Trans* Resources for the mundane aspects of transitioning?
December 2, 2014 8:39 PM   Subscribe

I am a transwoman thinking heavily about transitioning, looking for resources that discuss the day-to-day and social aspects of the process. Can you recommend blogs, books, articles, or anything else? Any "Go trans! Yay!" things would be helpful, actually.

First off, I'm planning to talk to a gender therapist, so maybe many of my questions would be handled that way, but I love this community so much and I know there's lots of mefites who could offer advice.

I'm only out to a few friends right now, and while I'm almost giddy with excitement about actually handling the medical side of things, I am overwhelmed by the prospects of simple things like "oh, and I have to tell X person, and Y person, and Z person, and what if I have to stop for a bathroom break at a 7-11 and ohmygod uncle so-and-so may literally hit me."

I would love resources that are first-hand accounts, or materials focused more on the social aspects of transitioning. I really liked parts of Whipping Girl and Balls Out in this regard.

I have extreme anxiety about things like being seen as a liar, processing the sudden lack of invisibility, and the inevitable hateful rejections from loved ones. I am amazingly unworried about becoming physically and mentally congruent, and that lack of worry itself kinda bugs me, too.

I'm worried about how to be honest in my conversations while being respectful of social boundaries. I can't really figure out how to talk about this subject without it being intimate, so I struggle with the prospect that it would become a day-to-day challenge I'd have to approach over and over ("how long have you felt this way? are you sure? what about intimate anatomical detail?").

Finally I'd really love to fill my RSS reader with more "go trans! yay you!" affirming stuff.

Throwaway e-mail if you would prefer to send your reply anonymously:

Thanks all ahead of time.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
This may come as a surprise, but I found Reddit to be really helpful in the early part of my transition. In particular, /r/asktransgender and the (failed fork but still active) r/ask_transgender are really great sources of information and community. /r/transpositive and /r/transspace are good, too.

I'm approaching 40 and the Reddit crowd skews young, but I still found "my people" there and the young'uns were good to talk to. Some friends of mine found the True Selves forum (focused on my generation) to be helpful (or at least they made great friends there), but I never got into it. I found a great community and made good friends on the "My Husband Betty" forums.

The Facebook groups I'm on are kind of hit-or-miss. I'm reluctant to name any of them in particular but like in-person support groups, I think the old adage, "You may not see your people there, but your people will eventually pass through" is mostly true, at least for most values of "your people".

Regarding "inevitable hateful rejections", I went through a lot of my early transitioning waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had a pretty negative reaction from my mother and my sister, but they came around (slowly). I may be an exception (and I enjoy extraordinary privilege compared to others), but I had great acceptance from my wife and kids, surprising acceptance from extended family, and great support professionally. It's been more than three years since I started transitioning and that other shoe has yet to drop.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 9:29 PM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Congratulations! This is going to be awesome! Transitioning is the best thing!

The trans*scribe series on Autostraddle has good posts by a bunch of different trans authors. Autostraddle is ostensibly a lesbian media site but that series often ends up being "insightful shit about trans issues in general, from trans women who happen to be queer." I'm a trans woman and I'm not interested in being one of the good ones was one of the top two or three most important things I read when I was getting ready to transition, though it might not resonate with you the way it resonated with me. Mey writes a bunch of good stuff (some of it on Trans Stuff, some of it not) and also posts awesome selfies on instagram. Basically everything in the series is interesting.

The Toast has also been making a point of soliciting stuff about trans issues, and a lot of those posts are pretty good.

/r/asktransgender is great for advice, though also sometimes stressful — a lot of users there are going through the initial "OH HOLY FUCK WHAT IF I'M TRANS THAT WOULD BE AWFUL RIGHT?" stages of coming out to themselves and still dealing with a ton of internalized transphobia and that can be sort of challenging in my experience. /r/abrathatfits is also pretty consistently excellent at dealing with bra fitting advice from trans women if you end up in need of that.

The zine Fucking Trans Women #0 was totally life-altering for me. It's sort of about how to have good sex as (or with) a trans woman, but it's also sort of about standing up for yourself and getting pissed off about shitty beauty standards and trusting your own experience of your own body. It's kind of the anti-Cosmo. PDF copies cost $5 but it's well worth it in my opinion (and if you can't afford that you can normally find "pirated" ones floating around on file upload sites just by googling the title).
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:47 PM on December 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Also we are in the middle of this weird awesome surge of indie games written by/for/about trans women. Big names include Merritt Kopas (samples: an extra-cutey arcade-style game about hugging; a twine game about hormones and waiting) and Porpentine (sample: a cathartic dark-fantasy/body-horror twine game about aaah i can't even describe it just set aside an hour or two and play the damn thing it is so good). I am 100% Not A Gamer but a lot of this stuff is really more like interactive fiction or installation art or even poetry anyway, and I've found it really unexpectedly inspiring and liberating to take in art that's made by trans people with other trans people as the primary intended audience — stuff that isn't necessarily about explaining who we are to cis people, or even about explaining How To Transition to other trans people, but more just about exploring what it feels like to be feminine and dysphoric and confused and fucked up about it.

