Kelley Winters

Encouragement for a Young Gender Sojourner in Crisis

Filed By Kelley Winters | August 08, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: closet cases, guilt, LGBT youth, shame, suicide prevention, transgender, transsexual

1. Face your truth. Embrace your truth. Live your truth.

2. Like all people, you are a unique, distinctive blend of feminine and masculine.

3. Nature is diversity. Difference is not disease. Uniqueness is not illness.

4. All human beings possess a gender identity. None are disordered.

5. Hold your head high. Transcending birth-sex assignment is nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of.

6. Closets kill. You bear no guilt for how you were born.

7. Try new paths that are different from those that have failed you in the past.

8. In learning the social conventions withheld from you in childhood, taste everything and try not to choke. You will discover the expressions that fit your soul.

9. You are not alone. Accept help and support when you need it. Offer help and
support when you are needed.

10 Be yourself.


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"Like all people, you are a unique, distinctive blend of feminine and masculine."

Darling, lets try to not continue this notion of the gender binary. Saying that everyone is a blend of these two things is implying that gender can only be masculine, feminine or somewhere in between. We know this to not be true.

"All human beings possess a gender identity. None are disordered"

I don't. Am I not human? This idea of gender isn't something everyone buys into.

"Closets kill. You bear no guilt for how you were born"

For many Trans folk, closets are the safest place in their town/on earth. If you think closets kill, try using the bathroom of your choice in the South (or anywhere). Being in the 'closet' does not mean you feel some guilt for who you are. It means you don't want the shit beat out of you or you just don't feel like getting harassed that specific day.

Clearly you meant well with these points, but I fear that many of them (if not all) are falling into the trap that the grass-top orgs and society have built for us.

In my book, I speak of taking responsibility for the clarity of my own language. Thanks, Southern, for reminding me to do just that. By distinctive blend of masculine and feminine, I describe a space that includes both and neither, militant queerness and androgeny as well as Barbie and Ken. (Perhaps Ken's a bit too metro to be a good example; let's say GI Joe) My view of gender diversity is quite the opposite of binary.

I was born and raised in a rural southern coal mining town,though my native tongue is more of an Ozark drawl than a deep twang --Yewaaawl rather than y'all in my county. I've lived in the Atlanta Techwood Projects (now I've aged myself), and I have encountered violence from bullies, Bubbas and gangs alike. For me and countless others who have shared their narratives with me, the monsters of the closet posed an even greater threat to our lives. In my experience, we can move away from threatening people and places to safer communities, but we cannot hide from our own internal demons --fed by shame and guilt that we never deserved. Those, we must eventually face.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 9, 2009 7:44 AM

The attempted suicide rate for TG is extreme. I've seen numbers from 36% to 47% in Australia. 54% elsewhere.

Stuck in the closet we have no idea how numerous we are and have little support.

But coming out we have little out community, little support and can catch a lot of hostility. Especially in rural areas.

These things have to change.

Of course sometimes theres a lot more acceptance than we'd expect and our fears of rejection keep us trapped. Othertimes peoples fears are very very valid.

Some numbers suggest TG makes up maybe even 10% of the population. Just the MtF Sistergirl tradition of the Tiwi Islands makes up 4% of the population and growing as they claw that tradition back from the edge of destruction.

4-10% is a large number of people, a lot to be trapped hidden in the closet and a lot of power of numbers if they were out and organised. Getting enough of them out could change a lot of things... eventually.

I'd go even further and say that many peoples' motivation to transition usually comes from suicidal thoughts/attempts. I know it's what got me started, and many other trans folk I've spoken to have similar experiences.

I'm going to keep this list in my back pocket. One, for all the people to come after me, such that I can hand it out like a bookmark, and two, for myself, so I can always have that reality check waiting for me. Succinct and brilliant.

For many Trans folk, closets are the safest place in their town/on earth.

Transsexual people do not have the option of a closet.

Post-transition, there is nothing to hide behind, no boy mode or girl mode, a closet of sorts, I suppose, to go back to.

