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

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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

Trans Standards: Michelle Austin on Body Positivity, Beauty Expectations, and Changing the Game

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TransEthics: What were you doing before you got into sex work?

Michelle Austin: I was a hair dresser. I spent over eight years working in a high-end salon in Chicago area. It was the best experience I ever had but after eight plus years the owner shut it down. We both went to work for another salon but I fell out of love for the industry. I think it had to do more so with I was depressed with the Chicago weather and having back and hand issues. Which comes from doing that kind of work. I also transitioned in that job. So, part of me misses it because it’s a big part of my life. I ran the salon the last two years which also helped me learn a lot of business skills I carry with me today.

TE: What attracted you to the sex industries? Continue reading

Trans Erasure: Riley Alejandro on Non-Binary Issues, Genderfucking, and Media

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TransEthics: When did you first realize that you’re transgender?

Riley Alejandro: I didn’t know that transgender was a thing until I was at least in my teens, probably around thirteen or fourteen, when I had access to the internet. I first started expressing issues with being told I was a girl around 8 is my first thought of it, telling my parents that I wasn’t a girl, that I was a boy and making up a lie as to why. I was forced to go to therapy. That’s when I also learned that this wasn’t something that people accepted too well. Continue reading