Friday, August 30, 2013

Who is Really responsible for the rash of Transgender Murders?


By Sabrina Samone, TMP
 

Transphobia, (or less commonly trans-prejudice, trans-misogyny, referring to transphobia directed toward trans women and trans-misandry, referring to transphobia directed toward trans men), is the description you’ll find on Wikipedia, but to many Transgender individuals, it’s the outright disrespect of one’s person. A blatant disregard to a fellow human beings right to be, live or exist. Minority groups such as; African-Latino-Asia-Jewish Americans-Muslims-Christians and women that know what it’s like to be hated for whom they are could only, If they’d manage to muster an ounce of sympathetic understanding to what that feels like, would call it hate. Its hate that raped tortured and then sought out Brandon Teena and murdered him. It’s hate that sought out 21 year old Islan Nettles, a young trans-woman in Harlem, who was attending school and aspiring to have a normal life in an area known as a black Mecca for equality and achievement for decades, because she was ‘different’.

According to Salon’s resent article states; The Last acceptable bigotry in America, with in the first 24 hours after California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly announced he would be pulling his child out of public schools in response to a new law guaranteeing transgender students the right to safely use the bathroom, Islan Nettles was brutally beaten outside a police precinct. On Aug. 27, while hundreds of mourners prepared to gather for a vigil in Nettles honor, “Fox and Friends” opened a segment on Manning with Aerosmith’s “Dude looks like a lady.”

These are not unrelated events. Our culture’s ignorance about transgender rights isn’t just a matter of semantics, media bluster or political fault lines; popular narratives that dehumanize the lives and experiences of Trans-people take a heavy human toll and come with a body count.

What do these things cause in my life you may ask?

The sun has just gone down and I rushed to get my evening walk in to continue my positive progress on my newest diet. I stop in the kitchen, briefly debating in my head for a second, do I bring a box cutter with me as I begin my walk in one of the safest neighborhoods in a twenty mile radius. I declined to carry a weapon. I like to pride myself on being a very smart, fast reflex type of gal and if I’m terrified on the inside, there’s not a man that would ever know that. The muggy humid Charleston air immediately dampens my skin, my head is held high I will not be afraid. Beginning my journey I had to think for a second; why is it that I must be afraid to enter the dark as a woman or as a Trans-woman? I’m not oblivious to what it means to be a curvaceous, racially ambiguous mulatto female with ample bosoms in the south, and the fantasies that arises in the mind of men of all races, but why should that make me scared to leave my home? This is supposed to be my corner of the world, my oasis, my damn American dream. Why must I be afraid of the dark?

Every person that passes, one eye is always upon them. Teenagers approach and I’m relieved to see that they are obvious young gay men. These are feelings that pop in your head when you are a woman in America, a woman with a secret that must not be revealed unwillingly by anyone but her. The feelings aren’t new. I knew them all my life. I didn’t need classes in how to walk like a woman; I walked as a woman at five. I didn’t need classes to learn how to apply makeup, I had make up sessions with high school girlfriends at 13, I didn’t need an SRS to be considered a woman, there was never a person I met that didn’t think I hadn’t already had, if they had known at all. I don’t need to be reminded that I’m ‘just a girl’, that should be afraid of everything in this world; I grew up being afraid in this world. They say I should never walk alone after dark, there’s not a man that’s ever been in my life that would have allowed me too, but why must I adhere to a man’s direction from every corner of my life, even from stepping outside of my own home. Everyone knows that and everyone’s man knows; a woman has to have an extra eye open after dark and would not welcome her to do so, but why? I’m reaching the corner to my street now. I have made it another night as one, alone woman in the world after dark. As I approach the corner, a horn blows, a man whistles. I have been noticed by the enemy. Not only do I have to fear men, as a woman, but what those men my reveal from my nature as a trans-woman. I enter my home, relieved that I didn’t cower in my home just because it was dark as I quickly set my alarm to ensure I will remain safe. As I flipped on the TV, there is fox news with another story of Chelsea Manning, connecting transgender and traitor in the same line to continue to imply their info to their bubble gum masses. I could have been a victim to their rhetoric of transphobic hate. Someone could have heard and responded with the intended hate they implied, left their home, suspected and this post would have never been heard, but why are you letting this persist, why are we not demanding the change necessary from these so called news outlets to deliver news and not their personal bigotries? Why do we let this continue? It’s time Fox news and other Transphobic media be held personally responsible for hate crimes against Transgender people, due to their hate filled propaganda.

