What It’s Like To Be A Transgender Teen?

 In wake of the CW network developing a new show about the life of a transgender teenager, HuffPost Live sat down with several teens who identify as transgender last week to discuss their experiences.

One transgender teenager, Ryan Cassata, stressed the importance of educating one’s parents about transgender issues as crucial to gaining a system of familial support for one’s gender identity.

Phoenix Schneider, Project Manager at Contact USA, highlighted the need to portray a diverse range of transgender experiences that don’t fixate on violence or trauma:

I think it’s really important to acknowledge that there is a huge transgender community. There is a diverse range of gender identities and there are folks that don’t identify exclusively as male or female — man or woman. I think it’s really important to portray this in the media and have positive representation as well. It’s certainly important to share and educate folks around the reality — the real experience of a trans, genderqueer, non-binary person. Certainly there is more than just negative –there’s so many positive experiences and I think it’s so important to make sure that we’re including those experiences as well in the media.”

Check out the clip above for more from these inspirational trans teens and to watch the full segment head here.

15 Things To Know About Being Transgender By Nicholas M. Teich

1 of 16

Flickr: ccharmon

Survey for Canadian Transgender community

This is HUGE. The first of its kind. A nation wide (Canada) needs assessment survey. From Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), so there is obviously a section on HIV… but so much more. We all know the need of statistics to get our advocacy moving forward. Pass this on to all your contacts. It is for everyone under the new Trans* umbrella (transsex, transgender, genderqueer, intersex, gender fluid, etc, etc.). Let’s get this out there…

Hi Trans Community Advisory Committee members,

Thanks to all your fabulous work, the Trans* survey went “live” yesterday afternoon at 4:30.
Here are the links to the survey.

The English link is: fluidsurveys.com/s/trans-survey/
The French link is: fluidsurveys.com/s/trans-survey/langfr-ca/

Trans* Needs Assessment Survey – 0%


Trans* Needs Assessment Survey –


3 ways schools can better accommodate transgender students

CTV, Canada
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca Staff

With a growing number of transgender students going public about their
gender identity, including many at a young age, schools are developing
policies to address the needs of these children while protecting them from
discrimination and bullying.

Kris Wells, a researcher with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and
Services at the University of Alberta, says gender identity is often set
before a student enters Kindergarten.

“Thanks to social awareness and new language that’s evolving, young people
and their families are able to identify and support youth at younger and
younger ages,” Wells told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday.

Related Stories

More students coming out at as transgender, expert says
http://www.ctvnews. ca/canada/ more-students- coming-out- at-as-transgende r-expert- says-1.1437649

Wells pointed to three actions schools and undertake to accommodate
transgender students.

1. Respecting confidentiality

Determining whether only the school’s principal should be aware of the
student’s gender identity transition, or whether teachers and students
should also know, depends on each case, Wells said.

Wells recently worked 11-year-old Wren Kauffman, who’s decided to not hide
the fact that he was born a girl from his fellow classmates at an Edmonton

However, Wells said some students and families look for a fresh start after
transitioning gender, often switching schools and sometime moving to a new

2. Maximizing inclusiveness

Wells said it’s important that schools use proper names and pronouns on
records and files, and allow students to use bathrooms and change rooms
according to their preferred gender identity.

3. Breaking down stereotypes

Young people need to know they’re not alone in this, and every child wants
to be loved and every child deserves to be safe at school,” Wells said.

He said teachers and parents need to listen to the child’s needs and
understand their best interest, while also educate themselves on what it
means to be transgender.

“Bullying, discrimination, and sadly violence, is still endemic in our
society towards transgender people,” Wells said. “It’s really the challenge
of learning this new gender role and to be themselves fully in all aspects
of their life.”

He said coming to terms with a new gender role begins at the home before
involving the school, extended family and the wider community.

“It’s not a one-time event,” he said.

