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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.


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This Is Us

It’s society that needs to transform, not my nonbinary body

Photo of blooming cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky.
Photo of blooming cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky.

I stopped taking testosterone recently. I think it was a little over a month ago, but I’m not sure. I don’t keep track of that kind of thing. Unlike many trans people, I don’t recognize a “T date” that marks when I began using hormones. I’ve never posted videos tracking how my voice has changed or photos cataloging how wide my shoulders have gotten. For many trans people, such record-keeping is celebratory and affirming. That’s great! It just hasn’t ever suited me.

I’m nonbinary, and I have always used hormones very inconsistently. I put Androgel on my body sometimes, other…

This Is Us

A story of transition, family estrangement, and academic achievement

Chess pieces with three black ones illuminated with a reflection.
Chess pieces with three black ones illuminated with a reflection.

I have a lot to say about names. Like most writers who’ve dabbled in fiction, I’ve spent ages trawling baby name websites, diving into the meaning and vibe given off by a particular array of syllables. And as someone who has been active in chat rooms, forums, and on social media since 1998, I have considered and tried on many labels and pseudonyms for myself.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve changed my own legal name twice. Three times, if you count when I got my PhD.

And I do count it. Getting a doctorate changed my prefix, the way…

Lived Through This

Sometimes our greatest advocacy is nothing more or less than living as ourselves

I never got “the talk.”

I’m not talking about my adolescent self, a lifetime ago. (Although the statement nevertheless holds true for my first time going through puberty.) I mean that when I came out as trans, and I decided to undergo hormone replacement therapy, I didn’t know anyone who might be able to sit down with me and chat about what lay ahead. That was part of the excitement and terror of transition — I’d have to learn it by living it.

Most of my friends are cisgender. “I’ll never 100% understand, but I support you,” is a common…

This Is Us

If future anthropologists believe I was a man, it’s because their discipline is broken

Manipulated image of shadow of human skeleton.
Manipulated image of shadow of human skeleton.

I know the bones are there, even though I’ve never seen them.

By themselves, they’re not very remarkable. The paired combinations of ilium, ischium, and pubis make up the bowl of my hips that cradles my guts, an evolutionary echo of a distant time when our ancestors began walking upright. So far as I know, I don’t have any pathologies that would be of special interest to a doctor, archaeologist, or paleontologist, depending on the circumstances of how my bones might be visible.

All the same, my hip bones lie.

I was born with the standard male anatomical setup. I…

As a trans woman it’s taken work to change my voice, but becoming myself is worth it

I’ve never liked my voice. As a child, when I heard myself in recordings, I’d think I sounded like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t (partly because I was). When my voice broke at puberty, I came to detest it even more. The deeper it got, the more I felt like my voice was an unfaithful facsimile — it identified me, but it also misrepresented me. It was too deep. It was full of masculine affectations that I’d absorbed from other people to fit in. It was full of eagerness for acceptance, masking fear and insecurity. …

By conforming to a stereotype of what it means to be androgynous, Mattel’s dolls do more harm than good

Recently, Time magazine broke the “news” that Mattel will be releasing the “world’s first gender-neutral doll.” The article, which is admittedly quite well-written and well-reported for what amounts to a full-page toy advertisement, describes the features of the new dolls this way:

“Carefully manicured features betray no obvious gender: the lips are not too full, the eyelashes not too long and fluttery, the jaw not too wide. There are no Barbie-like breasts or broad, Ken-like shoulders. …

The media puts trans women in a box. I dare to step outside it.

Some of my earliest memories involve a kaleidoscope of cross-gender fantasies. At a young age, I had dreams of being treated like a girl in Sunday school, dreams of gangs of girls making me dress in girl’s clothes, and dreams of magically transforming into a girl. From a young age, I was fascinated by all things feminine: the clothing, the mannerisms. I stole whatever scraps of women’s clothing I could find.

These fantasies and predilections were often flavored in terms of the erotic. I was a young boy with a healthy imagination and was beginning to explore what it meant…

The operation and recovery period have taken me on a complex, emotional journey

Note: What follows is a personal and at times graphic account of my experience getting a penile inversion vaginoplasty, otherwise known as gender confirmation surgery, sexual reassignment surgery, or simply, bottom surgery. I go into detail about what I went through physically and emotionally. If you’re experiencing feelings of dysphoria, internalized transphobia, etc., it may not be the best time to read this. As always, I suggest keeping in mind the number of the all-trans staffed Trans Lifeline at 877–565–8860 (U.S.)/877–330–6366 (Canada).

My therapist told me that in the weeks leading up to my surgery, perhaps the overwhelming anxiety and…

I feared seeing my estranged, conservative father, but it was a risk worth taking

I’ve spent my whole life trying to forgive my father for destroying my mother. Theirs was a spectacular ’80s divorce. I’ve been furious ever since. It was he who shattered my mom into a million pieces. It was he who pushed her off the precipice of sanity into the dark abyss of depression and hoarding. At 15, I watched her disintegrate before my very eyes as we were slowly overtaken by a growing hoard of dogs, filth, and cockroaches. She blamed him, and so did I.

Eighteen months ago my ex-wife stopped allowing me to see our young daughter. Not because I had harmed her, violated any agreements or broken the law, but because I had recently completed my transition from male to female. I am transgender.

Since I began my transition 5 years ago, my entire family has shunned me. I’ve been dis-invited to Christmas, birthday celebrations and all family activities because I am transgender. Members of my family have verbally abused me, calling me grotesque, sick, deranged and psychotic. …

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