Category Archives: trans

Lonely Champion

Lonely Champion 

“When did you start transition?”  The most commonly asked question and misunderstanding

When people find out I am trans they usually ask “when did you start transition?”  The answer to that question is much more complicated than people realize.  If society never told those of us who are transgendered that anything was wrong with who we are, I don’t believe anyone would need to go through surgeries, hormones or other treatments to change our bodies and appearance.  I was fine with my body and who I was until society started putting me in their categories.  Such as, I should not want to play with certain toys because I had a vagina and I should want to play with baby dolls because I had a vagina.  That I had to get in this group or that group because of my genitalia even if that is not the group I related to at all.  Transition, to me, starts when society shows us where we are supposed to neatly fit and some of us realize we just don’t fit there; when we feel that society is telling us there is something wrong with us and then we begin the struggle to figure out how and where we can fit.  I began my transition when I was four or five. While playing with other kids, I changed my name and told them I was Matt Dillon.  I dressed like the good sheriff and told them that was who I was.  This was not a phase, I constantly used boy’s names whenever I could as a kid in any play situation I could, and was always the guy who would rescue the girl.  I was desperately trying to tell others who I was in a way that a four or five year old can communicate.  Asking when you started transition is like asking someone “when did you decide that you were gay?”  People do not just decide these things one day;  we go through a process of figuring out how to be who we are in a society that in many ways does not allow room for our diversity.  Then we have to figure out how to communicate who we are.    

Transition does not begin when we start medical treatment.  Transition begins when we are struggling to find a way to fit in a society that does not make room for those of us who are not at one end or the other of the gender spectrum.  If we don’t fit on the ends of that scale it makes people uncomfortable, therefore they do all they can to pressure us to conform and fit into what is more comfortable for them. This causes many transgendered people to sink into depression and withdraw.  Tragically, 47%  of transgendered individuals have attempted suicide due to this pressure.  No other minority in the world has as high percentage of a depression and attempted suicide rate.   To hold ones head up and walk through this world when everywhere we turn people and society are telling us “you do not fit” is very challenging.  I believe this societal pressure also slows down the process we go through of totally discovering who we are.  Most young people go through life discovering themselves without constantly being told they are wrong and don’t fit.  Of course all young people go through times of not fitting in, but it isn’t the day to day experiences of not fitting in that transgendered people experience.   

Things are changing, but it is slow.  Even though science has proven that gender is a spectrum or a continuum, it takes a time for that knowledge to change the hearts and minds of people who have been brainwashed for so many years that there are only two types of gender and all of the proper behavior that comes with each of those.

 Here are just a few places where you can learn more about the gender spectrum: 


One of my partners said to me “it was probably easier for you because you were an athlete, a jock.”   In some ways yes, I had a place, I could be tough and it was sometimes celebrated.  It was also the most constant reminder that people put me in a box that I did not feel was mine nor where I fit.  In competition they had gender categories and I had to be in a female category because of what they perceived was in my pants even though they had not seen what was in or not in my pants.  They did not test my chromosomes or my hormones levels.  These people thought I could only compete in a category with other people who they thought had vulvas.  I guarantee that the vulva’s did not all look alike, nor were our hormone levels all the same and now that we know there are over 60 variations of chromosomes I am sure those were not all alike either.    I did not fit well into the group they put me with.  When I was put in women’s groups in sports I was constantly told back off, you are too much,   too aggressive.  I was also told consistently “Wow you are so strong for a girl.”  I hated that!  I could not seem to get away from the reminders in the world of athletics, especially in competition, that I was different and I was never what they understood me to be.  When I announced that I was officially transitioning one friend and a fellow high ranking martial arts instructor who is female, said “you should not transition because you will not be as special and as big of a fish as you are as a male martial artist.”

Yes, much of my fame as a martial artist has been due to the fact that I was born with a vulva. 

 My own instructor would feature me in demonstrations and shows because it was so phenomenal what I could do as a “girl.”  This got me on the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” show, the Discovery Channel and more.  Most people never knew how hard that was for me inside.  Why couldn’t they just understand that I was good?  Why did they need to constantly say I was amazing for a “girl?”  Even though it was very difficult and I did not like being put in a category, I always chose to look at the positive and I am glad that I could walk that journey and hopefully help show the world that one’s athletic performance, strength, persistence and drive is not a due to one’s genitalia.  All of this attention was due to the fact that I was not just what they called a “girl” but an exception to all of what they knew as “girl” made it harder for me to say what I really felt inside.   How could I explain to them that, no, I am really not a girl?  I didn’t feel like a girl and never had.  I felt like I was playing a part in a movie and that almost no one really got who I was.  It was a very lonely place to be because people were so SET in their perceptions. 