 

 

                                                    RELATED TOPICS ON TRANSMUSEPLANET
The Conservative media: The new bullies of Transgender people
 
 
 
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Dr.King understood Rights are ‘Not Divisible


Sabrina Samone, TMP


The TBGL community showed its support in large numbers this past weekend for the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King march on Washington. Martin Luther King had a dream that all men would one day find freedom and equality. Though many in our African-American community have long denied that our TBGL struggle was the same, the tide is turning fast. Over the past few years the bond between all groups seeing civil rights as a shared dream, is beginning to truly live up to the idea of everyman being equal, that Dr. King had envisioned.

The African-American and Latino community are not alone in learning to put aside differences and understand that minority groups, together are the majority. The TBGL community also has had and must continue to put away false hopeful ideas of attaining white heterosexual cis-gender privilege and put bigotry and transphobia aside for the greater good. This past weekend many did just that.
According to the Washington Blade, the daughter of the late-former New York Congresswoman, Bella Abzug, who introduced the first federal gay rights bill in ‘75, was 11 years old when she and her mother attended the March on Washington in 1963. The daughter said of her mother that “She’d be up there speaking in the front,” Liz Abzug said as she stood with member of Congregation Beit Simchat, a TBGL synagogue in New York City, on the National Mall. “She’d be screaming and speaking and charging up and thrilled, but say we have unfinished business.”

The unfinished business is no secret. Finally in 2013 we saw DOMA struck down, several transgender laws passed, but it is still 50 years after the initial walk for freedom and equality for everyone and  we continue fighting state by state for rights for American citizens to just live and have the right to be happy.

Many members of the new civil rights movement spoke at the 2013 March; American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; National Black Justice Coalition executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks; International President Mary Kay Henry and Adrian Shanker; member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Equality Maryland, the Latino GLBT history Project and other LGBT groups also took part.

“I’m here with my brothers and sister, not only the union movement, but with LGBT people, with African-Americans from the Civil Rights movement,” said Suzanne Keller of Richmond, VA.

Maybe the march of 2013 will mark the beginning of truly realizing Dr. King’s dream; that equality and rights are ‘not divisible’.
 
 
                                        For Related Topics of Transmuseplanet
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Prinscesa; a delayed review

Rewiew by Sabrina Samone, TMP



Yes, I know it’s been out since 2001 but I finally get my chance to give a review about one of the best films  ever about transgender people and the foreign Italian/protégées sub titled film is one I felt, never got it's due respect in the genre of American transgender films. This film that tackles a major taboo subject rarely discussed with such simplicity. It tackles immigration and obtaining proper identification as major factors in leading transgender women into poverty. Having a love story about a heterosexual cis gender males’ love for a transgender woman, has never been and has yet to be handled with such an intimate look into two peoples struggle to have a healthy relationship and how gender dysphoria affects it, or has tackled suicide and the unique relationships between like minded trans-women and how we can relate to one another as much as Prinscesa has. A film where a transgender woman is considered desirable and beautiful had never and since been demonstrated in such away in a popular film. It has been 12 years since this film hit the European screens and we as community, though are seeing progress and recent achievement like Lavern Cox in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’, we are obviously not seeing enough or fast enough from Hollywood to tackle diverse, positive, realistic portrayals of transgender women and even more specifically, transgender women of color.

The young Brazilian Fernando, leaves a devout Catholic family in the jungles of the Amazon; poor, African-descent, transgender and beautiful, to move to Italy. There, Fernanda lives her life as a trans-woman, but uneducated and young; her only means of making her dream come true as a woman is to prostitute. She is first lead by her fellow transgender friends from her area in Brazil. She differs from them because they are transvestite and the difference of being transgender is portrayed beautifully but not seperately. She’s then lead to the madam of the local Trans sex workers; who is mature and financially able to help Fernanda on her journey until she meets Gianni. She meets Gianni by random, on one of her working nights on the streets; he does not know, he is intrigued and began to woo her into a romance. This film Tackles some delicate issues between trans-women and heterosexual cis-gender men beautifully and is the only film to do so, so deeply.


