Interview with Hijra film makers.

By Darren Marples.

Edited by Tom Wiese.

I managed to catch up with a film maker who is in the process of setting up a documentary about the Hijra folk in India.

Hijra-Trans sex workers getting ready for work

Could you please introduce yourself:

I’m Ila Mehrotra Jenkins, I’m the director of the documentary HIJRA. I grew up in Delhi and I’ve been based in Britain for the last decade. During this time I’ve been working in British television, specifically in documentaries and current affairs with the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. HIJRA is my first feature documentary.

Most people will not know who hijra people are who read our article, due to culture differences. How do the hijra differ from Western Transgender? Could you please explain?

Hijras are the oldest ethnic transgender community in the world. Hijras are known as the ‘holy hermaphrodites’ from ancient Hindu scriptures. The scriptures say the hijras have the power to bless and curse, and even today that belief is very prevalent.
Tradition holds that a hijra must leave their biological family and society to live within a hijra family and earn a living through their blessings. Through the centuries, the hijra community has grown to absorb very large numbers of trans and non-binary people, particularly from the lower sections of Indian society. Paradoxically, while hijras are considered ‘holy’ in society, it is a matter of grave shame to manhood to have a hijra within one’s family. Unfortunately, young trans-hijras are often excluded from their biological families to live amongst hijras. They continue to bless in exchange for money in India today, but a very large number of hijras are forced to beg and do sex work to survive, excluded from education and mainstream society. As in many parts of the world, hijra people in India face extreme violence, marginalisation and abuse; but unlike in many countries, while facing extreme ostracisation, transgender people can find a precarious acceptance in society as “sacred” figures.

What are the rights both legally and socially of the hijra community in India?

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognised transgender people as a Third Gender and a socially and economically backward class entitled to reservations in education and jobs, and also directed union and state governments to frame welfare schemes for them.
This tabled bill was then passed in 2018 in a much watered down and heavily amended version that provides the equal recognition and protection only in theory.
Although homosexuality was finally decriminalised in 2018, in reality, hijras continue to face massive discrimination, marginalisation, violence and abuse, as societal prejudice is very widespread.

Hijra- Trans activist – warrior, Rudrani

How important is the making of this film for yourselves and society understanding and what do you wish to achieve in the making?

We hope to share the stories of hijras. One such astonishing activist for the hijra community is Rudrani Chettri. Part of this film includes her and the hijras she helps, and through this film we hope the world will hear the voices of the trans-hijra community. Further, we hope for the film to raise support of Rudrani’s work and help with increasing acceptance for trans-hijra identities, in the way they wish to be defined.

What can other cultures learn from the hijra?

The hijra trans community inspires others to have the courage to live beyond restrictive gender norms. While they have faced severe discrimination hijras have also thrived as a welcoming community to those who choose to live a transgender identity.

Hijra blessing at a temple.

How can others support you?

We are currently asking for financial support through our crowdfunding campaign:

These funds would allow us to continue making the documentary, and will help get us into production for two crucial shoots. We’d ask you to please support us and share the project widely and support Rudrani’s work for acceptance, love and respect for the trans hijras in all their human complexity.
This film will spread the word about the struggle these incredible people face, encouraging international solidarity by documenting the hope and force of will they display, and reaching out to the wider community on their behalf.

​Call me by my pronoun

By @_AlexandraClare



Pronouns are some of the most commonly-used words both in literature and conversation. They are defined as a word that replaces a noun, used to avoid repetition – I recommended a book to my friend because I thought she would enjoy it. We assimilate the sense without caring that the order of the elements described is then reversed and accept that ‘she’ means my friend and ‘it’ the book. In comparison to many languages, the English language does not assign genders to all words or demand that we identify by gender; my neighbour, my partner, even my dog all have no assumptions attached to them.

