“People like you and I are virtually invisible”

I thought this comment (left last night by Juniper) was really on point and relevant to what I am concerned with right now so I wanted to feature it in a post (I know not everyone reads comments here.)   I am also including the reply I just wrote.



Hey Joel,

I think that it is very important that the gender spectrum be as inclusive as possible and that all kinds of differences in gender expression are supported in textbooks and are visible in the media.

At this time, I see no viable visibility in the media for people who are androgynous, de-transitioning, or who meet the textbook criteria of transgender but chose to live and accept their bodies. A young person who is gender-variant may feel that they have few options but to pursue transition or to live inauthentically. People overwhelmingly hear in the media that surgeries and hormones are absolutely necessary for people who are transgender to live meaningful and happy lives.

There is no representation in the media for people who live quite well and enjoy balanced and well-adjusted lives yet radically defy gender stereotypes.

Our story is not told. People like you and I are virtually invisible.

So, what happens to the kid who is questioning their gender? They look into their options and literally see a DEAD END. No matter what they do, no matter how far they go with surgeries and hormones, they cannot change their DNA or their root socialization. How can they be sure that society will change their perception of them? Can they be sure that they will “pass?” Can they be sure that the secret of their sex at birth will ever be exposed?

They hear that it will be difficult to find a life-partner, that the surgeries are prohibitively expensive and that they will never be 100% like other men and/or women. They learn that surgeries and hormones can only do so much.For instance, if they are FtM, it is unlikely that they will ever have a successful “bottom surgery” even after paying $100,000. And if you are 5’1 as a woman … guess what … you will be 5’1 as a man.

They hear from the media that their future is bleak. This is a lot of stress for a young person to handle. They seek support in the transgender community and there is no Transgender “Pride” parade but rather a Trans Day of Remembrance to remind them that suicide and murder are very real outcomes in their community and that they are disproportionally at risk.

Do you know how many women are raped or killed by boyfriends and stalkers? My god – if women’s history month was all about rape, I would have killed myself a long time ago!

Where is the support to believe in one’s inherent worth? Where are the examples of (so many) people who have lived long and well WITHOUT surgeries or hormones? Where are the stories of people who have survived extreme challenges and suffering yet have moved courageously forward to detransition and reclaim their lives?

Our voices are silenced as we are made out to be the “enemy” … We are called TERFs or transphobic or “failed transitions.”

No wonder young “transgender” people commit suicide. They are trying to find themselves and figure things out and when they seek help they are told that they have no option but to change themselves if they want to be loved. No one tells them that they are perfect just as they are. No one tells them that there are many ways to live. No one says “Hey, I made it … I am happily married, I have a good life … it will get better … I was a lot like you in High School and I am glad that I kept my body as it is and/or that I learned to love myself for who I am.”

Many people who are diagnosed as transgender may not be aware that there are lots of ways to live outside of the gender lines. More perspectives need to be shared so that young people can decide for themselves what what resonates, and feels right for them.

  • Joel Nowak says


    Thanks for this. I am going to feature this in a post. I really think that it is important that these alternative narratives to being Trans start getting heard. There is an embargo on these voices currently, with these narratives being ignored or removed from internet forums virtually nobody (aside from social conservatives) interested in publishing them or writing about them. (I applaud Michelle Goldberg among a few others for writing about this stuff.) There are alternative narratives to the Trans that don’t look like Walt Heyer’s judgemental and one dimensional “repent or die” blatherings … but when all people hear is that crap they get a very distorted view of how open and liberating some of those narratives can be (compared to the increasing rigidity of the Trans movement).



A Reader’s Thoughts About Nathan V.

I still don’t have time to write anything coherent (as evidenced by last night’s post) but I did want to share this email a reader sent in last week in response to my own post about Nathan Verlhelst. They said I could share it with you and I am going to because I think they make some really good points, especially a reminder that for a lot of trans people there remains an unmet need for GOOD therapy that helps people work through deeper obstacles in their life as opposed to the usual status quo of  simply cheerleading their gender decisions.


A very moving post. I can’t speak from a trans experience, but I do want to share here that this is such a sad story of a bereft human being. From comments I read attributed to the mother, she was never loved as a girl, seen as monstrous from the moment of birth. I think in many way the tragedy began with the path to transition as a path of healing. Surgeons and psychopharmacologists are not the healers of such a deep self loathing and family abandonment. Nancy/Nathan was a tortured soul, given false hope of cure for this self hatred and extreme unhappiness in a transition that was mutilating and lead to the final tragedy.

State sponsored suicide seems to me different than euthanasia, and this is one of the elements that is so troubling about this. I don’t know how much therapy, good therapy, Nancy/Nathan chose and stayed with over the years. Maybe suicide would have been the outcome with or without transition. I do believe that therapy offers the chance to heal, to accept, to even experience a little love for self. It’s not always enough, but I think it’s the better way.