On many levels, Prinscesa tackles on at least one if not many issues, faced by all Transgender women. It was during a time when a pre session  of transgender characters in film were breaking records year after year, starting maybe with  ‘Midnight in the Garden of Evil’, with the Lady Chablis, then the ‘Crying Game’, which was the first ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. Since then we had been replaced with female actress or gay men portraying transgender characters like we did with Felicity Hoffman in ‘Transamerica’ and the recent decision on Broadway to have Neil Patrick Harris to play Hedwig in the angry Inch, a jab at Transsexuals having a botched sex reassignment surgery. It has been one major reason we all applaud the efforts having Lavern Cox, a trans-woman of color play a dynamic transgender role as she does in OITNB. We need to show more support for the filmmakers who choose to tackle intimate, mass educational issues of Transgender women, played by Transgender women.

I had never been able to find good clips of the film on YouTube, until recently I stumbled across this recent upload of the complete film. If you haven’t seen Princessa, I highly recommend you do. It was a film far ahead of its time and remains sadly so. Hope you enjoy the film as much as I do and see how some of the most, delicate issues are addressed.
The Complete film in 1:30min in Italian/protégées with english subtitles
 

                                                        Related Topics on Transmuseplanet
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dear Daddy

OLD POEM BY SABRINA SAMONE

IT’S 11:59,
JUST ENOUGH TIME,
TO CLEAR MY MIND.
...
IT’S BEEN A WHILE THAT WE TALKED,
GUESS WHAT?
I DID TAKE MY FIRST WALK.
I STUMBLED, FUMBLED AND ALL THE ABOVE,
WITH EACH STEP I HOPED I COULD EARN YOUR LOVE.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WAS A BLAST,
DESPITE ON MY WALK THEIR,
MUD,
ON ME,
WAS SPLASHED.

MOM TOOK ME ON MY FIRST PLANE TRIP AT NINE,
TO L. A. WHERE
I FEEL IN LOVE WITH THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN.

WHERE ARE YOU DADDY?
I’VE WAITED SUCH A LONG TIME.
IF YOU SEE ME IN HOLLYWOOD?
THEN WILL IT BE FINE?

I MEET A BOY NAMED PAUL MY JUNIOR YEAR,
WE TALKED EVERY NIGHT
BUT HE MENTIONED SEX SO MUCH IT MADE ME FEEL WEIRD.

DON’T BE MAD DAD, BUT MY FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE
I DID GET DRUNK,
AND MY ROOMATE SLIPTED INTO MY BED,
WHERE WE DID FUCK
NOTHING NEW I’M ASHAMED TO SAY,
EVEN MY FIRST LOVE,
MY VIRGINITY
HE DID FORCEFULLY TOOK.

I THOUGHT I MEET YOU SEVERAL TIMES,
THOUGHT YOU WERE BERNARD,
MARK,
TIM,
STEVE,
ANDREW,
DANIEL
DAVID,
TYRONE,
AND THE ARTIST NAME MICHEAL,
BUT JUST LIKE YOU,
THEY WOULD
LEAVE ME BEHIND.

TRIED TO END THE PAIN,
BUT AT THE TIME,
DEATH WAS NOT IN HIS PLAN.

WHAT WAS IT DADDY?
WHEN YOU LOOKED AT ME IN THE CRIB,
THAT YOUR HEART COULDN’T FEEL?
WAS I TOO UGLY DADDY?
IS THAT WHY YOU LEFT?
DID I SOUND TOO SWEET,
FOR US TO EVER MEET?
DID I WALK TOO FUNNY,
TO BE CALLED YOUR LIL BUNNY?

SOMETIMES I GOOGLE YOU
TO SEE WHERE YOU ARE.
BUT FACES ARE JUST CURIOUS FACES
CAUSE I CAN'T REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.

THIRTY-TWO YEARS HAS PASSED
AND I THINK NOW
THOUGHTS OF YOU
MUST BE MY LAST.

ILL DRY MY EYES ONCE AGAIN,
STOP MY SNIFFLES
AND FIND YET ANOTHER FRIEND.

