of this mental bullying regarding my appearance as that isn’t all that was said but I think you get the jist.

On leaving our shared home (yes for some unknown reason I lived with this person), we made our way to town where my situation got worse. My partner knew that I didn’t like going into town all that much, as I suffered from anxiety due to people questioning my gender – I only went in as I knew if she didn’t get the things she needed I would be the one to suffer the wrath of it all, it was easier just to manage my anxiety than face that. Yet for some strange, cruel reason she did not make this experience easy for me. Yelling at me the entire time for the smallest of things – one of them, walking slow behind her as she browsed the clothes rails – Perhaps she didn’t realise I was hiding from the people around me that made me so anxious? Perhaps she couldn’t relate to the heat and uncomfortable feeling of  wearing a binder that drags you down? Whatever the reason I’m not sure but what I did was try to explain.

“Please, *insert name here*, these insoles you make me wear to look taller are hurting my feet, you can happily browse I’ll just be a bit behind” – I pleaded.

“Well, would you rather look like a short lesbian? Pain is beauty, at least those insoles make you look a little bit more like a boy.”

I would plead my case, meekly stating “You can’t talk to me like that” but it fell on deaf ears. She saw my attempt to to explain why I was doing no harm as an attack. Storming off despite my explanations of why I couldn’t keep up. As I chased after her I would repeatedly ask for her to slow down, until finally, I would reach out to make her slow down.

That my friends, is where I went wrong every time.

I can’t describe perfectly the  look I was given as she turned around but picture an intense stare filled with hatred. “Don’t you dare fucking touch me” she would angrily growl whilst gripping my free arm, digging her nails in so hard it left marks on my skin.

“Touch me again and I’ll make you wish you never did. No one will care if a lesbian gets hit on the street.” – I was actually glad this was on the street, at least here she didn’t actually hit me, which wasn’t the case in the house.

At this point, my eyes would be filled with tears, why did it always end in fighting?

“Please let go of my arm you’re hurting me”

One last dig with her nails on the already broken skin so show her dominance and off she stormed.

Eventually we’d text our way to meeting up again, go and get her things, which of course I silently paid for to “make it up for our fight” and then we made our way home.

As I sat listening to her state how hungry she was as I cooked, I presented dinner at the table. She begrudgingly would sit across from me and stated “This better be good after that stunt you pulled earlier” -one bite and returned that intense stare I told you about.

Before I know it, the cup of boiling hot tea I made for her to have with dinner was flung across the table at myself. “This is fucking disgusting” – and once again another storming off occurred, this time thankfully only to the bedroom.

As I sat there crying, from the pain of the tea, the exhaustion of the day along with the fact both our dinners are not soaked in tea. I gathered myself “This isn’t what a man would do”

I don’t honestly know what I was thinking but, again, like every other fight we had I went in to apologise for the poorly made dinner. She would apologise for getting angry and say she was just hungry and girls ‘get like that when they’re hungry’ apparently it was cute? I would be made to order take away as a consolation for the dinner, she would then sit on her phone as we ate our meal in silence.

“Oh look he’s messaging me again, and him, and him” she would proudly state. “You know with how today went I should really give one of them a chance. They’d know how to treat a woman as they’re real men – you’re gonna have to prove yourself to me why I should stay” – she snarlingly smiled.

After a while of preaching to me about all the things I should be doing we made our way to bed. Which would ensue me catering for her needs then being told “I’m not a lesbian” when it came to me and then falling to sleep feeling disappointed.

This I thought was a normal relationship, I thought I was the issue and I was lucky to have someone. As the title, and one of my favourite movies states “We accept the love we think we deserve.” and this is the ‘love’ I thought I deserved. Which now thanks, to the kind and loving Jamie O’Herlihy, I know simply isn’t the case.

So yes, a lot of my friends knew about my ‘crazy ex’ which they just assumed meant the crazy jealous stalker type of girl, which I also had so suffer with her, but I’m sure they didn’t realise that I was also physically and mentally abused by this ‘crazy ex’.

Which, now I’m admitting, as I think people need to recognise that despite the social perception that girls are the innocent ones in relationships – unless of course they betray the man with their body by being a ‘slut’ as this is the only power women apparently have, their bodies, domestic abuse does in fact happen to men.

