YASS celebrates Trans Masculinity

Trans and non-binary visibility and awareness have been raised and improved over the last decade, but sadly there is still discrimination, taboo and stigma that need to be addressed. For this reason, we decided to invited Khrystyana, the self-love advocate, model and activist, to write this editorial and raise more visibility and awareness with the inclusive Real Catwalk Project towards trans masculine members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“This time, I really wanted to circle back to the very first reason I personally started all these projects, including the core message of the Real Catwalk: my very best friend who is transmasculine and is often misgendered, yelled at in public bathrooms, mocked, and teased — even by other members of the LGBTQ+ community. It isn’t that simple to simply exist, even in 2019. The least I can do for my best friend is to push for awareness as passionately as I possibly can” revealed Khrystyana.

15 amazing humans came together, shared their stories and posed to photographer Amanda Picotte wearing the colours of the trans flag under the stylistic touch of Guvanch.

The trans masculine models were asked the following questions:

Describe in your own words how you identify in terms of gender identity and gender expression, what these mean and the difference between the 2 for folks I who don’t know?

What do you think cisgender people need to know about the realities of being a trans person?

Can you share some me difficulties you’ve encountered due to being trans?

Who have inspired you as a trans person?

What is it like as a trans person in 2019, 50 years after the Stonewall Riots? What progress has been made?

What do you think cisgender people need to know about the realities of being a trans person?

What can cisgender people do to help support trans people?

Savy Dunlevy

Pronouns: They/Them

Identify as: Gender non-conforming

https://www.instagram.com/savydunlevy

I am gender non-conforming. For me, this means realizing the harmful position society’s bi-gender roles place on us. I take testosterone to appear more masculine, I wear stereotypically-male clothing, and I hold my feminine energy dearly. I find this to be most comfortable right now. As a queer person, my identity is always evolving as I become able to explore new traits, as my character changes with time or knowledge, and as more terminology becomes available to describe myself to the public. It allows me to find support groups with people who share the same struggles because of our identities. Despite these things, I don’t think having a label is necessary. From birth, XY and XX chromosomes have the power to write our entire future. It’s the difference between growing up as “sweetheart,” “honey,” and “baby,” or “boss,” “sir,” and “brother.” It’s the difference between expressing your emotions or feeling like you need to bottle up and “be a man.” Humans are more complex than M or F. Not everyone can fit into that box. Not everyone needs to justify their differences from the norm. Gender non-conformity allows me to be free, find support, and shed traditional gender labels. Since I’ve gotten to experience life under the perception of male and female, I am aware of just how differently we are treated because of our bodies. Why did my female label reinforce society’s treatment of me for 22 years?

Living my entire life as a queer person, whether I knew it at certain times or not, I was exposed to comments that dehumanized our community. I grew up through Chaz Bono’s public coming out as a trans-man and the way the media portrayed him, through pop culture throwing jokes at trans-women left and right, and through the digital age where it is upsetingly easy to catch a Facebook comment thread that contains so many derogatory comments directed at trans-people. If you are not friends with someone from a certain background, it is common to hear misconceptions about their character and never have them challenged. It’s easy for us to believe that because of a label, we are nothing like you. It’s easy to believe everything you’ve heard in pop culture and on social media because it may be the only thing you’ve ever heard! The truth is we are everything like you! I wish all people knew that everyone is like you! Everyone is living a very human experience; they are dealing with so many emotions, figuring out the course of their own lives, trying to survive, and exist in the pursuit of happiness, regardless of age, beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, heritage, location, or any intersection of categories one might identify with. We want love, stability, and need the basic necessities! Trans-people have the ability to change so many things to make their lives more comfortable and fulfilling with the access to proper resources and support of so much love! That is something non-trans people should celebrate for us. I can’t explain how much more sense my life makes because of the access to a medical transition and a community of queer people who can relate to my experience. It has alleviated so many of my mental health issues and has allowed me to blossom after shedding the weight of “what-if I transitioned” into being happily trans-masc and GNC! I’ve also faced questions and assumptions all while having my humanity and religious faith questioned. I understand and acknowledge that not everybody has access to the privilege of resources for queer communities- trans-people and allies are working now to pave that path for everyone from now until forever. We all deserve freedom and happiness and the work of the LGBTQIA+ movement is not over until we are all safe and have plentiful resources.

