Transitioning in High School (or middle school) can be extremely difficult. Many trans* youth wish to switch schools in order to be seen as their true gender. However that is not something that a youth might not want to do, which is fine, and for other people switching school’s in not an option. So what steps should you take when wanting to transition at school?
Talk to your parents - If you’re going to transition at school your parents (or whoever you live with) are going to know about it. So you should be able to come out to your parents before coming out to your school publicly. If you’re parents are supportive talk to them about becoming advocates for you. It can help if you have your parents advocating for you in order to transition.
Find a supportive adult - If your parents are not supportive, or if they are supportive but they do not know how to be advocates, search for trans* advocates in your community to have someone come in and talk on your behalf.
Get information - Find information about youth transitioning in schools and have them for your administration staff.
Figure out what you want - Before talking to the staff figure out what you want when it comes to transitioning at school. Would you like your name changed on the class lists? Would you like to be able to use the washroom that corresponds to your gender identity? Would you like to have a gender neutral washroom option? Figure out your requests before talking to them.
Set up a meeting - Set up a meeting with your administration staff, your parents (hopefully) and a trans* advocate (hopefully) Bring any information you have on trans* issues and plan what you want to say/ask.
Stay safe - After starting your transition you may encounter ignorant people who target you. Always stay safe. It’s okay to realize that you actually feel uncomfortable using the washroom you wanted to, it’s okay to go back to your principle and tell them this. They should be able to give you a gender neutral washroom to use.
What if they refuse?
Some school’s will not allow you to use the male or female washrooms. If they wish to give you a gender neutral washroom ask them for how long - if it is something important to you then they should listen.
If they do not let you change your name on the class lists ask them why. Challenge them. Contact the school board. Bring in advocates for you. Do anything you can to make sure they understand why you are transitioning.
If they continue to not allow this to happen, and you have done everything possible, look into switching schools and honestly, complain to the school board.
Adrian: I would definitely consider switching sides, as this helps with healing and the prevention of scar tissue build-up (this is important because scar tissues metabolize medicines differently than normal muscle tissue). Use whatever gauge you’re comfortable with. I’ve moved from a 20g to a 23g and I have found that the 23g is much more manageable. You should also look into injecting into your vastus lateralis. We have a lot of articles about this specific topic so browse through our stuff and see if that’s something you’re interested in.
I’ll probably get hate (or maybe not because no one reads my blog), but either way it’s fine. First off, I’m a “FTM” BINARY. Meaning, I identify as male, but have a transgender background. I was assigned female at birth and am now in the process of transitioning to male. I am not genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary etc etc. You’ll see why this is important as you read this.
I’m really beginning to want nothing to do with the FTM community. In the FTM community, I’m seeing this “more dysphoric than thou” stuff floating around. Meaning, trans*men shaming other trans*men for liking or even embracing parts of their bodies that “should” be hated. There seems to be this pissing match when it comes to dysphoria and the idea that in order to be a “true FTM” you have to hate XYZ and seek medical treatment to correct it. I don’t understand this. I really don’t. Dysphoria is a horrible thing to face and I don’t know why ANYONE would want to get in a pissing match over “who has it worse” or belittle someone elses experience because they don’t have the same level of dysphoria you do. Trans* people of all people should know that dysphoria sucks and you’re blessed if you experience little or none of it. Why wish AGONY on someone else? It makes no sense.
I also see this garbage about how non-binary people are ruining things for “real” trans* people and that non-binary people are responsible for people not taking the FTM community seriously. In my personal experience as a trans*man, people don’t take me seriously because they themselves aren’t comfortable with the idea of ANYONE transitioning to ANYTHING other than what they were assigned at birth. Many of the people I know don’t even realize non-binary people exist. If people (unfortunately) don’t know of the existence of non-binary people, how is it ruining anything? I understand that my experience will differ from yours, but I’ve seen this BS made as a blanket statement basically saying that ALL non-binary people are ruining it for everyone. When, as a trans*man have not experienced this.
Also, I think people aren’t taking responsibility for their own identities and are maybe uncomfortable with themselves and shifting blame for society not taking the FTM community seriously. Look, no one is responsible for making you look good or bad. I’m sick of people putting down non-binary people and femme FTM’s for “making them look bad”. Why are they making you look bad? Because they’re not super manly and might have less dysphoria than you? Because they’ve decided to maybe not take T? Not get surgery? Maybe not identify as male male male? Am I the only one that sees issue with this? People need to worry about themselves and their own identity. Not what some dude on youtube is doing. There is more than one way to be trans* and to transition. By perpetuating this logic and blame we’re saying that there is one way to be trans* and any other way is wrong and a joke. We essentially erase people. We need to stop.