Once we start using pronouns however, we are quickly sucked into both stating gender but also being restricted to a choice of two. Where we can’t tell, say for pets, we use ‘it’ but this is not an appealing option for humans. There is a clear need for such a pronoun, even without considering the needs of trans and non-binary people. Where we do not know who has done something, we could say ‘someone left his or her book behind’ but we sound idiotic. In a 2015 article, Gary Nunn describes over a hundred attempts to come up with a simple gender-neutral pronoun spread over a hundred and fifty years. All have fizzled out because of either lack of adoption or because no one knows how to pronounce them.

Examples do exist of languages without gendered pronouns, including Turkish and Finnish. On that basis, the use of gender for pronouns is a matter of history and culture rather than necessary. As a writer, I care about this because I want to be able to write about all people in a fair and representative way. 

My belief is that the most practical solution proposed is to use ‘their’. A big advantage is that it passes the ‘sounds right’ test – someone left their book behind. Although this is the approach now used by The Economist, it is not universally supported. It infuriates grammarians by using a plural for a singular. It’s use has also attracted criticism from individuals within the trans community because the use of a neutral is considered misgendering where someone wishes to be identified as he or she.

 

My answer to this is that language evolves. He/ him used to be the universal term for referring to all people – who else had to sing ‘He who would valiant be?’ at school? We have mostly moved on from this, though many legal contracts still have the arcane introduction that where masculine is referred to, this includes feminine – gosh, thanks loads for including little old me. We have seen possible solutions of melded gender pronouns, though this only works for a binary world. The use of ‘they’ as a true gender-neutral is just a further evolution and one which should be relatively easy to adopt. Whether this becomes a staging-post on the way to a removal of gender from all references is an argument for tomorrow. Even though this is a problem where no single solution will please everyone, the benefits from an approach that is generally adopted will provide immediate benefits. A way to speak about all people equally should encourage equality of thought as well as the more mundane pleasure of being able to write simple sentences.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2015/jan/30/is-it-time-we-agreed-on-a-gender-neutral-singular-pronoun 

Follow Alex on twitter at @_AlexandraClare 

Alex Clare is the author of crime novels featuring trans woman detective DI Robyn Bailley.

Owen’s Story: The need to be me. 

By @owentomasini
Growing up I always felt different than everyone. I dressed like a boy, I acted like a boy, but I was born a girl. My family called me a tom-boy, and I thought that’s why I never felt right in girl clothes, or felt like I wasn’t like all my friends that were girls. The feelings never went away.

As I got older I pushed my feelings down and told myself “you are a girl, you can’t be a boy”. I tried to be a girl, I tried wearing girl clothes, but it never felt right.

I got married, had kids, tried to be what people wanted me to be, but I was unhappy. I hated my body, hated how I looked and felt. My mental health suffered, and it got so bad I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

Then one day my mom – who I love, but couldn’t let myself be me – moved away to marry her cousin. That’s when things changed, and I started slowly being myself. I cut my hair, got tattoos, changed the way I dressed, and little by little I felt good. I could look at myself in the mirror. But those feeling of me needing to be in a different body came back. I still wasn’t ready to accept it, not until my friend came out as trans. That was my Ah-hah! moment. That’s when I could say to myself “you are a man”. You aren’t a women, and it’s OK.

It took me weeks after I realized that I was trans to come out to my doctor, and my husband. My doctor was great about it, she put in a request to see a special doctor that would prescribe me T. Then I had to tell my husband, at first he said “are you crazy?” Hours later he said he was OK with it. My husband isn’t fully behind me as a man. He tells me to get my face waxed so I won’t grow facial hair, tells me don’t take T too long, just a bit. When he does say those things I tell him “no I am trans, and it’s for life”. I think in time he will accept me for me. I know he loves me, and wants me to be happy and healthy.

I have come out to my friends and family and have gotten nothing but love. My mom – who I thought wouldn’t accept me and would be mad – told me she loved me, and wanted to support me. She even asked about what I wanted her to call me now. Wow! She gets it! My mom who I couldn’t tell major things to in the past actually gets it! Her husband went on about the Bible, saying this is a sin, she told him to shut it.

