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Resources on Gender Identity

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by EmptyClosets, Mar 10, 2013.

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  1. EmptyClosets

    Admin Team Full Member

    Jan 1, 1970
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    Below is a list of threads in the Gender Identity and Expression section that have been deemed helpful or important. Because there are so many, we've put links to them together in one thread, rather than having a bunch of stickies at the top of this section. We will post in this thread every time a thread is added to the list, so you don't need to constantly check for updates; just check the date at the end of this thread. Be sure to check the stickies in other sections of the forum for more useful advice and information.

    If you want to suggest any threads that could be added, please post in Ask The Staff pointing us to the thread you found useful.

    What is Transgender?
    Transgender is a general term for anyone who does not identify as their gender assigned at birth. A transgender man is a person who was assigned female at birth who identifies as man. A transgender woman is a person who was assigned male at birth who identifies as a woman. Many people use trans or FtM or MtF as shorthand for a transgender man or woman.

    What is Non-Binary?

    Non-Binary is a term used by anyone who does not identify as either male or female. Non-Binary people can use the term transgender, though many transgender people identify as one of the two binary genders; male or female. A Non-Binary person can be used by anyone regardless of what they were assigned at birth.

    What is a Crossdresser (Drag King/Queen)?

    A crossdresser is someone who dresses as the opposite sex for fun but does not identify as the opposite sex. A drag king is someone who is assigned female at birth, but dresses up as male despite identifying as female. Many drag kings and queens dress up for entertainment purposes or for role-playing.

    What is not appropriate to say
    It is not appropriate to refer to a transgender person as their assigned gender at birth unless you are given permission otherwise. Some exemptions could be related to not being out to certain people. It is also not appropriate to refer to transgender people as transgenders or transgendered.

    Transgender vs Transsexual?

    While some people still acknowledge the difference between being transgender and being transsexual, transsexual is typically an outdated term for transgender people. Most transgender people do not use transsexual as it can be seen as derogatory or fetishizing.

    How many genders are there?

    There are many new labels being created in the last few years and many people consider gender to be a spectrum. EmptyClosets has a policy to recognize scientifically proven labels such as transgender men, transgender women, and genderqueer people. However, gender expression, how a person presents themselves to the world through clothing and/or makeup is limitless. Gender expression should not be confused with gender identity.

    Respecting Transgender and Non-Binary people

    Names and Pronouns: Using a transgender or non-binary person’s name and pronouns is one of the best ways to show respect. Some transgender or non-binary people may ask you to call them by their “dead name” or “given name” when around family or former friends if they are not out or do not want to be out, and that is okay. It is not disrespectful to use former names or pronouns if asked, or to keep the transgender person safe.

    Coming out: If a transgender person come out to you, do not assume they are out to everyone. Do not out a transgender person to mutual friends or family, and ask who else they are out to, if anyone. Let the transgender person come out to who they want when they are ready.

    Transgender people are not your encyclopedia if you have questions. Some people do not mind answering your questions, but be respectful and try using alternative resources rather than pestering your transgender friends.

    Am I Transgender?

    Questioning my gender / How do I know if I’m transgender?
    Gender identity is not an easy topic to understand, and it can be hard to know where to start if you are questioning your gender identity. The first place many people start when they begin to question their gender identity is through experimentation. By changing your external presentation (such as clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc) and try to start passing as your identified gender you may get a sense of euphoria or dysphoria if people start to see you as a man or woman.

    What you should also consider is how you felt in childhood. This doesn't mean what toys you played with, but if you had any thoughts of wanting to be the other sex, or thinking the other sex has it better, etc.

    Every journey is different, and you may find similar stories to your own and some very different stories. No one will have the same experiences, though it may be helpful to hear other people’s stories to help feel a sense of connection.

    However, many people tend to confuse gender identity with gender expression. Gender identity is how you identify internally; who you are. Whereas gender expression is the external presentation (clothing, hair, etc). There are many men who have more feminine traits and many women who have masculine traits; this does not equal transgender.

