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Our Stories

As a group, we have the opportunity to join together and share our stories.  In June 2015 we got together and selected ten questions which we then passed to the group. The questions, and how we've answered, are below; the answers are all anonymous and in random order.

"What was it like the first time you went to Tranzform?"

i was scared but that was because i am terrible with new people and have social anxiety

I was nervous and excited!! I didn't go with anyone but knew a couple of people that were going to be there so that helped the nerves a lot. I felt really out of my comfort zone at first because everyone was already talking to each other. I remember feeling like i belonged there and that i'd found people who 'Got me'. Everything just clicked and continued to get better after that.

It was unnerving - I had never been in the same room with so many other trans* people in my life. I enjoyed getting to be surrounded by people who were facing similar struggles and challenges to me. I no longer felt alone.

Great! I'd been to groups like it but Tranzform felt much more accepting of the huge range of gender experiences. It didn't matter if you were binary or not, Tranzform made a great effort to understand all. It is a place where I can meet other people who know share so many experiences with me. It feels welcoming.

I haven't actually been yet but am planning on coming in the next couple of months. I'm building up the courage.

I was shit scared and didn't say a word the entire time. Just listening to everyone talk gave me comfort and validated my own experiences for myself.

I was nervous, but was made to feel welcome and accepted straight away!

So scary. I didn't say a word, had no idea what to talk about, and at the time I still identified as my natal gender, but the facilitators were very nice and welcoming. I felt accepted to be myself, and was shocked to find out how normal everyone else was.

"How do you know you're not cis?"

I have a definitive bond with who i am as a person. I am confident i have truly found myself.

I will never/have never been fully comfortable in my assigned gender or my body. I have always been gender-non-conforming, and always felt frustration at never being perceived the way I perceived myself.

I am extremely uncomfortable in my body and my birth pronouns make me feel like shit. I can't describe it well but i feel more comfortable and more like myself when I look and am perceived as male.

I know i'm not cis because I do not identify nor am i happy with the gender i was assigned at birth. I really think its that simple.
I don't have the penis and flat chest I have in my head.

Because my body confidence issues aren't about being fitter, taller, muscular, blonde, blue eyed, pretty or handsome; my body insecurities revolve around being comfortable displaying my gender. I know I'm not cis because every little step I take towards expressing my true gender I feel happier and more content. I know I'm not cis because I see how my cis friends find comfort and happiness in expressing themselves in ways that reflect their "assigned" gender. I get no happiness from pretending my assigned sex expresses how I feel.

when i was uncomfortable being referred to as a female

i often flinch internally when someone calls me by the wrong pronoun/gender
i find it hard to fit into what society expects of me
no matter how hard i try to love my body it still doesn't feel right and if it does one day, then the next day it probably won't

I don't understand the gender I was born as, and I don't feel comfortable around others in that gender. I've always felt different, always had a soft spot for androgyny, and femininity and non-binaryness have always made more sense to me.

"How did you start living as your preferred gender?"

changed deoderants, finally embraced my goth side and adopted dansou into my style

It took lots of exploring and trying things out. Buying a lot of things on Trademe. My gender is still evolving and I'm still working out how to describe myself.

I started to honour my feminine inclinations, especially in my mannerisms and voice, and I started dressing with a lot more androgyny. I came out slowly to a few close friends. For me, my gender is a process of undoing and becoming, and savoring the journey is my focus.

i started asking for different pronouns at groups i went to, then later started using a different name.
i haven't really changed my appearance at all and i think this had made it very, very hard for some people to understand.

I told a few close friends. Then I told everyone, told people to use my new name and started dressing how I want. To begin my clothes were a bit wild but then I found what made me comfortable. I think what's important for me is to know it's okay to let people see the grey areas. You don't have to come out and "pass" or know who you are and how you identify. You can publicly explore your gender and it's fine for people to see this. I started living as my preferred gender when I showed people I'm ready to find out what that means for me. Up until then, I was living as then gender society gave me.