Also oh my god this is probably getting way off topic but you're basically required to read Nevada, for a lot of the same reasons.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:58 PM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

This might be interesting, if you can access it. (If not, it's a program called Being Me shown on Four Corners on the Australian ABC). It's mostly about children, but it was very good.
posted by kjs4 at 10:25 PM on December 2, 2014

Melbourne's LGBTIQ radio station Joy FM puts out a podcast called TRANS*positions that covers a lot of the topics you mention in a really approachable way. It's also just really delightful to listen to - I'm cis but I tune in regularly because the hosts are just so lovely (and also to educate myself so I can be a better ally).

Also seconding Autostraddle. It's aimed at women who love women (not just lesbians), and it includes a really diverse range of women under that umbrella - trans women, women of colour, bi and queer-identfied women and genderqueer/non-binary people. Even if you prefer dudes, you may find their trans-inclusive approach to lady stuff heartening, and there's plenty of content that's not particularly sex-related anyway. You can filter their content by tags: transgender, trans women, trans.
posted by embrangled at 10:49 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's aimed at women who love women (not just lesbians)

You're right, that was a bad choice of words. Sorry about that.

posted by nebulawindphone at 10:53 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's okay, nebulawindphone, it's an easy mistake to make. One of the reasons I love Autostraddle is that it's just SO inclusive and I've always felt really safe there as a queer lady even when I didn't really identify as 'lesbian'. I hope you feel the same way :)
posted by embrangled at 11:58 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this is deep enough to qualify as a resource, but the Story Collider's podcast, "My First Expedition As A Man" recounts the experience of a trans man's beginning hormone therapy and coming out as trans on his first marine biology expedition in the Philippines.
posted by bswinburn at 12:19 AM on December 3, 2014

This is a shameless plug for a good friend of mine, but About My Body (Because You Always Ask) would be amazing even if I didn't know the author. My favorite piece is the one about her name.

She also collaborated on a recently kick starter funded collection of trans-themed comics that'll be coming out in February. The main comic in that collection, The Exile and Happy Landing of Natalie Rios is already available on tumblr, and I can't say enough good about it.
posted by ActionPopulated at 1:31 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just in case you (or future readers who find this via searching) weren't aware, there have been a series of fantastic trans FPPs here on MetaFilter (example, another; a good search term is "trans 101" which brings up all the FPPs that have taken the care to link that, and of course you will quickly see which tags get used as well).

Good luck!
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

/r/asktransgender is great for advice, though also sometimes stressful — a lot of users there are going through the initial "OH HOLY FUCK WHAT IF I'M TRANS THAT WOULD BE AWFUL RIGHT?" stages of coming out to themselves and still dealing with a ton of internalized transphobia and that can be sort of challenging in my experience.

/r/asktransgender also has a strong "Of course you want to be stealth, saying you're trans means saying you're a (woman|man) with caveats" thing going on, which is, to my mind anyway, less than helpful and there's sometimes some serious internalised transphobia going on (not just about figuring out you're trans). However, it is probably the best place for questions of the form "I need to find/do $thing in $place. Where should I go?"

The canonical transmasculine autobiography is Becoming a Visible Man. Some of it seems shockingly dated for having been written a little over ten years ago, but it's worth a read and goes into some of what you're asking about. (If you were a guy, I'd say read it sooner rather than later, but I'd hold off until you're in less of an "OMG, transitioning entails doing way too many things" frame of mind.)
posted by hoyland at 5:46 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am not a trans woman, but I came here to suggest Imogen Binnie's novel Nevada, which nebulawindphone also mentioned. It's neat, because it's about and by a trans woman, and is not about The Transition, but about mundane aspects of life, some of which relate to being trans, and it is also funny and heartbreaking. Her columns for MRR are also really great, but mainly focus on being a trans woman in punk communities, which may not be relevant to your interests.
posted by ITheCosmos at 7:33 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I link to all these in HTML then I'm going to accidentally lose this comment tabbing back and forth and give up, but here are lists of tumblr users you can use to populate a YAY TRANS reading list. Yes, you have to join tumblr. I was reluctant as well but it's where basically all of the young sassy queers are, and watching them take goofy selfies and share photos of glitter brows or whatever does make me feel better about the Brave New Trans World we're all exploring together.

All of these user names should fit into a URL, or you can just google them one by one. All of Tumblr should be assumed to be NSFW, unless you have a curated list or Xkit installed and various tags hidden.




fuckyeahcookieparty (this is genderqueer femme queer porn director courtney trouble's chihuahua's blog, if cute trans and queer porn stars cuddling cute dogs makes you happy this is a must follow)

posted by Juliet Banana at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2015

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