The only people I haven’t come out to are my in-laws. The reason being, they are Catholic, and will be cruel to my husband and I over this. I know I can’t hide this forever, but will keep it from them as long as I can.

I am excited for the future, I can’t wait for the changes from taking T to really start to show. I know in a year or so I will want top surgery, but I want to give my husband and kids time to get used to me being a man before I do anything else major.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors.

Be yourself! 

By @amyann2100

Society can be very mean towards us! 

Many don’t understand us and have created myths.  While there is plenty of biphobia in the world,we shouldn’t have to worry about embracing our sexuality because we are amazing people, who just want to be ourselves. It can be hard because of the misconception that we are “going through a phase”, as well as many others. If you’re reading this, I imagine you want someone to say, “Embrace all of yourself and don’t give too huts about what’s said”. As much as I want to say that, I can`t.

Everyone should embrace everything about themselves, but it`s not possible to not care in the slightest what is said about you and your sexuality. Being bisexual is amazing. I love it and I wouldn’t change this part of myself for the world, but I do care what people say when I fully embrace this part of myself. If you’re like me and struggled to accept being bisexual at first then I imagine you know what I mean; it takes a lot to put it out there and you do feel vulnerable to begin with, but it does get better.

I took small steps in embracing my bisexuality: coming out to friends and family, talking about how I felt about being bisexual, watching YouTube videos by gaywrights (I felt so much better after watching Camille’s videos) and I recently started liking and retweeting lgbtqia+ pages and bisexual pride pages. I have followers that are homophobic, but not even one has said something negative on any of my retweets. It`s scary, I’m not going to lie but you’ll feel so much better. Not embracing your bisexuality is like being in the closet, because your hiding. You don’t need to hide. There are manysupport pages on the Internet. 

If you experience any biphobia that help you to deal with it and become thick skinned to it. You are you and no one can change that. I`ve heard people say, “You’re so brave for embracing being bisexual. You’re embracing yourself and it’s a wonderful thing”. It’s not brave, pure and simple, heterosexual people embrace themselves and so do gay men and women. It’s not a new concept to be yourself. I keep saying this, but it`s true, it is scary and it can take a lot not to go back and hide, but it`s worth it. It is so worth it to embrace being bisexual and we shouldn’t have to hide through fear of what will be said. 

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t worry about embracing your bisexuality:

  • ·You get to be yourself, and no one should worry about being themselves.
  • ·Allies, we have so many allies, that will be so proud of you for embracing yourself
  • ·You know the myths/ misconceptions are false
  • ·Only your opinion of you matters

You will be happier and no one deserves to worry about happiness. If you embrace your bisexuality, well done,I`m so proud of you, I love you. If not,that’s fully acceptable, you will not be judged for it, I love you also. Negative things are temporary, you are forever.Whether you embrace being bisexual or not, it’s your decision, don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you don’t. If you don’t embrace being bisexual, but you want to and are scared, I promise you there is support for you and it will become easier in time. Baby steps help a lot. It’s okay to be scared. It`s totally valid and you are not alone, I`ve been there and I promise you, you can do this,if you want to. You shouldn’t have to worry about being yourself, because you are amazing and no one can take that away from you.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


Why you shouldn’t have to worry about embracing some of your bisexuality. 

​By @cduffy1999

Bisexual women I can guess most of us bisexuals have at some point experienced one of the following statements/questions.

“Yeah but how do you know”
“You’ll come out gay eventually”
“It’s a phase”
And my personal favorite…
“That’s just you being greedy”

Haha I’m just dying of laughter cause yes totally accurate. *sarcasm

But at the same time I’m not going to apologize for going to see Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast and proceeding to bleed from my nose as beheld both a long held crush and recently developed one at the same time.

And suggesting that a bisexual has more sex than anyone else is not only a major generalization but also suggesting that it is greedy to actually have this much sex is simply slut shamming.

