Question One: 101 recommendations
March 23, 2013 § 23 Comments
So, back in January I asked my cis readers if they had any questions about trans issues they’d like answering – I’ve collected the responses into just over 20 questions, which will be answered at length one question per day. Personally, I’d seen an outpouring of support from cis people in the wake of Julie Burchill’s vile diatribe in The Observer. I’m not the only trans person to have seen it again, following the terrible news of Lucy Meadows‘ death and the exposure of the mauling she had suffered at the hands of the press. I don’t believe that we can expect people to know more, to engage more, without being willing to reach out in conversation – and I like to think that genuine questions deserve genuine answers. So, in the hope that this will prove helpful – here are my lovely panel (thank you so much) and their answers.
Natacha Kennedy has known she was a girl since a very young age, having the wrong gender written on her birth certificate. A former primary school teacher she now lectures at Goldsmiths College and her main research interest is trans children. In addition she is an activist who campaigns for trans rights, is co-chair of Camden LGBT Forum, a member of LGBT Labour executive and helps organise the London transgender Day of Remembrance. She is married, lives in North London, speaks several languages, loves Japanese food, travelling, photography and shoes.
I’m Maeve, the cis female partner of a trans man. I’ve been with my partner for almost three years. He is active in the world of trans activism, both at grassroots and as a professional researcher, and I have been involved in some of his work. I have also been part of a regular group that meets in Edinburgh called “Me and T”; for partners, friends and family members of trans people. I recently trained as a peer supporter for people thinking about or just starting transition.
I’m a queer lesbian trans woman in my 60s making a living in the arts. I knew I was trans from my middle teens and made contact with trans street workers then. I put decisions on hold until after university planning to transition when I did graduate work. In the event, I was persuaded not to by feminist and gay liberationist friends and had a breakdown in my mid-20s. I transitioned around the age of 30 and had some medical problems – nonetheless I lived pretty happily ever after.
I’m a 24 year old writer, comedian and filmmaker. I’m a trans man who made a very gentle, casual transition that took many years in different aspects of my life. I have gone as far as I feel I want to in my transition right now, but I may change my mind in future. I’ve done plenty of trans activism, talked about being trans on stage (which is terrifying but incredibly rewarding), and I run a blog on sex, relationships, and feminism which uses my trans experience to inform a lot of my writing.
Before anything else it seems that we need a 101 guide called “Basic trans issues for cis people” except it would probably have to be labelled “Frequently asked questions about transgender issues”. Does something like this exist which is relatively easy for cis people who little knowledge of trans issues to understand but which does fully attempt to set out the basic physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, social and other issues faced by trans people (as well as the risk of being killed)?
Maeve: The Scottish Trans Alliance have a guide called “Introductory Guide for Supporting Transgender People” which I think does a good job of answering lots of the FAQs.http://scottishtrans.org/Uploads/Resources/sta_gender_identity_introductory_guide.pdf
There is also an NHS guide “Medical care for gender variant children and young people: answering families’ questions” http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/DOH-Assets/pdf/doh-children-and-adolescents.pdf (obviously very skewed towards parent’s questions)
The Trans Mental Health Study gives a thorough overview of the mental health and wellbeing problems faced by trans people:http://www.scottishtrans.org/Uploads/Resources/trans_mh_study.pdf
Roz: Not really – there is a range of good books and it’s best to look at a bunch of them. Kate Bornstein’s GENDER OUTLAWS and her A QUEER AND PLEASANT DANGER are pretty good, but from a particular perspective. Juliet Jacques Guardian blogs are worth looking out.
Natacha: There is a book called “Transgender explained for those who are not” by Joanne Hermann.
CN: GIRES has a good range of easy to understand guides. Here’s a very basic intro: http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/DOH-Assets/pdf/doh-transgender-experiences.pdf
Gendered Intelligence provides fantastic resources for young trans people, their families and professionals working with children and teenagers – scroll down the page for all the information (and huge list here)
For information about violence committed against trans people (and what’s reported is generally thought to be only the tip of the iceberg) please visit the Trans Murder Monitoring Project.