I'm teen AND I'm trans!
Trans teens are amazing! What color and joy and insight and hope we have for the trans community and the world. Here are our #transtasticteen stories!
Corey Maison Message on Bullying in Schools
Trans woman Georgie Stone's young life has been marked by firsts and achievements. Notably, the 17-year-old Australian led a high-profile petition to end a "discriminatory" legal barrier. Gary Nunn reports from Sydney.
The successful campaign by Georgie, and others, affects thousands.
In a landmark ruling in November, it was decided that young transgender people in Australia will no longer have to go through the nation's Family Court to access hormone treatment - a vital stage of transitioning.
It was, Georgie says, "unfair and discriminatory that we had to ask a complete stranger who isn't an expert for treatment that affects our bodies, after we'd already been approved by medical professionals".
Australia was the only country where this step was deemed necessary, yet no application was ever refused. Georgie knows first-hand how "stressful and harmful" this step was; she was one of the last people required to do it.
"It felt weird," she says. "I was powerless - I was 15, and there was someone up there making a very important decision about my body. It was out of my hands, but I knew this was really wrong."
Aged two, Georgie told her mum she "wanted a vagina". By two-and-a-half, she knew who she really wanted to be, but a long and sometimes painful journey was ahead.
She describes it as a "mixed bag" but stresses her gratitude for her parents' support. "I was bullied, but I had friends and a twin brother who stood up for me," she says. "My primary school made me use the disabled toilets, wouldn't let me wear the female uniform and didn't know how to support me."
Georgie grew up before there was much consideration around pronouns: "I'd be called out for a line as George or 'he'. That'd really hurt, but people didn't know any better."
When she first visited Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital in 2007, Georgie, then aged seven, was the only patient that year to receive treatment for gender dysphoria. By eight, Georgie had fully transitioned within the family; by nine she'd done so publicly.
Aged 10, she became the youngest person in Australia to be granted hormone blockers by the court. At 15, she started hormone replacement therapy and, about a year later, her story was featured on a top-rating TV programme, Australian Story.
Georgie's rising media profile gave her a platform to speak out and campaign. She was armed with two formidable tools: her confident eloquence and an online petition.
She says: "Through telling our stories, we got this out into the open. It'd been an issue not many knew or cared about, and we changed that through bipartisan support."
Travelling to parliament to meet MPs, her petition was indispensable: "We printed out the almost 16,000 names and no sooner had I shaken an MP's [hand], I'd show them - look - this is all the people supporting this.
"The Change.org petition was such a great conversation opener and the politicians could see all the people that wanted their support. It was a great physical way to show them the gravity of the issue."
Read the full story here: BBC Australia
When 17-year-old Gabrielle Diana, a transgender teen in Ottawa, began transitioning three years ago, she felt uneasy.
"I was just a gay boy experimenting with my image, but now I'm a transitioning woman, almost getting to the next step of a major surgery that I never imagined would be in the cards," Gabrielle wrote next to an Instagram post featuring photos of her transition.
Today, however, she feels incredibly joyful: "I've never been more happy and I can't believe this is fucking real," she wrote.
Gabrielle's Instagram post, featuring the hasthag #MomentsOfMyTransition, went viral on Tuesday. It inspired other transgender teens to share similar photos, with the hashtag #MomentsInTransition.
A recent study found that transgender adolescents who express their identities experience positive mental health.
"It's our way of saying, these are moments in our transition that defined us even more, and we are gonna wear these moments for our own desire, not to please anyone else," Gabrielle told BuzzFeed News as the hashtag went viral.
Read more here: APlus.com
Transgender Independence: A Daughter’s Journey and Her Father’s Love
“You’re transitioning from one body to another. From one gender to another. But it’s more than that. I’ve always been the same up in my head. Deep inside I’ve always been the same person. But my body - it was just different. And I wanted to make corrections. I wanted to change myself so I felt more comfortable. And I felt more comfortable in a woman’s body. And that’s who I truly was. I wanted to bring out my inside and reveal it on the outside.” - Jamie Vallas
Earlier this year, 21 year-old Jamie Vallas underwent sexual reassignment surgery. Happy and healthy, Jamie is now speaking out about her transgender journey - and how her family has made all the difference. Jamie, and her father Dean, were recently interviewed on The Golden Mean podcast.