© 2013 All rights reserved.

http://canadaam. ctvnews.ca/ 3-ways-schools- can-better- accommodate- transgender- students- 1.1439620


The LA radio host who came out as intersex and why no one gossiped

Los Angeles entertainment icon Sheena Metal thinks being intersex is ‘kind of awesome’ but she tells GSN no one else in the media wants to talk about it

18 July 2013 | By Matt Phil Carver

Sheena Metal came out as intersex on the radio but says people don't like to talk about it.

One day Sheena Metal, a Los Angeles entertainment icon, told the whole world she was intersex on live radio. But no one seemed to notice.

Considering she is a popular radio host, actress, journalist and stand-up comic with almost 20,000 Twitter followers, it is amazing there is little or nothing obtainable by Google search that will even mention this element of her life. Until now.

The name Sheena Metal, a professional pseudonym, has been appearing across various forms of entertainment media in LA for well over a decade. So she would appear to be the perfect person to address the question of why, in the world of LGBTQI media coverage, it never seems to be the ‘I’ that’s in the news.

Tell us how you first discovered you are intersex.

I found out when I was 31 in 1998. The terminology with intersex changes all the time, but then I was what they called a ‘pseudo-hermaphrodite’, which meant my birth defect did not require a gender to be assigned to me as a child.

Anatomically, on the outside I looked female, so no one ever said a word about it. I don’t know if anyone even checked up on it, and I’m told this is not uncommon.

I always thought I was kind of an alien – I knew I was a little different on the inside.

So I was 31, I was doing my first show on this kind of raunchy FM talk station. I had this crazy fun partner whose name was Nasty Man and one day he was like ‘Hey Sheena, we’re going to have a hermaphrodite doctor on’ and I’m not sure I even knew any more about this than anyone else did at the time.

So this lovely man came and sat with us and I kept feeling the whole time I had such a connection to him and I kept thinking ‘everything he’s saying is how I feel’.

Nasty Man just kept asking this guy over and over again if he had a penis and a vagina, because he didn’t know what it meant, and the more I listened, the more I learned I didn’t really know what it was either.

Then I remembered, that when I was 16 I had a gigantic vaginal reconstruction because my vaginal canal did not connect what I had on the inside to what I had on the outside. I completely freaked out, I called my mom on the phone at one in the morning, and said ‘I think I know what I am’.

The first thing my mom said was ‘why the hell didn’t those doctors tell me anything?’.

So she knew, my best friend knew, my boyfriend at the time knew but for 12 years, I didn’t tell anybody because I just didn’t think anybody would care.

And how did you eventually end up discussing it on air?

In the back of my mind I kept thinking about the doctor that had been on the show and how connected I felt to him. So then, however many years later [2011], I was on LA Talk Radio, doing an afternoon drive show, and I just decided one day to hunt him down.

He was very gracious and he came and did my show. He was talking all about being an intersex person and I was identifying as bisexual but, in the back of my mind, feeling like a liar.

I said to him ‘is it true that if you have some kind of genital mutation, it’s an intersex condition’ and he said ‘absolutely, without a doubt’. And I said ‘well alright, now I’m going to tell you another story…’

I called my mom 10 minutes after the show was over and said ‘Mom, I think I just told the whole world that I’m an intersex person’ and she said ‘well, that’s a good thing, right?’

Were you surprised your revelation was not really reported on in the media?

Yeah but you’d be surprised how often I bring it up in conversation and people just change the topic. I don’t know if people are really ready to talk about it. In my life, I only know two intersex people and I meet a lot of people.

We are everywhere, but it’s easy for us to never tell anybody and I think it’s something that in a strange way kind of completely freaks the world out.

When you look at transgendered people, you can say in the back of your mind, although I believe we are all as our higher power made us, you can say ‘well there’s a mistake’ – there’s a man that was supposed to be a woman or there’s someone whose insides don’t match their outsides.

But there is no real mistake with us, which is odd because we’re the ones having more corrective surgeries than anybody. There’s really not anything wrong with us though – we’re just different, there is no ‘mistake’.

It’s just something people don’t know about unless they have to. And a lot of people may have an intersex condition and don’t even know it. They maybe just feel different and they don’t know why.