Thankfully I escaped my abusive relationship, despite the mental damage still being there, and have found happiness with a girl who loves and understands me. I’ve learnt what a real relationship is meant to be like and it’s shown me just how bad my previous one was. If you’re unhappy in a relationship please just leave, for too long I stayed with someone I shouldn’t have because I believed, as she told me, no one else would want to be with me as I was a “freak”.

This is not the case, once I accepted being single I was happy, and it gave me time to realise I don’t need any one but rather can welcome people in to be a part of my life. I’m now currently sharing my life with Jamie and I’m happy shes proud to have me as her boyfriend. There’s better people out there you just have to realise when to let something go to allow the opportunity to meet new people to be there.

So if you’re a man, or a woman, suffering domestic abuse remember you are not alone but you can escape. Just find the inner strength and cut the ties you know should have been cut long ago.

That’s all folks.

Harry

 

 

Creepy ‘Craig’

Creepy ‘Craig’

Hi.

Hi.

Wut u at?

Hi

Hows u?

Hi.

Everyone, let me introduce ‘Craig’

Craig is sadly your average male, he believes that every woman would want to talk to him and when they don’t they’re usually either a ‘fucking slut’ or a ‘virgin’ (because apparently that’s a negative thing) anyway.

This blog post is all those self-entitled ‘Craigs’ out there.

When you message a girl and she doesn’t reply, take the hint, she doesn’t want to talk to you and she has every right to ignore your messages if that is her wish. Believe it or not but women today are just as equal to yourself and if she doesn’t want to talk to you well that’s her choice, she doesn’t owe you a response, even if you did just say hi (50 times) – she doesn’t owe you anything.

See exhibit A:

hi-hi-hi

This is a physical screenshot taken from my own girlfriend’s phone, and sadly it is the case for many of my female friends. Dear ‘Craig’, can you not even see for yourself how embarrassing that looks? I know how it doesn’t look like much harm but in my opinion there’s a darker truth behind this type of stereotypical male ‘creep’ behaviour. Let me explain.

You wouldn’t continuously contact a business, or employer or anyone else because you know how annoying that would be, yet for some strange reason it’s fine to do it to a girl. This is down to the simple fact that somewhere in the back of your mind you see girls differently to everyone else. Less of a human being to yourself, less of a human being in general to deserve your respect and thus deserving of this type of harassing behaviour. This then links to the societal problem as a whole that woman should be appreciative of a mans attention, even if unwanted, which sparks the discussions around cat calling, rape culture and other sensitive topics which explain why ‘men’ like Brock Turner got off with such a light sentence after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

Your insistent ‘hi’s’ may seem like no harm, but in some connection they do in fact create harm by continuing the societal norm of ‘it’s okay to harass woman, they should be flattered receiving the attention’

This simply isn’t the case, these girls have many of you ‘creepy Craigs’ messaging them day in day out, so please don’t flatter yourself by thinking you’re anything special and stop adding to this issue in society, also it creates another battle for us men.

I feel lucky every day that I met my girlfriend in a natural social situation. God forbid the case was I came across her social media online and decided to message her because the truth is I probably would have, through the connection of being male, been assumed as yet another ‘Creepy Craig’ and not given a chance. I for one, due to not wanting to be an annoyance and also respecting a females right not to reply, would have probably given up and we would never be what we are today.

So please, to all those men out there who think it’s okay to continuously message a girl even though her replies are either blunt or non existent – Stop. Not only are you adding to a greater fault in society regarding feminism and equal rights but you’re also making it a tough job for the Anxious Adams and the Pleasant Peters who genuinely want to get to know a girl and don’t copy and past the same ‘Hi, how are you?’ to every semi-attractive profile they come across.

That’s all for now.

But let’s be honest did ‘Craig’ even read this – probably not? But at least I tried.

Harry.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

The man you see before you today was not who I was before. I don’t mean this is a physical sense, but rather in a mental sense, admittedly this is still work in progress but I certainly am miles from where I began.

Let’s jump back a few years here, 11 or so years to be precise. From the age of 13 I began an internal battle that no one, not even my family were aware of. Teenage angst and confusion surrounding the adult world they are entering is a concept well known to everyone, it is a story used in novels, movies and the media around the world, but this was different.