I am glad to be a non-conformist in this world. I’m glad to live and know empathy. I’m extremely grateful to have the privilege to live my life authentically despite how long it took to drown out the negative, internalized transphobia I had learned from society. I’m lucky to be in the age where trans-people are being represented and accessible through social media! Non-conforming people in any capacity are powerful and bold! Thank you for doing the work you do to expand horizons for others who don’t fit the mold.

If you are someone who is questioning, please know that there is time and space for you in this world. Please stay alive and see all the things you can grow to be. We are rooting for you and loving you always!

Julian Van Horne

Pronouns: He/Him

Identify as: Trans masculine

https://www.instagram.com/thedisabledhippie

I identify as a trans masculine individual who is also very in touch with his femininity.

A trans person who has inspired me would be my friend Ariel. He’s shown me a lot in the aspect of embracing my more feminine side. He’s shown me some of the best qualities of myself, and encouraged me to embrace things I otherwise might have looked over.

It’s both good and bad to live in 2019 as a trans person. In some aspects we’ve come so far. And in others I still can’t believe how far we have to go. But it’s amazing to think about how when I came out 10 years ago, no one was talking about trans people. We’re having a lot of difficult topics come up right now, like the period and Always thing. It brings a lot of bigots out of the woodwork but it also brings out the allies, and the people willing to fight and speak up. We can’t move forward until we cross these difficult subjects. It’s definitely a double edged sword.

As a trans person I’ve faced many obstacles. I’ve lost jobs, friends, family members. I was bullied in school and had to switch schools multiple times. One of the most vivid memories I have is at my first job. I was only 16 at the time and I worked at a YMCA in the daycare centre. A couple of the moms found out I was trans (I didn’t pass well at the time), and they were livid. They spoke to my manager and told him they didn’t want me going into the bathroom with the kids– because if they were really young, we had to of course help them with an open door policy. I remember sitting down with my manager and some of the moms, I was forced to listen to their transphobic rumours and concerns. My boss said and did nothing. As a young child being painted as a monster, I can only describe the interaction as traumatic.

Cis gender people need to know that being trans is a frightening reality. We fear for our jobs, healthcare, basic human rights, abandonment by loved ones or strangers. Everything that you take for granted or have never had to think about, we HAVE. Being trans/nonbinary is not a choice.

Cis gender people can help us by speaking up and being as educated as possible on these issues. If you hear your coworker being transphobic, SPEAK UP. Tell them why! Have those difficult conversations with the people around you. Being educated is key. Follow trans/nonbinary individuals on social media, watch documentaries, and don’t be afraid to ask us questions (nicely of course). Don’t turn a cheek just because it doesn’t “affect you”– this is affecting millions of people’s basic human rights and safety. If you encourage a threatening and fear mongering society then you are directly contributing to violence on trans people and self harm. It’s just like we’ve seen in history with POC, the muslim fear agenda, and rape culture. But if you encourage an accepting, open minded, and compassionate society then you’re contributing to our safety and the fight for our rights.

Miyagi Superior Scott

Pronouns: He/Him

Forever we could question what it means to be human. Our hearts beat the same as the next person. As someone who is of trans experience, it’s apart of my journey to accept myself through every stage of my life.I didn’t care to be seen, in fact I wanted to be invisible. I wanted to exist silently admiring all the beauty and chaos from a far, create art from the trenches. All I wanted was to be a reflection. I wanted to be so transparent, when you saw me you saw yourself. I want the world to know our differences are illusions. We are more connected than separated. I am just a human, and it is important for me to be seen as such regardless of my gender identity.

Sir Knight

Pronouns: Sir/He/King

https://www.instagram.com/SirKnight_/

Identify as: Black Man (for political purposes a black man of trans experience but don’t label me as a transgender or trans man)

https://www.instagram.com/SirKnight_

Describe in your own words how you identify in terms of gender identity and gender identity and gender expression — what do  these mean and the difference between the 2 for folks who don’t know

I am answering my soul’s wish to be free and live authentically. My physical presentation (gender expression) and gender identity are a reflection of just that, my true soul, a black royal man. I do not identify in terms used for folks of similar experience like myself. I’m not ashamed of any aspect of my being but I refuse to be labeled with terms that my black ancestors didn’t create or use to define my divine spiritual human experience. In the world when people see me they see a black man first and that’s why black will always be my primary identifier. Black is me. Black is my community. A man of similar experience to me that is not black is not living life through my lens it’s a totally different journey.

