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Marymount Manhattan College ​at each significant stage on our journey or transition through life we find that a new imprint is formed like a handprint a thumbprint or even a scar so what does this go it's an imperfection that carries within a story scars grow scars gradually grow into a stronger patch of skin always with a reminder of the initial hurt or scars are proud reminder of having survived a painful ordeal like everyone here I have scars some more obvious than others I've described of my left eye from when I was 9 years old at the time I lived in Saudi Arabia and a bunch of neighborhood boys and I were throwing unripe bananas at each other we were a war one going through a rock and it hit me causing my my shirt to be covered in blood my white show and after I got home with five stitches in my head each boy was Phragmites around my house to apologize one boy mumbled sorry I thought you're a boy and funnily enough so did I unfortunate so external identity that defines us in this day and age they still exist an unreal expectation for men and women to look dress and sound a certain way we know this to be unrealistic yet we're socially coerced into trying to conform and conformity gives no leeway if you happen to be a trans person if you don't fit into the binary gender categories the truth is no one person is the same or nicely fits into a category I was socialized as female for 30 years to mice to the world a girl to myself and impostor I struggled with this a lot and don't get me wrong I think women are amazing I just never identified as one I'm not alone in this struggle to conform to society's idea of normal and the pressure of living that lie or an off owner ability to verbal and physical attacks so here's a shocking statistic for you 41% of gender variant people will self-harm or attempt to take their own lives at some point 41% that's almost one in two people and that's in comparison to 1.6 percent of the general population he will try and do that at some point this tells us the magnitude of the problem for gender very people and through my work I've been moved by the hanging details of lives before during and after transition the statistics confirm that the struggle is real and I'm part of the statistic I too made attempts somewhere in life age 10 at the start of the wrong puberty this is a picture here before the banana incidence is slightly before then but check out my eyebrows off age 15 this is slightly younger age 15 when I had very little respect for myself for anything that I put into my body age 25 when I hit my quota life crisis wondering what am i doing in this world and why don't I fit in and then age 29 just before my my medical transition so I had no means to reveal this term or even to my parents and here you better only recently sat in them I had struggled with my gender identity throughout my education and early career and having graduated with a master's degree I intensified my artistic output which was both fulfilling and rewarding and yet this wasn't enough for my self-expression so my inability to address my gender issue gave rise to many other problems I had panic attacks I became terrified of death when others close to me took their own lives and I became terrified of a failure a failure of life so in the end I took work seemed to be a very hard path I began to talk without shame about my gender variants medical transition really was a do-or-die situation for me as I'd exhausted all other options and once I made my decision and vocalized this to a few people I was desperate to start taking hormones I was doing 30 and I just couldn't wait two whole years for treatment on the NHS I started injecting other people's testosterone prescriptions and it was enough so that I sounded like I had a cold by the time I talked to my parents about it and when that ran out I bought cream from Australia which merely gave me greasy skin and I also bought testosterone from a steroid website which made me home only insane I was a mess so after many months of free-falling I began supervised medical transition finally injecting prescribed hormones desperately craving surgery and yet feeling so alone I discovered online blogs secretive support groups but also society's negative or best indifferent attitude towards gender variance I had a decision to make should I make sure I keep as low a profile as possible and just concentrate on the personal challenges of transition or should I also continue to work at correcting society's negative impression of trans people I've always rooted for the underdog and being a bit of a black sheep myself I decided to keep sharing my experiences in order to connect with others more scars on this occasion eagerly anticipated elective surgery which has to drastically improve the quality of my life the surgery was essential for me after years of restrictive uncomfortable but unavoidable binding of my chest it was not at all taken lightly this momentous decision would alter the course of my life forever and I just couldn't bear another summer of discomfort so I got my date for surgery and I booked my flight and my mom at the very last minute booked a flight to be with there with me too and this is the first time that I truly felt that she was on board after quite a difficult year the surgery actually made very little impact on whether I was perceived as male or not it's not like I flashed my chest to everyone but a dusting who drastically reduced the distric feeling that I had and I can't tell you how affirming it feels just to pull on a t-shirt in the morning to me my designer chest is perfect scars and all and I and it


