I saw the gender clinic for my surgery follow up today. That’s going to be the last time I should ever need to see them!

After getting blocked by Canterbury PCT in 2002 and having started out in 1999, it feels good to have finally successfully got everything I needed out of the system. I was extremely nervous and felt very vulnerable when I submitted myself to Nottingham Gender Clinic as nonbinary in 2009, but my psych was friendly and cooperative, understanding and helpful right up to the last moment. I’m regretting not asking for a parting hug rather than a handshake! :)

It felt so good to have seen a gender psych for the last time that I celebrated with ice cream :D

I just took part in this online radio-style talk show on media representation of gender beyond the binary! You can listen to the entire thing on the programme page, I join the conversation at about 45 minutes in, but it’s well worth listening to the entire discussion!
gqid:

Is It a Boy or a Girl? Improving Media Coverage Beyond the Binary

Sunday, March 25 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET
Join us for a radio-style program on how the media covers non-binary and non-conforming gender and what we can do to make that coverage better.
Hosted by Avory Faucette of QueerFeminism.com and Radically Queer, and featuring guests with expertise in gender-neutral parenting, non-binary identities, and media coverage of transgender issues, we’ll be looking closely at some misunderstandings the media makes and how feminists can take action to educate and improve coverage.  We’ll consider topics including major media coverage of gender-neutral parenting and education in 2011, the media’s refusal to take supermodel Andrej Pejic’s stated identity seriously, and what articles on genderqueer and other identities get right and wrong.  We’ll also be talking about the best way to cover less familiar gender identities, how journalists can describe gender in a way that is less harmful to non-binary or questioning individuals, and how blogs and social media are changing the conversation.
Guests will be:


Arwyn Daemyir, creator of Raising My Boychick;

Marilyn Roxie, creator of Genderqueer Identities and intern at the Center for Sex & Culture;

Gunner Scott, Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition;

Nat Titman, creator of Practical Androgyny and the Nonbinary.org wiki


To tune in, join us from your computer at 10 am EST on Sunday, March 25.  A live stream of the show will appear when we start.  You’ll be able to ask questions or chat about the show in the chat room on that page or call in with a question using the guest call-in number listed there.  We hope you’ll join the conversation!
This event is part of WAM! It Yourself 2012, a multi-city event by Women, Action & the Media. For more information about events happening all over the world, check here or email Lexi.

Listen to WAM!-It-Yourself: Is It A Boy Or A Girl? Improving Media Coverage Beyond The Binary

I just took part in this online radio-style talk show on media representation of gender beyond the binary! You can listen to the entire thing on the programme page, I join the conversation at about 45 minutes in, but it’s well worth listening to the entire discussion!

gqid:

Is It a Boy or a Girl? Improving Media Coverage Beyond the Binary


Sunday, March 25 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Join us for a radio-style program on how the media covers non-binary and non-conforming gender and what we can do to make that coverage better.

Hosted by Avory Faucette of QueerFeminism.com and Radically Queer, and featuring guests with expertise in gender-neutral parenting, non-binary identities, and media coverage of transgender issues, we’ll be looking closely at some misunderstandings the media makes and how feminists can take action to educate and improve coverage.  We’ll consider topics including major media coverage of gender-neutral parenting and education in 2011, the media’s refusal to take supermodel Andrej Pejic’s stated identity seriously, and what articles on genderqueer and other identities get right and wrong.  We’ll also be talking about the best way to cover less familiar gender identities, how journalists can describe gender in a way that is less harmful to non-binary or questioning individuals, and how blogs and social media are changing the conversation.

Guests will be:

Arwyn Daemyir, creator of Raising My Boychick;
Marilyn Roxie, creator of Genderqueer Identities and intern at the Center for Sex & Culture;
Gunner Scott, Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition;
Nat Titman, creator of Practical Androgyny and the Nonbinary.org wiki

To tune in, join us from your computer at 10 am EST on Sunday, March 25.  A live stream of the show will appear when we start.  You’ll be able to ask questions or chat about the show in the chat room on that page or call in with a question using the guest call-in number listed there.  We hope you’ll join the conversation!

This event is part of WAM! It Yourself 2012, a multi-city event by Women, Action & the Media. For more information about events happening all over the world, check here or email Lexi.

Listen to WAM!-It-Yourself: Is It A Boy Or A Girl? Improving Media Coverage Beyond The Binary

My Nonbinary Introduction

I just wrote a variation of the following for a closed Facebook group, then decided it’s a shame it wasn’t public…

I’m Nat and I live in Nottingham, UK. I run http://PracticalAndrogyny.com/ and http://Nonbinary.org/ - I’ve been openly nonbinary and genderqueer since 2001 and involved in online genderqueer communities for a year or two before that, but I’ve recently ramped up my visibility by putting my face and legal name against my nonbinary visibility and education activism.