What do you think cisgender people need to know about the realities of being a trans person?

People are people. It’s not necessarily harder to live as a person of trans experience but the harsh ideologies and expectations surrounding gender identity and people of difference is what makes it difficult to navigate as one’s authentic self. This is a discussion necessary to be had within the queer/trans community and beyond because cis queer folks are often the most judgmental folks when it comes to gender identity and expression. And cis het folks too are ignorant to the realities of difference because they don’t live and /or experience folks often who are of difference. If people were more open minded and less judgmental to see people for who they are versus who they would like them to be or who they expected them to be everyone would be happier. This isn’t about folks of trans experience this is about human equality for all people, for people living as who they are without explanation and also people realizing if we were supposed to be the same then we would be. So let’s kill this notion of the human experience being a monolithic scenario.

Jaxon Marie

Pronouns: He/Him or They/Them

Identify as: Demiboy

https://www.instagram.com/adventures_with_spoons

I explain my gender identity best by the term “demiboy” which is when a person has a partial connection to a gender, in my case male, but not a full connection. I like to describe my gender expression as more agender because I personally don’t think clothing should have a gender. I believe I should be able to wear what I want without gender being assumed by what I’m wearing. Two people who have inspired me to come out and be my authentic self are Julian (https://www.instagram.com/thedisabledhippie) and a dear friend, Willow. I found them both through the service dog community and through their posts about gender and the support they have for their communities, it greatly helped my confidence in coming out and being myself. A great way to help trans people in your community is to ask pronouns upon meeting, instead of assuming them

Tashan Lovemore

Pronouns: He/Him/Emperor

Identify as: Black man of trans experience.

https://www.instagram.com/Tashan_lovemore

Can you share some me difficulties you’ve encountered due to being trans?

I’m in a process of moving right now. I didn’t think too much of my given name popping up. I’m moving to a state that isn’t consider inclusive of all people so I began thinking I wouldn’t be able to get the apartment, since in that state they can discriminate. When the leasing person gave me a call and asked about the pervious name that came from the background check I collected myself and provided an answer along with my court order. I didn’t hear from her right away so I questioned if the apartment was still available to me. This is something many folks face.

Love and light ,

Tashan Lovemore

Marquise Vilson

Pronouns: He/Him/His/Marquise

marquisevilson@gmail.com

Who have inspired you as a trans person?

Any person who’s been marginalized yet persist to exist. Women, women of color, transwomen of color, migrants, queer folks and especially my fellow trans masculine people of color. Trans masc folk of color have experienced erasure, both self imposed and not but are rising in visibility numbers, years after year. That in itself is inspiring for myself to continue to visible. I have been since 2001.

What is it like as a trans person in 2019, 50 years after the Stonewall Riots? What progress has been made?

I believe as a trans person in 2019, I have inherently gained resistance from my predecessors, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. If it were not for their efforts we wouldn’t be where are now in this moment as TGNC people. Resistance is needed most of all when revolutionizing a society. It’s the greatest gift the Stonewall Riots gave to me.

What do you think cisgender people need to know about the realities of being a trans person?

That I too am having a human experience and that my experience isn’t some sort of burden or problem. Recognizing that I exist doesn’t mean Cis folks exist any less. We each navigate life in our way and that’s the beauty of the human race: no one person is the same, yet somehow, we are all alike. Discovering our way.

What can cisgender people do to support trans people?

Respect our existence.