    For many transgender people, recognizing who they are can take a lot of reflection. Transgender people risk social stigma, discrimination, and harassment when they tell other people who they are. Despite the risks, being open about one’s gender identity and living a life that feels authentic, can be a life-saving decision.

    Exploring Your Gender Identity
    If you feel you are faking that you are transgender or are not fully confident that you are transgender, you usually need to take more time to get to know who you are. Many times this means you need to explore your gender identity or take your gender identity outside. Have people refer to you as your chosen name and identified gender. Even if you figure out that you are not transgender, there is no shame in “detransitioning” or going back to your given name and pronouns. Many times it takes more courage to tell people you made a mistake than to go through with something you’re uncomfortable with.

    If you’re questioning, it’s best to continue to experiment with expression and not to rush into hormones or surgery as it’s generally not reversible if you’re not entirely certain of your gender identity. If you’re worried you’re going to be too old to transition, remember it’s never too late to transition and you should only medically transition when you are confident in your identity.

    Another thing that is recommended if you are questioning your gender identity or you are not completely sure what your gender identity is, is to do some introspection. Take a look at yourself, analyze what made you begin to question your identity, explore your own feelings, and even looking back at your childhood can help in the questioning period.

    What’s the difference between being transgender and being gender non-conforming?
    Being gender non-conforming means not conforming to gender stereotypes. For example, someone’s clothes, hairstyle, speech patterns, or hobbies may be considered feminine or masculine than what’s considered stereotypical with their gender.

    Gender non-conforming people may or may not be transgender. Some women were raised and identify as women present themselves in ways that may be considered masculine. The term “tomboy” refers to girls who are gender non-conforming, which often means they play rough sports, hang out with the boys, and dress in a more masculine way.

    Transgender people may be gender non-conforming, or they might conform to the gender stereotypes for the gender they live and identify as.

    Where do I start?
    Many times the first place to start is by seeking a therapist who specializes in transgender health. By speaking with a therapist will give you a better idea to talk about transitioning, your fears, doubts, etc. Changing your external expression can also give you an idea of your gender identity if it makes you more or less comfortable when people start to gender you as the opposite sex.

    What isn’t transgender?
    Transgender is not a fetish, kink, cosplay, etc. If you’re questioning your gender identity because of a kink or fetish you would like to participate in, you are not transgender. The things you need to be aware of that are not related to being transgender is any sort of role-play, fetish, or general external expression. Gender identity is not the same thing as gender expression.

    Choosing a New Name

    Choosing a new name can be a fun process, though it can also be a struggle at times too. There may be some things that you need to consider as well when choosing a new name. Do you want a similar name to your given name? Same initials, same meaning, same origin? Or do you want a completely new name?

    Another way many people go about choosing a new name is asking their parents or partners for suggestions (if parents had two names picked out before birth). It’s also a good way to honour family and to get them involved in your transition.

    You may have to take your age into consideration as well, and look at names that were popular in the decade that you were born. It might seem a little odd to have a name that’s popular today if it wasn’t around when you were born.

    Here are some things you can do when deciding on a name:

    1) Search for names on baby name sites. Many baby name sites also have a popularity scale that helps if you’re looking for names from a particular time frame.

    2) Make a list:
    Write down every name that you like and go through the ones that fit. You can experiment with different names with friends or family or random strangers at StarBucks for example.

    3) Experiment and hear how it sounds. Some people use the internet to see how a name looks, though to get a better idea on how a name sounds is to ask friends or family to call you by the new name. Sometimes a name may look good, but hearing it can be a different story.

    Most of the time you’ll know when you found your name. If the name makes you anxious or doubtful, it’s not your name and you need to continue looking. It can take many months or even years to finally settle on a name, and you don’t need to choose the first one you like either.

    It’s okay to tell friends or family to call you something else if you’re not feeling a name. It’s your name and you should feel comfortable with it.