Let’s just explore another thing. Threesomes. Yep. We’ve all experienced this one. I’ve had many experiences online where people will see bi female and Immediately try to coerce me into a threesome. 
This is a horrible experience when you try and try again to explain to them no sorry I’m not going to jump at the chance to have sex with two strangers usually a lot  older than myself. (For context I came out when I was 16)

Having people not get this message or even get pissed off at you for not consenting to this in the first place is sometimes a wake up call. Suddenly the message sent by society to us young bisexuals is you’re everyone’s whore.

 

And then you just want to shut yourself because it would feel easier somehow. Being the opposite of all the stereotypes of bisexuals as some horny jack rabbits to avoid dragging bisexuals through the mud completely.

But suddenly life loses its spice, its spirit and its warmth.

You’ve perhaps been fighting some of you’re natural behavior patterns, suppressing the truth of your identity.

Its clear that some of us are more vanilla, shy, reserved and virtuous. 
But it should not be regarded as a problem to be kinky, outgoing and have the sex drive of roughly oh I don’t know a  rabbit. 

Cause f*** it life is for living and its not our problem how people create generalizations of us. Its theirs. Its them that need their minds opened.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


Transgender day of Remembrance. 

​by @Aunty_Vicki

Firstly a poem

A sad day

Candles posted

while I compose

Needing to connect with my inner rose

The poets skills will be needed too

To make the articles wording pleasant for you

While showing part of my world

Remember I am writing from the angle of a Transgender-Genderfluid Girl.

Ms, Vicki, She, Her, Them, They fit me

You know what fits you

However you identify

I Platonically love you too

The day of remembrance has long been a part of my life. The first service I ever attended was in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1992. This first service was held in Victoria Square, near the Avon River and the Town Hall, as it was then.

Of course back then it wasn’t called TDOR but very little has changed. 

The service spoke about some of the people on the list, about their lives, much like an ANZAC Service or memorial service.

After the speeches and readings were complete, the tealight candles were lit and placed in paper boats and allowed to float down the rivers path.  The experience was very moving and changed part of my life forever. 

I learned that not everywhere was as open and welcoming to people who are Transgender or Gender Fluid.  I also later learned there were more Allies  at the service than anyone else.  This gave me hope that one day society would adjust enough for me to feel safe enough to be me publicly full time.  That turned out to be biological age 36.  A lot would happen between that service and finally being closer to me than ever before at 36.

More about my Transition/ Evolution / Changes are recorded in other articles published by @MattersOfPride and in my series of ebooks.

https://t.co/o0ypF8uNOh

https://t.co/YGiz9eab29

https://t.co/w38k8ck8GK 

This year sadly there are a lot of names on the TDOR List of names if you take the global view of Humans are humans, where ever they may be.   Earlier in the year, I lit a candle for some people as well as at midnight on ANZAC Day. While Tealight Candles are a tradition for Transgender people, I think our Allies deserve recognition too; leading by example, everyone is welcome to take part, however they choose to.  The photo below is from last years vigil at my own home.

What are you Questioning?

What are you questioning?

Your gender identity?

Your sexual preference?

The meaning of life?

Let’s break it down….
It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, at some point we will become curious (which is another word for questioning) about our: gender, sexuality, personality, identity – place in the world. This can at times become very confusing but I am writing this to express a deep desire in helping you to know something – we all go through this. I think that identifying, or questioning your identity, within the LGBTQAI+ community can of course add certain pressures and can lead to feelings of isolation. 

I think it is important for us all to know that, wondering if you are LGBTQAI+ is in itself an incredible achievement – you are already ‘there’ in that you have noticed something within yourself. Many people have these same questions but they never address them. 

Labels can be very helpful when exploring who and what we are, let’s throw a few into the ether and see where it leads us – intersex, straight, male, lesbian, homoflexible, trans man, fluid, non-binary, trans woman, gay, heteroflexible, asexual, polyamorous, not a chuffin’ clue.

Which resonates?

Some?

All?

None?

