Trans Education: Samantha Allen on Gender, Career, and Acceptance

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TransEthics: Being transgender and Trans Rights have been a huge media topic of late, along with the pushback of those who try to restrict gender to genitals and chromosomes. Having studied gender & sexuality, what response would you give to these people?

Samantha Allen: Great question! I still remember being completely surprised by the existence of intersex people when I took my first Women’s Studies class while an undergrad at Rutgers. At the time, I was still suppressing the idea that I might be transgender –in fact, I’m not even sure I know what that word meant– and my understanding of human sexual dimorphism hadn’t progressed beyond what I’d learned in an eighth grade biology class. Learning that biological sex is nowhere near as simple as XX and XY, that transgender people can take hormones to alter their secondary sex characteristics, and that the category of sex is itself culturally contingent in all sorts of ways – all that was brand new to me, and it opened my eyes. I understand now why The Matrix was made by two trans women: stepping outside the system of gender and seeing it for what it is feels a lot like waking up from a dream. Continue reading

Trans Vision: Cookie Cosmos on Changing Expectations, Advocacy Through Porn, and Coming Out

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TransEthics: Your Twitter bio says you’re an “ethical queer porn creator and performer” Exactly what does that mean to you?

Cookie Cosmos: To me, Ethical Porn has always meant treating performers well. In my case I work with other trans people, so I try to make content the performers want to make, make sure they are comfortable doing it and that they take home a fair cut. It also means taking down content that the performer is no longer happy being marketed. I’ve cut scenes short in the past because a performer is experiencing dysphoria, and if you are working with other trans people I think that’s the least you can do.

TE: Do you think it’s important that trans porn be made by trans people? Continue reading

Trans Fearlessness: Jelena Vermilion on Bullies, Mental Health, and Relationships

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TransEthics: When you first came out as transgender, how did your friends and family react?

Jelena Vermilion: When I first came out as Trans, my folks and family were decently accepting. They all had their own biases and preconceptions about trans people, so obviously it wasn’t perfect. I can say they’ve tried to learn and understand those things. I also think that given who I was growing up, they sort of expected something like it, given my nature.

I was a pretty interesting kid… I played with dolls, read books, built things, destroyed things, did puzzles, watched Sailor Moon, etc… Without giving too much credence to the binary, I was deemed pretty “feminine” growing up by mainstream cis standards. I was very sensitive. I cried a lot growing up, and I always seemed to get picked on. I imagine my parents thought I would be gay before they thought I would be a girl. Continue reading

Trans Networking: Lisa Marie Maginnis on Homelessness, Survival Sex Work, and Technology

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TransEthics: Tell us a little about Hypatia Software.

Lisa Maginnis: The main goal of the Hypatia Software Organization is to provide assistance to experiencers of transmisogyny in need, as well as make talented and professional software engineers out of those who are interested in the mentorship program. Hypatia Software Organization is a mentorship and benefits program run for trans people, by trans people. Because of this we prioritize empathy and understanding for our members. We are very anti-carrot and stick, mentorship is never a requirement to have access to benefits. To be a member, you simply must experience transmisogyny. That said, anyone is welcome to volunteer with us!  Continue reading

Trans Satanic: Sadie Satanas on Religion, Kink, and Polyamorous Marriage

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TransEthics: I understand that you’re married. How long have you and your wife been together, and when in your relationship did you come out as transgender to her?

Sadie Satanas: My spouse and I were married on June 6th 2006 (6/6/6), but we’ve been together for 15 years. We are poly, but committed. I came out to her about 4 years ago after we moved from the Bible belt of Oklahoma to the Bay Area.

TE: How did that initially affect your relationship? Continue reading

Trans Differential: Halley Wynn on Trans Bodies, ‘Deadly Babes’, and Ethics in Sex Work

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TransEthics: Your Twitter profile says you are a “muscle t-girl”… would you care to expand on what that means to you?

Halley Wynn: Well, there are two separate but inclusive fields of thought I have on that: The personal and the political. I like fitness, weight lifting, different movement arts and working out in general. Participating in these activities generally gives you increased muscle tone and increased mass depending on the type and volume of activity, because of this I identify as muscly.