As for my gender, “it’s complicated”, but if pushed I tell people I’m gender neutral, which is my pronoun preference too, and tell people that I’m a person, not a gender. I don’t attempt to ‘pass’ as anything but in practice I seem to be either highly androgynous or assumed to be a teenage boy, despite being 32. I’m interested in creating resources about the practical side of being ‘ambiguous’ to the gender binary.

I have a transsexual medical history, passing through the private system in the late 1990s. Despite having legally detransitioned in 2004 in protest over the Gender Recognition Act not recognising my gender (and for other practical reasons), I’ve just had the experience of successfully getting a change of meds and a transgender surgery funded by the local NHS Gender Clinic (my surgery’s actually coming up on Thursday) while being completely open about my nonbinary gender. I’m interested in advocating for others who’re trying to access transgender healthcare (of any kind) and I have my hands on those ‘incriminating’ G3 Gender Clinic group minutes you may have read about.

I’m heavily involved in my local mixed trans* group here in Nottingham, one of three nonbinary people on the committee and several nonbinary, genderqueer and gender nonconforming members. We run weekly meetings in the city centre, we have a ‘Trans Zone’ at this year’s Pride and we’re currently trying to overturn the decision of Nottingham PCT to ‘red list’ all gender dysphoria medications.

I believe in keeping transgender spaces welcoming to ALL people who transgress or transcend society’s concepts of gender. A lot of my activism is focused on making sure other trans activists remember nonbinary people exist and that we don’t all follow the same neat narratives of ‘passing’, ‘transition’ or even gender dysphoria. I recently advised META Magazine on nonbinary and genderqueer inclusivity and I’m happy with the results.

And now I should go pack my bag ready for that surgery…

I wrote this article but, as always, if I post it directly in my personal Tumblr then I can’t reblog it from any of the Tumblrs tied to my account…

practicalandrogyny:

I wrote an article appraising and critiquing this year’s IoS Pink List, suggesting constructive responses and looking at how some of the eleven (binary, transitioned) trans* people included for the first time this year have inspired and represented me as a nonbinary, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, queer-identified, atypically transitioning, andrognynously presenting trans* person. Here are some extracts:

This stuff is important. I had an ‘inspiration board’ on the wall of my teenage bedroom, full of printed out song lyrics, pictures and newspaper clippings that kept me going through my last couple of years as a closeted queer teenager at a rural comprehensive school (1996 to 98). My board included people like teenage Age Of Consent campaigners Chris Morris (who was the same age as me) and Euan Sutherland, and famous performers like Ellen DegeneresWilson CruzBrian MolkoDavid McAlmontAni DiFrancoMichael Stipe and Skin from Skunk Anansie. Being surrounded by images of successful queer and gender nonconforming people and listening to their music made me feel like less of a freak and gave me hope for the future.

As a community, we need visible inspirational ‘heroes’ to look up to. Some people survive, get through it and are inspired to succeed and perhaps become activists themselves due to newspaper articles just like this one. It is possible to critique the form of an award and the nature of the organisation that issued it while still seeing it as important and valuable. As little as I believe in the honours system and the monarchy, I still found it incredibly significant and inspiring when the establishment recognised the work of trans* activist Christine Burns by issuing her with an MBE in 2004 and Stephen Whittle by issuing him with an OBE in 2005.

I see these lists and the tendency to single out certain prominent famous and notable people for recognition and awards as only problematic in isolation. If we let this be the only way that trans*, queer and LGBT people are celebrated in our communities, then yes, it is problematic. If we let this start a conversation about who else should be recognised and celebrated, the hard work that so many others do in our communities and all the different ways people make a difference, then it becomes just one of many ways that the deserving, inspiring people in our communities receive thanks.

When Dan Savage started the It Gets Better campaign, I was among the critics who found it deeply problematic. But it started a conversation that prompted complementary and constructive campaigns that focused on helping young people to Make It Better, and inspired many other It Gets Better videos that weren’t problematic in the ways that Savage’s had been. There are now some amazing trans* and queer It Gets Better videos out there and no end of testimonials from people saying how seeing them has helped them in the way my inspiration board helped me.

And let’s not forget that we do have eleven openly trans* people and several more trans* allies recognised within the Pink List article. Forget the numbering and the different categories and focus on the recognition these people have been rightfully given. As I said above, I want to see more trans* people included, more trans men, more trans* people assigned female at birth, more nonbinary, openly genderqueer and solely gender nonconforming people, and I want us to work towards getting those people into next year’s list and given recognition through our own community efforts, independent of The Independent. But let’s not play down the hugely important work those who are listed have done to represent, inspire and improve the lives of all trans* people.

Travel writer Jan Morris whose groundbreaking 1974 memoir Conundrum and its journey through her transition (most notably chapter 12) was my first exposure to the reality that it was possible for me to become androgynous, it wasn’t just something that some people were naturally gifted with that I could never achieve. I cannot overstate how important this was to me and how much hope and inspiration it gave me as a dysphoric nonbinary person trying to find comfort with my body and social role.

