Before we get started, let’s be clear that…

Trans people have always existed, everywhere on earth. We take both current trans experiences and rich trans histories as seriously as that of any group of people. 

Transphobia is widespread in our current society. Ignorance and prejudice regarding trans people are common and continue to harm trans people everywhere. We are here to question, challenge, and dismantle these views.

Drag to match the term with the definition!

  • SEX ASSIGNED AT BIRTH
  • GENDER
  • GENDER IDENTITY
  • GENDER EXPRESSION
Recognizing and feeling a gender as one’s own. A lot of the time, it also means recognizing oneself as being part of a group of other individuals who experience similar genders. It is what suits us best and where we feel at home – even if it goes against what we’re “supposed to do”. When a baby is born, people look at it’s genitals and assign it a sex. They write M or F on the birth certificate (and all other paperwork after that). On this basis, the decision is made to raise a child with a specific gender : usually man or woman. A system of socially constructed codes and signs we send each other about who and what, in a binary society, is “masculine” and “feminine”. These codes change according to the culture and society we live in. Usually we attribute gender to people by looking at signs that they show in their presentation and their attitude How a person chooses to publicly present and perform their gender. This includes outward appearance like how one chooses to dress, style or colour their hair, or wear make-up, as well as behaviour like how a person chooses to move, speak, and use their body language. This also includes the pronouns and chosen names an individual uses.

PRONOUN GUIDE

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Though Marie’s transition will inevitably require Thomas to make some changes, it is still important to remember that his partner’s transition isn’t about him, it’s about Marie. 

Thomas is making both homophobic and transphobic comments in this scenario, horrified by the assumption that “he is now gay”. Let’s get one thing clear: your partner’s transition or questioning does not necessarily mean that you have to change your own identity or sexual orientation in response

It is okay and valid to feel overwhelmed or unable to be a good support to your partner at a particular moment, but Thomas could have been honest about where he was at while remaining compassionate and sensitive.

What could Thomas have done better?

Been honest with Marie that he is feeling overwhelmed and needs some time to step away and process before having a conversation about this.
Leave the room immediately.
Put his worries aside for the moment and focused his attention instead on listening as attentively and compassionately as possible to Marie.

Consequences of Transgressing Gender Norms

REJECTION

…from fundamental necessities like obtaining housing or access to employment and career opportunities (landlords and employers tend to prioritize gender conforming people)…to being rejected from social groups and circles in everyday life.

There are many different elements in a transition process and many different steps an individual may take in order to feel as comfortable as possible in their gender (or non-gender). 

Below are three categories representing aspects of the transition process that *some* trans and non-binary people choose to engage with. 

These categories are not fixed! They overlap and flow into each other, demonstrated by the overlapping circles. Read the explanation for each category below and then drag the examples into the correct section.

LEGAL

The legal aspect of transition refers to interactions with legal institutions, legal barriers that some trans people are forced to face as a result of our existing systems, and/or the fight for legal equality and freedom from discrimination that trans activists advocate for.

SOCIAL

The social aspect of transitioning refers to ways that trans people choose to express their identification with a particular gender OR their rejection of gender entirely. It also refers to the ways experiences of transition are viewed in one’s social world.

MEDICAL

Medical procedures alter an individual’s physical body through many possible methods of intervention, such as surgery.

  • Changing your haircut
  • “Coming out”
  • Changing the sex marker on medical insurance card
  • Starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Choosing your name
  • Undergoing one or more gender confirmation surgeries
  • Using the bathroom/changing room that matches your affirmed gender (if that’s an option!)

Correct!

  • Haircuts* can signal how you’d like people to gender you.
  • While transitioning, changing one’s appearance according to gender norms can influence the way people will read the person.
  • Altering one’s gender presentation can be super affirming!
  • * Historically, haircuts have been gendered and though they can be a way to express one’s gender identity, keep in mind that any haircut can fit any gender.

Correct!

  • People often find reassurance and affirmation in sharing about their transition with those they are close to. You can inform people in your life of what they can do to support you.

    BUT…
  • Many people choose to have a “coming out” conversation with only certain people, or no one at all.
  • Coming out is rarely a single event: every time a trans person uses a new service or meets a new person they may have to come out again.
  • Not everyone wants to “come out” and not everyone can.

Correct!

  • Changing the sex marker on their medical insurance card is a key step for trans people towards accessing better health services.

    BUT…
  • It is important to know that even with the correct sex marker, trans individuals still encounter many barriers in the healthcare system because most health professionals don’t have the necessary skills to competently meet their needs.

Correct!

  • When you’re trans and the sex marker indicated on your papers doesn’t match your affirmed gender, showing your papers can be stressful in social + public settings (entering a bar, subscribing for a library membership).
  • In some cases, it can even be risky if you don’t look like you fit an unchanged sex marker (being questioned, refused services).

Correct!

  • Access to HRT happens through the medical system. Prescriptions for HRT are obtained from a general practitioner, a specialist, or a health clinic.
  • Provided that one goes through psychological and medical evaluations, HRT is covered by government insurance.

    BUT…
  • Not everyone has access to these evaluations, access depends on your coverage (RAMQ or other, the type of insurance you have, your citizenship status, student status)
  • In order to get access to hormones, trans folks have to get a professional opinion from one or more health professionals within a system that has historically harmed trans people, especially trans people of colour. It can be extremely painful to feel as though you have to prove your transness.

Correct!

  • People generally read and assume gender according to facial characteristics, body shape, and voice pitch. *
  • HRT can help trans people enjoy their social/romantic/personal life more. It can also give them access to spaces where they will feel more comfortable, like gendered bathrooms and locker rooms, without being questioned or stared at.

    BUT…
  • Choosing to undertake HRT can reveal one’s transness by making it more visible. This can unfortunately expose trans people to stressful or unsafe social situations.
*This is often based on cis standards.

Correct!

  • Because names are often highly gendered in our society, choosing a name that aligns with your gender can be very affirming!
  • Making people in your life aware of the name you would like to be referred as can happen gradually (individual conversations) or all at once (social media post, group chat announcement).

Correct!

  • Surgeries are medical procedures. *
  • Double mastectomy (removal of chest tissue and glands, often called top surgery), vaginoplasty (using tissue from the penis and testicles to create a vagina and vulva), and phalloplasty (using tissue from the arm or thigh to create a phallus) are some of the procedures that can be covered by government insurance. However, other body modification procedures that can contribute to someone’s transition aren’t covered: laser hair removal, weight gain training, etc.
* you do not need to have had a medical procedure in order to be trans. * for many trans people, medically transitioning is crucial to their health and wellbeing and access to these procedures must be advocated for.

Correct!

  • In social settings, trans people are often repeatedly questioned about whether they have had or want to have surgeries. This can be very uncomfortable.
  • In a culture obsessed with genitals as determinants of gender, there is a lot of focus on genital surgeries (bottom surgeries).

Correct!

  • Gendered bathrooms and changing rooms are public spaces that people of the same gender share.
  • Access to new spaces is part of the transition process.
  • Some trans people feel more secure going to the bathroom that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth – that doesn’t make them any less trans!

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