The recent protests in Charlotte and other cities in our country area is a great reminder that we cannot be complacent and simply stand by waiting for change to happen, because as we wait, more people are dying. While the current fight is for race equality, the same battles exist for all minorities, not the least of which is the transgender community.
I have the greatest respect for people who risk everything in attending protests, but not everyone has the ability or willingness to do so. Fortunately, there are other ways to effect change, and while less dramatic and slower, still move us forward.
For the transgender community, visibility is key. Most of the world has no knowledge of our existence, or if they do, it is based on misunderstanding and prejudice.
One way to enhance visibility is to announce your presence in the room, the building, the community, and the world. Obviously, most of us cannot do this as directly as we would like, due to safety concerns.
But, most of us have opportunities nearly every day to drop a note or a card, anonymously if necessary, leaving a message that we are sharing space in this world. The Transgender Encounter Project (TEP) was started to promote such opportunities.
There is a map on our website where you can mark where you have dropped your cards, so that you and the rest of us can see acknowledgement of where we are in the world. Please take the time to participate. Let’s cover the map!
Local libraries are doing a decent job of housing all types of publications for folks to peruse at their leisure but for an atmosphere of community I’d be hard pressed to find a better collection of literature than at my local LGBTQ community center. The Center here in Las Vegas has a specialized collection of literature for and by LGBTQI+ authors and a few days ago I found myself walking along the shelves looking for something to read.
Several covers later, one caught my eye because of its unusual title: Finding the Boyfriend Within—A Practical Guide for Tapping into Your Own Source of Love, Happiness, and Respect by Brad Gooch. Written in the late 1990s, the book served as an answer to gay cis men’s seemingly restless and unsatisfying search for the perfect boyfriend. Using the age-old advice that loving another requires loving oneself first, Gooch paints a detailed picture of what self-care looks like and how it thinks, as well as the tools to give you a better life of your own creation.
I can relate directly to this book, being gay myself, but his advice and perspective is universal. Just insert “girlfriend” or some other title in its place and you’ll see what I mean. Despite how hokey this title may seem to those who aren’t as in touch with their emotions, Finding the Boyfriend Within has plenty of insights that are worth reflecting on no matter who you are and whether you decide to use his many awareness exercises. Continue reading “You Are Not Who You Date: Self-Reliance and the Single Life” »
I was having an interesting conversation with some folks the other day, and it was suggested that those of us in the trans community should always remind people that we want a seat at the table when it comes to discussions with community leaders, or speaking at events. I’m not so sure i’m on the same page as them, so I thought i’d write this blog to discuss it, and possibly help me think the process through.
I’ve been an activist for over ten years, having dealt with nationwide leaders, local political officials, and other movers and shakers in the lgbt and non lgbt community. I’ve always made my voice perfectly clear, and at times had to demand people listen to how certain things affect or don’t affect the trans and gnc communities.
So, here’s where I’m kind of stuck. I’m not sure that having to remind people that Trans and Gender nonconforming people exist and want their voices heard should have to be a constant thing. There are decisions made everyday that affect the lives of those under the trans umbrella, and our opinions are never asked.
When we stand up and talk about what effects us, we’re told to quit victimizing ourselves…to do something about it…to affect change if we don’t like something. My question is this: do gay men and lesbians have to remind people they want their voices heard? Are we as a trans community ever going to have to stop being loud and crystal clear as to what our needs are?
There was an event recently where there was no trans representation from my local community, and when it was asked why there was no one trans to speak at this event, the answer was, “We didn’t think about it. No one from the trans community called and said they wanted to speak.” Why should we have to?
It says to me, very poignantly, that we always have to remind people to ask us to share our voices and our opinions. LBG organizations have often taken money and donations from non trans friendly organizations, and when this is pointed out, the answer is “Oh, I didn’t know.”
So now on top of having to constantly remind people to have trans and gnc folks actively participate in community discussions, we now have to remind them to ask places and people they take money from whether or not they’re trans friendly? I say no.
I say they have the responsibility to automatically ask how the business or person they’re taking money from affects change and actively supports the trans and gnc communities. I’m not talking about simply hanging the “T” at the end of the acronym and calling themselves inclusive.
According to a February 2015 publication called TransInformational Impact done by the Funders For LGBTQ Issues, the trans community receives .015 percent of foundation funding, which equals about a penny for every hundred dollars awarded.