    FtM HRT
    Reminder: Do not mention the dose you are on, or any common doses that are related to any form of HRT
    Never self-medicate, or use alternative methods that are not being monitored by a doctor

    What is HRT?
    HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), is a treatment that transgender people may go through as part of their transition process. HRT is not a requirement and many transgender people may not want to pursue HRT for various reasons.

    What forms does HRT come in?
    HRT comes in various forms for trans men. The most common form of HRT that is administered is injections. Injections usually are administered into the butt or thigh. It can also be administered into the fat under the skin in the abdomen or thigh. This form is usually taken weekly; sometimes every two weeks. The longer in between injections, the more likely there will be high and low levels. Injections are the most common, and least expensive form of HRT.

    The testosterone patch is non-invasive that is applied to the skin. It is used daily and should be applied to the back, belly, upper arms or butt using a different site every day. Some side effects of using the patch is skin irritation, and many trans men eventually switch to injections due to the slow masculinization process.

    Patch Gel
    Testosterone gel is used daily on the skin dispensed in “pumps”. It is applied to the upper arms, shoulders, or belly.

    Changes to expect
    Changes can vary from person to person. This is a general timeline of when to expect certain things.

    2-6 months:
    • Menstruation stops
    3-6 months:
    • Facial and body hair growth (maximum effects can occur within 2-5 years)
    • Body fat redistribution (maximum effects can occur within 2-5 years)

    3-12 months:
    • Voice deepens (maximum effect can occur within 1-2 years)
    • Genital enlargement (maximum effect can occur within 1-2 years)

    6-12 months:
    • Increased muscle mass and strength (maximum effect can occur within 2-5 years)
    Monitoring Levels
    When being prescribed HRT from your health care professional, you will need to have your hormone levels checked regularly by your doctor. They will document your physical changes, monitor your hormone concentration and use the lowest dose necessary to achieve desired effects, monitor your behavioural health, and monitor any changes in your body including lipids, blood count, liver enzymes, etc.

    *You should never self-medicate or up your dose without consent from your doctor!

    Binding Tips and Resources
    1. Give your body a break
    • If you can, take daily binder breaks, and do not bind for more than 8 hours a day.
    • Do not sleep in a binder as it can cause many negative side effects.
    • Do not work out in a binder. If you work out, use sports bras instead as working out in a binder can restrict movement and affect breathing.
    2. Do not “size down”
    • Do some research on what size binder will fit your body the best. If you are in-between sizes, do not size down as it can restrict breathing or cause damage to your ribs.
    • Only buy “commercial” binders. Avoid cheap cosplay binders and binders off Amazon as they are not intended for long-term use.
    3. Do not bind with tape, plastic wrap or bandages.
    • While there are many popular companies that sell tape made for binding, this is extremely dangerous as tape can damage your skin, cause rashes, and your skin can lose elasticity and can affect top surgery results.
    • Do not bind with bandages (Ace, Tensor, etc) as bandages may tighten as you move which can cause bruising, broken bones, or difficulty breathing.
    • There are also cheap binders usually made for cosplay that you can find online. These have and will crack ribs as they are not meant for long-term use.
    • Never double bind (wearing two binders at once). A binder is designed to work on its own, and adding extra compression will cause pain or discomfort and may lead to broken bones or bruising.
    4. If you plan on getting top surgery, it is best not to bind as often, or use alternative methods to bind, such as using sports bras, layering clothing, or wearing athletic (compression) gear.
    • Do not bind for more than 8 hours a day
    • Do not apply tape to your chest
    • If you are feeling pain in your chest or back, remove your binder and use alternative methods
    • Remember to stretch periodically throughout the day!

    5. The most popular, reliable, binder companies are GC2B and Underworks.

    Bind at your own risk. If you feel pain or shortness of breath, it is best to give your body a break.​

    Where to Get a Binder?
    There are many places you can go to get a binder. Two of the most common sites many transgender people go to get a binder are GC2B and Underworks. If you do not have the money to buy your own binder, there are other ways to get a binder. Other places you may want to look at are:

    • Local Pride Centres in your nearest community
    • Apply online to get one for free at places such as FTME or Point of Pride

    Binder Care

    How to take care of your binder to make it last.​

    1. If possible, handwash your binder as often as you can. If you’re unable to handwash your binder, putting your binder in a garment bag will make it last much longer.
    • Avoid fabric softeners as it will likely make the fabric stretch.
    2. Avoid throwing your binder in the dryer. It will shrink the fabric and reduce the lifespan of your binder. Finding a place to air dry your binder is always best.

