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 FinallyMegan.com or by email at Megan@FinallyMegan.com 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.

38 comments:

  1. Megan, thank you for answering our questions and for being so open with us. I have already learned a lot from you, and I know you'll teach me more in the future. Rachel, your interview is excellent. This topic is a great one to cover in multiple posts. You go, girls.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Thank you for sharing your love and sending your readers over this way today! I'm so glad that I have you in my life. <3

      Love,
      Rachel

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    2. Janie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words, for promoting the interview, and submitting questions! I enjoy talking with people, and answering questions, so keep them coming :P

      Thank you again!
      -Megan

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  2. Very interesting interview! Horrible that it's so hard to get help in certain parts of the country...

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    1. Keep in mind how much harder it is in certain parts of the world too. That's one of the reasons we need to fight to "normalize" the LGBTQ+ community. If we don't help people learn to accept them, who will be able to help them stay happy and healthy?

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  3. That was awesome. You are a very articulate writer. I'm so sorry your early path was so difficult. I think your replies were extremely informative and spot on. Especially about talking about it when you're young. You do such wonderful work with the people you help and open your heart to. You are a kind and beautiful person and I'm very grateful you're such a great friend. : )

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    1. Jillian, thank you for putting all of this into words.

      Megan, read the words because I feel the same.

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  4. Since I live in Central Texas, I can't imagine a more difficult area in which to make your transition. It's very conservative here. Good luck to you.

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    1. Louisiana and Alabama would probably be pretty bad too. I've lived in both states and there are two types of people:
      The kind I was raised to be, the one with the "southern charm" who invites people in when they're hungry but will shoot to protect their family.
      And the kind my dad's side is, who will feed you but expect payment and will shoot because you're not "normal" so it MUST be a "threat".

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    2. Linda,

      I actually live in West Texas, so you are SPOT ON! People do not know how to react, and I get that. Being Transgender, while not abnormal or disgusting or what have you, it is still something they are not used to. I have accepted that, and I am ok with it. I appreciate support where I can get it, and I TRULY appreciate you taking the time to read this interview!

      ~Megan~

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  5. This takes a lot of bravery. Cheers to Megan for all of these awesome answers and for opening up to us. Truly I mean that. I think one of the things that bothers me is that often the PC Police will jump down someone's throat simply for asking questions. I'll admit, I don't understand a lot of this. I didn't grow up around anyone who was transgender. I've (obviously) not gone through this myself. But I'm curious, and I have a lot of questions, and I genuinely want to understand, because it's a big part of our world today. And interviews/opening up like this is what's going to help spread that information so that one day it won't be so misunderstood. It'll just be a part of life, as it should be. So again, thank you.

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    1. I'm not sure if I should be thanking Brandon or Bryan for being so damn nice and serious (for once!) but thank you for supporting Megan all the same. I'm the same way. I didn't know any transgender people until actually moving to Arizona (see my response above for probable reasons why) and Megan was the first one I was ever able to ask questions too. People are just raised that if you pretend nothing is happening and nothing is different, then you can't possible offend that person...but if you don't learn and accept the differences (no matter how small or how large) then there will always be this wall between you and that seems like it can do just as much damage in some situations.

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    2. Thank you so much for your comment! I will never be offended for someone asking a question about me or what I am going through. I am appreciative that people want to know more, that is the first step towards being able to understand what is going on with that person. It means a lot to me. If you have more questions that were not answered here, please do not hesitate to ask me! I am always happy to answer what I can, and find out the answers to what I cannot!

      Thank you again!

      ~Megan~

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    3. Rachel - it's both of us. We share the same brain on 99.9% of things, this most definitely included. So whatever I'm saying, my cohort would say all the same. And like good trained comedians we know when to be funny and when not. We don't want Megan to think we're making light of her situation.

      Megan - I guess if I had one question it's just about meeting someone who's transgender for the first time. Obviously each person is different, but in general if I'm at, say, a party, and I meet a transgender person, is it better to broach the subject myself carefully, let them bring it up, or not bring it up at all? I know there are many who say you should just not talk about it at all because that's "offensive" to point it out, but I know that ignoring it can also give the situation a weird vibe because people want to ask about it but feel like they can't. Thoughts?

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    4. Beer boys, that is a damn good question! And you are good comedians, though I'm not sure you're trained. Please don't pee on the rugs!

