Trans on the Internet Part 2Posted: May 27, 2015
I’ve checked in on things here and there, post-college. But, for the most part, I dropped out. Gender identity became too overwhelming to unravel, and I more-or-less gave up for a number of years. Tried not to think about it. Tried not to dwell on whether or not I should take testosterone, get top surgery, come out yet again, any of that. I continued to use the internet for emailing, connecting with the local anarchist community, and promoting events I was involved in. Maybe to do some online shopping once in a while. Oh, and to download music. I was alternately only kinda happy, and not happy at all.
I finally, fortunately, hit a breaking point and started sorting my way through. I got back into therapy and decided on some steps that would help me become the person I see myself as. I’m fully embracing my non-binary trans identity and finding ways to express that. I’ve been on a low-dose of testosterone for over 2 years now. I’m considering top surgery. And a legal name change. I find that I want to talk all about every aspect of this, and more, in depth, long-term.
A turning point for me was meeting Micah (http://neutrois.me) at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in 2013. I had been on testosterone for two months at that point, and I was soaking up everything he had to say, as the facilitator of a workshop called, “Non-Binary Transition: Exploring the Options.” I went to speak to him briefly after his presentation; he handed me a “business card” for his blog.
A month later, I started my own blog. I’ve had locked and “friends only” online journals before (on the aforementioned Diaryland and LiveJournal, as well as Blurty), but this feels very different. I am engaging with people I have never met before. I am being quite public about my life experiences, vulnerabilities, hopes, and desires. I am reading masses of other blogs about gender identity, daily. I feel very much a part of a community and an ongoing dialogue. Recently, I wrote about how it feels to be given a diagnosis, and I also asked for recommendations for resources to give to my therapist. I got a bunch of feedback – links to articles, recommendations for books, people making sure I’m aware of the WPATH-SOC. One person even offered to forward me a copy of the letter they just wrote (on their therapist’s behalf) in order to move forward with top surgery as a transmasculine (but not FTM) person. I took them up on it and felt this overwhelming rush of support and happiness at this free flow of information.
The following year, I went back to the Philly Trans-Health Conference, and this time, I was able to connect with a handful of people, people I’d met through online channels. It would be essentially impossible for me to approach a stranger and connect. With a lot of the groundwork already established, it was much easier to find the people I was looking for. A couple of people even approached me; they knew of me through my blog.
I don’t think we tend to seek things out we cannot yet handle. Throughout my gender identity explorations, I was pretty closed off because I just was not there yet. I didn’t meet people online or seek out tips for binding or masculine hair styles. I needed to be fairly isolated within myself and see where that led me. I now feel like I want to share as much as possible, and connect with others going through things I might have gone through, or am currently going through.
We are not living in a queer/trans utopia, but through online channels, it is possible to create that illusion, even if just for brief moments of our day. The Internet allows for these fringe groups to flourish, for people to find each other and change the world, one blog post, YouTube video, web comic, and/or tweet at a time.