Historically, gender ambiguity has always been celebrated in entertainment – be it female impersonators in ancient Rome or ladyboy beauty pageants in 2013. So what is it that makes mainstream media and entertainment industry shy away from this one specific form of gender ambiguity?

I think gender ambiguity and gender bending, blurring the lines of gender, still implies that somewhere in that mix is the male and the female gender. The thing about being an intersex person is you acknowledge within you the things that are male and the things that are female, but there’s another thing that’s neither male nor female.

Even in our new millennium society, we’re so wrapped around the idea gender is everything, the idea of somebody coming along and saying ‘gender’s not all that important’ is terrifying.

Every time I talk about it on air I think ‘am I out of my mind? Should I stop talking about it?’ because I really don’t know if people want to know about it. But I also think once you’ve come this far with something, it’s too late to be clawing at the closet door, trying to get back in.

It does baffle me nobody talks about it. It does baffle me there aren’t any more than a handful of people in any kind of media that will admit to being an intersex person. A lot of people must know that they are, but it does feel like a taboo.

I’ve talked about it on the air three or four times now and it’s never come up [in the media] – that does seem strange to me. It’s strange to me that none of my listeners ever came to me later and said ‘hey, I understand what you were talking about’.

Do you think intersex is just too complex and varied to fit in with today’s media consuming habits?

I think that anything, if you go deep enough, no longer becomes ‘tweetable’, because it becomes complex.

The way we feel about gender is really imbedded in us. It’s only been easy for me because my mom very much raised me to be a person, she didn’t force me into any gender stereotypes.

The problem with the intersex community is – who do you find when nobody will admit to it? It’s like everybody is hiding behind doors and there’s not much of a community.

The statistics are so high [The Intersex Society of Northern America states approximately 1% of births ‘differ from standard male or female’], but you go online and there’s barely any information about it.

Does the lack of coverage create a lack of understanding, or does the lack of interest directly result in lack of coverage?

I think the media avoid it because the general public don’t really want to understand it. The media will go anywhere where they think there’s a story. That’s their job, to lift up all the rocks and dig all the holes and pull out anything they can into the sunshine and exploit it, so I certainly think the media would cover it.

Most people just don’t know what it is, and there are a lot of people like my co-host Nasty Man who still really think an intersex person is somebody who comes out with a fully formed penis and a fully formed vagina and can basically mate with themselves.

There’s still that kind of mythological stereotype. Maybe the whole thing freaks [people] out or they’re scared.

Will there suddenly be a moment when people finally cotton on to just how common it is?

I think it will happen with celebrities. It will take somebody who is famous to come out and say ‘this is what I am’ and then other people will creep out from under the rug and say ‘me too!’ and ‘me too!’.

One of the reasons it hasn’t got more media attention is there’s no celebrity backing for it, there are no celebrities saying ‘yeah, I’m an intersex person’.

Finally, should intersex people really be thinking of themselves as having a ‘disorder’?

It certainly is something that’s different, and obviously people are corrected medically. But it’s really a magic thing.

Maybe there are people that hate it, but I actually kind of love it. So I hope other people that are like me, even if they’re not telling anybody, love it as much as I do. Because it’s kind of a neat thing to be free of gender in a way.

If you want to stop a conversation, like a train, just mention the word intersex because people don’t even know what to say to you then, and it just end the conversation.

I don’t blame people for not being honest, only because I know how hard society can be on anybody who’s different.

You certainly live your life knowing you’re different. But it’s really kind of a beautiful thing. I could’ve lived without having to get all the surgeries, but in the long run I think it’s kind of awesome.

That’s what makes me kind of sad about the fact nobody’s talking about it, because it’s pretty amazing.

