One thing I’ve noticed since announcing my transition is an increase in the depths of the connection I have with some of the women in my life ❤️
For me this is has been a beautiful fringe benefit of living as a woman, and something I just did not anticipate.
Friendships have grown closer, conversations gone much deeper about topics we never thought we’d discuss (Jen 🤣 and Sian), and I’ve felt a connection with many of you that just wasn’t there before (Diana, Rachel and Jenna).
I’ve been invited to girls’ nights out (thanks Jennifer, Jodie, Kimberley and Danielle, and Ashley), added to women-only Facebook groups (thank you Taimi and Jen), have been given clothes and shoes (thanks Diana, Karen, Olivia and Nancy), and have been given makeup tips (thanks Sian, Rachel and soon … Erin & Emilia).
I’ve also reconnected with people I’d grown distant from (Lucy and Tanya), and made new friendships which I know will only continue to get more amazing ( Leila, Harmony, Karen, Samantha, Amanda and Alison). And, I’ve had amazing women reach out from a distance to check in, pour their love on me and see that I’m travelling okay (thank you Melissa, Bree, Nicki, Tami, Kerie, Tracy and Deborah)
I also wanted to give a very special thank you to my real life sister Tara, who gets me … knows when I’m down and is always there with the right words to say, mum (Heather) whom I love dearly and I know is doing her best to be there for me, and my sister-in-law Karen who has been accepting and supportive and is about to open her home for me to entertain.
Furthermore, so many more of you have been so supportive of me through your likes and comments on my social media profiles that I couldn’t possibly name you all.
I’d often heard women talk about the connection they shared, that mythical ‘sisterhood’. Whilst living as dude-me I used often wondered about the connections women formed and wished that somehow I could experience that.
Now thanks to you, the beautiful and amazing women in my life, I am starting to understand 😊
I’ve laughed, cried, joked, supported and have been supported in ways I’d never experienced before.
I am so grateful that my coming out has allowed me to fully open up and connect with each of you in new and beautiful ways. I am looking forward to continuing our lives together and spending more time together.
Most of all, I’m ever so grateful that you’ve opened your hearts and accepted me in to the sisterhood, and as a sister 💕
ps. to the men in my life who have been amazing in your support too (notably Phil, Antonios, Eugen, Ryan, Jack, David, and more recently Steve) … Thank you too from the bottom of my heart =)
Firstly, I want to thank everyone I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with, and speaking to, over the past month. I’ve appreciated your efforts at using the correct pronouns when talking to (and about) me. Even my nephews (9 and 7) are getting it right now and refer to me as Auntie Jamie.
On a night out recently someone I’d just met started using the masculine pronouns and my friend gently corrected them by using and emphasising the female pronouns. I was so appreciative and wanted to give her a hug there and then. She got a massive hug later.
Whilst I talk about the past few months being some of the best months of my life, coming out as transgender was terrifying for me. I had built up an expectation in my mind that I would be met with some criticism, resistance and invalidation. Fortunately you’ve all been so freaking amazing.
I do realise though by coming out and living as a woman I’m asking you to change your behaviour.
When someone states their pronouns and descriptors they are asking for your respect. And when people choose not to use those pronouns or descriptors and instead opt to use your own you are not only invalidating someone’s identity, but you are also saying harmful things that you may never have intended. I’ve provided a list of these ways below.
Now I know that none of you reading this would ever intentionally place yourself in any one of the below categories. We care too much about each other for that.
All I ask is that you do your best. If you mess up please just own it, correct it, don’t draw attention to it and move on. No need to apologise 🙂
I’m not going to unpack all of these, but will instead just list them because they are pretty self explanatory (albeit brutal – you’ve been warned!!).
You can read a really good detailed explanation of each of them here https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2014/09/15/what-youre-actually-saying-when-you-ignore-someones-preferred-gender-pronouns/
- I know you better than you know yourself
- I would rather hurt you repeatedly than change the way I speak about you
- Your sense of safety is not important to me
- Your identity isn’t real and shouldn’t be acknowledged
- I want to teach everyone around me to disrespect you
- Offending you is fine if it makes me feel uncomfortable
- I can hear you talking but I’m not really listening
- Being who you truely are is an inconvenience to me
- I would prefer it if you stopped being honest with me
- I am not an ally, friend, or someone you can trust
There is a lot of potential for deep hurt in those isn’t there?
Again, I know that you would never intend to treat me as badly as this. Sometimes intention is different to impact, and this is often how mis-pronouning is interpreted in the minds of transgender and non-cisgender people.
I completely understand you may not understand my journey or the reasons for it. And I understand that gender identity can be a complicated issue. And I understand that it may take some time for you to adjust, and the idea of me as a woman will take some getting used to.
