Monday, November 9, 2015

Tough Topics: Megan's Guest Post

     Welcome back, everyone! Last week, I (along with many readers/friends) interviewed my lovely new friend, Megan. Megan is a pre-transition transgender person (born in a male body but with the identity of a female). Last week, she greatly educated my readers, some readers from the wonderful Janie Junebug, and even had some of her own readers stop by to say hello.

     Like last week, I'm going to ask that you refer to Megan as a female and with feminine pronouns because that is how she identifies. She is a friend and a guest here so, as always, I demand the utmost respect for her. Should you leave any hateful or rude comments, I will use them as an example in my next post about cyber bullying.

     I would like to thank everyone for the huge amount of love, support, and kindness that was sent out last week. I sincerely thank everyone for extending the love to me, but I do also insist that it all goes to Megan and others in the LGBTQ+ community because I simply offered a small platform for her to speak out. It's entirely her story and she's the one who should be feeling all of the love here (as well as anyone else in the LGBTQ+ community).

     Please check out Megan's website here, her Twitter @StormsMayCome, or email your love and support to Please see the bottom of the post for sources and links to people who are fully equipped to help anyone in need. 

Hello everyone!
                Before I begin this post, I wanted first to thank each and every one of you who submitted questions and/or took the time to post a comment. It truly means so much to me to be able to share my story and to answer questions. As a Trans Advocate I think it is so important to be able to educate people in a positive way. I also wanted to thank Rachel for being so wonderful to me, giving me this opportunity, and that of the Q&A post. I am blessed!

            (Please note: I am writing this post from the perspective of a Transgender Person. I am in no way discriminating against any other LGBTQ+ group. I simply do not have much experience with what they specifically face and do not wish to speak out in fear of misrepresenting or misinforming anyone! Thank you!)

I grew up in a very conservative home. We were Christian and all I ever heard about the LGBTQ+ community was that they were gross, disgusting, and a total abomination in the sight of God. I knew how I felt- I was a girl trapped in a male body, (I didn’t know anything about being Transgender at that point) and I was terrified of what my family would say to me if they found out. Obviously if that community was disgusting or revolting in the sight of God, then I had to be too, right?

            I tried so hard to be “normal”. I tried to be “manly”, I did everything that I could to change who I was, but inside, I was so depressed. I knew I was different, I knew that I was nothing like the boys I was hanging out with. I still liked girls… so what did that mean? Was my mind just messed up? What would happen if my “terrible” secret was discovered?

            Growing up with the belief that you're somehow broken or disgusting was terrible is and I am not saying that only for myself. So many people go through life thinking that exact same thing. According to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program “More than 50% of Transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.” An article from the Los Angeles Times also stated that “A whopping 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives; nearly nine times the national average of 4.6%.” This is an alarming statistic. USA Today reported that Transgender people who are rejected by their families are even more likely to attempt suicide.

            Ugh… I know- that sounded like a school report or something, right? I was depressed and suicidal for a time as well. My whole life was repugnant to the people I lived with and hung around, and they didn’t even know!

            Here is my point: When people discover that someone is expecting a child, one of the first questions they ask them is “What do you hope it will be?” The answer I most often hear is, “It does not matter as long as it’s healthy.” It is a beautiful sentiment and is wonderful to hear! Truly, it doesn’t, or shouldn’t matter right? Why then, when that same child comes to their family and informs them that they are Transgender, do some parents reject them? If gender didn’t matter before they were born, why then should it matter afterwards?

            As a Trans advocate, I try to use my experience to help others. I am not writing this as a “poor-pitiful-me” story, but rather as an object lesson of sorts. Acceptance is key. You do NOT have to agree. That is not the point at all, and I would NEVER tell you that you must. But you can accept. Love that person no matter what they are going through. You could change their entire life.

     If you or somebody you know needs some love and support, please contact The Trevor Project who specializes in helping the LGBTQ+ community and crises prevention, To Write Love On Her Arms who specializes in mental illness and suicide awareness/prevention, or the Suicide Hotline who has councilors ready 24/7 for anyone in need.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tough Topics: An Interview With Megan

     Hello, my dears! If you've been reading for a while or you follow me on Twitter (@WhenALionSleeps because shameless self-promo!), then you should know that I've been really excited about this particular post (and also the post that will go live next Monday, November the ninth).

     Today, I am interviewing a wonderful lady, by the name of Megan (as you may have guessed from the title of this post). What does that have to do with this series though?

     Megan is Transgender. She was born into a physical male body but she feels as though she is meant to be a woman. I'm going to ask her a bunch of questions, some that were sent in from friends and readers, some that I came up with on my own. Those who asked to be credited will be linked next to their name.

     Please remember that it is extremely important to express kindness and love. If you leave a hateful comment, I will screenshot it and use it in my next post about cyberbullying, so please understand that when you choose your words. I also ask that you use feminine pronouns when speaking to or about her, because she is a woman and she will be treated with the utmost respect while a guest on my blog and so long as I can protect her as a friend.