Sheena is happy to be contacted by anyone wanting information or advice on any of the issues discussed here. You can email her here.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/la-radio-host-who-came-out-intersex-and-why-no-one-gossiped180713#sthash.0RD9AsJf.dpuf


SheZow, Bam, Pow! Children Trangressing Gender in Real Life and Media

Huffington Post, USA
Dana Beyer
Executive Director, Gender Rights Maryland

Most of the medical community — including psychiatry, psychology and
social work — have joined the consensus in recognizing gender
incongruence as a medical condition. Providers are now much more
trans-positive towards transgender adults, and adolescent health care
is growing rapidly following the path-breaking work of Dr. Norman
Spack from Boston Children’ s Hospital. Dr. Spack introduced trans
adolescent health care protocols involving puberty blockers, based on
the European protocol
<http://thephoenix. com/boston/ life/142583- how-norman- spack-transforme d-the-way- we-treat- tran/>
. Major gender clinics specializing in adolescents have now sprung up
in LA http://bit.ly/ 129drkr> , Chicago
<http://chicagoist. com/2013/ 02/09/lurie_ childrens_ hospital_ of_chicago. php>
and soon in Philadelphia.

The one group of trans persons over whom there is still oftentimes
fierce debate in the medical community is composed of children. This
is true for a number of reasons, including the fact that children
can’t give informed consent, their parents are often ignorant of their
child’s condition and/or resistant to being educated, and because
blowback from religious extremists is often most vitriolic with
respect to children. But there is another reason, which is deserving
of study — we simply don’t have any evidence-based understanding of
which gender non-conforming boys will turn out trans, which will be
gay, and which straight — gender conforming or not. Note that I’m
focusing on those assigned male at birth; the care of “tomboys” is
much less difficult, if only because more parents readily accept
masculine behavior in their daughters.

This issue erupted in the media last week when it was announced that
the Australian kids cartoon SheZow
<http://www.comicsal liance.com/ 2013/06/03/ shezow-cartoon- transgender- superhero- review/>
will debut in the United States on The Hub (formerly Discovery Kids).
It features a 12-year-old boy who finds a magic ring that transforms
him into a legendary crime-fighting superhero, SheZow, who happens to
be a girl.

We should be clear that SheZow is not a trans character as we
generally understand the concept. The cartoon is a metonym for the
trans experience, as the protagonist transgresses gender in the
process of becoming a superhero. The “super she” has her superpowers
only while dressed as a girl <http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ SheZow> ;
the character pretends to be a girl in order to do good. This then can
seem more as a cross-dressing narrative, with the clothes making the
supergirl, rather than a trans narrative in its more medical sense,
where the boy becomes his authentic female self as a result of the

An earlier portrayal of the trans experience, for those of us living
as closeted adolescent trans persons in the ’60s, was Star Trek
Classic’ s final episode, “Turnabout Intruder.”
<http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Turnabout_ Intruder> Here Captain Kirk,
as a result of a transporter accident (those damn transporters! ) has
his mind, including his male gender identity, swapped with that of a
woman, who then thrives in Kirk’s male body with her female gender
identity. The end result is “a man trapped in a woman’s body” but very
unhappy about it (not the trans male experience), and a woman
liberated into a man’s body, and excited about it (a ’60s feminist
trope, and very un-trans as well). She is empowered; he is
emasculated. A confusing gender-bending pas de deux, but the best we
could get in the days of the Beatles’ “Sweet Loretta Martin” of “Get
Back” <http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=tMy_w5HsfdI> fame, a few years
before Lou Reed took a “Walk on the Wild Side.”
<http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=0KaWSOlASWc>

I dialogued about SheZow with the Gay Voices editor here at Huffington
Post, Noah Michelson, who told me:

I personally find this show (or at least the sounds of it — since
I haven’t seen it) really inspiring. I was one of those little boys
who desperately wanted to have my life only filled with all things
girlie (and — shockingly — my parents in small town Wisconsin in the
’80s were cool and bought me things like the My Little Pony stable and
Poochie dolls). One of my earliest memories was of my older brother
telling my mom “Noah is pretending to be a girl again.” I have never
identified as trans or gender queer and I’m very happy as a man but I
think supporting fluidity in gender expression for our kids is a
really important thing and mainstream shows like this could go a long
way in helping (if done right).