I first lived as male from ages 6 to 11 however my one parent considered me a "tom boy" and told me I had to become more feminine although I always wore mens clothes. I started living as my preferred gender again at 18 and I started binding, packing and using male pronouns and gradually came out to friends and loved ones.

I started living my life as my preferred gender the moment i knew it was safe. I started wearing makeup, clothes and shoes i liked and chose a more preferable name.

For me the only thing i had to change was my pronouns. i already went by my nickname with my friends which matched my preferred gender. I already dressed how i wanted, acted how i wanted. I then chose a more permanent name, told my family and changed it legally.

"How do you deal with people that don't accept you?"

I sort od shut down and don't talk to them. Basically I don't deal with it. I ignore them and shut them out..

They can get fucked! If someone doesn't accept me, then they don't need to be in my life.

This is hard because i actively avoid people that i 'think' wouldn't accept me and am a very socially anxious person. This is not healthy and i believe you need to keep doing things you are uncomfortable with untill you overcome your fears. I usually react very aggressively when i detect hostility or ignorance and tell people to get fucked. Again i don't encourage this but this is how i've learnt to be defensive to protect myself.

i literally remove them from my life. if i think someone won't accept me or it will be too confusing for them, i just won't come out to them because i'd rather deal with the misgendering than deal with having an awkward workplace/home/place i have to spend a lot of my time/energy etc

I am patient and accepting towards them. Sometimes its not there fault the don't understand and they just need a little time. As for the more aggressive people i just smile and carry on with my life.

i haven't encountered anyone who doesn't accept me yet.

It hurts. I'm not a super proud queer person; I'm just a shy person who happens to be trans. When people don't accept me I ignore them. I tell them to fuck off or walk away. Sometimes, if they seem kind, I try explaining how I feel and challenge their ideas. I ask things like, "Why do you think this way?" If I can't ignore them (family, flat mates, close friends) I write how I feel and give it to them to read. I make sure what I want to say is worded POLITELY and carefully. They can read it over and over. If people are not accepting and this makes me sad, I try to talk it over with queer/ally friends.

"When did you know?"

I am the cliche trans kid. I knew when I was 3 years old- I asked my mum when my penis would grow and I was extremely upset when she told me I would not. There is no one trans* narrative and do not doubt your identity if you discover later in life because that is totally valid.

A very young age; perhaps five or so. I kept it secret because I was scared. As a child I thought puberty would make me cis or "normal". I thought that sexually maturing into an adult would make me naturally accept the changes my body experienced; it didn't. Eventually as a young adult I began to realise how deeply engrained my gender is and that something needed to change. I'd always known but never accepted it until finally reality sunk in.

i had a niggling feeling at about the end of 2010 of 'this female label i have been given might not be completely accurate'

This is a tricky one. I always felt odd about myself growing up. And I could never put my finger on it. I only learnt the word transgender and what it means at the beginning of last year (2014) and once i came to terms with what that meant for me and realised that was the missing piece i slowly started to come out to people. I didn't figure it out on my own either. I asked people questions and started going to Tranzform!

I always knew on some level, but I really confirmed my trans identity in the last year. Once I started thinking about myself as trans, it just stuck and I was happier to have some language to describe my own experience. I started to be able to see a future for myself in transitioning, whereas before I could not.

After two years of fighting with gender every day, from when I woke up to when I fell asleep, I realised I was trans after too many nights of trying to find out if there was something I could attribute my feelings to. Nope - it's just who I am.

I guess i always knew, just didn't know what it was/called until i was 23.

i knew my sexuality was queer for longer than i knew my gender was queer. the more i read the more trans stuff, especially being outside the binary, the more it seemed to click into place. i think i was about 21.

I was comfortable with myself up until puberty but up until recently I didn't know what I was feeling. I cut my hair short sort of as a personal experiment and it made me feel way better and much more like myself. I suppose this time last year was when things really got confusing for me and I didn't know what I was feeling.