Have you ever been bullied or discriminated against? If so, how did you overcome it? (Asked by Ashley @SorrowsLast777 on Twitter and Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     The physical bullying I endured happened when I was a child, before I accepted who I was. I was always small, short and thin, and I was tormented by the boys in class because of this fact. I was always called “gay”, and because I did not (or maybe could not) defend myself, one time I was pushed into a door so hard that I chipped all four of my front teeth. I was miserable then, but I do not blame them now. Everyone fears what they do not understand, and while these boys didn’t know what a Trans person was, the fact that I was different was enough.
     These days I mostly encounter cyber-bullying, and this doesn’t concern me overly much. It is really easy to threaten someone’s life when you are behind a computer screen, a thousand miles away. I do not let it get to me. I understand that I am different than their preconceived notions about what gender is, and it is not my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable. So I kindly reply, and if it does not alter their attitude towards me, then I block them and move on!

     Where are you in this journey through life? (Asked by Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     I am still transitioning. I should start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) sometime in 2016.      Thankfully, my features are not overly masculine, so I pass with a bit of work ;). Mostly I am content (trust me though, not all of the time) with knowing that I am on my way to living as I truly am. It is a happy place to be- secure in myself, for the first time in my entire life.

What changes have you made physically and emotionally? (Asked by Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     Let me preface this question with this: MANY (not all) Transgender People are very sensitive when asked this question. Although I am not one of them (I love explaining things to people and am happy people want to know more), I think it would be beneficial to explain why this is before I get into the “meat” of the question.
    For many Trans people, being trapped in the body of a gender that you do not remotely identify with is torture and very mentally painful. In order to Transition, there are many costly surgeries, months/years of required therapy sessions, and Hormone Treatments. Typically, many of these treatment options are not covered by insurance. It is a constant reminder to Transgender people that they still are not who they are on the inside. Also, most Transgender people do not want to be treated any differently than anyone else. Asking this question to a Transgender person could make them feel “called out” or as if you were invading their privacy. PLEASE NOTE: This is not how I feel, nor am I offended at the question, I simply wanted to explain this so that if you ever meet another Transgender person, you are already one step ahead!
     Let’s see, I am growing my hair out, getting laser done on my face, but unfortunately that is all I can do at this time, at least for the next few months. Financially I am hindered, but even more than that it is because of where I live, I cannot fully transition at this time. I am proud of who I am, but I also am concerned for the safety of my family. Emotionally though, this is the biggest change: I am happier, more confident, and my depression has all but gone away. It is an amazing feeling to accept who you are and be totally okay with it.

What changes do you want to make? (Asked by Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     As I am a woman, I want to be a complete woman. I am lucky to have a rather high voice and so that isn’t going to need much work, and while my Adams Apple is almost not visible at all, I will want that shaved in order to look more feminine. I will need top and bottom surgery, (breast augmentation and the creation of the lower female anatomy) although realistically HRT could take care of the top portion of my body for me.

What changes are more realistic? (Assuming that insurance doesn't cover most of the expenses?) (Asked by Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     When I first started this process, I figured that it would be many years before I could afford my surgeries. Surprisingly now, there are several insurance plans that I qualify for that will help cover the cost (some up to 80%!!!!) of my surgeries. It doesn’t cover all cosmetic processes, however it is more feasible now than ever before. So, thankfully, it should all be realistic within the next few years!

Have you been helped by a therapist, a psychologist, what kind of medical specialists? (Asked by Janie Junebug @JanieJunebug on Twitter.)
     Yes! I saw a Gender Therapist for a while, and she diagnosed me with Gender Dysphoria, which if you don’t know, is defined as “the condition of feeling one's emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one's biological sex.” This is the legal first step to begin your journey into transition. She helped me so much!

What is the most rewarding part of your experience? (Asked by Jax.)
     Besides getting to be myself, being happier, etc? I love talking to people, especially people who are interested and want to know more about what it means to be Transgender. It is a very positive and rewarding experience.

Have you ever doubted your choice? (Have you ever doubted your feelings?) (Asked by Jax.)
     Never, in the sense that I have always known that I am female. Always. Have I tried to hide it and ignore it and pretend it didn’t exist? Well, sure. It is SO MUCH easier to be “normal” in the eyes of society. I got married at 20, bought a truck, tried to use power tools (and failed miserably on many occasions lol) basically tried to be a “man’s man”. It didn’t work because that is not who I am. I am Megan, and I am proud to be too!

When and how did you realize that you are a transgender person? (Asked by Sherry Ellis @513SherryE on Twitter)
     I have known that I was Transgender ever since I can remember, although I did not know what it was then. I simply knew that something was wrong. I remember as a young person praying so hard that I would wake up a girl, and then being so devastated when I woke up the next morning. Looking in the mirror and despising who you see is a terrible feeling, let me tell you.

Are you actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community?
     I would like to say so. I have so many friends that are a part of the community (they throw the best parties ;) lol) and I actively blog on my own site, as well as others. I also respond to people on forums and article sites. I love talking to people, educating them, and helping if I can!