We need more pennies obviously, but we also need for them to include us without having to constantly remind them that we even exist. We need to have a seat at the table when decisions are made for and about the trans and gnc communities. When we do ask to speak up for ourselves, we don’t need to be told that not everything is about the trans community, or that we’re being aggressive and demanding too much.
The opportunity to have our voices heard loud and clear is not too demanding; it is being equal. It is our equal right not to be “forgotten about” when LGB(T) organizations receive funds from sources that don’t include the diverse trans community. This type of trans exclusion is not ok, and it needs to be called out.
Accountability without compassion is an act of violence. And so is forgetting about or excluding the trans community. We shouldn’t have to be constantly begging to be included and actively involved in processes and discussions that impact our lives. We can and will always speak for ourselves, whether or not our voices are wanted or heard. That’s one thing that will never change.
Blue Montana is the Transgender Programs Manager at The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada and a former Board Member at San Diego Pride. He studied LGBT Studies at San Diego State University. Now he lives in Las Vegas with his husband.
How you doin? My name is Jionni and I hope you read a little about my story and who I am in the Mangina Monologues section of the magazine. I have dealt with many different issues regarding discrimination, divorced parents, physical and emotional abuse, death of parent, drug addiction, unhealthy and healthy relationships, depression, anxiety, trauma, coming out as a lesbian, coming out as a transgender man, etc. There is pretty much nothing that I cannot relate to or understand. I am taking this opportunity to share my life experiences with you all by giving you the best advice I can and always keeping it real.
The Transmen Buzz Lounge, is an open platform for transmen in any stage of their transition to ask me (Jionni) questions anonymously or not about anything and everything.
Are you at the beginning of your transition and need advice on where to begin?
Are you getting top surgery and want to know what to expect post op?
Are you in a relationship and wondering if it could last through your transition?
This is a great opportunity for Transgentleman Readers and the Magazine itself to create an interactive experience to address and advise on real, authentic, everyday issues within our community. So please send use the contact form below to send me a question!
For the month of February, we are celebrating the trans male country musician Jaimie Wilson. The son of a musician mother, Jaimie first started playing piano at the age of 4. When he was 16, he taught himself to play guitar in the matter of a few days, and began writing his own songs. Now at 20, Jaimie has played at venues around Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as recorded his own album at Nickel City Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are six reasons we love this country boy!
1. He performs a sweet, tender, and a little bit twangy rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” that will give you chills.
2. He uses his Instagram @tboy61915 to document how hormone therapy has affected his singing voice.
“The question I get asked a lot by family members and friends is “why would you transition? You were able to sing so much better before T” and here’s my response: sure before my transition I know I could hit any high note there was, but that’s not what music is about to me. Now I can write about anything I want and sing about anything I want! Music is my therapy and my escape from this crazy life…it’s the last place I should make myself be someone I’m not! I couldn’t be happier performing as the most authentic me there is 😊 even if I can’t hit the notes I use to be able to…I’m happier and more comfortable than EVER!” –@tboy61915
3. He gives back to the FTM community by giving away a binder and/or packer each month. Enter to win by following, shouting out, and tagging @tboy61915.
4. He utilizes the new social media platform YouNow to interact in real time with fans, answering questions, and performing songs. You can catch his next broadcast on tboy61915.
5. He keeps it real.
“STOP ASKING WHAT’S IN MY PANTS | Everyday I receive messages asking invasive questions about what’s between my legs….why people? Why do you care so much about MY genitals!? I understand that these questions are mostly coming from people outside the transgender community…so they are not educated about these types of things and are just curious…but that’s what Google is for! Me nor my fellow brothers and sisters should ever have to deal with these types of questions. It should be common sense NOT to ask a complete stranger what their private parts consist of. You don’t see me asking what you got goin on down there. ✖️Genitals do not define gender✖️ ..end of rant.” –@tboy61915
6. He’s dreamy.
Want to know more about the handsome and talented Jaimie Wilson? You can also like him on Facebook at Jaimie Wilson Music and visit his website jamiewilsonmusic.net. Be sure to watch him perform more covers and original songs on his Youtube channel Jaimie Wilson Music. You can (like us) buy his two singles Driving Me Crazy and I’ll Stay There on iTunes. Look out for our exclusive interview with this emerging trans artist in our April 1st issue!