The chill girl’s guide to changing your gender

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The steep climb out of manhood can be daunting to the uninitiated trans girl, but look on the bright side: Before you came along, countless others have made that same hike, and they’re doing just fine.

This is a guide for trans women, so I’ll stick to addressing a few things that I’ve found useful based on my specific experience as a male-to-female trans woman. My advice might be helpful, but you deserve actual medical and mental health care providers to ensure you’re being cared for. (Recommendations on finding them are forthcoming.)

Not all transgender people transition, and transitions look different for all kinds of people. They can be fast, or slow, and include lots of different kinds of treatments. Whatever your identity is, some things are true of transitioning across the board.

Chief among these: Transition is not one-size-fits-all. You may be comfortable altering your gendered existence without hormones or surgery; other people will feel those kinds of physical transitions are necessary for their survival. There are lots of tools at your disposal, like changing your pronouns, your name, or what you wear. Whatever you’re looking for in your quest, trust there’s something out there for everybody.

Read on…

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The art of Pierre Joubert

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Pierre Joubert (June 27, 1910 – January 13, 2002), was a famous French illustrator. He was closely associated with the creation of Scouting and could be called the father of the idolised image of the boy scout in France and Belgium.

He illustrated dozens of books and magazines with images of scouts and other boys in adventurous and escapist settings, shaping the daydreams of generations of teens.

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Several U.S. schools get tax money for being discriminatory hellholes

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Several schools receiving money from the state of Mississippi ban not only pregnant students, some even openly ban queer students. Seven private schools that benefit from the state’s school voucher program explicitly say that they expel students who get pregnant.

At issue are the state’s “segregation academies,” schools that were founded after Mississippi public schools were integrated in 1969 so that white parents could keep their kids away from black students. The schools discriminated on the basis of race either explicitly or implicitly, and the state legislature immediately offered them support in the form of school vouchers. While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that schools that practice racial discrimination would lose their tax-exempt status, they remain significantly whiter than their surrounding areas to this day.

Six Mississippi segregation academies examined by the Huffington Post tell their students in their student handbooks that they will be expelled if they get pregnant or father a child. The Hillcrest Christian School in Jackson warns students that the school can ask a student to take a pregnancy test.

The Northpoint Christian School also says that students who get an abortion will also be expelled. The school  also bans homosexuality and says any student “who promotes, engages in, or identifies himself/herself with such activity through any action” will not be admitted. The state’s school voucher program gives the schools up to $6500 per student, effectively funding discrimination.

Another school that bans pregnant girls, the Madison-Ridgeland Academy also bans “twists,” “cornrows,” and “dreadlocks,” all hairstyles associated with African-Americans. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint against several schools in Florida with the same policy, arguing that this policy is a form of racial discrimination.

Florida has a similar issue with schools that receive state money. Seven schools were found earlier this year to have a “zero tolerance” policy for homosexuality, while others were using textbooks that teach that homosexuality is a “moral evil.”

RIP Tumblr. And fuck you.

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Yesterday was the day. From now on Tumblr will no longer allow “adult” content on its platform. But the microblogging site says it still wants users to think of it as a place to “explore sexuality.” This morning, Tumblr posted a lengthy message explaining its new guidelines, which are now in effect:

A couple of weeks ago we announced an update to our Community Guidelines regarding adult content, and we’ve received a lot of questions and feedback from you. First and foremost, we are sorry that this has not been an easy transition and we know we can do a better job of explaining what we’re doing.

It then went on to clarify that it won’t be “deleting” all adult content. Instead, it will be “hiding” it so only the person running the page to which the content was uploaded can view it. In other words: If you wanna post a racy video of yourself, that’s fine, but nobody except for you will ever be able to see it. Oh, and it can’t be too racy.

Seems completely pointless? Yup. Just like Tumblr as a whole nowadays. Tumblr went on to clarify that any content showing genitals or sexual acts, real or simulated, will no longer be permitted, adding:

Photorealistic imagery or photography–images, videos, or GIFs–with real humans that include exposed genitals or female-presenting (yeah, we know you hate this term) nipples or depict sex acts is not allowed per our guidelines.

Furthermore, Tumblr added that it “has always been home to marginalised communities and always will be”, and that it recognises its “special obligation” to these communities. It also said it doesn’t want to “silence the vital conversations that take place here every day.”

LGBTQ+ conversations, exploration of sexuality and gender, efforts to document the lives and challenges of those in the sex worker industry, and posts with pictures, videos, and GIFs of gender-confirmation surgery are all examples of content that is not only permitted on Tumblr but actively encouraged.

Good joke, Tumblr.

A teen drag queen & their proud mom inspire Twitter

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There’s nothing 17-year-old Brett McDowall love more than putting on a wig, slipping into a pair of heels and a sparkly dress, painting his face with makeup, and transforming into his drag alter ego, Amberlea Fruitville.

Teenage drag queen Amberlea Fruitville at prom

Brett’s mom, Randi, couldn’t be prouder of her son, whose drag ambitions started when he first got his hands on his sister’s tutu at age four. Since then, Randi has been buying him costumes and makeup and driving him to drag competitions all around Florida.

Randi recently took to Twitter to share the immense pride she feels for her son, who came out as gay at 13, writing: “My son is a drag queen. This means he likes to dress as a woman for performance purposes. He is not transgender, he identifies as a male and does not want to be a woman. It’s hurtful to be rejected by family who don’t take the time to educate themselves.”

She then asked people to retweet her post. And they did: The post has since gone viral, receiving nearly 19,000 likes, 7,000 comments and 6,000 retweets.