STILL WISH I COULD SEE YOUR FACE,
AND ALL THAT COMES WITH,
BUT I GUESS YOU JUST WASN’T WORTH SHIT
WERE YOU MR. LESLIE SMITH.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trans* Faces #2: Ryan Cassata: One World...One Love...One Community


By Sabrina Samone, TMP



Ryan Cassata began making headlines in the LGBTQ community, when in 09, he appeared on the Larry King show, interviewed by Dr. Drew, with his mom. The young musician and public speaker had begun telling his story of gender identity disorder to his generation. Ryan became more vocal about speaking out against bullying. He began touring the United States, playing at LGBT Pride and music festival and on June 21st of 2013, Ryan performed at the Warped Tour’s Ernie Ball’s Battle of the Bands, which was part of an online competition. 

It was during that competition drive to get your fans and followers on popular social media to vote for you to play in the acclaimed tour, that I saw a post by Ryan Cassata to his base to vote for him; read his story, his views on being a transgender teen in America and then listened to his music. After hearing the first song, I quickly backspaced and voted for this outspoken John Lennon of our generation. I went back to hearing more of his songs on his you tube page and quickly decided to make him a celebrity to watch and kept the Transmuseplanet community updated on his progress.



To this day, when I hear his song ‘Hands of Hate’, sung by a teen aged transgendered male with such passion and recent experiences with hate, that I couldn't help but be boiled over by the end in tears. Knowing what many LGBTQ people over the years have endured during those turbulent high school years, and to know in a way, it may have actually gotten worse for so many young TQBGL youth who have decided to end their lives rather than endure one more day.

 To follow this young man is to notice a young man, recently himself tormented by gender identity and bullying, that he is fighting tooth and nails for others not to suffer in such a way and to be totally inspired by his drive and determination to see a world respected and united. The momentum behind Ryan Cassata, his music and his mission, is building at neck break speed, with followers and fans now in the hundred of thousands. He has begun with his own launch of clothing that can be purchased at ryancassatamusic.bigcartel.com, appearing in media outside of the U.S, now going global and many, like 91.5 FM WRPI have said about him “Who needs a boy band,when you got a guy like this? It’s Ryan Cassata.” Not far from the Truth, Ryan Cassata is fast becoming a trademark brand with actual talent, a purpose and a message of peace, respect and one world love for all mankind.








I had to grab this young man quickly before only the new Royal baby will be able to have a second of his time and get TMP and friends a moment to get to know the fascinating Ryan Cassata a little better.





TMP:  Ryan, you have done so many positive things in the world at such a young age. What drives you to want to make a difference in the world?

          Ryan Cassata: Thank you.  There is so much ignorance and hatred that can be cured with tolerance. There's a lot of hate towards the LGBTQ community. I think it would be crazy if I just sat back and let all that hate continue. The time is now to stand up and get things moving towards equality and a better future.
 


TMP: When you were just out of high school, at a time when most Cis-kids are just thinking about enjoying their summer before college, you were being awarded the Harvey Milk Memorial Award in 2011. What did such an honor mean to you and what advice would you give to other Trans-kids who are fighting for equality?
          Ryan Cassata: Thank you. When I first started changing things in my high school, I was changing things in order to make things easier for myself. I had to change certain things so that I could survive high school. I skipped 11th grade; during my senior year, I made it my mission to educate my peers and teachers, so they could pass on the message of acceptance. I wanted  my school to accept transgender students by the time I ended school. I knew that if I worked really hard, I could make a difference and make it so much easier for someone else whose transgender that would come along and walk the hallways of my school after me. I did make it easier and I won the Harvey Milk Memorial Award upon graduating high school. This was very symbolic;  I was following in his footsteps and doing good in the world. I started doing a lot of volunteer work in the eighth grade. My advice to other people who want to make a difference is to get involved. Volunteer at your local center and if you don't have one or can't volunteer for them, then speak out at your school. I used do speeches for the Long Island center and I also did speeches and educating within and outside of my school...on my own. It became my mission as a young teen to change things and I did.

TMP: I've been listening to your music for weeks since we first spoke and I have to say there is not a song that don't make me feel more inspired and hopeful about the world. It's often sometimes, hard for a Trans-person to stay so hopeful about things, faced with so much discrimination and hate. How do you turn pain into hope and make such inspiring music?

           Ryan Cassata: I always try to find the good in things and in people. I think everyone has a little bit of good and a little bit of love in their heart. I think with education it is easier to make people understand minorities. When you change your perspective to hope, life will be much more positive.

