Today we have three Ask Matt questions (because one is short). I really need reader help with the massage question – I have never had a massage, and I hope readers will be willing to share their positive and negative massage experiences, as well as what they think massage therapists knew about working with trans clients.
We also have letters on LGBTQ language (suggestions for resources are appreciated) and on lesbian/trans man relationships (this one comes up a lot). As always, the more voices and opinions the writers can hear, the better, so thanks in advance for anything you would like to contribute.
And, as always, thanks for reading!
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A reader writes: “I’m currently in school to become a massage therapist. All of my classmates and instructors are aware I am FTM (kind of necessary as we get naked on a table every week) and are fully supportive and respectful.
“My instructors continue to mention how much they appreciate how open I am with them, so much so that one of them has taken my suggestion to a class discussion regarding potential transgender clients and asked me to give a small presentation in a week or two.
“I have found my goal of this to be providing a sort of ‘Trans 101,’ if you will, including terminology, questions to include on intake forms and questions to avoid in general, possible conflicts of touch, and finishing with potential benefits (i.e. lower back work on transmen to relieve tension from chest binding, postsurgical work to help reduce scarring, etc.).
“My question for you is have you ever had a massage and if so what, if anything, do you wish they had done differently?”
I have never had a massage, so I can’t answer this from experience. I think that if I were to have one, I would want the massage therapist to be aware of the type of scarring that some trans men have as a result of chest surgery, so the person would not be surprised by what my chest looked like and would only ask about the scars if he or she really needed to know for the purposes of the massage (I don’t know if that would be a pertinent question or not).
In other words, I would prefer that a massage therapist, or anyone else, only ask questions about my body that he or she really needs to know the answers to specifically to carry out his or her job, and not just out of curiosity.
With that, I open this up to my readers to see what types of experiences they have had, both negative and positive, and why those experiences were bad or good. Readers, what can you tell us? And what would you want massage therapists to know about trans people in general or you specifically?
Posted in Ask Matt, Observations | Tagged being trans, bodies | 15 Comments »
A reader writes: “I have been an out Lesbian for 24 years (I’m 44) and recently met and fell in love with a Trans guy. For obvious reasons, this was a little confusing at the start, and I am still curious about my changing ‘identity’ (which appears to have become a little more fluid and harder to define than previously!).
“What are your thoughts on Lesbians dating Trans men? Should we still even care about labeling ourselves? How do I (or do you think I should) raise this stuff with my straight friends?”
I think it’s fine for anyone to date anyone, including lesbians dating trans men. What I have found to be one of the biggest problems for anyone dating a trans person is that the person then starts questioning his or her own sexual orientation. This can be a huge challenge for people whose identity is strongly tied to their sexual orientation.
This is not a specifically lesbian-related phenomenon, although this is where I have seen it most, and I believe that this is because so many trans men have come out of the lesbian community. I have had straight women question whether or not dating a trans man made them a lesbian (of course not), and I have had straight men question whether or not dating a trans woman made them a gay man (of course not).
I have had lesbians worry that they are now straight because they are dating a trans man, and gay men worry that they are now straight because they are dating a trans woman (or even a trans man!).
All of this is fairly common in my experience, which is why I devoted a chapter to it in Just Add Hormones called “What Does That Make Me?” In this case, what it makes you is a lesbian dating a trans man. Or it could make you a bisexual woman dating a trans man, or a queer woman dating a trans man, or even a straight woman dating a trans man. Continue Reading »
Posted in Advice, Ask Matt, Observations | Tagged LGBT, relationships, sexual orientation, trans men | 15 Comments »
A reader writes: “This is my second year going to TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance). I am still having difficulty understanding a lot of the terms used by the transgender community.
“MTF and FTM I can understand, while others are not so easy. Also, I would like the understand more GLBTQ words and definitions as well. I’m a lesbian who barely understands the community lingo. I thought I was butch, then I understand that I’m seen as a soft butch. Now I think I’m gender queer. I’m 34 – all these new words are making me feel old and unsure.
“Is there a book or dictionary (with pictures) that can better explain to me the different terms and views?
Welcome to the world of ever-evolving language. Just when you thought you knew what a word meant, its meaning starts to shift. This is normal for language in general, but when you have a community that has been put in the position of having to create its own terms on its own terms, you tend to get multiple, and sometimes misunderstood, meanings.
