Trans/GNC

Shallow Roots have Immense Strength

Family is such a complicated topic for queer/trans/non-binary folks.

I love hearing stories about families who are super amazing and supportive and emotionally intelligent. AND this is often not the story I hear. It's not the story I have.

As a latently queer kid growing up in the South who only wore black and band shirts, I never felt like I 100% fit into my family of conservative Christian, camo-wearing folks.

Once I came out as queer, the feeling of not fitting in became blatant hostility or toxic positivity (We're not rejecting you! Just don't talk about your life/your partner(s)/or anything you believe in and we're totally welcoming. Love you!) Ummmmm.....this version of love didn't quite make sense to me. I know my parents and relatives are doing the best they can given the current resources they are accessing, but there isn't a lot of room left for developing any sort of mutually supportive and affirming relationship.

This is a pretty common story that I hear from both friends and client's alike. The unit that is supposed to have your back and support you no matter what doesn't always live up to that bargain. It can leave you feeling lost and alone in the world.

I was visiting San Francisco recently and went for a walk in a Redwood forest. The giant trees felt spiritual to me. Old. Wise. Substantial in the way that makes me feel small in the best way. Like Mountains or the Milky Way. A good friend told me that Giant Sequoia tree's have widespread, shallow roots that intertwine and fuse together with the roots of the trees around them, clustering around a "mother tree" in what is called a Fairy Circle. (Yall, A. FAIRY. CIRCLE. If that isn't a clear indication that this metaphor is meant for the queer and trans community, I don't know what it.) This is what creates their immense strength and resiliency against both nature and time that has let many of live and thrive since the fucking dinosaurs.

If the family that you grew up with isn't providing you with the deep roots you need to thrive, you're not alone. It sucks and it's hard.

And you have more options for strength and resilience than you think.

Find your fairy circle. Let your roots go wide and intertwine them with the people in your life who truly see you. If you don't have that yet, that's ok. I haven't always had that either. But I PROMISE that there are people out there (whether or not they are geographically close to you right now) who can really see you and, with time and energy, can become that shallow-rooted and strong #chosenfam.

What is one action you can take today to either widen your roots to find your people or intertwine more intentionally with the people already in your corner? 

Cheers to my fairy circle. I love you. And thanks, Karin, for giving me that beautiful metaphor.

Are You Trans Enough?

I put a binder on and took it off again. 3 times. My brain was spinning.

What if...

People think I'm doing this for attention

People think this is a marketing ploy

this is not real if I feel ok choosing day to day if I want to wear a binder

I'm appropriating because I can wear a "regular" bra and also be fine

Gah! Fuck it.

I went through this almost every time I tried to wear a binder for at least a year.

As someone who didn't question their gender growing up, doesn't have intense body or gender dysphoria, and since (as it tends to happen in my life) my career interests proceeded my personal evolution and I was working a lot with trans/gnc folks, I was extremely worried that asserting my nonbinary identity in any way would come with community members pointing fingers at me saying "FRAUD!"

Spoiler alert: This didn't happen

In fact, nothing bad happened at all. My gender evolution has felt like a slow stretch in the morning, like a gentle waking up and loosening/expansion. I'm lucky in that way. But that luck also made me feel like I wasn't trans enough to claim any identity beside cisgender.

I hear this question a lot from my clients: Am I trans?

After digging in over and over, it's often the case that underneath that question are a couple layers that go something like:

Am I trans enough?

Am I enough?

Let me assure you. You are enough.

What I want most for you is to know, deep deep down, that there is enough space [infinite space] for you and your gender identity and expression. 

You being the most authentic, turned on ("buzzy"), audacious version of yourself is NOT taking anything away from other folks who fall under the trans umbrella whose identities and narrative might be more binary, more traditionally feminine or masculine, or just different from yours.

It is NOT taking away from others and doesn't invalidate your trans identity or experience to:

  • not know from an early age that you were trans/non-binary

  • not experience strong body and/or gender dysphoria

  • want to keep more masculine or feminine parts of yourself no matter what your gender identity

My challenge to you is to notice when those fraudy feelings come up. Just notice. You don't have to do anything with them. And take up space anyway. Own your identity. Your experience doesn't have to be the same as others to be valid.

You're enough. I promise.

-Rae

PS-I think you're magic