TMP: When did you start performing and writing music?
           
             Ryan Cassata:  I was singing and making up songs all though out my childhood.  I started actually like, writing music down on a piece o paper and playing it again later when I was about 12. I started guitar at 6 years old, piano at 12, and I started singing seriously at 14. I had my first performance when I was about 13. My first band was  called "The Fenetiks." When that band broke up, I started playing out solo and I loved it.
TMP: You have done many television appearances and interviews for countless main stream magazines. Is there one that stands out as being the most positive moment for you...whose show and why?
               Ryan Cassata: One of my favorite media moments was being interviewed by Long Island Pulse Magazine. They were so open to being educated about the transgender community and they actually cared about what I was doing,my speeches and my music. They didn't make a being Trans*, a 'freak show.'  They treated me as a normal person and they wrote an incredible article about me. It's my favorite so far.
TMP: Your revolutionary spirit is very contagious, but many are bogged down in just trying to survive. Any suggestions on things we all could do in our everyday lives that could make a difference towards spreading universal respect and equality?
           Ryan Cassata: Smile more. Smile at strangers. Go out and do good. Volunteer. Be nice to others.
TMP: What are your hopes and dreams for the Transgendered community and for all of mankind?
          Ryan Cassata: I hope the community will become less depressed and that the suicide rate will decline. I want the transgender community to be seen as another group of people and not a taboo. I want society to accept us.
TMP: You seem to have so many projects going on at the moment. Anything in particular you’d really like the readers of Transmuseplanet to check out, that you are currently working on?
        Ryan Cassata: Right now I am working on starting a chest binder fundraiser to raise money for 'IN A BIND'.   More info about this will be released soon.
TMP:  Tell us about your latest EP.
       Ryan Cassata: My upcoming EP will be released on September 13th on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. It has eight songs. It's a very deep album and I am hoping many people will listen and learn from it.
TMP:  I often believe that much of the time we can become complacent in our immediate surroundings and may not have a full feel of how life on the road is for a Transgender person. Since your touring all over the country, what is your assessment of the level of understanding and support for the Transgender Community?
     Ryan Cassata: So far, San Francisco is the most tolerant and accepting place that I have been too. I feel safe here. I don't feel safe on the east coast or in my hometown.
TMP: If you had one chance to tell the world and knew everyone would hear you at once. What would you like them to know about Ryan Cassata?
    Ryan Cassata: I want to change the way society thinks, to be more accepting of the LGBTQ community and to other minorities. I will do anything to spread awareness about this and make peace come sooner.
Ryan Cassata is definitely a man on a mission to uplift mankind. He is not only an inspiration but a hopeful clue of the Trans-genderation that is growingly stepping up to claim their position on the stage of those who seek equality for all. He is a reminder of what we all fight for and a message to Cisgendered heterosexual society that enjoys the privilege of just being able to be a teenager, enjoy those years, plan for college and live happily ever after, that many TQBGL teenagers are fighting just for their right to live and to be.
To change the world,  maybe is what every teenager faces. From the world of the old that wanted to do so, since as far as man could imagine, but never before is the call to make that change such a necessity for so many innocent lives, just trying to have some happiness in the world. Cassata is an example to all TQBGL people who want to see a different world tomorrow than they see today. He is more than anything; a positive example of a human being who thinks beyond the “I” and what “I” can acquire, as our national culture seems at times to be. A human’s life should stand for something, make a difference in the world and sweep the path of life, clearer for those who follow.

Like Anne Frank who said, "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." Like Ryan, they give us all hope that one day we see that good.
More links to Ryan Cassata






Friday, August 9, 2013

August book of the month: An Awaited Reckoning; the Solstice Moon Series


A review by Sabrina Samone, TMP
My review of An awaited Reckoning; The Solstice Moon Series by Jade Olivia Braddock and Cyril Alfred Blake

If anyone would ask me my top choices in books and films,  there's a ninety percent chance it would be sci-fi; with mythical creatures galore. I’ve long believed that a book or film should take you to another dimension. I have yet to understand this nations fascination with reality TV, of course I can get suckered in one or two a season myself, but let’s be real; If I want reality TV I’ll film my friends, family, co-workers and my own life for that, and trust me I don’t care to see any of that drama or read about it. Since old Hollywood and TV have seemed to be forgotten in the pile of reality muck, I’ll do the next best thing and read a book.