Now for my political opinions, I feel like femme people but especially trans femme folks are incentivized to avoid muscle mass or lots of tone. Being that it is supposedly a masculine trait, and therefore being “overly” fit is akin to outing yourself according to some.  So I am a trans femme fitness enthusiast: Muscle T-girl. Continue reading

Trans Survival: Rani Baker on Dealing with Trolls, Transition, & Trump Era Fear

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TransEthics: Your band, Destroyed for Comfort, has a very unique sound. To those who have yet to experience it, how would you describe it?

Rani Baker: The music I perform is typically very sample-heavy, intentionally retro, low-fi, and abrasive, with heavily distorted vocals. The sound (especially live) has frequently been compared to Skinny Puppy, Alec Empire and Crystal Castles, but doesn’t really sound exclusively like any of those acts. Occasionally more melodic and/or experimentally structured work is composed, but I tend to take the stompier, more anthemic tracks live.

TE: How did you come up with your band’s name? Continue reading

Trans Reporting: Katelyn Burns on Writing, Politics, and Moving Forward

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TransEthics: What inspired you to get into writing for various media establishments?

Katelyn Burns: I never really set out to be a writer or even an activist really. I’ve always been fairly political and my interest in trans politics and theory extend back even into my teenage years. I always did a good job covering my tracks, so all of my reading was done in secret when I was still in the closet. One day, after I had decided to transition but before I had started hormones or come out to many people, I was really struggling with my own body. I’d lost 110 pounds already but still had a lot of internal baggage to work through. My therapist suggested writing about it as a therapeutic method. Continue reading

The Disturbing Endgame of ‘Clovergender’ Trolls

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The year of 2017 did not get off to the best of starts for trans and gender nonconforming people. 2017 wasn’t even five days old when a dangerously savage smear campaign raised its head from the bowels of the internet. It’s not the typical kind of trolling trans people have experienced before. It’s dangerously different.

Trigger warnings for child sexual abuse, pedophilia normalization, gaslighting, transmisogyny, and gender misappropriation.

Continue reading

My Dark Secret…

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With a title like that, you already know that what I’m about to reveal to you, Dear Reader, is not something I easily admit. It’s a confession of sorts. You see, I wouldn’t wish being transgender on anyone.

And I mean anyone.

Being transgender means showing the world who you are on the inside, in spite (and because) of the gender of the shell you have. Some trans folks know at a very young age; some discover later on; some are neither male, nor female; some are both; some ignore gender altogether. But there is one constant: We all spend an incredible amount of time considering gender.

Why is my body this way?
Why can’t I wear what I want?
But I’m not a (boy/girl)!

These are things we as trans people ponder. We dive into the gender spectrum and try to find our color in it. And it’s never what our doctors and parents declared on our birthdays. We struggle to find out why we’re so unlike the alleged members of our “own sex”. We struggle to discover the roots of kinks we discover later in life. We don’t wonder who we are.

We know who we are. We wonder why we are this way.

Something just doesn’t fit. Or it fits a different way. Or maybe it can be redesigned to fit.

There are those who would accuse any trans person as trying to redesign themselves, perhaps even for nefarious reasons. Some would claim trans people “try to remake God’s design” and are therefore abominations. Others may say “live and let live” yet turn a blind eye to the rampant persecution of trans people by those who feel our very existence is a threat.

We threaten it all.

We threaten the patriarchy. We threaten the binary concept of gender. We’re willing to give up privilege, and live with the consequences. Many of us turn to sex work just to survive. Most of us know the risks before we come out. We could literally lose everything simply to be who we are. So why the fuck would anyone transition?

There is only one answer: We cannot accept that society reduced who we are when it stapled an M or an F to us at birth. We know ourselves better than those who would force such roles upon us. We transcend our labels. We know that version of us isn’t true. For this, we’re perceived as a threat. But this piece wasn’t going to be about the binary, or the gender spectrum, or anything political. It was about a secret. My secret.

My secret is that I wish I didn’t ponder such things; that I didn’t question gender; that I could just be someone who accepted the M or F without further consideration.

I wish I could have been born cis.

But I’m happy that I was born trans.

By TransEthics Posted in Blogs