Let me tell you which resonates for me and then I will tell you why – not a chuffin’ clue. My gender I pretty much identify as male most of the time, my sexual preference however changes just as soon as I can say ‘er?’ and that’s okay.

Questioning is a lot different from confusion, although they are linked. To question yourself, to check out who you are, is a natural part of growing up and developing into adults (and this process never stops). When I throw my arms up and say ‘I have no idea what I am… but I do know who I am!’ it feels wonderful. So if those labels up there make you feel uncomfortable – drop them. If one or two (or three or four) make you feel whole, why not use it for a while? You might find that the label no longer fits, as you continue your journey into questioning who and what you are. 

That’s okay too. I think it is important to explore, to discover, to relish in the beauty of who you are right now. Sometimes you need to question before you get the answer.

But…

Sometimes….. you just know the answer, even before you’ve asked the question.

What I do when I get confused with all the questions, is I just stop. I take a long deep breath, relax into my own body (this particularly goes out to you brave souls questioning your gender identity right now) and I feel, really really feel, this human body. I let the heat rise up within me and allow the tingles to consume my body as I become more and more present. I’ve got what I’ve got (so far as my genitals are concerned) and I feel how I feel (so far as my sexual tastes are) and, and… ah I am beginning to feel like myself again.
Now…. before you all go screaming at me ‘But I hate my body! I don’t feel like the gender I appear as!’ well that is a part of this process… when you ‘ground’ yourself into ‘what is’ – you feel. I can’t stress this enough – you feel. When we are absolutely in touch with our emotions (which we connect with via our bodies) – we just know what to do.

Sometimes this knowing will require action. Sometimes not. Often this knowing naturally, effortlessly leads us to where we need to be.

Making sense? If it is or if it isn’t, let me just put it in a nutshell – the questions and curiosities are perfectly normal, natural. The sitting still for a while is a tool for us to access the questioning in a different way. It leads us, like I said – to the wonder that is you.

And by the way….. you are beautiful – just as you are.




With so much love…. Matt xx

Matt is a therapist, coach and trainer. You can find him at http://www.sexcoaching.london. 

Eight things about my own Bisexuality. 

ONE

I am a bisexual male in a relationship with another man. 

This doesn’t mean that I have forefieted my sexuality, it doesn’t make me gay. As I still find women attractive too 

There are many like me. 

TWO

I’m not promiscuous.

Far from it.

I’ve only slept with a few people whom I was in relationships with. I never personally had a one night stand. Never been to an orgy. My sexuality has nothing to do with my morality, sex drive or need to prove a point. I know many gay, straight and bi people who are like me and others who differ.

We are all different and it’s a false stereotype. 

THREE

I’ve never have been unfaithful. Actually my ex wife was the one who cheated on me. If you read the above I think you know my view already. Everyone of us are individuals, some situations cause unfaithfulness, others caused by personal choice. I see infidelity hurts and I would never do that to the one I love. If you did, then you need to ask what they meant to you. 

FOUR

I’m not in denial, frankly this annoys me the most. 

Recently someone said I was gay because I am in a relationship with another man.

That doesn’t make anyone gay!

Who you are attracted to makes you gay,straight or like myself bisexual. 

It only confuses people further when others are dismissive of someone’s self identity. 

It’s OK saying if you were so convinced that you were xy and z you wouldn’t let it bother you.

Turn that around on yourself next time you’re accused of something that isn’t true.

How would you feel?

Then think how you would feel if that was a constant accusation.

Does it make sense now that so many lgbt people have depression and suicide issues?

Did you know bisexual women are the most vulnerable female group to commit suicide?

Streets ahead of straight woman and gay ones.we need to respect and respond better to these issues. 

FIVE

I don’t believe in ghetoising Bisexual people in our own community.

If you do that then you are shutting yourself off from others and blocking their vision into the world of bisexuals.

As a bisexual you don’t learn how to correctly deal with biphobic views, also you can’t teach others the truth about Bisexuality.

Sure there are many nasty gay men out there,  the same with straight men and women but there are some nice people too.