After reading a couple of  the Game of Thrones series, I found myself at a lost for my before sleep read until I found an email from Authors Jade Olivia Braddock and Cyril Alfred Blake; trans-female and trans-male authors with a twist on an old sci-fi tale. I saw where they had given me a free copy to read, clicked the link and though I’m more of the vampire genre, I was fascinated by this tale of werewolves. It may have been that I had just finished Game of Thrones, but this was like Game of Thrones meets Practical Magic meets the underworld with a little True Blood drama thrown in, so I found myself glued to the pages.
---------------------------------------

Excerpt from Amazon review
An Awaited reckoning; the solstice moon series, is the story of the death of Devon Andrews, and her rebirth into a world she never asked for.  On the night of the winter solstice: a lunar eclipse, a prophecy and a world of war and leadership emerges. A once forgotten ancient culture and a dynasty under the guidance of the last of the druids, a war between two families, one given gifts by the Gods the other created through dark magic, both with their own secrets and agendas. Her old life ripped away, a new destiny is created. You will follow Devon and her journey into this one of a kind story of history, magic, and werewolves. The Solstice Moon Series has taken a classic supernatural genre beloved by its fans and given it a world that no one has seen before.
-----------------------------------

Devon to me, comes across as an androgynous tomboy with a rare amount of street smarts. She’s been around you can feel and you never know exactly what her next move will be. This book is filled with LGBT supernatural characters and makes this series an easy read for any lgbt supernatural lovers like me, who can now have characters they can relate too, unlike Twilight and True blood.

The setting is in the cold climate of Canada, perfect for fur loving supernatural creatures. When it comes to sci-fi films or books, the first five minutes I either love it or hate it, rarely is there an in between. This book caused me to stay up insisting I not put it down causing me to be late for work the next morning but that is how the characters and this book catches you off guard.

So if you can’t wait until October like me to feel spooked and a chill up your spin and looking for a good read with a trans flare but done in a way that could stand up to any Game of Thrones or Harry Potter novel, then the solstice moon series is for you. The next in the series has already been titled, ‘The Hunted Rogue” and I can’t wait for this. Jade Olivia Braddock and Cyril Alfred Blake did an excellent job at showing Trans-authors that have something to say other than about just being Trans and this sci-fi novel is guaranteed to leave your mouth hanging. My only regret is it took me so long to since they contacted me, to finally read it, a major kudos to this one; TMP give five stars here.

For your copy go to Amazon.com
Related links:

                                                         An Awaited Reckoning Facebook page
 
 
 
 
RELATED TOPICS ON TRANSMUSEPLANET
 
 
                           May’s book of the month; I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trans* Faces #1: A chat with Lyle G. of Munich Germany

By Sabrina Samone, TMP
Social media has its pros and cons but one thing it is certain to do; is bring people who may have never had the time to socialize, together. When the website Transmuseplanet, which later became a blog, was created as a place for me to just ramble, many suggested spreading what I had to say through other social media sites, like facebook, tumblr etc., so I started a Facebook page to post my blog post. Immediately I felt what in Kabbalah is called the bread of shame; that what I was doing was feeding my ego and not giving back in return, so I decided to use it to share information for and about the Trans community. Being in South Carolina and out of the lime light of being a showgirl or a one line bit Indi- actress in a couple of films, I felt the most I’d get is a couple of dozen likes from my closes friends and family. The opposite has happened, no family has shown support and very few who actually knew me and called me friend have supported it but...what has happened is a whole new world of friends, many whom I have and plan on meeting soon. As of the first week of August 2013, while I spent time in my local community supporting pride week, Transmuseplanet Facebook page crossed the 1000 like mark, nearly 950 more than I had ever imagined would.

Several people with pages on Facebook informed me that this deserved acknowledging, that many pages do, so I thought for a second and having been in talks with a couple of people about doing more interviews of Transgender people for my blog, decided to make it sort of a contest. In that, while the page was waiting to cross that 1000th like, I’d announce that the person that is the 1000th like would be my first in a new series of interviews. What better way to resist the “bread of shame” and continue to give back and to highlight the very people who have shown their support and appreciation for this online community.
On August 5th 2013 that 1000th like happened and it was a young, intelligent young man from Germany, that during this process of interviewing and chatting with him has touched me deeply and it’s more clear to me now, that this may become more than just a series of interviews with various Trans Sisters and Brothers, but much more for me and I hope anyone who reads each and every one.