http://resumes.breakdownexpress.com/1429628-4127668-44404

Zach Barack

Pronouns: He/Him

Identify as: Trans masculine

I express myself pretty masculinely, but since coming out and having a lot of external support, I’ve felt more comfortable wearing all kinds of outfits. I identify as trans-masculine overall though. As an actor, I’ve been extremely inspired by lots of trans folks, my friends included, as well as in the media. You know, watching and working with trans people like Jari Jones, Scott Turner Schofield, Alexandra Grey, Theo Tiedemann, Shakina Nayfack, Trace Lysette, Alexandra Billings, Brian Michael Smith, Zackary Drucker, Alex Schmider, Nick Adams- I mean these are people who are involved in the media in a lot of ways, some of whom are paving the way for trans people by being advocates and putting their time and money behind amazing projects, and some by being on screen and acting themselves. I’ve felt very inspired seeing people like me in media, all forms. I mean seeing a trans man on scripted tv for the first time didn’t happen until I was 17 and it literally changed my life. Maybe saved my life. I finally realized people like us existed en mass and I wouldn’t be alone. I think I’ve been incredibly lucky in my experiences, I have amazing family- my grandpa recently passed away and he was my biggest champion, at 94. He never struggled to get me and that made a really, really big difference. These things- even if they seem little- like I said, they save lives. Personally, it was hard at first for people to get my name and pronouns right. It was painful and some people didn’t fit into my new life, which was a painful thing to learn to accept. I’ve been lucky enough to make a lot of new amazing friends since then. Professionally, I think it is a little harder to find roles that fit for me as a trans actor. I don’t find myself going out for as many roles as friends I have that aren’t trans, plus you have to worry about stuff that other actors don’t- like will your agents and managers and directors “get” the trans thing. Will they know how to sell you, without you being pigeon-holed. It’s hard because you want to break barriers, but also get all kinds of roles that aren’t all the same type-cast and that’s a big thing to try and do. It’s scary, sometimes because there’s no set rules. I think the best way to support trans people is to listen and spread valid information. Make sure people are being gendered correctly, even when they aren’t around. Make sure people don’t make jokes of trans people, don’t let people dehumanize us- that’s how violence happens. There’s a lot of danger out there for trans people, we have to do better, especially for trans women of colour.

Landyn Pan

Pronouns: He/They

https://www.instagram.com/landynpan

I was incredibly lucky to have come out as a teen in a progressive and accepting environment. Because I was involved with queer youth programs around Seattle, I saw many trans teens changing their names, socially and physically transitioning and being open about who they were in various queer youth programs I was part of. This is not at all common for people who were teens in the early 2010’s or before, but I’m hoping that it becomes the norm everywhere. It gave me the courage to experiment with a new name and explore new pronouns when I was 14-15. A lot of my peers had accepting parents and this gave me hope that my parents would change their views one day. For six years I would continually argue with my mom and try (and often fail) to educate her even though it was always emotionally difficult. Now, it’s paid off because my immediate family accepts everything.

I am often assumed to be cis and that comes with safety and privileges. But, people still love to ask invasive questions like about my former name or how my family reacted. I dislike the family questions. I am always willing to talk about coming out and family with other queer and trans people because we might have shared experiences, but when a cis straight person is supposed to be talking to me about an art project I’m doing, it’s irrelevant and inappropriate to ask me about my coming out, my growing up and my family. It’s happened enough times now that it makes me feel like they are fishing for a sob story, or that they assume every trans person’s life is tragic and miserable. Overall, I’m really happy with my life.

A big challenge since transitioning has been medical access. I gave up on trying to get insurance coverage for trans healthcare. Even if you find a doctor who is open and kind to trans patients, they might not be that knowledgeable. I’ve had to educate my medical providers before. I’ve had a doctor tell me to not transition too early and another one who prescribed me the wrong testosterone dosage. Luckily now that I live in NYC, I go to trans clinic but I do still hold a dark fear of being in an unfamiliar location in an emergency situation with a transphobic doctor.

Still though, I wouldn’t trade my life or experience anybody. I find a lot of power and love from being a part of trans community.

Devin-Norelle

Pronouns: Ze/Zim/Zis

Identify as: Androgynous/Non binary

https://www.instagram.com/SteroidBeyonce

Describe in your own words how you identify in terms of gender identity and gender expression, what these mean and the difference between the 2 for folks I who don’t know?

I identify as androgynous and non binary. There’s a misconception that each must have a certain look, i.e. trans masc, white or white passing, and extremely slim, with a short haircut. I want to help debunk that stereotype.

Androgyny exncompasses a variety of body types and people. People with curves or differently abled people can be androgynous. Brown and black people can be androgynous. Even people with muscles, like me, can be androgynous.  My muscular structure does not minimize my identity. I’m not a man, nor a woman. Sometimes I very heavily resonate with both, and other days, neither fit me at all. I hope that one day, our society will stop making assumptions about people’s genders or sexual identities based on appearance.