I am proud that I feel I have walked a journey in the world of sports and martial arts that has hopefully paved a better way for women.  I am proud I have shown that people born with a vulva can do more than those born with penises ever realized  or understood and, and even more than many born with vulvas thought.  I have had many women walk up to me and tell me I have inspired them that they can do more than they had previously believed and that is a positive that I can keep.  I do have a unique understanding for what many women face all the time.  Perceptions they face because of the load of crap our society feeds us about gender and gender roles.  Because of this experience, I will always be a guy who lives and works to help empower women and break those archaic perceptions of gender and gender roles.   I also have to be myself and gender is about how we are in our hearts and minds.  Science has also proven through mapping the minds of transgendered people that our minds are wired and work the way of the gender we feel we are inside.  Which is no surprise to me; because I have always known that my mind is wired on the male side of the gender spectrum. 

My experience has taught me so much.  I feel at times that I played a part in a movie and in order to do what I loved, I could not fully and openly be myself.  I also know that walking that journey has made me, in the long run, a better man with much more understanding for all who face discrimination, societal pressure and who are struggling for the right and freedom to be openly and fully who they are.  I don’t show emotion easily and as I am writing this there are tears streaming down my face because I have never really talked about what was going on inside of me while being the famous martial arts champion, expert and master teacher.  It was bitter sweet.  Many thought I was great; I had it all.  I was talented and yet I was struggling for the strength to be fully true to who I am.  I was always concerned what would they think if they knew?  Would knowing take away my career, friends, and support?    Where would I fit?  Here is one of the ironic things about my relationship with my soul mate, the martial arts, on one hand I believe it saved my life.  Coming from the totally fucked up childhood as I did, I found the martial arts at six years old and it gave me something healthy to put the boundless energy I had into and it gave me an alternative and more healthy family to be a part of.   I also used it as an escape and a way out from my fucked up family life.  In doing that I put all of my identity into it and into what I accomplished and therefore became a crazy overachiever, while at the same time not feeling understood or that I could be who I truly was.  Finally, I decided I could not hide any longer and I feel more at peace inside then I ever have before.  I also was finally secure enough to realize that those who really cared about me would want me to be happy even if they did not fully understand and I was willing to risk losing some people that I cared about to be true to who I am. 

The best gift we can give those we care about, those who we call friends is the freedom to walk whatever their journey is and even if we don’t fully understand it be supportive.  Give them the freedom to be true to their hearts and do not expect people to live a lie or hide a part of themselves just to make yourself more comfortable. 

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The World is Your Bathroom

Most people never think about the fact that when one can stand and pee, the world becomes their bathroom.  Think about camping or on a long road trip when you cannot find facilities, or the line is long.  Those who have the stand and pee privilege can go behind a tree or building.  Everything about relieving themselves is more convenient.  For many transgendered people both FTM and MTF there is so much stress that comes with using public restrooms.  These are some of the messages that go through many transgendered people minds on the subject;

  • will I pass
  • Is anyone going to stare at me
  • will I be called out
  • am I safe in here
  • & some are figuring out which restroom to use ~ which will be less embarrassing or more safe

Many try to hold as long as they can to avoid this entire scenario. Being someone who has now experienced both the women’s and men’s restrooms in our crazy world, I can tell you they like two different countries.  In the women’s room, women talk!  They make friends.  They ask complete strangers to help them fix their bra strap, or solve any number of female issues.  Women’s room are also sooooo much cleaner.  That is the only thing I miss about the women’s room.  In men’s rooms no one hardly makes eye contact or speaks.  There is an occasional nod as men pass each other entering or exiting and that is it.  It is not a social time as it many times is in the women’s room. 

One big dilemma for FTM transgendered people is – what will people think if I always use a stall and sit to pee.  Most FTM’s are very self-conscious about this.  In some other countries many mothers teach boys to pee sitting so the don’t end up with drips on the toilet.   There is nothing wrong with sitting and peeing! Own it or buy something to help you stand and pee. 
There are now many products meant to help one pee standing.  Check them out

That should give you enough to check out for now.  There are also videos on how to make your own. All of these devices take some practice in the privacy of ones home before venturing into the mens room to stand at the urinal.  I recommend practicing in your shower so you don’t have to wipe up the mess you will make while learning.  People also say peeing from a vagina sounds different and are concerned that someone will be cognisant of the sound variation.  FLUSH – or wait until someone else flushes.
 All of this being said if you are a lover, family member or friend of a transgendered person be sensitive to this bathroom issue.  That is can cause a great deal of stress especially early in transition .  Many transgendered people are embarrassed to talk about this.  Let me point out that I have also seen this rest room dilemma effect butch lesbians or feminine men who are not transgendered but don’t fit societies norm for the labeled rest room they choose to use.  It would be mature and more user friendly for most if our society would get over this need to label rest rooms all together.  Until they do my advice is be sensitive to others and walk into whatever bath room like you own it. 

