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Super frequent scribe

Happy Transgender Awareness Week everyone! We want to give the warmest welcome to @Lapis_Anteater !

Pride Education GIF by Fox Fisher

So, what do transgender, gender dysphoria, and gender affirming care mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term that describes a person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth not being a match. This umbrella includes genders that are both binary and non-binary. Not all non-binary people choose to label themselves as trans as they do not feel like it describes their experience. 


Gender dysphoria is the disconnect between the gender a person experiences/expresses and the gender that was assigned to them. This disconnect causes significant distress and is alleviated by transitioning. Most trans people will experience some level of gender dysphoria, however not all trans people do. Dysphoria is therefore not a requirement for being trans.


Gender affirming care is any care that helps to affirm and support a trans person’s gender. The goal of gender affirming care is to find a way whether medically or socially (typically both) to either ease the discomfort caused by gender dysphoria or to create gender euphoria (the joy created when experienced gender and perceived gender align).


Everyone affirms their gender in one way or another. Plastic surgery, hair removal, hair loss treatment, make up, and clothing are all things that can be gender affirming. Gender affirmation is important for the wellbeing and happiness of everyone trans or not, it can be a little bit more difficult to accomplish for trans people.


Planned Parenthood Trans GIF by INTO ACTION

What does transitioning involve?

Every trans person is unique and will have different objectives and end goals. These goals may or may not fit into the binary of woman and man, it varies from person to person. There are three main aspects of transition: social, legal, and medical. Socially transitioning may involve changing things like your pronouns, preferred name, hair style, and clothes. Legally transitioning involves changing things like your legal name and sex. Medically transitioning may involve hormones and surgery.


Social transitioning is typically the first step taken. Some people may change to a nickname whilst deciding on their new name. They may switch between pronouns or clothing styles to find out what fits best. Some might become hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine to be perceived as the gender they are. It can take a while to figure out who you are and often it requires a bit of trial an error. 


Throughout Australia you can change your gender marker without surgical intervention, however changing your legal sex is more difficult in some places than in others. In NSW you need to have had gender reassignment surgery and in WA at the minimum you must have received hormone therapy.


Medically transitioning is a long and expensive process. Surgeries tend to cost thousands of dollars with only a small portion if any of the cost being covered by Medicare. There are a limited number of plastic surgeons that perform trans-surgeries in Australia. This has led to long waitlists and for many to opt for care overseas. These lifesaving treatments are often either unaffordable, delayed, or inaccessible.


There are many barriers to transitioning including having an unsupportive family or social network, financial difficulty, fears of discrimination and violence, and medical issues or disability. Some people may not be comfortable with all the outcomes of hormones or surgery as it may not align with their goals. Not all trans people will want to transition ‘fully’ or can transition ‘fully’, this doesn’t make them any less trans.

How did you know you were trans?

I had no idea for a long time. I like some traditionally feminine things, my hair was long, and I didn’t think of myself as a boy. I also didn’t really think of myself as a girl, it was more something that was placed onto me by other people. I never questioned it really. Puberty was when the dysphoria kicked in. I just looked wrong. I hated looking in the mirror because I couldn’t recognise the person I saw. I would hear myself talking or hear my name and I would just feel disconnected. I didn’t have the words to explain how I was feeling so I thought it was low self-esteem.


I started borrowing my brother’s clothes as I felt more comfortable in them. At 14 I came out as a lesbian and at 15 I cut my hair short. That was the first time I recognised myself in the mirror. I looked like me. I looked right. Over the next few years, I started presenting more masculinely but never thought about whether my gender was correct.


In 2021 I was talking to some of the non-binary people I knew and learnt about how they experienced gender. My experience was pretty similar to theirs. I started to think about what would actually make me happy. I ended up getting a binder, some more masculine clothes, and asked to be referred to with a new name and pronouns. It was a way for me to see if transitioning was what I wanted. All the changes could be easily undone so I knew if I wasn’t comfortable or if something felt wrong, I could stop. Ultimately, these changes gave me immense joy, so I decided that transitioning was right for me.


Pride Lgbt GIF by Contextual.Matters

What’s transitioning been like for you?

It has been challenging, but it has also been so worth it. I got exceedingly lucky as both my friends and immediate family have been supportive. Some of my extended family members have been transphobic but their opinions aren’t too much of an issue as I’m not close to them.


There are so many things that I knew I would be excited for like my voice dropping or having a flat chest but there are other things that I did not expect to be excited about. My base level of strength is a lot higher which is really nice, and it is so much easier to get blood tests as my veins are better. 


Something I really struggled with was patience. Most of the big changes caused by hormones take months to years to occur so it got quite discouraging at times. The dysphoria really makes you think that it’ll be like this forever. I found it helpful to try to not compare my progress to anyone else’s. That being said I am still envious of people who get facial hair quickly.


I am at a place where I am comfortable with my transition and feel that I have accomplished what I wanted. It finally feels like a body that I can exist in. Transitioning enough to be happy felt so out of reach for a long time. If you can notice and find joy in the small changes, the big changes will creep up on you in no time. At this point it feels like I was recently counting down the days until I start testosterone, but it’s almost been two years and I couldn’t be happier.

How can I be an ally or support the trans person in my life?

Transitioning is a big change. It takes time to get used to a new name/pronouns. If you get it wrong sometimes, that’s okay, just quickly correct yourself. So long as you’re trying and don’t make us feel like this change is a big burden for you, you’re doing great!


For some trans people being asked to state their pronouns makes them feel like they are not passing well enough, and this can trigger dysphoria. If you are unsure about someone’s pronouns, it might be better to introduce yourself with your pronouns instead of asking them directly. This gives the other person the opportunity to share their pronouns without them feeling forced or targeted.


Reassurance that transitioning will change the way things are is always welcomed. Dysphoria can sort of feel like a sinkhole that drags you deeper and deeper into this idea that you’ll never feel like you. You need the people around you to drag you back up and tell you that you’re wrong.


If a trans person is excited about an aspect of their transition join in on the excitement. You might not understand why it’s a big deal and that’s perfectly okay. Try to remember that there’s a whole bunch of things that we are experiencing for the first time, some of which we never thought we’d get to experience!


Planned Parenthood Lgbt GIF by Creative Courage


Some people love being known as trans, others would rather be stealth (pass as cisgender). As a rule, don’t tell another person that someone is trans without knowing if it is okay with the trans person. Try not to ask about which surgeries we’ve gotten if you don’t know us well. Do not ask for dead names (previous name). Hearing dead names (even just in reference to someone else) makes a lot of trans people incredibly uncomfortable. Therefore, if you know a trans person’s dead name, don’t share it with anyone else.

Super frequent scribe

Thank U GIF by Idil Keysan


Thank you so much for sharing about what it means to be transgender and your own personal experience Lapis. It’s truly awesome to have someone from our community talk to us today.


With everything that’s been discussed, we want to say how important it is to look after your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing! It’s essential to seek the right medical advice too, which may be in the form of booking a session with a GP or specialist. We have a previous event from an LGBTQIA+ Friendly GP which can give you some more information. There’s also places you can seek for information and support, like QLife, an LGBTQIA+ peer support call service, and Transhub which provides information and resources. We’ll also share some articles below 😀



Transhub- On Binding 

Rainbow Project- Safe Binding and Packing

Minus18- How to Bind your Chest Safely and Healthily  

ReachOut- How to Cope with Transphobia