Foreword by Justin Tindall, It Gets Better Project

Gender Fulfilled Being Transgender

Beyond Male and Female: The Gender Identity Spectrum Body and Mind: LGBTQ Health Issues Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority Gender Fulfilled: Being Transgender LGBTQWithout Borders: International Life LGBTQ at Work: Your Personal and Working Life Love Makes a Family: Friends, Family, and Significant Others When You’re Ready: Coming Out You Are Not Alone: Finding Your LGBTQ Community

Gender Fulfilled Being Transgender

By Joyce A. Anthony

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Copyright © 2020 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4273-5 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4277-3 E-book ISBN: 978-1-4222-7524-5 Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file at the Library of Congress.

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CONTENTS Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1 Being Transgender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2 I Hate My Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 3 Parents, Siblings, School, and Beyond 44 4 Helping Others Understand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 5 Being You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Series Glossary of Key Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Further Reading & Internet Resources 93 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Author’s Biography & Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

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Words to Understand: These words, with their easy-to-understand definitions, will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text.

Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there.

Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

Foreword I’m so excited that you’ve decided to pick up this book! I can’t tell you how much something like this would have meant to me when I was in high school in the early 2000s. Thinking back on that time, I can honestly say I don’t recall ever reading anything positive about the LGBTQ community. And while Will & Grace was one of the most popular shows on television at the time, it never made me feel as though such stories could be a reality for me. That’s in part why it took me nearly a decade more to finally come out in 2012 when I was 25 years old; I guess I knew so little about what it meant to be LGBTQ that I was never really able to come to terms with the fact that I was queer myself. But times have changed so much since then. In the United States alone, marriage equality is now the law of the land; conversion therapy has been banned in more than 15 states (and counting!); all 50 states have been served by an openly LGBTQ-elected politician in some capacity at some time; and more LGBTQ artists and stories are being celebrated in music, film, and on television than ever before. And that’s just the beginning! It’s simply undeniable: it gets better. After coming out and becoming the proud queer person I am today, I’ve made it my life’s goal to help share information that lets others know that they’re never alone. That’s why I now work for the It Gets Better Project (www.itgetsbetter.org), a nonprofit with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ youth around the globe. The organization was founded in September 2010 when the first It Gets Better video was uploaded to YouTube. The viral online storytelling movement that quickly followed has generated over 60,000 video stories to date, one of the largest collections of LGBTQ stories the world has ever seen. Since then, the It Gets Better Project has expanded into a global organization, working to tell stories and build communities everywhere. It does this through three core programs:


Gender Fulfilled • Being Transgender

• Media.  We continue to expand our story collection to reflect the vast diversity of the global LGBTQ community and to make it ever more accessible to LGBTQ youth everywhere. (See, itgetsbetter.org/stories.) • Global.  Through a growing network of affiliates, the It Gets Better Project is helping to equip communities with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to tell their own stories. (See, itgetsbetter.org/global.) • Education.  It Gets Better stories have the power to inform our communities and inspire LGBTQ allies, which is why we’re working to share them in as many classrooms and community spaces we can. (See, itgetsbetter.org/education.) You can help the It Gets Better Project make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ young people everywhere. To get started, go to www.itgetsbetter.org and click “Get Involved.” You can also help by sharing this book and the other incredible volumes from the LGBTQ Life series with someone you know and care about. You can also share them with a teacher or community leader, who will in turn share them with countless others. That’s how movements get started. In short, I’m so proud to play a role in helping to bring such an important collection like this to someone like you. I hope you enjoy each and every book, and please don’t forget: it gets better.

Justin Tindall Director, Education and Global Programming It Gets Better Project



Introduction Somewhere between the ages of three and five, we start to discover many things about ourselves and the world around us. Many people recall that that was when they first found an interest in the very thing they ended up turning into a career. We learn how to relate to the world around us and imitate those we are close to. We also start to realize that there are two forms of people in our worlds, those called girls and those called boys . At that point, we may not understand the full implication of what it means to be either a boy or a girl, but we know which role we are drawn to. Children those ages may start to dress up in their mother’s clothing or try her makeup. Others may follow their father into the bathroom and imitate him as he shaves. We know instinctively what we are. It is around this age that a child will be able to answer the question “Are you a girl or a boy?” In the majority of cases, the answer brings smiles from the adults in their world. In a growing part of the population, however, the answer the adult receives may bring about a correction. This often happens when the gender that the world has assigned the child does not match whom that child feels like inside. These are transgendered children. In this book, we are going to talk about what it means to be transgender. If you picked up this book, you are very likely to be a young person approaching your teenage years and to feel that somewhere along the line someone misfiled some paperwork and labeled you with the incorrect body. You are seeking answers that can help you understand what you are feeling. Most of all, you want to know what this means for you and your future. Within these pages, you will meet others who feel the same as you do. You will learn what it feels like to finally realize you aren’t alone on this journey. This book won’t candy-coat things. Being transgender is not easy. You will meet opposition along the way. You will also find support. Being transgender isn’t something you must face alone. This book will help you know where to find that support and understanding that can make the journey easier.