I’m honored and thank each and every person who has come to my little blog and enjoyed it and every person who has made Transmuseplanet part of their Facebook, Tumblr or Google + daily experience. I hope to get the chance to hear as many personal stories as time allow, it so true, everyone has a story to tell and today It was my honor to chat with the 1000th like on Transmuseplanet/facebook Lyle G. a 19 year old Trans-man in Munich Germany, who will be celebrating a birthday soon as his new self. Happy Birthday Lyle, thanks for sharing some of  your story.

TMP: You Lyle, were selected because you’re the Transmuseplanet face book page 1000th like, so thank you. You’ll be the first in a hopeful series of interviews focusing on Trans-people from around the world on the TMP blog site. In your words, how has your life changed?

Lyle: Thank you for letting me be a part of this project! I hope you can interview many interesting people from around the world and share their experiences with all of your readers and I feel honored to be the first one! My name is Lyle and I’m a 19 year old student from Munich which is in the beautiful south of Germany. I am about 9 months on Testosterone now and I’m having my top surgery soon, so my life has changed a lot and it’s still changing! I was that depressed and shy teenager, which had no friends and spent all of his time in front of a computer screen. Today I consider myself an outgoing person, who get along with almost everyone. I have many great friends who accept and love me for who I am and that feels great!  Transitioning has helped and is still helping me to find and express myself. It took me a lot of time to have the courage to go on this long journey.

TMP: We all have unique stories about our transition. Tell us if you will, you’re unique story of your transition?

Lyle:  Well, I guess my story is the average story of a female to male Trans-guy here. My childhood was great and I didn’t have that much problems with my identity, because I was around boys all the time and they accepted me as one of them. My parents were very accepting when it came to my tomboyish style and that I didn’t want to wear any dresses. It all got complicated when I turned 13 and puberty gave me a big old smack in the face. I lost many of my guy friends and I became very sad and depressed. I hated myself and my body and I didn’t want it to change for the worse. I was sick of reality and I got addicted to the game “World of War craft”, where I spent way too much time. The game made me happy though, because there I could be who I really am- a guy.  When I turned 16 I came out to my mother and told her that I couldn’t live on with the body I had and that I identified as a boy. She thought I was going through a phase, but she helped me out by finding a therapist. The years passed by and I got very depressed because nothing really changed. I was doing terrible at school and had to repeat a whole school year. I was so unhappy that I decided to transfer schools and change everything that was going wrong in my life. I found new friends at my new school and the teachers there were very supportive and helped me out with my transition by using my new name and pronouns, they even allowed me later on to drop out of school for a year, so I could concentrate on my therapy, hormones and surgery. Everything was getting better and my therapist sent me to a Trans*-specialist, where I got hormones in Oct. 2012. It took me more than 3 years of therapy to start testosterone, so I had nearly given up on everything. I was so happy when I got the OK from the doctor. It really was the best feeling I ever had in my life.
My mother wasn’t too happy about me starting hormones, but I took her to an expert who told her how the hormones would help me out and that this kind of treatment would make perfect sense for me. The way she didn’t have to worry that I was making any wrong decisions.
My mother’s support was and still is very important for me since I live with her, and without my father. It took her a while to get use to all the changes that I am going through and now she is totally cool about it. I was very scared of coming out to my dad, but I decided to do so, as soon as I started hormones because he would notice anyway. To my surprise, his reaction was super cool and I was also very happy about that.
Today I am about 9 months on testosterone and I feel great! I haven’t had any surgeries yet but the hormones are doing their job great (except for annoying acne ha ha) and I already like myself a lot more than I ever did.
I am having top surgery by the end of August and I just can’t wait to be one more step closer to my true self!

TMP: How would you describe the acceptance and visibility of Transgender people in Munich Germany?