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    5. What an excellent question, and one that I am so happy to answer, or at least attempt to :P

      Most Transgender people will initiate the conversation about their gender and preferred pronouns, and so you shouldn't have to worry about it. We know it can be awkward for other people, and although I cannot speak for every Transgender person, I certainly don't want people to feel odd or strange around me! So I would let them introduce themselves, and you should be able to tell by that how you should address them.

      Thank you so much!!

      ~Megan~

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  6. Megan, you are a person I would proudly call a friend, regardless of your gender. You are honest & open & just trying to find the joy in life, as we ALL are!!

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    1. Wow! Thank you so much! I just feel that it is important for people to feel like they can ask questions, I WANT them to learn, and I appreciate it.

      Thank you so much!

      ~MEgan~

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  7. Excellent interview. Megan, thank you for being so open! And Rachel, thank you for giving Megan the opportunity to share her thoughts and feelings with us!

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    1. It's been very nice working with Megan and making a new friend out of it. I'm just happy she didn't think I was insane.

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    2. Rachel is wonderful! I am so glad for this opportunity, and I have made a wonderful friend because of it too! That is what is important- connections. People who are willing to learn more and become an ally or a friend. I love it! Thank you so much for reading this!
      ~Megan~

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  8. Megan, I just want to say hi and to thank you for your openness and honesty here. I'm always afraid to ask questions because I don't want to inadvertently offend anyone, so the more Transgender people are willing to open up about themselves the better off we all are! I can tell you are a good, kind, loving person and the world needs more people like that no matter what gender they are! Best wishes to you!

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    1. Wow! Jennifer, thank you so much! You are so kind! I think it is important for people to ask questions; how in the world are they supposed to learn if they cannot learn more about the issues?

      Thank you again!
      ~Megan~

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    2. I think most people feel the same way as you do. We're taught to just keep quiet so we don't offend anyone but if we don't learn, we'll offend people anyways. Sometimes it's better to be loud and get answers than act as if we don't know something is happening.

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  9. Bravo for this blog entry, Rachel! Wonderfully written and I love the truth in it. I learned so much from reading Megan's interview and never realized the process, as well as the struggle. It makes me cry to hear how mean people can be and can still be in this day and age. Good luck with everything, Megan!

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    1. Thank you so much Jessica! It can be a struggle, but it is so worth it! I appreciate the opportunity to answer all of the questions, and everyone's willingness to read it!
      ~Megan!

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    2. Oh, thank you, but please give all of the credit to Megan! I honestly didn't really do anything for this post.

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  10. I wish Megan nothing but the best in this journey. My spouse and I are friends with a trans woman who didn't transition until she was in her 60's. I'm not sure Megan's age, but if I've learned anything from our friend it's that finally making the transition has been a freeing experience. There's still discrimination externally, but at least internally, you'll get to live your truth. What can be more liberating and empowering than that? I echo everyone else's appreciation for your openness and thanks to Rachel for creating this forum. The best of luck to you. If only the rest of us knew ourselves so well, maybe there wouldn't be the insecurity that leads to anger and hatred.

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    1. Megan is a bit younger than that but I'll let her share her age (if she so chooses). I'm so glad your friend was able to transmisition, even if it took much longer.

      Also, thank you for the kind words, but all the credit should go to Megan for this post.

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    2. I am so happy for your friend! It is so wonderful to finally get to be yourself, and I am so glad that I am on my way! I am blessed that I was able to accept myself at a younger age (28), and that I do not have to fight against the years of self-disgust anymore! Thank you for reading this, I appreciate it!
      ~Megan~

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  11. I am truly blessed to know the both of you. When the world realizes that we transgendered people are not "freaks" but human beings like everyone else the world will be a much better place!!! Love,Christina Crymsen @ccrymsen on Twitter.....

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    1. The world is changing. My generation got to see gay marriage become legal. Who knows? Maybe we'll get to see transgender/gender fluid/etc become completely normalized so nobody is ever fearful to be themselves.

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  12. I came because Janie said too and she was right this post was bloody marvellous and I am glad I came and read and I will be back just so you know, I hope one day that words like transgender, gay, lesbian are replaced with human, or person just the way I think

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    1. Janie is usually right. I'm glad you enjoyed Megan's post! The world is changing every day and we get to help it. How cool is that?

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  13. I came for another visit because I love all these beautiful comments from kind, caring bloggers. And what do you mean "Janie is usually right"?

    Love you, darlin', and thank you again, Megan.

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    1. I have yet to see a time when you have been wrong! I should change it to "Janie is always right".

      Love you! ❤️

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  14. I think you did a wonderful job on this post and the Q & A section was a great addition. Good job, gals!

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