No One Warns You About the Amount of Mourning in Growth

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Change hurts like hell and growth is fucking uncomfortable. We often glorify ‘change’ and ‘growth’ with the majority of the focus on the end result, while we carelessly chalk the process up to mere ‘necessary struggle’. As we’ve scaled thru the trenches and we made it on the other side. I dig it, but right now I’m in the thick of this ‘changing/growing’ phase. Therefore, the universe is sitting my ass down forcing me to do some serious internal reflection and some gut wrenching soul checking. The past few months I’ve experienced quite a bit of loss…in many forms. The losses have been consecutive. They’ve been sudden. They’ve been unexplainable. They’ve been uncontrollable. I wasn’t ready for them. I’m still not.

The handling of these things is what feels most troubling. I want my former self to step in. I don’t want this new person that has some level of healed spirit. I mourn for the older version. I miss him. I miss his predictable reactions. I miss the ways in which he allowed us to so easily numb the pain. I miss the fortress that surrounded his emotions. I mourn during this growing/changing phase. This new place keeps me floating in the most disgusting layer of vulnerability. I need my cloak of false security. I need my bravado…and you know what…sometimes we don’t need to do shit but mourn. No work, no action, no task to complete. Just be still and mourn the growth. It’s unfamiliar and it hurts. It’s challenging and it doesn’t feel good.

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Breaking Binaries: Masculinity and Femininity Pt. 1

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Throughout this post I will be referencing (masculinity/femininity) as ‘energy’ and not a ‘new age’ co-opted eastern philosophical version…but from my intimate ancestral connection with it. Many have come to reference the dual energies as yin/yang…hot/cold…aggressive/passive. With my current level of understanding and personal reflection masculinity/femininity flows internally very fluidly for me (when I’m not consciously attempting to restrict anything of course). This energy is subtle and timely…protective and guiding. It’s expression has no distinct markers it can shift often and it easily ebbs and flows. The energy sits with me naturally the only catch is in the outward performance of it as this performance is often dictated by societal pressure.

There are so many ways this system strips us of our agency limiting our human energetic expressions. Our cultural practices often reinforce this false dichotomy that masculinity and femininity are mutually exclusive of one another. Or that these energies must exist at all in every human.  For me…energy is just that ‘energy’. My unique stamp. It has no distinctive markers.  It moves effortlessly…not as separate entities that can only be performed independently…but as multilayered expressions of complexity. Femininity/masculinity interpreted as energy can and does overlap quite often.

Varied energetic expressions have existed in every human since antiquity…world wide. Western colonization/domination/cultural influence has created rigid categories and attempted to validate this with science (read: biological markers, anatomy, hormones, chromosomes). There is way too much frequently occurring variation in the ‘biology framework’ for me to ascribe to that.

Human biology is far too complicated…we know one’s sex is determined by things such as chromosomes, hormones, reproductive anatomy, and genitalia. While all of these things may line up with the widely recognized male/female sex binary, it doesn’t always happen. Humans can have anywhere from 1-5 sex chromosomes, hormonal levels that do not match their assigned sex within the binary, or different/absent reproductive anatomy or genitalia. All of these things are normal within the realm of human variation.

The male/female gender binary as opposing energies ‘masculinity/femininity’ on the other hand, is a westernized social construct that doesn’t account for normal human variation. There’s no limit to how many identity performances people can conceptualize and adopt as their own, regardless of one’s biological markers.

And there are, from a biological standpoint, more than two sexes which encompasses much more than the polarization of masculinity and femininity.

This polarization narrowly limits the ways in which humans can express themselves (read: only men with penises and high testosterone levels are masculine) and if they express anything opposite of this they are variant and abnormal.

Western science has also linked varied human expressions to deviant sexual behavior/sexuality/gender identification…by creating labels such as: (homosexual, asexual, transgender) to justify the demonizing of cultural practices and varied gender expressions or to reinforce the medicalization and mental disorder categorizing of authentic naturally occurring human expressions.

One need only to retrace history to find where western culture has combined this with religious doctrine to further deem certain energetic expressions and cultural practices as evil. The same ‘scientists’ that created the terms used to categorize deviance in human energetic expression…come from the same school of thought that viewed folks of color (Africans in particular) as sub-human.

That’s why I have a difficult time ascribing to much of this terminology. In ancient and indigenous cultures there was/is no words or terms for much of our human expression. Now our society feels the need to label certain expressions with stamps of validation or invalidation. Although, I will say many of us are reclaiming, renaming and redefining these terms in ways that reflect our true indentities and lived experiences.

Western Omni culture has reduced us to performing inside of these rigid categories when true history just doesn’t reflect these limitations. Our ancestral practices have been either stolen, destroyed, demonized or re-written.

So to those of you who are reading this feeling as if something is wrong with you and the way you release your energetic expressions. It’s not. Society makes you feel as if it is you, but it’s not. You are wonderful and we need you in this world to be just they way you are.

Thanks for reading!

As always please like, comment and follow.

7 Ways Trans Masculine Folks Experience Emotional Abuse in Relationships

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As written for EverydayFeminism

As a transmasculine person I’ve engaged in and suffered from several forms of toxic and abusive expressions of “love.” I have been used often as an experiment for folks to push the boundaries of their sexuality and then tossed aside when cravings were satisfied.