What kind of reactions did you get from your family/friends when/if you came out?
     I was terrified to come out. Firstly to my wife, because I was positive that she would reject me. Both of our families are very conservative and Christian, and so I was positive that she would not be okay with it. To my surprise and joy, she was! She told me that the day that she married me she said forever, and that she loves me no matter what. I am still the same person on the inside, and so she is accepting!
     I told all of my siblings as well. I was nervous about this too, but they told me that they weren’t surprised! They said that I already was so feminine and girly that it wasn’t that big of a change. Let me tell you, that hurt my pride a bit (lol) because I have been an actor for years and thought I was pretty good at it ;) The friends that I have told have all said the same thing (again with the pride!!!!). I haven’t told my parents yet because I am a chicken :P I am planning on doing it at the end of the year/beginning of next year. They live in another state and I want to do it face to face.

What was your experience like getting on hormones (if you did)?
     Sadly I have yet to experience this wonderful thing, but I will be glad to tell you about it when I do :P Stay tuned to hear about her experiences on a later date! -Rachel

Any particular anecdote you're willing to share that demonstrates the hardships you've had to face?
     I find it interesting the amount of animosity that surrounds the Transgender community, even from health care providers. I live in Texas, in Central Texas to be more precise, and because of the general feeling towards Transgender people here, I could not find a single MD to meet with about HRT. The nearest clinic is around 5 ½ hours away! Several of my friends who live in other parts of the United States do have doctors that will treat them, but know nothing about Transgender care and so spend a good portion of the visit… educating their Physician.

Where have you received the most or the most useful help? (Like support from a family or friend, an LGBTQ+ group, a teacher, a counselor, etc.)
    While my Therapist was extremely helpful, the most useful information I have received was/is actually from another Transgender friend of mine. She is several months ahead of me and was able to help me understand what I should expect, what to do next, etc.

What are some of your hopes and aspirations?
     I want to be a teacher! I am still in school, finishing up my degree and I hope to use it in that field. I would also love to get back into theatre! My singing voice is still rather high, so I might even get away with it :P My biggest hope is for my daughters; my wife and I are raising them to respect other people no matter what is going on in their lives. It would have been so amazing to have experienced this, and I want them to treat everyone positively.

Do you have a certain role model that you look up to? (Transgender or not.)
     Even though he does not know that I am Transgender, I have always looked up to my father. He is a kind person, who always looks to see what he can do for someone else. He would crawl over broken glass to help his kids, and I want to be that kind of a person.
    Within the Transgender community, I believe that Julie Vu (@PrincessJoules on Twitter) is a wonderful role model. She details exactly what goes on in the life of a Transgender person, and her videos on YouTube truly helped me through a dark time!

What is the difference between sexual identity and sexual orientation?
     In my opinion, there is a significant difference between gender identity and sexual preference/who you choose to love. People who are Transgender are in the wrong body, and identify with the opposite gender than that of which they were born/labeled at birth. Gender fluid may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. This means that their feelings of gender change over time.
     Sexual orientation is different in that it is your preference in who you love. I identify as a lesbian! I am married to a beautiful young woman, and I am attracted to her, Transgender or not. This is not the case for every Transgender person.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a person questioning their identity, what would it be?
     Definitely talk to someone. Do not waste years of your life struggling against what you are feeling/thinking. It is okay to question who you are, there is nothing wrong or disgusting about it. It is simply who you are. So yes, talk it out, a gender therapist is totally who I suggest, however if you cannot talk to them, then talk to someone you trust, and someone who is honest and open-minded.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a young person who wants to come out but is scared, what would you tell them?
     If you are under 18, tell someone who is an adult that you know will be sympathetic and helpful. It is so important to have someone “in your corner”. Too many young people are depressed because of their situation and resort to suicide as a way to escape. Please, you are not alone. If you are over 18, pretty much the same things apply. There is help and there is hope! Having someone who is there for you allows you to “be yourself”, at least with that one person. It gave me confidence, and allowed me to see that I COULD do this.

What one piece of information do you want readers to walk away with today?
     Transgender people are not “scary”, “gross”, “liars” etc. We are people who are simply trying to live as ourselves. Also, most of us could use a friend, and that doesn’t mean you have to know everything about Transgender people! What it means is that you care enough to reach out and get to know the person in front of you.

     Thank you, Megan, for sharing so many things with our readers! I hope we see everyone (and more) back here next week when Megan write's a guest post and goes more in depth on things that weren't discussed here today!

     Special shout-outs to everyone who sent in questions, especially Miss Sherry Ellis, who asked far more questions than she was linked to. When she asked her questions, they had all already been answered throughout the rest of the post, but I want to offer her a special thank you for taking the time to send in such good questions!

     You can find Megan at her personal website or by email at and also on Twitter @StormsMayCome. She's a lovely girl, so please show her some love and support!

     If you or somebody you know needs some love and support, please contact The Trevor Project who specializes in helping the LGBTQ+ community and crises prevention, To Write Love On Her Arms who specializes in mental illness and suicide awareness/prevention, or the Suicide Hotline who has councilors ready 24/7 for anyone in need.