Noah strikes to the heart of this program, which is not about the
trans experience, but more about the need to blur those lines in which
our gender roles are constrained. A little fluidity is a good thing
for society, and certainly for those who crave it as a part of their
authentic selves. As SheZow and Star Trek make clear, gender biology,
politics, social norms and the like can be very complicated. I
mentioned earlier that the politics of gender non-conforming children
is “the final frontier.” Those of us who are trans adults clearly
understand we were once trans children, and we want to support the
trans children of today as best we can. We increasingly believe that
even if a gender non-conforming child is misdiagnosed as trans and
allowed to transition as a child, and then de-transitions, he will be
far better off having had his sense of self respected by his family.
As society becomes more accepting, that “phase” of transition in a
person’s life will be understood as just one step in the evolution of
the person’s sexuality. The other option — prohibiting gender
transition <http://www.bilerico .com/2008/ 05/more_on_ dr_kenneth_ zucker.php>
for a trans child out of fear that a potential de-transition would be
emotionally scarring, still motivates many in the profession, such as
Dr. Ken Zucker <http://www.npr. org/2008/ 05/07/90247842/ two-families- grapple-with- sons-gender- preferences>
. I’m reminded of those who believed, not that long ago, that a boy
growing up with a micropenis would be so scarred by being seen with a
tiny penis that it was preferable to surgically reconstruct the boy
and force him to grow up as a girl. We’ve learned that gender identity
is innate and not malleable, as John Money and others believed in the
’60s, and we no longer, for the most part, subject those children to
surgery against their will. But it still happens — here is a recent
example <http://www.towleroa d.com/2013/ 05/intersex. html> from South

The solution is research, so we can better distinguish those who will
turn out to be gay men (like Noah) or straight men, from those who are
truly trans and should be allowed, lovingly, to transition as
children. Studies are finally beginning — one site will be at the
Children’ s National Medical Center <http://bit.ly/ 11LZiU8> in DC,
which specializes in gender-variant children, as we are slowly
becoming less afraid of grappling with these issues.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost. com, Inc.

http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ dana-beyer/ shezow-bam- pow-children- t_b_3402269. html


Dr. Michele Angello to release a Trans 101 guidebook

Dr. Michele Angello to release a Trans 101 guidebook to parents,
family, and communities of Transgender youth
by Mari Haywood, Trans Issues Intern at GLAAD

On June 12, Dr. Michele Angello, a clinical sexologist and gender
specialist will be releasing “On The Couch With Dr. Angello: A Guide
to Raising & Supporting Transgender Youth.” On The Couch with Dr.
Angello is a Trans 101 course book that will help parents, families,
and communities of Trans-identified children navigate through society.
Dr. Angello has over 14 years’ experience working with gender variant
youth and their families and knows first-hand how important education
is after a child or family member comes out as transgender.
Recognizing that when “a single child comes out, their entire family
will transition, along with their community,” Dr. Angello has made the
book an all-inclusive expose of the “journeys parents, teachers,
pastors, children and medical professionals take to support gender
variant youth.” Dr. Angello will take the reader through “real life
situations of transitioning in public, coming out in school/work,
dealing with family dynamics and hormone therapy.”

In conjunction with the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Dr.
Angello will be hosting a book launch event on June 12 at 6:30 PM in
the William Way LGBT Center. Dr. Angello will do a book reading
followed by a Question and Answer session. For more information visit
Dr. Angello’ s website: http://micheleangel lo.com and to pre-order a
copy of the book visit:
http://micheleangel lo.com/pre- order-your- book-today/

http://www.glaad. org/blog/ dr-michele- angello-release- trans-101- guidebook- parents-family- and-communities- transgender- youth


A “Transgender” Hero

The trans community has many heroes within and many non-trans heroes. I kinda of found this report from TransAction. If you know of any heroes tell their story via email and I will tell others about them.

Daily Kos, USA
Fri May 31, 2013

Transgender Hero #1: Jacob Rostovsky

by rserven <http://www.dailykos .com/user/ rserven> for TransAction
<http://www.dailykos .com/blog/ TransAction>

I’m starting a new series which will be added to periodically, which I
shall call Transgender Heroes. I will add people to the list as I
encounter them and personally judge them to be heroic.