    3. How often to wash a binder? It’s up to you. The less often you need to wash the binder, the longer it will last.

    *Updated: March 2022
    #1 EmptyClosets, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2022
  2. EmptyClosets

    Admin Team Full Member

    Jan 1, 1970
    Likes Received:
    Additional Information

    Gender Identity and Social Structure

    Gender identity is becoming a mainstream topic and most people typically know of someone who has questioned their gender identity or identifies as something other than their assigned sex at birth. What many people get confused about when delving into transgender related topics or if they are questioning themselves is the difference between their gender identity and social roles and structures.

    Social structure is the roles and standards society has set for men and women to abide by. However, many people have no interest in these roles and a female may prefer to work in a more male dominated position or find menswear more desirable; vice versa for men. Unless there is a sense of gender incongruency and dysphoria, this does not make a person transgender or non-binary.

    The main difference between someone’s gender identity is the dysphoria attached to it and the desire to be the opposite sex. There is typically distress associated around being seen as the person’s assigned sex and relief when they are perceived and treated as the opposite sex. Through puberty, this may become heightened as people are more aware of their body and how it is developing. If a child expresses distress around puberty, know that this is a common stage that many teenagers go through and they are going through many physical and emotional changes, which does not always equal a transgender child.

    Until the age of 25 years old, the brains of children and youth are still in development and cannot reasonably consent to lifelong decisions such as hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery as the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the thought and reasoning center of the brain, is still developing. (University of Rochester Medical Center. 2022). If the child or youth is distressed regarding their assigned sex at birth, or has expressed desires to be the opposite sex, it is best to take them to a medical professional who has training and knowledge of transgender people to get an official diagnosis or to find any underlying causes or trauma.

    A lot of people will get confused as to what makes a person transgender and may relate playing with the opposite sex’s toys or wearing the opposite sex’s clothes a sign of gender incongruency. However, gendered toys and clothing do not have anything to do with being transgender. Another thing that many people will ask is “what does being transgender feel like?”. When a person identifies as transgender, there is not a feeling a person is supposed to have, but a sense of incongruency and desire to be the opposite sex. This is different than a girl wanting to wear male clothing or suits, or a boy wanting to wear female clothing or skirts and dresses. If a child has no desire to abide by society’s view of how men and women should act or behave, that has nothing to do with gender incongruency or being transgender.

    Males do not have to have masculine interests or desires, and females do not have to have feminine interests or desires. This does not make a person transgender. Masculinity and femininity are social structures that society has given to men and women as unofficial “rules” to live and abide by. Males (men) and females (women) are identities, whereas masculine and feminine are expressions. Neither identity or expression need to line up, as there are many feminine men and masculine women.

    A person can have a non-conforming identity and not be transgender. If a person does not experience dysphoria around their sex characteristics or being seen as their assigned sex, but they choose to present in a way that differs from the norm of “females” or “males”, this could be gender non-conforming. For example, if a girl prefers to keep her hair short or wear menswear, but has no dysphoria or gender incongruency, it is likely she prefers a more masculine expression and does not mean she is transgender.

    Anti-Defamation League. (2014). Terminology related to transgender and gender non-conforming identity. Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    University of Rochester Medical Center. (2022). Understanding the teen brain. University of Rochester Medical Center.
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051#:~:text=The rational part of a,cortex, the brain's rational part

    Transgender Mental Health - Basic info in regard to transgender mental health in early childhood, early adulthood, and later adulthood. As well as other information such as post-transition and not transitioning.

    Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community - A resource for trans people that is written by transgender people. (Includes genderqueer experiences.)