I don’t know of one specific book or dictionary that explains all of the terms used in the LGBTQ community. It would be massive and ever-changing. But I think there are some things that can at least help out. I did a search for “LGBT dictionary” online, and there are a lot of websites that have many definitions.
The problem with books and websites is that, as I said, words and meanings change over time. Also, usage can vary from group to group and from region to region. Age factors in, as does race, ethnicity, class, and culture. So no matter what you do, you will probably be wrong, or at least a little off, at some time. However, if you have a base to start from, then you can learn to shift and adapt. Continue Reading »
Posted in Ask Matt, Information, Observations | Tagged identity, language, LGBT | 4 Comments »
It’s an annual tradition – my Thanksgiving coming-out poem. Hope you are having a great day.
My regular readers have likely seen this poem more times than they care to, but if you’re new, welcome to the tradition. Thanks for reading, and here we go:
A Thanksgiving Coming Out
By Matt Kailey
There’s a holiday coming on which we give thanks
For the wonderful things in our lives.
Not cell phones or new cars or what’s in the bank,
But our partners or husbands or wives.
We think of our loved ones as we plan our trips.
To see them will be a real treat.
And we know that the question on everyone’s lips
Will be, “When the heck do we eat?”
Now I’ve been through many a Thanksgiving feast
And lived to tell the story.
I can’t really rank them from most fun to least —
They all seemed a little bit gory.
There was one at my grandmother’s house, when she said,
“Let us each say what we’re thankful for.”
But before we could answer, my drunk Uncle Ted
Was sprawled out like a dog on the floor.
Another time everyone came to my place
With their offers to get in the way.
They crowded the kitchen and took up the space,
But at clean-up, they just couldn’t stay.
Then my sis tried her hand at the family feast,
With enough food to feed twenty-one.
But her poor old dog, Rover, that ungrateful beast,
Got there first and left us with none.
So, what’s really going on here? Are you excited? I mean —
Continue Reading »
Posted in Best of Tranifesto, Observations | Tagged coming out, family, LGBT, sexual orientation | 6 Comments »
Today we have two letters dealing with transition – specifically, female to male transition, but I think that the writers could benefit from everyone’s insights.
One letter deals with the fear of transitioning and negative effects that testosterone could have. The second deals with where to even start, with limited funds and college looming. Any thoughts or experiences that readers have to share are always appreciated.
Stay tuned for my annual Thanksgiving Coming Out poem on Thursday. Long-time readers have seen it before, but if you’re new, or if you just want to read it again without having to search for it, come back Thursday and check it out.
Thanks to everyone for reading!
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A reader writes: “I recently came out as female-to-male transgender. For someone who has always done what was expected of me, it was one of the most freeing experiences, and I felt so certain about my identity when I came out.
“But the more I consider hormone replacement therapy, the more doubtful I’m becoming of wanting to transition.
“Every day the ratio of certainty to uncertainty changes. I have an intense fear of regretting transition, but at the same time I am so dysphoric it can prevent me from leaving the house. I’m tired of living in doubt and fear of the unknown.
“I continue to research the effects of testosterone and I’m most worried about emotional changes. My mind takes off in these horrendous chains of thought. I read that testosterone has made some people notice other people’s emotions less, or that they have more trouble crying and are less empathetic. So my mind will tell me something like, ‘You’ll become an emotionless jerk on T who doesn’t care about anyone!’, which logically I know is not true, but the mind is a powerful thing.
“I worry that my creative process will change or how I write and express myself will change. It scares me so much. The entire transition process scares me so much, yet I think about it all the time and want so badly to end (or slowly make better) the madness that is dysphoria.
“How ‘normal’ are intense thoughts of fear regarding medical transition? I don’t want these thoughts to prevent me from doing what’s best for myself, but right now, I’m paralyzed.”
Years ago, I wrote a post called Is it Normal to be Scared? I wrote it because a lot of people are scared to transition, for a variety of reasons, and I thought that they needed to know that it is normal. But I also thought that they should be aware that paralyzing fear, such as the type you are experiencing right now, might be a signal that you should slow down and take some more time to think things through.
I encourage you to read that post. But I will also address your specific concerns here, and readers can let us know about their own experiences with fear and how they moved past those to successfully transition – or not. Continue Reading »
Posted in Advice, Ask Matt, Observations | Tagged gender expression, hormones, masculinity, trans men, transition | 12 Comments »