I choose to present in a variety of ways. I dress “masc” most times because it’s easiest, but also because I have a lesser chance of being harassed by onlookers if I’m out in public. I’d present more often as “femme” or what’s traditionally considered as “femme” because I like makeup, skirts, and sequins, and the like. I believe any of the aforementioned things aren’t necessarily femme, but rather just fun and stylish means of gender neutral expression. I feel my most femme when I’m presenting as masc and my most masc when I’m presenting as femme. Going outside in a muscle tank, with a skirt, and a glitter beard is as much masc as it is femme.

There’s a huge misunderstanding that women must present as femme, and men must present as masculine. Non binary and non conforming people have disrupted that notion. It’s refreshing to see binary men and women thinking outside the box in how they present themselves to the world each day. Simply expressing ourselves differently aids in deconstructing gender and gender roles from clothing to the workplace. We’re all dismantling the patriarchy together. 

Who has inspired you as a trans person?

So many of my friends inspire me. Marquise, someone who also happens to be on this shoot, inspired me many years ago when he was on the documentary, The Aggressives. Now I can call him a friend. My little brother, Laith Ashley, the first person I mutually confided to about my identity, inspires me. I witness him suffer a great deal when we are younger. He’s come such a long way and I’m very proud of who he has blossomed into. Jari Jones, Lady Dane, Aaryn Lang, Meredith Talusan, Dee Tranny Bear, Geena Rocero, Indya Moore, Alok V. Menon, and so many more people I can call my friend or acquaintances have inspired me a great deal over the past few years. I’m thankful for having found them in my community. I always feel very empowered by their passion in uplifting the community..

What is is like to live as a trans person in 2019, 50 years after the stonewall riots?  What progress has been made? 

Living in 2019 is quite surreal. Trans people are the most visible we’ve ever been. Much like the Stonewall riots, when we protest, we are seen, but now we’re finally being heard. The Obama administration implemented so many protections for trans people.  As a child, I, like many trans people before my time, always imagined losing family and friends after I transitioned, and this left me heartbroken. I gave up on my dreams, simply because I didn’t believe that I’d be able to pursue them as a trans person. Living in 2019 has disproved so many of the things I felt as a child.  In cities like New York and California, where protections for trans people are strong, trans people are ensured employment and housing stability. I never fathomed transitioning at the workplace, but I did, and although my former industry was rather conservative, my job at the time  actually had pre-existing policies that both protected me as an employee and supported me.

While visibility brings understanding and has helped to humanize us, it has also invoked more violence. Some people are intent on expunging those who are different, we have been made vulnerable targets for attack, just for being misunderstood. Our federal protections under attack by the bigots currently running this country. Others are  emboldened to openly “debate” our existence and to physically assault us. Both are incredibly dangerous and harmful to the trans community.

Can you share some of the difficulties you’ve encountered as a trans?

As a trans masc person who presents in a variety of ways, I have had some unique experiences. Non binary people are sometimes subjected to the same harassment  trans women face. I can’t count the number of times a person has yelled “man in a dress” or “man trying to be a woman” towards me. Most puzzling that women police my presentation as often as men.  It’s forced to me to really explore and understand  transmisgony and femmephobia and truly sets an example of how pervasive the patriarchy is.

Bureaucratic hurdles are also challenging. Navigating the healthcare system while non binary is a catastrophe. I’ve been misgendered by doctors countless times. Paperwork is a nightmare; many times I have found myself refiling  claims because either the doctor or health insurer didn’t recognize a non binary gender and therefore rejected the initial claim. I know of transgender people who have turned away by pharmacists because “they’ve been prescribed a hormone for the incorrect gender,” as what happens frequently in the south and midwest. It’s even worse for trans men o trans masc people who need hysterectomy but are denied because health insurance equates “man” to “penis.” Roadblocks experienced by trans people are real and affect various aspects of our lives.

What can cisgender people do to help support trans people?

I think most cisgender people take to social media to enact performative allyship. Unfortunately, this hasn’t prevented us from being attacked or murdered in our everyday lives. Standing up for a trans person, even if it’s something as minimal as correcting someone when they use the wrong pronouns or defending a trans person who might be harassed on the streets is really important. Cis allies really need fight with us. Yes, it might get physical; this is just our reality.