Jamie: I used to listen to a lot of female singing artists. Like Celine Dion, or Hannah Montana. All this stuff that most little boys wouldn’t listen to. And I would lip sync the words and pretend like I was singing them. I used to dress up all the time. I used to borrow my sister’s ballet clothes, and I used to dance around to that music with those dresses on. I used to put towels and shirts over my head and pretend I had long hair. Or put t-shirts on to pretend they were dresses. I went all out!
Dean: You have to protect, right? Your number one priority as a parent is keep your kids safe. I was raised in a moderate household, which means you have the Golden Rule of putting yourself in another person’s place. Trying to understand the other person’s perspective. So you always do that.
Until you are actually involved in those communities - until you meet someone in the LGBTQ community and see what their families are going through, well, then you make decisions out of ignorance. Instead of (making) some enlightened decision.
Read more here: The Huffington Post
I know you teens are online ALL the time. Don't leave this space blank. If you have something you're excited to share with your friends, take a moment to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love featuring anything trans-positive from teens. C'mon let's make this page the best trans-teen page on the internet!
First Openly Trans Teen Elected to USY Board
(JTA) — Sawyer Goldsmith said he has always felt accepted as a a member of the LGBTQ community in United Synagogue Youth, the Conservative movement’s youth group. But the 16-year-old from suburban Chicago hopes his recent election to serve as religion/education vice president on the group’s international board, the first time an openly transgender person has been voted to the board, will show others who may not be as comfortable that they belong.
“I want the other trans USYers to know you’re seen,” Goldsmith told JTA in a phone interview last week. “I can be this key person for them, that they don’t have to hide in the background, they can come out if they feel comfortable, they can be themselves.”
In December, the Highland Park, Illinois, native beat out another candidate for the position at USY’s annual convention in Chicago. Goldsmith, a junior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield, says his victory is “one of the proudest moments” he has had.
“It felt really amazing,” he said. “When I went up to accept it, all of my friends in my region were screaming at me and shouting my name, and I just felt so amazing. I had to wait a good three minutes before I could speak because everyone was so excited and happy for me.”
Though Goldsmith found USY a welcoming environment when he came out as transgender last year and started transitioning from female to male, he said he was not as comfortable everywhere.
“USY was always a place for me to be myself, but I know in other Jewish situations that I didn’t feel like I could be myself and I was scared,” he said.
At his home synagogue, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, his parents are working on a committee of parents of LGBTQ children to ensure that the community is welcoming.
As religion/education vice president, one of Goldsmith’s goals is to make sure transgender USY members get appropriate accommodations during retreats. Goldsmith recalled an experience in which he was told he could not share a room with other male members on the program.
“I wasn’t allowed to room with the guys even though I identified as one, so I fought for my rights, and now I’m able to room with guys,” he said. But I want there to be a system where if someone identifies as trans, they are able to room with the gender that they identify with.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, praised Goldsmith’s election.
“We are proud of Sawyer, just like we’re proud of all our teen leaders and we strive to create a welcoming culture for all participants, regardless of their identity,” Wernick told JTA in a statement.
The Conservative movement, like the other non-Orthodox denominations, has embraced the LGBTQ community. In 2016, the international association of Conservative rabbis passed a resolution expressing its support for and acceptance of transgender people. The Rabbinical Assembly resolution declared support for “the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and general society.” It cited Jewish legal literature, going back to the second century C.E. Mishnah, which “affirms the variety of non-binary gender expression throughout history, granting transgender people the obligations and privileges of all Jews.”
Read the full article here: Forward
Writing workshop for transgender teens brings authentic stories to the mainstream
Transgender youth in Victoria are connecting with mentors to create a book of stories that are true to their lived experience.
The program, led by the Trans Tipping Point Project, has hosted two writing retreats, so far, where youth and mentors discussed the common narrative of stories about transgender people and how they can use their writing to change it.
"We were seeing this pattern in mainstream media on how they covered trans issues, rights, activism, that was to frame trans stories one of two ways: either as sort of a tragedy or, increasingly, how they were framing stories of transgender youth was often as this amazing success story," program coordinator Kate Fry, told All Points West guest host Megan Thomas.
Fry said the community of people she's connected with felt there was a lack of authenticity in those stories which lies in between these two perspectives. She's hoping this publication will serve to close that gap.
