Transgender & Gender Non-Binary
I love working with transgender & gender non-binary (GNB) people. I myself identify as gender non-binary. My belief is that it is a basic human right to determine our own gender identity (i.e. “female,” “male,” or lack thereof) & express that gender however way we please (e.g., how we dress, how we talk, & who gets to know about our gender identity or not). This may be very different than how we were assigned at birth (i.e. by a doctor, nurse, or whoever influences what is placed on our birth certificate) and how we were socialized to act (e.g. “boys play sports” or “girls play with dolls”). Some of us have a way easier time following these so-called gender norms while many of us extravagantly struggle with the social influences that attempt to consistently force us to be somebody who we are not. I believe that every human being has these moments of struggle based off of pressure to adhere to gender norms, and for some of us these moments of struggle happen so frequently & intensely that changing gender identity & expression serves as an adequate & relatively harmless way to decrease this stress & live more to our fullest potential.
I define transgender, as opposed to gender non-binary, as an identity that is based on a concept of gender binary. A transmasculine person, AKA FTM, AKA female-to-male may have been assigned female at birth and now self-identifies as male with preferred pronouns “he/him/his.” A transfeminine person, AKA MTF, AKA male-to-female may have been assigned male at birth and now self-identifies as female with preferred pronouns “she/her/hers.” An intersex person, born with more ambiguous sex characters (such as genitalia) that challenge medical professionals who work within the gender binary, may be forced to transition their gender identity before they are able to give consent (i.e. as an infant) & therefore may choose to transition their gender identity to one that reflects who they are when they are old enough to give consent. Transgender people may be at various different stages in biological sex transition and may have challenges accessing medical support for hormone therapy, top surgery (removing or adding breasts), bottom surgery (removing or adding genitalia), facial feminization or masculinization, and/or trunk feminization or masculination. These sexual reassignment surgeries (SRS), AKA gender affirming surgeries require an assessment letter from a qualified mental health professional who can also provide emotional support for the potential anxiety and trauma that may arise before and after these extremely intense but life-affirming surgical procedures. I am experienced with writing support letters for a variety of different gender affirming surgeries and would be happy to connect with you for a consultation to see if we may be able to collaborate together with this treatment option. (Please note: Bottom surgeries require 2 support letters from 2 different mental health professionals. A great resource for more info about gender affirming surgeries is through the San Francisco Department of Public Health - Transgender Health Services.)
Gender non-binary is another identity for those of us who simply do not resonate with either of the gender identities found in the gender binary. All of us human beings spend the majority of our lives not thinking or caring about our gender identity; we are simply eating, breathing, playing, working, mating, etc. in ways that prioritize thoughts, feelings, and connections that are not associated with any gender in particular. Other than factors such as procreation, sexual attraction, & cultural considerations, gender simply does not matter until we are faced with sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, classism, ableism, & other forms of social oppression that remind us of the systems of privilege brought on by what bell hooks calls “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (Read more at: https://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/UnderstandingPatriarchy.pdf). In this light, gender non-binary as an identity not only serves as a means to decrease stress brought on by societal pressure to conform to a gender identity found in the gender binary, but also serves as a means of deconstructing patriarchy & live within a message of fighting for social justice. I would love to engage in conversation with you about this issue, as well as provide a space that is as safe as possible for you to explore your own gender identity or lack thereof because so much healing happens in us finding the personal power in discovering more of who you are.