“What I love most about my son is that he has never been ashamed of his sexual identity or going out in drag,” she tells Gay Star News. “He is funny, an amazing singer and dancer and he owns it whenever he performs. He is kind, sensitive, smart and extremely loving and he brings joy to so many people,” she added. I could not be more proud of him.”

Shelter

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Some people say that heartbreak can make for great art, and the details of gay poet Kevin Tyler Norman’s failed long-distance relationship that he digested in his book Shelter might be an argument in favour of that point.

What would you do if you travelled to the other side of the world to surprise your long-distance boyfriend, only to learn he’d been dating someone behind your back? That’s what happened to Kevin, who met his then-boyfriend in the United States while the latter was travelling for work. While it could have been a summer fling, this guy told Kevin he wanted more, and the two carried on a long-distance relationship, Kevin in Los Angeles, his boyfriend in Australia.

The following months saw multiple trips back and forth, a surprise in which his boyfriend visited him for his birthday, regular video chat sessions, even meeting the family. Kevin and his boyfriend even bought a plane ticket to Australia so Kevin could make the big move Down Under.

“I planned a surprise trip to visit him, and right before I was to leave the U.S., he called me and confessed he was seeing someone else in Australia but ended that relationship because he ultimately wanted to be with me. So, being foolishly in love, I still followed through with my trip, letting him know I was coming, and after a week with me in Australia, he said he made a mistake and wanted to be with the other Australian guy. He then left me alone in his apartment while he went to go make amends with his now-boyfriend.”

The very next day Kevin flew back to the States, “heartbroken and completely wrecked.” In order to process his grief and dismay, he says he turned to writing. “I started to see the story I needed to tell.” Back in October, he released Shelter, a self-published, 196-page book of poetry detailing the whirlwind experience of a long-distance relationship that ends in heartbreak. “It documents the falling in love, the heartbreak and the healing,” he says.

“I named it Shelter because poetry is what has always helped me feel safe while I wait out the storm,” Norman tells Hornet. “When I returned home from Australia, I had a choice — I could cry and beg my ex for answers or I could just accept the truth of the situation and move on. I chose to move on, but I wasn’t going to do it without a fight. And in turn, I fought for myself and brought my poetry to life so that anyone who faces a terrible heartbreak can know they are not alone, and they never will be.”

If nothing else, Shelter is proof that hardship and pain can be turned into something beautiful. Since its release, Shelter has been making traction among all sorts of people, gay and straight, and the L.A. Times wrote a glowing piece about Kevin’s goal of helping others to appreciate love and cope with heartbreak.

“When I released Shelter, I never could have imagined the amount of love and support it’s been receiving,” he says. “It was always just a project to help me heal from my own heartbreak, but now I am seeing it heal others as well, and it’s so empowering. Love is such a universal thing, no matter your sexuality, and the feedback I’ve received from readers helps to remind me I am not alone in my struggles, and in return, neither are they.”

Queer kids as young as 10 suffer from depression at alarming rate

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Queer kids are four times more likely to self-harm with suicidal intent compared to straight youth. They’re also far more likely to experience symptoms of depression from as young as 10 years old. These symptoms will persist then into their 20s.

Researchers from the University of College London also found gay, queer youth will have worse mental health overall. ‘We’ve known for some time that sexual minority youth have worse mental health outcomes,’ study author Dr Gemma Lewis said. ‘It’s quite concerning that we’ve found this trend starts as early as 10 years old, and worsens throughout adolescence. The study is the first of its kind in the UK, questioning 4,828 young people. Participants responded to questions about depression seven times from age 10 to 21, and at 16 and 21 were asked if they self-harmed in the past year.

While depressive symptoms increased throughout their teenage years for all groups, the increase was far greater for queer teens. Self-harm was more common for non-straight teens at both 16 and 21. At 18, queer teens were twice as likely to fulfil the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of depression.

Madeleine Irish, one of the authors of the study, said the sense of feeling different may affect mental health in children. She suggested a range of stressors could be involved. These can include ‘discrimination, stigmatisation, social isolation, shame or fear or rejection, including at home or at school.’

Dr Lewis added: ‘The fact we found mental health disparities at such a young age suggests that early interventions may be useful to prevent and treat such mental health challenges. ‘Despite changes to public perceptions and attitudes in recent years, gay, lesbian and bisexual youth remain at increased risk of long-term mental health problems—addressing this inequality should be a research, policy, clinical and public mental health priority.’

Gay Man’s Worst Friend

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In the early years of this blog the glossy Destroyer Journal from Swedish queer activist & troublemaker Karl Andersson was a steady source of inspiration. It was the first magazine that dared to put teenage boys into a perspective that modern society had reserved for adolescent girls. What was normal for the latter—to be adored and idolised—was unforgivable once the same patterns were applied to boys.

The predictable outrage didn’t just come from the usual right-wing suspects but also, and even harsher, from the gay community. While love without boundaries was an ordinary part of the queer spectrum once (no matter if you take historical personalities like Oscar Wilde & Walt Whitman or the fact that mainstream gay mags in the 70s & 80s used to make no difference between teenagers and buff men when it came to lewd photos) it seems to have become somewhat of a dark family secret of the past that must be kept under the rug lest we fuel the “homos are pedos” argument and eventually lose the equal rights and fragile freedom we achieved over the last decades.

You can read the whole story in a recently published book. Gay Man’s Worst Friend is not only the thrilling story of Europe’s most controversial gay magazine, told from Stockholm, Prague and Berlin. It’s also the story of the gay movement in the 21st century. The outraged reactions to Destroyer expose hidden power structures and show how gay identity has been steadily shrunk over recent decades, excluding ever more expressions of queerness.

You can order the book at cmykrush.