They've recruited mentors from the writing community including a graphic novelist, playwrights, poets, and members of the activist community who are transgender or identify as non-binary.
"A big theme of this project is building intergenerational community, providing trans youth who otherwise might not actually know any trans adults, might not know what it's like to navigate themselves to adulthood. That's one of the key aims of this project is to foster that kind of community," Fry said.
Sam Busch, a 17-year-old transgender male participant, has attended both workshops so far and is looking forward to the third session in May to reconnect with the mentors that have had a big impact on him.
"It's so cool, they've gone through actual life experiences … It's the same way you feel when you meet someone who has had some hand in the kind of dream you want to be a part of," he said.
1st person perspective
The first person perspective of transgender youth is rare to see in the media, said Busch, for the reason that he doesn't feel they get taken seriously, so the majority of the resources he finds are online through peer-to-peer threads.
"I think a lot of trans people and gender variant people, even just queer people in general, are very creative and need an outlet for the things they're feeling. Sometimes, that's the oppressive things that are coming toward them, or it's a rejection from their families, so being able to portray that through writing is very helpful," he said.
This opportunity to write in a safe and supportive environment has offered Busch the chance to learn more about himself as a member of the transgender community and as a writer.
"Having mentors that I can have for the rest of my life and not just these three retreats is really important ... also getting published is kind of awesome."
Read the full story here: CBC News British Columbia
The Faces of Transgender Teen America
Katherine, a gentle 19-year old from Brooklyn, is many things: Bangladeshi American, an avid gamer, Muslim, a future programmer. But one thing she is not: human. At least, that’s what she's been told by the family who rejected her.
In the cramped apartment she shares with her parents and siblings, Katherine is a ghost. Virtually ignored, she spends her days invisible in the hallway, the only place she doesn’t get in the way of her mother who is seldom outside the kitchen, her father who spends his days in the living room, and her siblings, who hide themselves away in their small room.
Katherine doesn’t have a room, let alone a bed she can call her own. “I sleep on an extra bed until a guest comes. And when they come, I sleep in a random spot around the house.”
She escapes reality with the only item she can claim as her own: her computer. That's where she dreams of a better life.
This has become Katherine's new normal ever since she came out as transgender last year. After 18 years of repressing her true identity, she finally mustered up the courage to come out to her immigrant parents. Terror set in: “What if they don’t accept me?”
The brief talk went exactly how she had predicted. Her parents disapproved. In an instant, she was dead to them.
Depression quickly set in, and for Katherine — who had self-esteem issues since she was a child — thoughts of suicide became very real.
Living in an unsupportive household with family that ostracizes her, Katherine feels trapped. Not only is she a prisoner inside her home, but in her own body. "Maybe if I went away, it’d all be better," she would think.
She’s not alone. A study by the Youth Suicide Prevention Program found that more than 50% of transgender teens have attempted suicide by their 20th birthday.
The transgender homelessness population is massive, too. Among the documented 1.6 million homeless youth across America, 40% are transgender, according to a study reported by Trans Equality. Of that population, 90% reported they left their households because of harassment, bullying and family rejection, found a True Colors Fund study. In the same report, another 75% reported physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
“Certainly, a lack of family support is behind transgender youth homelessness,” said Michael Silverman, executive director at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. “When transgender youth are in unsupportive households, they are forced to [choose] between who they are themselves and family support and rejection. That’s a terrible decision to make.”
Other than family rejection, says Susan Maasch, executive director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation, teens can feel extreme discomfort with their bodies. Often times they are prohibited from seeking medical attention by their parents who are required by U.S. law to provide consent for anyone underage. Many consider it a phase or a psychological disorder.
“Living in the wrong gender with puberty and body changes is extremely painful for them psychologically and emotionally,” she says. “I can tell you quite assuredly that it’s depressing and harmful not to receive puberty blockers or hormones that are needed.”
While there are obstacles ahead for Katherine, there’s also tangible hope, and an opportunity to find real happiness. She’s now on hormones and has been on estrogen for the past eight months, which has made for a relatively positive experience. Much to her surprise and satisfaction, she’s developed womanly features: curves and growing breasts. She's finally transitioning outwardly into the woman she has always been inside.
Read the full story here: Mashable.com