"How do you deal with your dysphoria?"

One of the ways I deal with my dysphoria is by going to the gym. This helps me focus on my goals of how i want my body to look. Ive always been physically active, i love trail biking and being in nature. working out helps my mental well being and is my own personal therapy. Its my me time! Another way i deal with dysphoria is watching Trans* videos on youtube. I find it very inspiring and motivating to see other peoples transitions and stories, to see their ups and downs and progress.

When it strikes badly, I will isolate myself and write constantly which is a kind of purging. I do some meditation and try to re-image my body. I try to force myself to do stuff and maybe eat a lot of comfort food too. Just ride it out.

I got a lot of laser to reduce my hair (my major source of dysphoria), and I accept I still need to shave every two weeks or so. Day-to-day I've adjusted my clothing, expression, mannerisms, friendships etc to reduce the likelihood of being misgendered (which stings so, so badly). There are a lot of clothes I don't feel comfortable wearing. I try to accept it's OK to have feelings of dysphoria, and things will get better.

I guess just being aware of my dysphoria makes a difference, but i don't really know how else to ease the hurt other than to self medicate via smoking/drug use.

Chocolate, ice cream and TV. Sometimes I rant to friends. Other times I put on my favourite outfit; if I'm too scared to wear it out, I'll wear it at home. Sometimes dysphoria hits when you're in public and can't do anything about it like if you were home. In these situations I find it's best to try focus on small things external from myself. I think about what I need to get done; buying things from the supermarket, finishing work and dropping off something, whatever. As hard as it is, try to tell yourself that dysphoria is just another emotion; it can be managed and it can pass over.

i tweet about how much i hate cis people and/or i watch trashy tv

I have a binder but otherwise I don't. I'm quite depressed and it doesn't help that I'm so young and my parents don't like the idea that I'm trans.
Self care- getting a haircut or treating myself.

stay out of public for a bit because society is what makes me dysphoric but if i can't then i stare at my forearms because holy crap are my forearms fantastic

"How do you stay safe?"

I stay safe by firslty looking after myself physically, emotionally and mentally. I talk to my friends and keep them up to date with how my life is going so they know when and how to help me. I have regular doctors and therapy appointments to keep everything in check and I go to the gym and do other things that i enjoy to make myself happy.

I stay aware of every situation, try not to encourage extreme reactions, and try to talk and listen honestly. I also don't usually go out after midnight, and stay fit and healthy.

I stay safe by being selectively stealth. I'm very selective about who I tell about the fact that I am trans*.

i know my triggers and am aware of my body and my mind

Stick with friends and stay away from unsafe areas.

a mixture of not passing and being really ooky-spooky

If I go out late at night, I go with friends or taxi. Sadly if I know I have to stay out late alone, I dress less obviously "queer" to avoid attention. Mostly I keep good, open-minded friends and am careful to choose safe living situations. This is not easy for people stuck at home but if you have a choice, try network with queer people and find like-minded groups. You'll be amazed at how many allies there are as well. A big thing is that I also completely ignore people who try to harass me. If a dog barks at you, don't walk back and kick it in the balls. Just walk away; it's not worth getting bit.

In public space, I just avoid people who stare for too long, and walk with my head held high right past them. Running always helps.

"What's a good trans resource?"

Honestly, Wikipedia helped me as a starting point. It's got nothing in terms of social support but in my early days I needed something unthreatening and (relatively) unbiased like an encyclopaedia. It helped to have a place to simply read definitions without judgement. I learnt about famous transgender people, hormones, surgery and our history. It was at a time when I was too scared to go to "gay" places and so I sought out a neutral resource. It built my confidence to branch out later on.
"Whipping Girl" by Julia Serano

There Attitude!, I think a few good resources might be, a list of people we could contact in the event of a breakdown. Some more info on ways we can help make our appearance more like our preferred genders.