Gender Fulfilled • Being Transgender

You will get an overview of what options you will have that can help you free the person inside who longs to be heard. You will learn that you don’t have to follow some pre-ordained blueprint but can instead make your own choices as to what feels comfortable for you personally. You will learn of your own uniqueness and what that means for you. As you reach the end of this book, it is our hope that you will have reached a place where you feel empowered to be the person that you were always meant to be. Our goal is to send you forward on your journey with fresh hope and a greater understanding of the part of you that you may have questioned or denied for so long. Knowledge is indeed power, and power provides strength. Go forth with pride, strength, and hope, and let the world know you will not be ignored.

Knowledge is indeed power, and power provides strength. Go forth with pride, strength, and hope, and let the world know you will not be ignored.



1 Being Transgender

Your parents guided you toward their preconceived ideas of what makes up a boy or girl.


Gender Fulfilled • Being Transgender

Words to Understand Assigned gender: The gender written on your birth certificate when you were born. Revered: Honored. Validate: To support the truth or value of something. When you were born, the doctor took a look at your reproductive organs and made a determination that you were either a boy or a girl. At that time, there was no way of knowing how you felt inside. Your parents and everyone else used their preconceived ideas of what makes up a girl or boy and guided you toward that direction. They dressed you in the clothing they felt appropriate, they found activities they felt either a girl or boy should do, and bought toys based on your assigned gender . Nobody questioned whether or not you felt comfortable with this identification. You, however, felt that someone got that gender wrong because inside, you felt you didn’t comfortably fit into this mold. When Assigned Gender Feels Wrong Most transgender people say they felt there was something “off” about their assigned gender from an early age. Maybe as a little “boy” you were attracted to your mother’s silky clothing and makeup, or as a little “girl” you preferred helping out in your dad’s workshop and playing sports. You may have had people tell you that you weren’t supposed to like a certain thing or that you shouldn’t behave in a certain manner. You may have tried to do what was expected but that feeling inside never went away. Somehow you knew that something wasn’t correct in how you were expected to interact with the rest of the world. You probably felt confused. That is how things normally start. You most likely kept this feeling quiet because you either couldn’t


Being Transgender

Inside you may have felt alone, like the only person in the world whose assigned gender wasn’t correct.

explain why you felt different, or you had a bad reaction from an adult when you tried. Inside, you felt alone and like you were the only person who felt their assigned gender wasn’t correct. The good news is that throughout history, there have been many people who have felt this way. You aren’t alone.

What the scientists know about being transgender.


Gender Fulfilled • Being Transgender

There are records of people who did not fit into two genders as far back as ancient Egypt.


Being Transgender

Transgender Throughout History There are records of people who did not fit into the two basic assigned genders, as far back as ancient Egypt. Egyptian stories are full of individuals who were often seen in both male and female roles, and many statues portray both sides of one individual. Uganda, in Africa, is another place where history shows the prevalence of men who lived as women. These men were often revered as holy men, and the rest of the villagers looked to them for spiritual advice and healing. Many Native American tribes also acknowledged transgender individuals. This was not the case in all tribes, but records of this have been found dating back to 1711, when the first Europeans arrived in North America and observed the Iroquois nation. Of the tribes that recognize transgender individuals for what they are, the term “two-spirit” has become commonplace. This indicates an individual who contains traits of both the male and female gender or who was assigned one gender at birth and lives life as the opposite gender. The rest of the world also shows a history of transgender individuals. This includes Asia and both ancient Greece and ancient Rome. In the United States, many women took on male identities during the Civil War so they could join the solders in the fight. A majority of these women continued living as men after the war ended. One of the first accounts of life of a transgender individual was written in the early 1900s. This was The Autobiography of an Androgyne (1918) by Jennie June (born in 1874 as Earl Lind). The next most notable individual was American jazz musician and bandleader Billy Tipton. He was born in 1914 as Dorothy Lucille Tipton and lived as a man from the 1940s until his death. Then in 1952, Christine Jorgenson became the first person to be recognized as having undergone gender affirmation surgery. In 1966, there were what were called the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco, and in 1969, there were the Stonewall Riots in New York. These protests were brought about by homosexual and


Gender Fulfilled • Being Transgender

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