Now there are plenty of people I’ve known about for years who qualify,
but I shall endeavor to shine the light on those who I deem will be
helping to carry us forward.

First up is Jake Rostovsky. I invite you inside to hear Jake’s story.

Jacob Rostovsky
<http://lgbtweekly. com/2013/ 05/30/funding- lgbt-nonprofits/> is
currently a graduate student in Psychology at American Jewish
University. He is currently a Point Foundation scholar. The Point
Foundation <http://www.pointfou ndation.org/> is an LGBT scholarship

Jacob is the creator of Trans United with Family and Friends
<http://tufforg. com/home. html> (TUFF), which is a social group based
in Los Angeles. TUFF offers bimonthly get togethers of gender-variant
individuals and events planned for the families of such people.

TUFF aims to create a safe environment for gender variant
individuals to meet and spend time with each other. Although the
meet-ups are not a “support group”, we hope that the organic
atmosphere will lead for discussions on problems that arise within the
community and within the individuals, and hope that we can help find
the answers.

TUFF is co-facilitated by Jacob’s mother, Peggy Cryden, a licensed
Marriage and Family Therapist with over a decade of clinical
experience. She specializes in ADHD, sexual identity and/or gender
identity issues, depression, anxiety and panic disorder, stress
management, abandonment issues, intimate relationship conflicts,
adjustment to change or life transitions, and family of origin issues.
Educated at UCLA and Phillips Graduate Institute, she now practices
in Encino.

Jake is a female to male transperson. He came out at 12 as lesbian,
but found he was still struggling with his identity. He came out
again at 14as transgender. Upon entering high school, Jake was
subjected to intense bullying and harassment. He was even sexually
assaulted because of his trans status. Because of that, he was
withdrawn from public school. The isolation that came with that,
along with the knowledge that he was hated for being transgender and
stuck because transition wasn’t happening, he went into deep
depression and became suicidal.

His parents finally realized his pain and began fearing for his life,
so they let him medically transition shortly before he turned 16.

Jake is using his life experiences to help others. He wishes to
become the transgender voice of his generation and help end the pain,
suffering, harassment and fear which gender-variant individuals face

To that end Jake started TUFF, to create a safe space in his community
and a glimmer of hope for the future.

He hopes that TUFF will be a non-profit giving financial assistance to
transgender and gender-variant individuals that can be used towards
the cost of transition and other medical needs. Plans are for the
money to be distributed on an as-needed basis.

Recipients must apply for an award, and are chosen based on their
financial need, personal, social and advocacy goals for the future.

Who can apply for funds? Anyone who identifies along the
transgender/ gender variant spectrum, regardless of their financial
needs. Applicants must fill out an application form that requires
them to provide information about their medical transition history and
financial needs. They must also submit two essays that ask about
their future goals and involvement within the transgender/ gender
variant community.

Jake’s current effort is to raise money for his travel and the
administrative costs of getting the nonprofit off the ground. He has
been doing that our of his own pocket so far, but his expenses as a
student are interfering with that. He is working 40 hours a week as
an non-paid intern.

You can go help fund TUFF’s efforts at gofundme
<http://www.gofundme .com/transunited> . The current effort is to
raise $2000. $1050 has been raised so far.

Since I was fifteen, I’ve wanted to work in the transgender
community, trying to help individuals less fortunate than I was.
Realizing how expensive transition is, and how many insurance
companies don’t cover anything in that area, I knew someone had to
help those who couldn’t afford to transition.

I’ve realized that once a person medically transitions, their
entire life changes. They are happier, confident and hopeful, and for
some people this is the first time in their lives they’ve felt like
this. I don’t want anyone to be held back from giving the world their
all and reaching their full potential just because they can’t afford
to transition.

–Jake Rostovsky

If you can’t help this transgender hero financially, please consider
trying to help spread the message to those who might be able to do so.

© Kos Media, LLC

http://www.dailykos .com/story/ 2013/05/31/ 1212836/- Transgender- Hero-1-Jacob- Rostovsky