    The Gender Book A website containing many different graphics, as well as a free e-book to help explain gender to others.

    You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery, by Dara Hoffman-Fox

    My Child is Transgender & other books by Trans author Matt Kailey

    What is Intersex?

    What is Intersex?
    Intersex is a term used by individuals whose bodies do not fall under binary female or binary male. Intersex is mainly used in situations where a person’s reproductive or sexual anatomy does not fit “female” or “male”. A common way that most people realize they’re intersex is their genitals may look different from what doctors and nurses expect. However, determining a person is intersex based on genitals is not always accurate. Many intersex people do have genitals that fall into the typical male/female categories, and internal reproductive organs differ or are non-functioning. Some people may even have different chromosomes such as XXY (Klinefelter syndrome), XYY, or any other chromosomal variation other than the typical XX or XY. Many people do not know they are intersex until they go through puberty, go in for a regular check up from a doctor, and some people may never know.

    How common is Intersex?
    Intersex is more common than people think. It’s difficult to estimate how many people actually are intersex, though estimates seem to suggest about 1-2 in 100 people in the US are born with an intersex condition.

    What happens when someone is born intersex?
    Typically, when a baby is born the doctors and family determine the sex based on the infant’s genitals. If the baby has ambiguous genitals, many times surgery is done to “correct” the ambiguousness and turn the genitals into one of the two common categories; penis or vagina. More and more parents believe unnecessary surgeries and other medical interventions should not be performed on intersex babies, and the child should decide for themselves when they’re older when and if they want surgery or hormones.

    My child is intersex, how do I support them?
    If you have a child who is intersex, the best way to support them is to love them for who they are, and let them decide what they want to do (if they want surgery and/or hormones). There are many support groups for parents of intersex children, and for intersex people themselves. If you or your child has opportunities to interact with other intersex children or people may be a good place to start. InterACT is a good place to start.

    RADRemedy- A database of transgender friendly medical providers in the US.

    MyTransHealth - another database, this one (as of the time this is written) is still in development.

    TAVA (Transgender American Veterans Association)- resources for transgender veterans

    Top Surgery Guide

    Ultimate Guide to STPs

    For a lot of trans guys standing to pee is a rite of passage that can alleviate social and physical discomfort, and can alleviate some of the anxiety around bathrooms. Of course, many men (cis and trans) still opt to use stalls or feel more comfortable sitting to do their business. However, many bathrooms may have non-functioning or dirty stalls, no door, etc. and standing is the only option.

    There are many different STP options to use and there are many new companies popping up recently which can be beneficial, but also can be overwhelming trying to find one that will work for you. Of course, there are the more common and well-reviewed companies that work for many people. Most of these have relatively affordable prosthetics, but don’t always work for everyone or are not shaped properly to the anatomy. Some of these companies are Number One Laboratories, and Peecock Prosthetics.

    Then there are the more expensive “luxury” prosthetics that can range anywhere from $300-$600 dollars. These are usually two or three-in-ones, are extremely detailed, and more likely to be properly shaped to anatomy. If taken care of, these should last a long time. One of the downsides (if you’re worried about colour, and the prosthetic is painted) is the paint job fading over time. Some of the more luxury prosthetic companies are ReelMagik and Emisil.

    The downside of getting a 3 or 4-in-1 prosthetic is they are harder to pack with due to their length. Though it would be much easier to get one and be done, it's not always that easy. If you can find a prosthetic that you feel comfortable with packing and peeing, it may be better to get an additional one that you just use for play.

    How to get a properly fitted STP?
    Every STP, much like every body, is made different and finding your perfect STP may take some trial and error. Don’t buy the most expensive STP because one person has said it works for them as it may not work for you.

    Start with a simple STP, this may mean digging in the recycling to find the handle off of a (hollow) milk or juice carton and DIY-ing something together. If you’re not the best DIY-er and are able to buy an STP, start with a basic, plastic device. One that many trans guys start out with is the Pstyle. It’s cheap enough to not break the bank and it’s discreet enough that family generally won’t know that it’s an STP if you are still questioning, or you’re not out.