was a massive leap towards my authentic self so running in parallel with my medical transition I began being filmed for a channel 4 TV series called my transsexual summer and whilst I was not all together happy with the tendency towards sensationalistic tropes and being practically edges out the program it was a great insight into film production and it showed me the power and influence of the media to mold perceptions and change attitudes and I'm proud to say it was this show that started a dialogue with the nation so afterwards along with another of the contributors Lewis Hancock's I began exploring how the trans community could be better and more accurately represented we began making films together without compromise or deletion of the message we're respectful avoiding the usual clichĂŠs surgery talk makeup in the mirror before and after images and we ask the right questions so when those viewing our films laugh they're laughing with the participants nor add them so I've discovered aspects of myself and every single person that I film and these films were impacted a wider non-trans audience because of the humanistic humanistic aspects of the individuals lives passions for art skateboarding photography music poetry fashion trust is key and Luis and I are both given a high level of trust many contributors have stated that they wouldn't have exposed the vulnerabilities through anyone but us so Trust is particularly personal when we visit our younger contributors and luckily future generations of trans people trans youth have improved access to support services from a far earlier age however mermaids which is the national support group for trans youth and their families say unofficially that 75 to 80 percent of the trans teens have no support this may be because the teens have not had the courage to talk about it to their parents due to the the way their parents may have spoken on the subject in the past or some have tried to get support and have been rejected so part of our remit has been to challenge negative beliefs and create a more understanding climate in which young people and their families can thrive as she's do change and it can take some time for families to adjust remember it took my mum just over a year and now she's one of my biggest supporters so since taking part of my transsexual summer my involvement as a gender documenter and trans activist has been non-stop this year have had that warm feeling like something really pivotal was happening I felt giddy and I felt happy whilst helping to host trans Pride brighten this year a three-day event yeah and also this is Ruth hunt here as well and this is I got to attend a brilliant meeting for Stonewall where we're talking about how to add the T onto stone walls reman which was fantastic and after that through all about trans we made 25 short films at the beginning of this year all about gender variance which we had a big celebration channel 4 and the BBC and after that we worked again with all about trans to create eight short films through gyres to develop an online e-learning resource to help health professionals and those working in education and these are the only films of their kind at the moment which is very exciting I also design and contributed to Brighton transformed which is a really fantastic book featuring local stories of trans people plus really striking images by sharing kool Gannon I'll let it run through because it's so the visuals are exciting but yeah so I works on a book and a number of books this year as well and we ended up projecting these images 20 feet tall a building very close to here during trans Pride and it was really really striking and really powerful to see though and that's the book Brighton transformer that's my ugly mug and that's so the images being projected and it was really special to see so I'm a Mentalist building and there's a growing appetite for information and understanding for the past three years I've had engagements with influential media professionals as well by being part of the media we can influence gatekeepers constructively to broadcast sensitive and accurate content so through all about trans I've worked with The Observer the Daily Mail more recently the Sun newspaper to help journalists realize that there's no such thing as the sex swap or the surgery or being born a man being born a woman but also just to give them a humanistic reference point of what it's like to be trans you know so so simple so basic and it's my hope that soon all of this work my films the newspaper articles will become completely and utterly obsolete outdated I look forward to a time where there won't be media harassment of trans people usually during the most vulnerable time of their lives at the start of their transition and being trans will kind of just become a non-issue in some ways like many I believe that our agenda and our sexuality are spectrums and every one of us identify somewhere along these lines it is psychologically damaging to not be recognized for who you are in such a basic and fundamental way and rather than cringe over lost time I relish the experiences that I've had we're all so much more than our truly magnificent physical constructs we all know what it's like to be treated a specific way based upon our appearances based on local cultural social beliefs and traditions medical and social transitioning has given me a great empathy for a wide range of people I know how it feels to have monthly pains to feel home only off-balance breasts and all the rest I know what it's like to feel up to be ogled in the street to be looked up and down to feel uncomfortable for baring flesh to have to cross the street ensure provide a living in fear of guys who may not realize how intimidating they're being and that's only when I was being perceived as a woman so imagine what it's like for someone he was socialized his female dressed as a guy about to go into the gents toilets for the first time and I'd say that's one the worst things about transitioning is the guys fellows are pretty disgusting I've been so once I started my second puberty I was just like a teenage boy anxiety


embarrassment appetite hiding away in my room everything and like pregnant women trans guy has also experienced a bit of water attention but I had two years of that not not just nine months not to mention the hot flushes so I made up for my experiences and many hands many aspects propel me to continue to be the sensitive person that I am today for me scars have served as benchmarks or mile markers along life's journey all different scars scars of the skin scars to the heart accidental scars and self-inflicted scars Laverne Cox talks about the tipping point this year on Time magazine she's from orange to the new black and also Paris Lee's lovely Parsley's um she said that 2014 is the year that we no longer feel the need to apologize she says it's really exciting if trans activism it's been building up for a few years but this is it this is the tipping point and people are talking about this now and I think there's a trans person it's easy to think that something's happening but I think the people on the outside are realizing that this is a thing now this game talked about it's happening this is our moment 2014 Thank You Paris I absolutely agree with this because trans rights are human rights and somewhere along my journey the panic attacks did cease and I stopped hating hating every single cell in my body I found my resting place within the fluidity of gender and when I found self-acceptance the rest of my world aligns with me too and now I had the I may have the social stigma of a body which still doesn't yet conform and may never conform to that of society standards but we should never lose sight of the fact that we're all different but equally we should recognize how the differences which separate us can be both useful and a sign of our maturity as a species to embrace thank you Technical Career Institute College of Technology.

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