Ethan is a transgender male actively involved in his local LGBTQ+ community. He writes informative articles on his personal experiences.
This article is going to focus on some issues having to do with every day life for transgender female-to-male people. I know that some of this topic is going to be uncomfortable for some of you, it may even trigger a little dysphoria and I am super sorry for that, but a lot of this needs to be highlighted in order for others to understand what transgender people go through. I hope that it will also give parents and cis people an insight into our lives as well.
1. We Are Looking When We Use The Bathroom: False
So the biggest thing that we face I think, is the bathroom question. Do I go to the male bathroom or the female bathroom? What happens if I don't pass? How do you go to the male bathroom? With Proposition 1 that recently was turned down in Alaska, and with President Donald Trump trying to make laws that would ban us collectively from using the bathroom of our gender, it highlights the need for illumination on the subject.
If a person has top surgery or is on testosterone, they develop more manly features. For one, top surgery removes the chest of a transgender male, and two, testosterone changes your voice, gives you some growth between your legs (mainly around 1-3 inches, sometimes shorter or I imagine longer, depending on the person), it also makes your bones more dense and your features more masculine. For those who don't know, it can also make your feet and hands grow, as well as give you body and facial hair as well.
So what is a male supposed to do? Go to the female bathroom and risk getting beat up by the women, or go to the male's bathroom and risk not passing and probably most likely get beat up more than the women's room. It's risky and can be scary, especially for the younger crowd.
For me, I haven't had top surgery yet, or gotten on testosterone, so I still use the ladies room when I go to the bathroom, however; I know one day I'm going to have to face my fear and brave the men's room. That terrifies me, honestly.
It's not that we WANT to use your restroom, it's that we HAVE to use your bathroom, please remember that when you see us in the bathroom that we choose to use and be respectful of us. We are people too. You wouldn't hurt your own children, you wouldn't hurt your brother or sister, so why would you hurt us? We aren't looking at you or your junk, cis men, when we go to the bathroom. We aren't looking at your kids, cis people. We are going because we have a bladder too, so just remember that. We want to get in and get out as quickly as possible because going can trigger major dysphoria in some people.
We aren't looking at you or your junk, cis men, when we go to the bathroom. We aren't looking at your kids, cis people. We are going because we have a bladder too...
2. All Transgender People Want Top and Bottom Surgery: False
One of the next most popular misconceptions is that all transgender people want top and bottom surgery. A lot of us actually don't even want the "change." Some of us never go through it at all and are perfectly content with ourselves. Not saying that we don't get dysphoria, but some of us have found a way to not be so dysphoric.
Some common practices among the transgender community is to pack, or stuff things into our briefs, boxers, or underwear in general to make it look like we have a "thing." Some people bind, which means to bind your chest so it looks like we have pecks instead of a chest.
It really depends on the person and how far they want to go, what their personal needs are, and what makes them comfortable with themselves. If you are interested in packing or binding, please feel free to check out my other articles.
Not all transgender people want to have "the change."
3. Being Transgender Is a Choice or Is Because of Abuse: False
This is one of the most common parental issues when having to try to understand what their child is going through. Surprisingly, being transgender is not a choice, or at least it wasn't a choice for myself and many others of the community that I have read's coming out stories.
For most people, it starts in childhood with things like playing with boy toys, acting "tomboy-ish", being more daring. It can also happen academically such as wanting to be in more "boy-ish" sports, being uncomfortable or "dysphoric" once the person has started to hit puberty.
I know that with me, I could play with girl and boy stuff when I was little, I had a few early childhood experiences, but I would not directly link these with my sexuality or being transgender. When I started to notice that I was different was around age 12 when I started going through puberty. I felt gross, I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't feel "myself." I grew up in a small Texas town, so I was never exposed to things like being transgender or even being a different sexuality than straight. However, in High School and Middle School, I dated a number of females, I even catfished as a guy some, not my proudest moment but, so I definitely have always known I was different, I just didn't understand why I was different.
4. Being Trans Means You Have to Pack or Bind: False
Just because a person is transgender doesn't mean they have to pack or bind. Although packing and binding does help a lot of people, they can also have the opposite effect on some. For example, a person may try to pack, but it may trigger dysphoria because it reminds them of what they don't have.
Binding comes with some health risks as well, and isn't suitable for everyone. If you bind, try not to leave your binder on for over 12 hours and don't ever fall asleep with it on as it can restrict your lungs and cause them to fill with fluid or collapse. Binding can go along way in helping those with dysphoria, but it is always good to play it safe.
5. All Transgender People Hate Their Bodies: False
Not everyone who is transgender automatically hate their bodies. Some do, because at times it really can feel like you're in a cage, as uppercaseCHASE1 talks about in his video FTM ~ what is dysphoria.
For me it feels like almost disassociation from my body. I don't like my chest, and I'm not particularly fond of other parts on my body, but for the most part, I never really experienced bottom dysphoria until semi-recently. Just because I experience dysphoria doesn't mean I hate myself, I just feel like... I am not who I was meant to be, if that makes sense.
Very Notable Mention: Support Is of the Utmost of Importance
In closing, I would like to mention a point that is not part of the 5 things you should know, but I want to mention it. If you are a parent or a friend who doesn't understand what is going on with your friend or child, please take the time to read this section carefully.
Bullying and abuse is a very real thing among families and schools who are not supportive of their children or other children being part of the LGBTQ+ community. This can lead to suicidal ideations or worse, suicide.
According to a study, 29.9 percent of transgender female teens and more than half of transgender male teens who participated in a survey reported trying to commit suicide in their lifetime. (Hassanein, R., September 12, 2018). The HRC reports that over seventy-seven percent of LGBTQ teenagers surveyed in the 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report, reported feeling depressed or down over a one week period. (HRC, 2018).
We need your support and your help, we need a home. Please if you have someone in your life that is transgender, don't judge them because you don't know what they may be dealing with.
If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
An important number for young LGBTQ people who are suicidal and need to talk to someone, can call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386.
Anyone who is transgender can call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.
Hassanein, Rokia (September 12, 2018)"New Study Reveals Shocking Rates of Attempted Suicide Among Trans Adolescents"
HRC.Org (2018) "2018 LGBTQ Youth Report"