YOUTUBE!! YOUTUBE!! YOUTUBE!! Is amazing! My favourite trans youtubers are Aydian Ethan Dowling (ALionsFears) and Kieran Damien Moloney (Kezz Em) Tranzform has also been a great resource and suppport group of course. I haven't really used many other resources i prefer to talk to people and get information from peoples personal thoughts and experiences. I have also read a couple of biograpies written by transgender people such as 'Transition' by Chaz Bono and 'Some Assembly Required' by Arin Andrews (who also has a youtube channel).

Tumblr. is full of amazing documentaries and Whipping Girl by Julia Serano for those on the MtF spectrum.

To be honest i don't have any official ones but because of my age i like to use because it tags most things and you can almost guarantee someone else has asked your question before.

tumblr and youtube

NOT LACI GREEN! (why is she listed in your resources?)

"What kind of cosmetics do you use?"

Don't really use any. A moisturising sunscreen every morning to protect my skin, that's about it.

I don't, it triggers dysphoria just because I see it as a very feminine thing to wear make up so I kind of steer clear.

all of them.

I am very metro but this does depend on what is classified as a "cosmetic". I use cologne (Versace), After Shave and face wash.

Anything that works!

whatever i can find for under $10 because i'm unemployed. i highly recommend jordana (at most $2 shops) and L.A colours (the warehouse) because they are made in the US which have strict testing policies (and jordana are vegan and cruelty free)

I like very plain make-up, nothing special, just some foundation and maybe a bit of eye liner and so on. I use sensitive skin shaving cream and I moisturise my face twice a day. I also occasionally love to do a facial mask. Sometimes it is a lot of hassle but it can be fun and it has the result I want.

"Do you have to transition all the way?"

Hells no. There is no "all the way", only what other people expect of you.

What the fuck does that even mean? No, man, you absolutely don't have to go "all the way". Some people say "bottom surgery" or genital reconstructive surgery (GRS) is "all the way" but it's not. Transitioning is what you make it; gender is fluid as so is your journey through it, if that's what suits you. I don't know if I want to get GRS yet but it doesn't change my gender, who I am or who I want to be. I decide how I transition and each step I take is when I'm ready.

This question is incredibly subjective and everyone will have a different definition of "all the way". You should transition to the point where you are comfortable with who you are. You should not be influenced by cis perceptions of how far you "must" transition. I'm not keen on bottom surgery, too many scars and unsatisfactory results.

No. I want to go on hormones and have top surgery but i don't think science had come far enough along for FtMs to really get the full benefit of a surgically constructed penis. To me also i don't like the idea of having a major chunk of my arm taken out. If science progresses far enough along in the next 10 maybe 15 years and i will get the sensation and if it works 100% or close enough to a (i want to say normal penis but thats not right) non-surgically constructed (if you were born with a penis) penis.
(sorry to anyone if i triggered any dysphoria with my over use of any specific words during this i didn't mean to but i still have trouble expressing myself in terms of these sorts of things)

not at all. in fact, you don't even have to transition at all if you don't want to. the trans experience is different for every trans person.

I feel it would be the right thing to do. Not only am i lying to myself, but others around me if i say i don't need it.

No i don't think you 'have' to transition all the way. Personally i feel i have to to a certain point. I also don't believe transitioning is the answer to happiness. You gotta do what feels right for you and you only!

no, wtf. wtf is "all the way" ?? all the way to where? THIS IS THE SORT OF BINARY SHIT I DEAL W ON THE DAILY WHY IS THIS QUESTION PHRASED LIKE THIS
if you want to transition then that is entirely your choice, you shouldn't feel pressured into anything. if you never want to transition then that is fine too. for some people transitioning is a thing that will be impossible for them so that has to be taken into account too.

No way. Whatever makes you comfortable and happy with/in yourself is what you should do. Find your own gender sweet spot. Surgery and hormones don't diminish your right to gender self-determination.