Im sure some will say the same about some bisexuals.

Gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual and so on. We all are individuals.

The good guys outweigh the bad ones, it’s just some are more vocal. 

SIX

I’m not on a journey, I’m on a paradise island, with the one I love.

I’m not so sure about this journey everyone’s on.   I discovered I was bisexual and was only confused by the lack of resources, misinformation and so on. My sexuality didn’t change and never has, just as my ex wife’s, my boyfriend’s hasn’t.

They  both maintained they’ve always been attracted to men.

Some people’s sexuality changes,  and that’s cool but some of us are more on vacation rather than going on a world tour

There is nothing wrong with that too.

Again, we are all individuals.

My advice is to be sure before you share your sexuality with anyone. Maybe you are on a cruise liner but be positive that you’re not at a Hilton and make sure the location too.

Be positive, you have it right. Talk to experts, don’t rely on people’s opinion. Most of all, listen to yourself.

SEVEN

I’m honest with my partners. I always have been. It was difficult with my wife. However I did tell her, we spoke about it often. I never overwhelmed her though.

My now boyfriend asks me things constantly about both men and women. Trust me, there is no stone unturned with him. Then I’m the same with him. Honesty is the best policy. 

EIGHT

I exist. people like me exist.  Get over it! 

By @Aunty_Vicki 

Long ago, in 1969 I was assigned male at birth.  That was well before the Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed here in New Zealand during 1986; which amongst other things, legalised the Gender and Orientation status of  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuality and of course Transgender Humans ( Commonly known as LGBT).  Since the age of 3 years old, I have known that I was meant to be female.  At age 36, I started to live full time as female as I could.  At first, when visiting my family in my birth town as I call it, I would have to go into stealth mode.  My family had taken quite a while to adapt to my orientation to being gay, and my confidence was not yet ready for the barrage of questions that I knew would follow with coming out again, this time as a transgender female. 

As my confidence grew, my brother whom I have the most contact with online via Facebook, became more than aware of how I was changing, especially as I started posting photos of how I identify.  My brother is quite accepting of me being me.  Other members of the family had issues with it, especially one Christmas day when I needed to dress as me for Christmas dinner and was promptly told, dress male or no dinner. Without dwelling too much on it, I put a male layer over what I had planned to wear and tolerated dinner, after which, I packed and relocated to my brothers house for the rest of that trip. 

As time went on by, I knew that female me was who I was more and more. Along the way I began test driving new names, so as to have a name that I felt was a good fit.  I started some private research into Hormone Replacement Therapy and talked to my doctor about what the requirements were to get into the official treatment for Gender Dysphoria. It Boils down to a few factors, a risk assessment, a shrinks report followed by appointments at the specialist department of the Hospital. 

So I jumped though those hoops with relative ease. That was 2 years and several months ago.  The next step, after encountering Transphobia from some would be employers was filing legal name and gender change forms at the Family Court, where such matters are processed. 

My Official date of filing is sometime during January 2016.



