(Originally Aired on 1/12/19)
So you've decided to start transitioning, but you don't know what to do. Or maybe you're thinking about transitioning, or you know someone who is and you want to know more about what they're going through. Well my friends I'm here to help. I've spent the past decade researching everything that goes into the trans masculine experience, and with the help of my friends who know the feminine side of things, we're going to pass that knowledge down to you. Welcome to the Trans Field Guide. So today's going to be kind of an introductory lesson into the main concept here: What the heck is this transitioning thing I'm talking about? Well my friends, big brother V is going to learn you a thing. According to the American Psychological Association: "Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. “ So what does that mean? Well the short version is that you came into the world in a certain body with certain parts, a doctor took one look at you and said “It's a boy” or “it's a girl” and bam, the way that the world saw you and expected you to act was written in stone. Or was it? Perhaps the doctor said “it's a boy” but you don't feel like a boy, or vice versa. Deep down that identity that got slapped onto you just does not feel right, and that causes any range of emotions from discomfort to outright depression. Well, if that sounds like it applies to you, you very well may be trans, or non-binary, or some other variant on the gender spectrum. That's a topic for another day. As for the moment, what do you do? Well, the first thing you should do is talk to a therapist or counselor. Now that sounds like a scary thing right out the gate, I know. There's been a lot of negative connotations surrounding the professional psychological field and the lgbt community over the years, but hear me out. Talking out your feelings and experiences with a professional, unbiased third party can help you to pinpoint exactly where you fall on the dart board of gender, and give advice on what steps you personally should and can take to increase your happiness and quality of life. There are many resources out there, including ones that can do sessions online. I will do a full episode on this to go into all of the options, but it's good to start looking. The American Psychological Association has a great database you can use to find a professional best suited to your needs. Go to locator.apa.org to utilize this resource. If you are under the age of eighteen or otherwise reliant on your parents or family for money and medical, there is a growing number of clinics that are offering free counseling for trans and/or lgbt people. More info on that later.