Happy Peeing!

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Making love with a transgender person

It was recently brought up in a conversation with a friend that there really isn’t much information out there for partners dealing with certain aspects of transition. I have been coaching some trans guys and their partners on just this subject. One question I have been asked several times by partners, girlfriends or boyfriends of transgendered people is “How do I make love to my transgendered lover in a way that makes them comfortable and a way that makes them feel loved?”.  First of all, if you are having sex with (or thinking of having sex with a transgendered person) one very important thing like the use of the correct pronoun will make that person feel more comfortable. How you refer to the person’s body parts is the same way.  Most transgendered guys do not have bottom surgery because it is not that good and you could loose feeling.  Therefor we are guys who technically still have a vagina but I,certainly, and most of us don’t want you to call it that and after being on testosterone for a while believe me it is not the same.  Each individual is different in how they want you to address their genitals. So as with pronouns; when in any doubt- ask.  This is one way to make your transgendered lover feel more comfortable and that you understand them.  Some transgendered people are very uncomfortable with their bodies the way they are now, helping them feel that you see them the way they see themselves, and want the world to see them, will open them up to you and help them feel understood.
Sex does change on hormone therapy, even for partners that have been together a long time.  For transmen your clitoris become much larger and much more sensitive.  It also gets very hard and reacts very similar to a penis.  The sex drive for transmen increases and for transwomen usually decreases.  These are general things that can help, but when making love to anyone communication is the most important part of being a good lover!  Don’t be afraid. Even if it makes your trangendered lover a little uncomfortable at first- TALK about it.  Everyone wants a lover that cares enough to find out want they want and like and what drives them wild.  Everyone wants a lover that is sensitive to how they receive love.
So– HOW do you bring this topic up in conversation? If a potential lover approached me I would want them to say something like “I want to make love to you in a way that makes you comfortable. How can I do that for you?” It is important to me that my partner tell me that they love my body and want to learn my language. Everyone has “trigger” words they don’t like. For example; some women (straight, gay, or trans) don’t like the word “cunt”. Other women are totally fine with it. It is all a matter of learning your lover. Some people try to have sex the same way with every partner. As if they run on auto-pilot. This is ridiculous, and won’t help anyone enjoy themselves. Taking time, and making an effort are the keys to creating the right environment to have amazing sex. Even though these intial conversations are uncomfortable to have at times; when a lover cares enough to ask these questions- at least for me- it means a great deal.  Whoever you are making love to- make the effort to learn them. Ask the questions. Study your lover. Now get out there and make some GOOD lovin’!

There is no easy way to fly

I have been asked the question several times and seen this question posted on sights, “How do you love a Trans person”?  This amazes me, arent we all individuals and different?   But I will try and tackle it.  We Trans people are like all other people, we want to be seen, heard, loved, felt, understood, adored, and we want someone who can get us and connect. You may think we are more complicated but actually we are all complicated.  It takes someone caring enough to explore what makes you tick.  Each person is different.  Maybe a few things that we have in common best I can tell is that we want you to judge us for our spirit not just our physical bodies.  We don’t want you to think you know who we are or judge us due to the body we were born in.  We want you to get and respect our energy, our spirit and value that more then the exterior.  We want you to understand that gender is not black and white and just let us be who we are and not try and put us in a box.  We Don’t FIT!  We want you to be willing and open to explore even though you don’t totally understand, because really we don’t totally understand, we are just being who we feel.  Give us that FREEDOM! and we will give you the FREEDOM to be whomever you are. We can all be FREE, what an amazing concept.  We are all forced by this confining society to be or present as things to please or fit into this convuluted world that are not really true to us.  We all wear some mask and put them on to make it in this judgmental, conforming world in order to survive and have some simulation of success.  You want to know how to love a Trans person… its really simple.  I don’t really think its different from what ANYONE else wants.  The FREEDOM to be who ever the fuck they are and be respected, seen, hear and loved in that.  There is no easy way to fix this, there is no easy way to fly.  These gender boxes are ingrained deep within our society and our training. We just do our best to try and understand each other, be open to one another and to walk this journey together giving each other room to be and grow, love and expereience and succeed. I want to care about you and your journey and I want you to care about mine.  We are afterall, all connected weather that is hard to admit or not.  Maybe I’m living in a dream, but I like my dream.