You must be speaking of transgender people, that is, crossdressers.

"Transsexual people do not have the option of a closet.

Post-transition, there is nothing to hide behind, no boy mode or girl mode, a closet of sorts, I suppose, to go back to."

I am not sure what you are trying to say. What I am hearing is that you think Trans folk who have transitioned, can not be in a 'closet'? Darling, passing IS a closet. If you pass as male or female or whatever, you are in a closet. People need to realize that they are synonyms, one just sounds better.

"You must be speaking of transgender people, that is, crossdressers."

Also, did you REALLY just say that Transgender folk and Crossdressers are the same thing? Would you like to retract that statement?

She did and I doubt she intends on retracting it.

You gays have log cabiners, us trannys got "classic" transsexuals. You just met one.

I have posted some ideas and made an argument.

What have you done?

Called me names.

Now is that productive?

Are you saying that, if we succeed in being the men or women we always were, we must pretend we're not?

That we really shouldn't be what we have worked our entire lives to be?

I believe all transgender and transsexual people should have formal, recognized human rights and hate crime protections--this is my advocacy.

I also believe all should have the lives they seek.

What is your goal?

I am a young transsexual(even by your standards--not that I agree with them), and I just gotta say...

Why are you such a bully on each and every gender related post? SERIOUSLY. We all know how you feel. Half of us could write your comments for you.

I never felt shame about being transsexual until I starting meeting and coming across people like you. I've had lots of great experiences until I was bulled by hollier-than-though transsexual people like your self...people like you who bully and judge others. Tell me this? Will an enclusive-ENDA or something else to get people like you to stop picking on everyone else? Because that's where and I many other younger folks receive the greatest amount of harassment.

I use to come to Bilerico to educate myself and listen to the thoughts of others who have walked them same path. I loved the discussions, and finding new mentors I would have never met in my home town. At this point, I'm about to step away...as I can't take the psycho pirating and bullying that happens with EVERY SINGLE gender related posts. It's not just you--a but a few folks that could be named by many.

The sad thing is, I bet you're a really cool person...and I'll never get to know about that. Good luck with your journey...hope you find what you are looking for.

kitt

I love your style, Kitt. Contact me if you have any questions about anything having to do with this life. If I don't have the answer, I can direct you to someone on this planet who has the answer.

mfhelms@earthlink.net

Your comment saddens me.

I fail to see how declaring:

I believe all transgender and transsexual people should have formal, recognized human rights and hate crime protections--this is my advocacy.

I also believe all should have the lives they seek.

can be construed as bullying.

I have learned to be direct in my responses, often that is seen as abrupt--which it may well be--but is not off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

And in any dialogue worthy of the name, is the only way clarity, even insight, can be found when principled, or not, perspectives collide.

Be careful of those you may choose to champion you--they have a history, just as I do.

I have fewer and fewer regrets of my advocacy as I focus with greater clarity, thanks to dialogue such as this, on what I believe is right.

I hope, as you grow older, you can say the same.

I also regret your choice to close yourself off from this valid, and principled, perspective, kitt.

O, and you're saying crossdressers are not transgender?

What are they, in your opinion?

Human beings, in case you have forgotten.

"Labels are for cans, not people."

"You must be speaking of transgender people, that is, crossdressers."

crossdressing =/= issues with gender
but yes, absolutely, thank you for condescendingly lumping two wholly separate categories together.

Please stop playing the 'my troubles are harder than yours' game, it's quite disheartening to see such young minds go to waste.

Thank you Jessica!

Here we go again. It's the Bilerico merry-go-round! "Round and round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows."

"You pays yer money, ya takes yer chances."

Thank you for the lovely post Kelly. Posts like this really are read by those who appreciate them--myself included. I needed this today, and thank you for all you wrote.

Peace,
kitt in Denver

Phyllis Austin | August 11, 2009 4:16 AM

No, it's the "transgender merry-go-round", where anyone can get on or off at will on any given day depending on how they feel.