Sarah Brown, Britain’s only openly transgender activist serving in an elected political position; a Liberal Democrat Cambridge City Councillor, and chair of the Lib Dem Transgender Working Group. Sarah was instrumental (along with Zoe O’Connell) in influencing Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert to raise the issue of gender neutral documentation such as passports in the House of Commons. Something that will be vitally important to many nonbinary, genderqueer, transgender and gender nonconforming people in this country (including myself).

Jay Stewart of Gendered Intelligence, an organisation that does hugely important creative work with young transgender and genderqueer people and is explicitly inclusive of the wider transgender spectrum. Jay organised the wonderfully positive and inclusive Trans Community Conference, that I was lucky enough to attend this year, and was previously the chair of FTM London, an AFAB (assigned female at birth) trans* support and social group known for being inclusive of all identities and expressions within the wider transgender spectrum. I have briefly spoken with Jay and seen him speak from stage and on video. He comes across as someone who comfortably challenges stereotypical assumptions that all trans men are hyper-masculine. Read him here encouraging readers of the Times Educational Supplement to celebrate transgender students and allow male assigned students to express femininity in their schools.

Journalist Juliet Jacques (in the ‘Nice to meet you’ section) whose blogging for The Guardian has talked frankly about the process of coming to terms with being a trans woman and undergoing transition in a very public and visible way that has exposed the human story behind trans* people’s lives to a whole new audience. In her earlier articles, Juliet talks about how she did not have the stereotypical transsexual childhood story (in a way I hugely identified with), and tried on and explored numerous transgender identities and communities before transitioning. She writes about having been drawn to male crossdressers, made to feel less alone by the comedy of ‘action transvestite’ Eddy Izzard and going through years of identifying as a gay male crossdresser and later ‘transgender’ as described by Leslie Feinberg and Kate Bornstein. As such she is one of the few journalists to have written about transgender people who ‘live beyond the traditional gender binary’ in a mainstream outlet.

So while I am not aware of any nonbinary, genderqueer-identified or solely gender nonconforming trans* people recognised on the Pink List this year, every one of the trans* people listed above has either worked for their rights and/or recognition in some way, or challenged binary gender roles and the public’s stereotypical view of transgender people through their openness, their humour or their own gender nonconformity. I don’t know about you but, as a genderqueer and nonbinary person, I think that’s worth celebrating.

Read the entire article at PracticalAndrogyny.com

I wrote this…

practicalandrogyny:

Today is the last day for responses to the UK Government’s 3rd survey of transgender people (which explicitly includes ‘androgynous’, ‘non-gender’ and ‘genderqueer’ options in the demographics section). This survey follows up on responses from the first two surveys by focusing on issues of employment, identity and privacy. If you’re in the UK and identify as trans*, genderqueer, non-binary or gender variant please complete the survey (sorry for the late notice!).

Below is a sample of Nat’s responses to the survey as a non-binary trans person:

What do you think Government can do to help trans employees tackle workplace discrimination?

Clarify the ambiguous position of non-binary trans people [under The UK Equality Act].

Does expressing our gender identities constitute ‘gender reassignment’? Can ‘gender reassignment’ protections apply when the law does not recognise our genders as existing or valid?

Are we protected should we ask for gender neutral language to be used in reference to us rather than gendered words such as ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’, ‘he’ and ‘she’?

If we undergo hormone treatments or have surgeries to treat the gender dysphoria arising from our non-binary genders, does this fall under the ‘gender reassignment’ protections even though we do not identify as an ‘opposite sex’ or gender?

Are we exempt from gender-specific dress code requirements such as short hair and ties for those with male ‘legal genders’ and makeup and skirts for those with female ‘legal genders’?

Do you consider your current identity secure from disclosure?

No. Numerous services require a binary gender (female/male) or a gendered title/honorific (Mr/Ms etc) to be specified as required fields. As such I am misgendered or outed as transgender when ordering shopping, using my bank, registering for a library card etc. This is a particular problem where others complete my form for me or where computer form validation enforces entry of binary gender identifiers.

What can be done by Government to help you successfully live in your current identity?

Explicitly class gender as private information that it is not reasonable to ask for when providing goods and services (Data Protection Act should apply). Explicitly recognise and protect non-binary trans people, perhaps by wording the law as protecting ‘gender identity and expression’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’.

Are there any other issues concerning your privacy and/or identity you want to raise?

The government does not recognise my non-binary gender identity. Only binary (female/male) options are provided on birth certificates and passports. As such I am discriminated against by the government and denied Gender Recognition afforded to other trans people.

I consider the sex I was assigned at birth to be deeply personal information that is only relevant to a handful of medical professionals and my partner. However the law and common practice currently force me to disclose this in a wide variety of situations. Doing so causes me gender dysphoria, misgenders me and outs me as transgender in a way that binary trans people are able to avoid due to the Gender Recognition Act.

Please extend gender recognition protections to all trans people, not just those with binary identities. Please also help to establish that gender (even ‘legal gender’) is deeply personal information for many people and it should not be reasonable under the Data Protection Act to require its disclosure when ordering groceries online or signing up for local services.

Read a longer excerpt on Nat’s blog