Lyle: That’s a good question! Transgender people in Germany have gained more and more visibility through the media that suddenly “discovered” us. It’s not that much of a good thing through, since many of the TV shows present Trans* people in a freak-show kind of way and exploit them, instead of educating the audiences. I saw a show a few weeks ago which had people take guesses at Cis and Trans people; they got points if they guessed the gender correctly. Terrible, but there are also good shows, articles that help to educate and a very famous trans-man named “Balian Buschbaum”, who has written books, visit schools and has many appearances on TV. I would say that the acceptance here differs from place to place. I haven’t dealt with any discrimination myself, only with people who showed interest in my transition and asked me loads of questions (not all of them appropriate of course), but I guess I’m lucky because I live in a big city where people are very educated and tolerant. I think Transwomen suffer a bit more than trans-guys when it comes to acceptance here, but I would say that it’s not too bad here.

TMP: How is life different for a Trans-man in Munich, than what you “may” have heard for Trans-men in other parts of the world?

Lyle: First of all there are many laws that support Trans* people here and our healthcare system takes care of our surgeries and hormones, so you can’t be discriminated against on your job or at school. I hear many sad stories from other countries of Trans* people being beaten up or fired just because they are Trans*. Things like that happen here rarely and it’s always a huge scandal. I believe the biggest problem here is the lack of education and not laws or religious groups etc.

TMP:  We all, even by being who we are, contribute to Trans visibility. How have you contributed to the transgender community?

Lyle: I’m a part of many online communities and I always offer help to anyone in need. I started a German you tube channel, where I talk about my transition and reach out to anyone who is interested, while trying to educate people on what being transgender is like.

TMP: What are your goals?

Lyle:  I just hope to find my purpose in this world and to be happy one day. Also, I want a pet snake! Lol

TMP: What are your hopes for the Trans community, specifically, in Germany?

Lyle: I have experienced a lot of hate from inside the community. I just hope that we can all get along and work together to make this world a better place for everyone.

TMP: Who are some of your Transgender role models, if any?

Lyle: I’ve been following a guy on you tube, who inspired me a lot. His name was Kai and he was always very positive about life and his transition.
I was very disappointed when I couldn’t find his videos anymore, because he took them off you tube. I wonder how he is. Another great Trans-man is Balian Buschbaum, who I mentioned earlier. It takes a lot of courage to stand out there and stand up for us.

TMP: When did you come to accept who you are?

Lyle: I had a bad phase when I was 17 and I tried to shake off my plans of transitioning because I felt that it would make everything more complicated. I tried to force myself into society’s standards and I ended up feeling suicidal. I realized that I am the only one who has to live my life and I had to decide what was best for me. I then forced myself to deal with it more and carried on with my therapy. I haven’t completely accepted myself yet, but I hope for this to change soon, since the traits, I don’t like, are vanishing bit by bit.

TMP:  If you had one chance to tell the world and knew everyone would hear you at once. What would you like them to know about Lyle G., and who he is?

Lyle: I’m just a regular 19-year old human being and not different from anybody else. We all deserve the same amount of respect and kindness. Life has its ups and downs for everyone, so stay positive and never give up! I’d also like to leave my favorite quote here:

“[…] the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” – Mewtwo (Poke`MonJ)

 Lyle was kind enough to want to leave an email for those seeking advice or just a common spirit to chat with. You may reach Lyle at andwhatsfordinner@yahoo.de

I got so much more than I was expecting from my chat that I received with Lyle, I got a since of things that are universal to so many of us. That a young Trans-man in a far away country from my own also feels that one of the major negative issues faceing the Trans* is the Trans*, fighting from within, like many groups, religions, countries, has been destoryed from within. If we are to grow, prospers gain respect and acceptance, our first step has to be towards our fellow Trans people.

The fact that he, in his country, is as aware that Trans-men earn far more acceptance than Transwomen, as well as I do here in South Carolina makes for an interesting conversation as to why that is. What does that say about the human race that we are more willing to understand why a woman would transition to be a man but yet it’s viewed a negative for a man to transition to a woman, as if it’s a step down. Is there wider misogynistic view about gender that all genders are perpetrating?

Even we in America, as we watch greedy corporate Republicans fight the Affordable Health Care, we get an insider view of a Trans-man whose transition is benefiting from a national health care system.

Our 1000th friend of Transmuseplanet may be a hard act to follow? You’ll have to check back Sunday, August 11th to see, as my next chat will be a well known activist and rock star.

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