Lex Horwitz

Pronouns: They/Them

Identify as: Queer, non-binary transmasculine Jewish human

https://www.instagram.com/lex_horwitz

Gender identity (someone’s internal sense of self as being a woman, man, non-binary, etc.) is not the same thing as someone’s gender expression (the ways in which someone presents outwardly as masculine, feminine, and/or androgynous). I am a non-binary transmasculine Jewish human. Regardless of the clothes that I put on my body, the makeup I apply to my face or the mannerisms that I use to navigate through space do not affect or change my gender identity. I am still a non-binary transmaculine person when I wear a sequin dress and when I wear a suit. The only thing that changes is my gender expression (the way I choose to present myself to the world outside of my own mind). Does this mean that my gender identity will stay the same forever? No, it doesn’t. My gender identity may change or shift as I come to understand myself better. Or my gender identity may stay the same. Who knows. Because the truth is this: gender is a social construct—Gender identity, gender expression, and sex assigned at birth were all defined by people. There is nothing “natural” or inherent about the ways in which we understand these categories. So guess what—since people created these restrictive categories we have the power (and duty) to dismantle them… or at the very least reimagine them in inclusive and expansive ways.

Theo Germaine

Pronouns: They/Them and He/Him

https://www.instagram.com/theogermaine

I am Non-Binary, Trans-Masculine, Androgynous, Boy, and express myself however I feel.  Some days I want to dress like Marie Antoinette or Cinderella, and other days I want to be Ponyboy or Captain America.  My identity is my house, and my expression is the roof, the siding, or the flowers in the garden.  I’m inspired by and thankful for all the people in the entertainment industry before me, who have made it easier for me, as well as the artists and activists helping break down the boxes of the gender binary.  Living as a trans person in 2019, 50 years after Stonewall, is both exciting and sad;  we’re protected more, and able to live life more freely, but not enough.  There are many folks in the community still in so much danger every single day, which is unacceptable.  Some of the issues I face are due to people not “being able to tell if I’m a man or a woman” and they pick one – when it happens at night, I have been in danger of predatory men who either want to aggressively hit on me or follow me when they think I’m a girl, or fuck with me or hurt me because they think I’m a gay man, or they want to fetishize and chase me when they “discover” I am trans.  I have been grabbed and hurt and assaulted.  People tell me I’m attractive “even though I’m transgender,” as if trans people can’t be beautiful.  But we all are.    I wish that cisgender people were better at doing some of the educating themselves and helping stop all the violence that is happening towards trans women of color; I wish that cisgender men could unpack their toxic masculinity and love trans women proudly and openly without fetishizing them.  I wish that people knew how tired we are of having to explain ourselves over and over and over again, and I wish they would stop explaining “how hard” it is for them to start using my pronouns or my name.  And listening.  I wish they were better at just listening to us – and not making it about them. 

Chet D’Angelo

Pronouns: He/him

https://www.instagram.com/nyctranschett

My name is Chett D’Angelo and I go by He/him pronouns. I am a trans man. This means that I am a man who was born in a female body. As a trans man someone who has inspired me a lot is Ellen Degeneres. She’s always promoting kindness no matter what and I really believe that’s so powerful! This is how people shift their lives for the better, with kindness. She does this with authenticity and love. Throughout my transition there have always been people close to me who have tried to invalidate my existence. They would tell me, “you’ll never be a real man” or “a penis is what makes a real man.” This used to hurt me so much until I recognized where it was coming from. It was coming from them not me. When someone else has something negative to say about me it actually has nothing to do with me. This is a reflection of themselves or their own experiences. I’m so valid and sure of who I am. I just hope these other people heal from their trauma of toxic masculinity. 