    If you’re afraid of parents or family finding your STP, many trans guys will also start out by using a medicine spoon and cutting the end to create a funnel. This method is small enough to keep in your pocket and pull it out when needed.

    Another STP that won’t break the bank are Number One Prosthetics. There have always been mixed reviews on this product, though it is a company that’s been around for a few years and their prosthetics are more realistic if you’re looking to take it outside.

    A different style STP that is made without using the "cup design" is from YourWillieShop. These use the medicine spoon style if you're more comfortable using this design than the cup design.

    By shopping around on discounted sites like FtMEssentials, you may be able to find new prosthetics at a slightly discounted price.

    What’s the best STP?
    There’s no such thing as the best STP as everyone is different and different prosthetics will work for different people. Some people have the best luck with one company’s products, while other people are able to have success using multiple products.

    Looking at reviews is helpful when searching for an STP, though you have to keep in mind your body type and how your body works. It’s also helpful to visualize how the STP will sit on your body, it’s easier to visualize once you know what to look for.

    A couple tips when looking for a good STP:

    1) Look at the tip (is the hole narrow or wider). Having a wider hole at the tip will help prevent back-flow and keep you from leaking on yourself.
    2) How curved is the cup. If the cup (funnel portion) is curved like a banana the better it will sit on your anatomy and help prevent back-flow.
    3) Length. If you’re looking for a two-in-one (packer / STP) the shorter the better. Anything longer than 4.5” gets harder to pack with and can make it look like you have an awkward boner. This is also dependant on age. The younger you are, the smaller the prosthetic you need.

    What they don’t tell you about transitioning for trans men

    Testosterone can affect your mood and temperament
    Many people overlook many of the emotional aspects of transitioning, and only think about when their facial hair will come in, or when their voice will drop. Some trans men will report feelings of depression and mood swings. Not everyone will have these feelings, but it is good to know how to handle these thoughts.

    If you are struggling with the effects of testosterone therapy, there are supports out there with people going through very similar thoughts. You can look into seeking support groups, whether online or in-person, but more importantly you should speak with your doctor or endocrinologist as they should have more experience and can help you when dealing with your emotions.

    You may also be referred to a mental health professional as they can equip you with coping mechanisms to deal with the negative effects of testosterone.

    Vaginal Atrophy on Testosterone
    For trans guys on testosterone therapy, be open with your health care professional and talk about all aspects of your transition – including your genitals. If you are uncomfortable talking with your current health care professional, try finding an LGBT-inclusive doctor. Your local Pride Centre should have resources for you.

    Vaginal dryness can be an issue for trans men taking testosterone since it decreases the resilience of the vaginal tissues and the amount of natural lubrication, which can make the tissue more prone to tearing or micro abrasions. This is called vaginal atrophy, and it can make it more uncomfortable for people just walking around, and during sexual activities.

    Advocating for Trans Healthcare
    Many physicians may disregard your symptoms. If you feel something is wrong, it is best to get a second or third opinion and do not accept the first answer you get if you feel there is something wrong and you are not being taken seriously.

    EmptyClosets Individual Support

    How to Begin Coping When Your Family Disowns You for Being Trans

    The Trevor Project: Information on a website aiming to prevent suicide for LGBT teens.

    Trans lifeline- A suicide hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people.

    Trans student equality resources : A site that has all sorts of information about transgender people and for transgender people. There is information about being transgender in college here too. Also, this site includes infographics that could be useful in explaining transgender topics to people.

    Crisis Text Line (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland)

    Crisis Text Line (Canada)

    Pride Counseling - LGBT focused online counselling service (paid)

    Better Help - Online counseling service (paid)

    Healthy Place

    Domestic and Sexual Violence for Transgender People

    Point of Pride - Various resources for Crisis/Emotional Support, Mutual Aid/Emergency Funds, Black/POC Peoples. (USA Based)
    #2 EmptyClosets, Oct 26, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2022
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