I also understand that many of you have been like “Meh, so what? We don’t care how you identify, we love you and will respect your choices, and will refer to you however you wish to be referred. Just get on with being you and being happy and stop making a big deal of this” (someone literally send me a message like that which was bloody amazing).
As always I write to educate and help people in my world better understand my transgender journey and trans issues in general.
To help clarify things I wanted to put together a list of words and phrases that will help you better understand transgender pronouns and descriptors as I understand them.
I know a lot of you are all over this and would get this right in your sleep. Thank you for taking the time to make yourself aware.
Some of you may not be exactly clear on a number of these terms and would appreciate some guidance in this area.
So this guide is for you.
The most basic are the female pronouns, but there are other words which apply to me and I wanted to help you get them right too.
I like it when she smiles
Transgender (or the abbreviated Trans):
She is a transgender/trans person
She is a transgender/trans woman.
Although personally I would ask you refer to me as a woman as not as a trans woman.
“Transgendered people” is wrong.
Transgender is something I am (noun) not something that was done to me (verb)
Avoid using this term as a noun, a person is not ‘a trans’.
“She is a Trans woman” is correct.
“She is a Trans” is incorrect.
🧐 While I’m defining things I thought it may be beneficial to define some other related words
The designation of a person at birth as male or female based on their anatomy (genitalia and/or reproductive organs) or biology (chromosomes and/or hormones)
a person’s deeply-felt identification as male, female, or some other gender. In my case this does not correspond to the sex I was assigned at birth
The external manifestation of a person’s gender identity. Gender can be expressed through mannerisms, grooming, physical characteristics, social interactions and speech patterns
You may have noticed some changes in my gender expression recently
Refers to a person’s physical, emotional or romantic attraction to another person. Sexual orientation is distinct from sex, gender identity and gender expression. Transgender people may identify as lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, queer or asexual
So in my case I identify as being lesbian as my gender identity is female and I am attracted to females.
A non-trans person (i.e. a person whose gender identity and gender expression is aligned with the sex assigned at birth). eg cis-male, cis-female
A set of surgical procedures that alter a person’s physical appearance or the functioning of their existing sexual characteristics. Other terms include Gender Confirmation Surgery, Gender Alignment Surgery, Gender Reassignment Surgery, Sex Reassignment Surgery, Genital Reconstruction Surgery, Sex Affirmation Surgery and so on.
Some trans people undergo surgery to align their bodies with their gender identities. Other trans people do not undergo any surgery for many different reasons.
Some trans people define themselves by their surgical status such as post-operative (post-op), pre-operative (pre-op) or non-operative (non-op). However, these terms place emphasis on genitals as a marker for gender identity and may be rejected by people who do not see their gender as related to surgical status.
I prefer the term Gender Alignment Surgery as it describes aligning the physical body with the gender identity.
BUT I will only discuss my surgical status with people in my inner circle, and only on my terms.
People are curious about things they don’t understand. I get it.
BUT please consider that asking me about my surgical status pre/post-op is the same as asking anyone the status of what is between their legs, and that’s just fucking weird.
Consider asking this of someone you are talking to in any social situation, “Soooooo, do you have a vagina?”
Please don’t ask, as I’m likely to tell you that you’re weird. I’d prefer not to offend you, okay?
A slang term for many different trans identities. Whilst some may be comfortable with it as a self-reference, but consider the term derogatory if used by outsiders others find it highly offensive. It is recommended to avoid using this term.
Please don’t use it when referring to me. I WILL be offended.
The fear, dislike or hatred of people who are trans or are perceived to challenge conventional gender categories or ‘norms’ of male or female. Transphobia can result in individual and institutional discrimination, prejudice and violence against trans or gender variant people
A process through which some transgender people begin to live as the gender with which they identify, rather than the one assigned at birth. Transition might include social, physical or legal changes such as coming out to family, friends, co-workers and others; changing one’s appearance; changing one’s name, pronoun and sex designation on legal documents (e.g. driving licence or passport); and medical intervention (e.g. through hormones or surgery)
This is the process I am currently going through.
A person who was assigned male at birth but who lives as a woman or identifies as female. Some trans women make physical changes through hormones or surgery; others do not.
Trans woman is sometimes used interchangeably with MTF (male-to-female). However, some trans women don’t think of themselves as having transitioned from male to female (i.e. because they always felt female). Some people prefer to be referred to as women rather than trans women while others may refer to themselves as women of transgender experience.
MY preference is that you refer to me as a woman (see above)
A person who wears clothing, accessories, jewellery or make-up not traditionally or stereotypically associated with their assigned sex. Some transvestites refer to a themselves as male to female transgender people who do not wish to transition or change their assigned sex but prefer to live “dual role”
Despite my love of the Rocky Horror picture show I am a transgender person, not a “sweet transvestite”
If you want to listen to a transgender Professor talk about transgender vs transgendered this podcast will be a worthwhile 9 minutes of your time =)