Zak: I don’t exactly know how to answer this because these situations are so complicated and individual. It’s important to respect each other’s boundaries, and my knee-jerk response would be to tell you to just accept that he isn’t comfortable using strap-ons/prosthetics in bed with you. I say this because I know how difficult it can be thinking that a partner wants something more than you are able to offer them or somehow finds fault in your body. This is not to say that you feel this way about your boyfriend, but rather that he might read that into your desire to have sexual experiences outside of his biological body (keeping in mind that he may or may not have had a difficult time getting to the point of acceptance he now has with his body). However, it is also understandable that you desire certain things in your sexual relationship with him. Sexual compromises are the most difficult kind because it is VERY important neither of you make the other feel they have to do anything sexually that they are uncomfortable with. So, I guess the thing I would suggest would be to keep in mind the potential complexity of this situation (as it involves sex, which is always complicated, and potentially dysphoria and body image) and try to see things from both sides.
Perhaps it would be best to start the conversation by talking about things you’d be interested in experimenting with in bed and brainstorm ways in which you can have what you’d like without making your partner uncomfortable. For instance, maybe he gets dysphoric thinking about using a highly realistic strap-on but would be fine penetrating you with a non-realistic dildo that he holds in his hand or with you using one on yourself during sex with him. Other than that, yeah, I don’t really know what to tell you. These situations are super tricky.
Zak: There isn’t a whole awful lot you can do to make your haircut look more masculine when you have long hair other than play up other aspects of your masculinity and own your hair. Even very masculine cis guys I know with long hair often find they are misgendered, particularly from behind, because so many people use hair length as a shorthand for figuring out someone’s gender. This is somewhat unavoidable, but you can definitely cut down on it if you confidently present as male and otherwise give off strong male cues. As for cuts and styles, wearing a low ponytail is pretty masculine (don’t leave fringes out on the sides the way women often do, everything should be slicked back with this style), as is keeping your hair tucked behind both of your ears. You’ll also want to keep your hair off your forehead, men with longer hair generally don’t have bangs. For more ideas, check out guyslonghair.com and coolmenshair.
Potential TW for mental health/depression on links.
This was originally posted on another blog (safespacenetwork.tumblr.com) but it wasn’t rebloggable, so I’m posting it here.
Fate has intervened for everyone who sent a message asking for a Rebloggable version!
Zak: There are a couple of ways to go about this.
1) You can come out at work and start going by your new name now, regardless of whether or not you’ve had a legal name change. This can be tough because you can potentially run into issues with on the job discrimination and harassment, even being fired, and even if you don’t it can be quite awkward. Still, this would allow the people at your job to get used to you as B and increase the chances that they will use the correct name if contacted as references. When asking to go by B you should stress that even though it is not your legal name you plan on eventually changing it legally and that it is not a mere nickname but rather an important expression of your gender identity. How this goes will depend on your boss and your work environment, but there have been people who have done this and had it go very successfully for them.
2) You can wait until you have left your job and changed your name legally to contact your former employer(s) and let them know about your name change. When doing this you might want to say something like “I’m about to apply for a new job and I wanted to contact my references to update them on a major change in my life, I’ve legally changed my name to B and use male pronouns. This is something I’d like my references to be aware of so that they can use the correct name and pronouns when contacted.” This can be awkward and how it goes totally depends on your former employer(s). Adrian has done something similar to this and had a person refuse to use his male name and pronouns because it would be “misrepresentation” since the person didn’t know him that way at the time (he also had people who were totally understanding and cool with it). That’s always a risk, but usually if you contact someone you get a good idea how they will respond and can leave them off of your references or write “do not contact” if you know they will out you or say negative things about you because of your trans* status (this of course can create additional problems because references are extremely important and it looks bad if future employers can’t contact important former employers, but there are situations where this would be much less of a big deal, for instance if you don’t allow them to contact your boss from an older job in an unrelated field).
3) Apply for your next job as openly transgender (by saying something like, “my legal name is B but it was formerly A, as you might see if you contact my references”), or as A and then come out and ask them to call you B, or apply as B and hope that they won’t contact your references (or specifically tell them not to contact certain former employers). Basically you put yourself through all of the potential awkwardness and discrimination of the first option, but at a different workplace. If you’re open from the beginning as trans*, or if you’re applying as A with the intention of eventually working there openly as B, you can specifically pick a workplace that is affirming or LGBTQ friendly. This option is difficult, particularly in our current job climate, but it’s something to keep in mind if you think your current employer is going to make it impossible for you to move forward and not have to be out at your next job. Again, you can always apply as B with no references from your former employer, but this can also present difficulties. The best option for you will totally depend on your situation.
Basically any way you slice it this stuff is difficult and depends on a lot of different factors. As far as I’m aware there aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to being trans* in the workplace or transitioning, or even changing your name, on the job. Every workplace, boss, and group of coworkers are different and the non-discrimination policies and laws for different workplaces and states also vary immensely. There are likely other good ways of dealing with this that I didn’t think of that maybe someone will comment on, so be on the lookout for that too. Good luck!