Awkward teenage years mean most people don’t feel comfortable in their own skin, but this is something I could relate to on a different level. As my body changed I literally wanted to crawl out of my own skin. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way, I couldn’t understand if this was normal or not. It made me not only extremely lonesome, but also disconnected from those around me. In school making friends was hard – how could you make friends with people when you didn’t even know who you were? In my household, tensions were high – how can you not get angry, the people that brought you into this world, a world were you hate yourself and don’t understand why, just wouldn’t understand, not only due to religious reasons but also how could I explain something I didn’t even have the words to express?

In this dark period of my life, the internet was my one source of self-exploration. This allowed me to have a world were I could try to understand what I was going through, and more importantly, was I in this battle alone?

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Creating online persona’s which I now know (that I have the informative language) were gender neutral, was one coping mechanism for trying to understand myself. At the time I didn’t know what I was doing but as my knowledge grew it all made sense as to what I was subconsciously trying to explore. By this stage I was 15/16 and due to this being almost a decade ago knowledge was still limited and therefore I branded myself the wrong minority group in order to explain why I felt different to those around me.

However, in 2011 Channel 4 produced a television show called “My Transexual Summer”, this show followed 7 trans people – some of which such as Fox Fisher and Lewis Hancox are still in the media today, and this was when everything fell into place. I had seen trans people online but tried not to look into it too much as I was afraid of the outcome – admitting something to myself I really did not want to admit. So when watching this TV show and seeing the struggles pre-testosterone Fox went through everything made sense to me. Seeing people that felt the same as I did, made me not feel so alone.

And this is why I decide to not only go public about my trans status but also put this in the media.

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Through being visible in the media, I can, to some extent be the person I needed when I was so alone.

Admittedly, the scandalous media route would not have been the ideal path to take but as they say no publicity is bad publicity and it’s about what we do with this attention going forward  – with the Australian news post reaching nearly 14,000 Facebook reactions and 3,000 shares and receiving loving messages ending in lines like “love from Holland” it’s safe to say the story was global.

Through positive media attention (if you ignore the negative comments and the scandal factor) the story itself explains that despite our differences, faults and flaws we’re all human and can find happiness in the end, and that’s something every human can learn from. Not to mention highlighting the existence of Transmen as a whole- since Transwomen seem to be the main go to when discussing Trans issues. This is the media trans people need – not another mother laying their child to rest through suicide or a hate crime, no more statistics, no more judgement. What we need is good news and by george, what’s better news than falling in love?

My hope is that through showing the world our story that those struggling out there are provided with some sort of hope. Whether that’s simply not being alone in their gender struggles, or hoping someday they won’t be trapped in the prison their currently stuck in or that someday someone out there will accept them for them – whatever it is, I hope I have made a positive impact to those who need it.

Plus who wouldn’t want to show this beautiful girl off to the world?

 

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So there it is, some explanation and light shed into my logic of putting myself out there.

That’s all folks.

Harry.

 

If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell you gonna love somebody else?

A while ago a friend of mine shared a video regarding the difference between non and anti, which made me seriously consider my role in society. (Shout out to The Crutch – for being the most PC/equality fighting person I know)

Now what is the difference between non and anti you ask?

Non – e.g non racist, non sexist etc. This is a moral stance of not doing the ‘immoral’ action which basically means you’re doing nothing negative or positive, to contribute to society. Saying “I’m not a racist, I don’t use the N word” doesn’t do anything to stop the racial slurs that are thrown about so easily. It still happens, and it still hurts people but you can sleep easily at night knowing you didn’t partake in it.

Anti – e.g anti racist, anti sexist etc. On the other hand, means doing something about the injustice in the world and making a change. Being active and vocal about the inequalities that exist and trying to correct these so future generations can benefit from this change.

Yet why am I playing a ‘non’ role in part of my own community – thus adding to the shame and social perception that things which are not the ‘norm’ are to be hidden and ashamed of, even though our differences are what makes us who we are – human.

So here it goes, I’m coming out, and becoming anti transphobic, rather than non transphobic.

Continue reading “If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”