In my application, I sighted a number of factors, including that I knew I was misgendered at birth at age 3. The family Court here requires a number of documents including medical records, and formal statements from attending doctors and or surgeons connected to my medical transition.  The gathering of “The Red Tape” as I call it was mostly handled by my court appointed lawyer.  From time to time, registrar reviews are carried out which make sure that the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted before an actual court date.  A report was filed on my behalf by my lawyer.  Along the way I also sent the odd email with some of my thoughts, opinions and research to the court registrar. My research turned up some interesting points, including what the official Olympic standard is for being considered female as far as taking part in the games are concerned.  For Transmen, there are few if any restrictions, For transwomen, their testosterone level must be bellow a certain level, and they must have been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for at least 1 year.  In my submission to the registrar, I pointed out that I met the Olympic Criteria and said something along the lines of, “Surely what is good enough for our sports heroes and teams  is good enough for me”.  Four months later, on May 26, I was declared legally female by the Family Court Judge. It was there that I learned that the Judge did not have the authority to rubber stamp my Identifying name Later that afternoon, I went to the Department of Internal affairs, Births Deaths and Marriages Department, and filed my name change and of course the first of many fees was paid and forms filled in.  What to me should have taken less than an hour to fill in a form, pay the form fee and order the new birth certificate printing fee.  Oddly I had to prove that I was my original birth name.  Even stranger, they asked me If I had any photo id in my new name before they had given me my new birth certificate.  I was polite about that, saying they were asking for chicken before the egg was hatched!  How did they expect me to get id with my new name on it before I had my new birth certificate?!  Aside from my Auto Club Membership Card, My Community Services Card and few letters of thanks from charities that I had helped fund raise for, I had no solid proof of being my Identifying name.  None of the  afore mentioned cards have photos on them.   As The calendar rolled around and Births Deaths and Marriages did  what ever it is they do in the background.  So I was me but not on paper nor anywhere else, except for my doctors office and chemist.  Some store loyalty cards agreed to provide me with a new club card without seeing my new birth certificate, while things like drivers license, bank and credit cards companies required to see my new birth certificate.

On July 4, Independence day in USA, my new birth certificate was printed.  A few days later it arrived in the mail.  At last I was able to change all the other legal bits of paper from old name and pronoun to new.  My drivers license required a fee, as did one credit card company.  My main bank happy replaced my credit card for free and it has my Identifying name on it, Ms V R., matching my auto club card.  My Insurance was changed over to my new name, surprisingly no change in premium.  They did however say, that might change when my policy is due for renewal. 

So, my advise is, if you are about to make these types of changes yourself, know this, Rome wasn’t built in a day and yes those months between filing the first lot of paper work and getting the end result are perhaps the longest days of your  life, but they are worth waiting for.  Be sure about what name and gender status you wish to apply to legally change.  I test drove the name Vicki for over a year and a half before filing for change of Gender and change of name.  In an ideal world, I would have gotten rid of my birth assigned name completely, but was reluctant to then have to get all of my qualifications and references rewritten/ reprinted in my new name.  So I saved a few trees and an unknown amount in reprinting fees. 

By doing the legal name and gender change, I have eliminated as much Dysphoria from my life as I can.  Some people still address me as my original birth name and pronouns ( known as dead naming in Transgender circles).  My new birth certificate means I am legally “Cisgender” in part at least, if you define Cisgender as agreeing with the gender on your birth certificate.  I have not forgotten what it was like to be Transgender, officially or otherwise and I wish all of my extended family Transgender members happiness in being themselves in all aspects of their lives and on paper. 
Poem When did you know? 

1)When did you know who you were? 

2)At what age did you realise that you are your gender? 

3)How long have you lived as your identifying gender? 

4)Is that why you wear what you do? 

5)Are you in drag or is that how you live? 

6) Are you on Hormone replacement therapy(HRT)?, if yes how long for? 

7) Do you plan on any Gender affirming surgery? 

8) Do these questions annoy or bother you? 

Any of these sound familiar to you? 

I know I have been asked these questions many times by lots of people along the path of my transition.

So here are my answers: 

1) age 3 or younger. 

2) age 3 

3) 10-11 years full time, when I could before that. 

4) Yes, I dress to be me 

5) This is how I live, I dress to be comfortable and to be me, minimising the effects of Gender and body dysphoria by assesserising what I wear with Jewellery and painted nails amongst other techniques 

6) yes, in my second year of HRT 

7) Not at this point in time, but might consider it, if it is offered. At the moment I am quiet happy with the HRT Results to date. 

8) Sometimes, mostly because it is mostly none of anyone’s business unless I opt to share it, without feeling under a verbal microscope, Especially for question 7.

So now you know these things about me, 

has this changed your opinion of me? 

Does it make me more or less valid? 

Do all genders get asked these questions of them? 

Feel free to comment your own answers to the above if you so choose 

Remember this, regardless of your answers, 

You are Loved and Valid 

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