Brandes Yenchick

I am Brandes Yenchick and I identify as a transmasculine man and use He/Him pronouns. When it comes to my gender expression the majority of times I am very masculine but I love to explore my fluidity. To me, my gender identity doesn’t describe who I am, my gender expression does. My expression of gender allows me to feel comfortable in my gender identity as a male, but my expression allows me to still have the femininity that I enjoy. Every Trans person I come across and get the privilege to meet and talk to is an inspiration to me. Hearing other people’s stories and journeys inspire me in my own transition. I think now in 2019 a lot of progress has been made among the trans* community especially when I talk to people who transitioned 10 or more years ago. We have more conversation and connection on social media which helps people to learn more and ask more questions which I think cis-gendered people need to do to understand trans people. If you don’t understand anything about what it means to be trans or to transition then ASK. I would much rather be asked a question about being trans than someone either ignore me or be uncomfortable because they are afraid to offend me because it can become a teaching situation. If your question has the wrong wording I would rather let you know so that you can learn. Asking questions is a great start to supporting the trans* community because you are showing that you want to become knowledgeable about the topic and now you also have some education you can use with someone else and grow awareness. Another thing I think cis-gendered people can do to is to recognize that EVERYONE IS HUMAN and we all deal with being uncomfortable in our bodies. Whether it’s not looking too “skinny” or “do I have enough muscle definition” we all want to just love ourselves, so we shouldn’t harm or discriminate against a person who transitions into a body that they love too.

Lucas Eliot

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Describe in your own words how you identify in terms of gender identity and gender expression, what these mean and the difference between the 2 for folks I who don’t know?

I identify as a trans male with female experience. I describe myself as such because I’m a male who was born in a female body. Therefore, most of my life society treated me as what it perceived me to be: female. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish this experience because it’s equipped me with a great deal of empathy for all the women in the world today. I don’t take that experience for granted. My gender expression fits my gender identity, in that I dress and express myself in a masculine way.

Who has inspired you as a trans person?

I’m beyond inspired by all of the trans* identifying people who have come out in areas of the world where being trans jeopardizes their safety. Especially the trans* POC women who are the most marginalized and at-risk group within our community.

What is it like to live as a trans person in 2019, 50 years after the Stonewall Riots? What progress has been made?

I think it goes without saying that those protesting pioneers 50 years ago have helped to pave our way today, and I’m very grateful for their courage. I identified as a lesbian for 10 years prior to coming out as trans (3 years ago) and even a few years back it was harder than it is today, which is what took me so long to come out (again). I’m hopeful we can keep up this momentum.

Can you share some of the difficulties you’ve encountered due to being trans (socially, professionally, etc.; real examples encouraged)

My “bad” experiences don’t extend past some awkward or uncomfortable moments in bars, public restrooms, ride shares, etc.  In fact, they aren’t even worth elaborating on here because they pale in comparison to our trans* POC siblings. Give them the mic, and we should all sit back and listen.

What do you think cisgender people need to know about the realities of being a trans person?

We’re just like cisgender people. We have careers and spouses with children; we own houses and have incredible talents; we’re college educated and own pets we love and care for. We’re doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives, actors, musicians, artists, humanitarians, authors, poets, ministers … and we walk through this life filled with a desire to be accepted and accepting others with open minds and the purest love. Now, wouldn’t the world be beautiful if everyone else did too?  

What can cisgender people do to help support trans people?

Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. And treat us the way you’d want to be treated. It’s that easy.

styling: Guvanch

https://www.instagram.com/guvajan/

photography: Amanda Picotte

http://amandapicotte.com/

https://www.instagram.com/amandapicotte/

Creative producer : https://www.instagram.com/khrystyana 

Hair artist: https://www.instagram.com/axebodypray 

Makeup artist : https://www.instagram.com/k3ik0

Studio : https://www.instagram.com/monaliza.studios 

Special thanks to MonaLiza Studios, https://www.instagram.com/lesportsac , https://www.instagram.com/piercemattiepr , https://www.instagram.com/theleovard , https://www.instagram.com/trilogyusa and https://www.instagram.com/dermaquest and https://www.instagram.com/refinery29 and https://www.instagram.com/sarah_f____ for the feature.

Please consider donating to a trans rights organisation such as GIRES: The Gender Identity Research & Education Society, Imaan, Intersex UK, Press for Change, Trans Bare All, Trans*formation, Trans London , TransUnite, Trans Workers UK, Twilight People, Be, Diversity Role Models, Gendered Intelligence, Natacha Kennedy, School’s Out, Stonewall, Allsorts Youth Project, FTM London, LGBT Youth Scotland, Mermaids, Space Youth Dorset, Albert Kennedy Trust, Stonewall Housing, Action for Trans Health, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Trans Info UK, Trans Media Watch, Wipe Out Transphobia, CliniQ, Trans Sexual Health Clinic at Birmingham LGBT+, TAGS, Trans Can Sport, Trans Girls Can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s