Within our intimate connections – and sometimes in the larger queer community, we are often unfairly viewed as “predators” and enforcers of toxic masculinity.

We are rarely given the adequate space to work through the unique struggles we carry. Folks seek us out based on our “differences” and praise us for how well we “blend in.”

That ain’t love.

For those of us who identify beyond the gender binary, our bodies are often regulated, objectified, and hypersexualized. Society deems us undesirable and unworthy of unconditional love, and that often spills over into our intimate relationships.

I am quite frequently stripped of my agency in intimate relationships. In the past, when I’ve attempted to reveal the innermost pieces of myself and explained what I needed to feel safe and loved in a relationship, my partners classified my vulnerability as simply “complaining” or a refusal to “check my privilege.”

As I continue to grow and evolve, I recognize the internal, interpersonal, and institutional effects this toxicity creates.

I work very hard to stay present and mindful of the space I hold as a masculine of center person. It is a constant process to be reflective and intentional as I take ownership of the ways I perform my masculinity. I work hard to honor and respect the feelings of my partner(s) without neglecting my own feelings.

Part of reclaiming my agency is sitting with the discomfort of my vulnerability, acknowledging my feelings when they arise and refusing to allow myself to grow cold. I must hold myself accountable while challenging my romantic partner(s) to do the same.

It also takes conscious effort to move beyond promoting harmful masculine tropes within my intimate relationships. Society dictates the ways in which we perform our masculinity and our acceptance is hinged on these rigid representations.

We’re often socialized to be stoic, overtly aggressive and misogynistic. We’re taught that masculinity and femininity are mutually exclusive and that femininity only exists as a weaker counterpart to be controlled and manipulated for personal pleasure.

Masculine-identified folks (especially cis white men) rest comfortably atop of the social hierarchy.

However, it’s important that we remain mindful of the intersections. As transmasculine folks of color, we don’t always carry the same power and privilege (especially if we are non-binary, poor, fat, disabled, and so on) as a person we’re interacting with, especially if they are white, cis, femme or some other privileged position.

We must remember that privilege ebbs and flows and can be situational. We need more nuanced reflections that center our true narratives.

We need to create more safe spaces that allow for transmasculine and masculine of center folks to engage in practices that deconstruct, decolonize and unpack all the trauma we hold in our bodies.

We need to relearn ways to express our masculinity authentically, safely, and respectfully. We need to relearn ways to accept and exchange love. This is will allow us to heal from deeply held traumas ensuring that we are better partners, friends and community members.

My journaling within this blog is an effort to begin the process of creating blue prints to aid us in the unloading and working through of some damaging shit that we as transmasculine people are constantly inundated with and have internalized.

While masculinity absolutely needs to be deconstructed, there should also be space to honor the multidimensional aspects of our beings.

We, and our community, must allow us to redefine, reshape and reclaim our individual expressions of masculinity while loving and uplifting our partners in revolutionary ways.

So let’s get to a bit of unpacking.

Below is a brief list of some emotionally abusive patterns I’ve noticed that specifically affect transmasculine folks. Hopefully this may help you spot some signs in your partnership(s). If anything, it will let you know that you are not alone.

1. When Our Partners Police Our Masculinity

Abusive partners practice dominance and control by limiting or prohibiting our individual agency in expressing our masculinity, especially if it doesn’t line up with cis heteronormative standards or if it is too cis heteronormative appearing.

I know several transmasculine folks personally who have been condemned for not wanting to medically transition, undergo gender reassignment surgery or change their gender markers. It is as if these practices authenticate their identity to their partner(s).

But there is no one way to perform masculinity.

Often times, in very subtle ways, our partner(s) will attempt to dictate the way we express our emotions by guilt tripping us for not remaining stoic enough, especially in very emotional triggering situations. This is never okay.

Feeling restricted in expressing your whole self freely or living in fear of being ridiculed for the way you present is emotional abuse. You are the only one who gets to determine your gender identity/expression.

Hold your partner(s) accountable for the ways in which they may be unknowingly removing your agency from you.

2. When Our Partners Police Our Sexual/Asexual Practices

This can take the form of judging or condemning transmasculine folks for what we prefer sexually. This also speaks to the ways in which we are harshly critiqued when expressing our sexuality.

Also, transmasculine folks have little room to move beyond being viewed as aggressive deliverers of phallic-centered sexual acts. There is still stigma for those that wish to receive penetration or be pleasured in ways viewed atypical to societal standards.

There is also heavy stigma with those that wish to explore and solely engage in intimate acts that decenter sex.

It is abusive if partner(s) attempt to force us to engage and value one form of intimacy over another. Openly communicate with your partner about what feels most comfortable and safe to you.

3. When Our Partners Police Our Emotions

This obviously comes in many forms. I have personally noticed the immediate demonization towards our outward expression of anger.

I am in no way advocating for the release of anger at the expense of someone’s safety or comfort. However, anger, when expressed in healthy ways, can be very beneficial to off-loading trauma.

For those of us that undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy, noting that testosterone or lack thereof is the lone reason for our display of certain emotions diminishes our capacity in which we feel and express thoughts and feelings. This is abusive.

4. When Our Partners Reinforce the Idea That Only a Select Few Want to Be with Us

We don’t need reminders that society doesn’t give a shit about us.

We also aren’t going to give you a cookie because you “took a chance on dating a trans man.”

Please know that you aren’t doing us any favors. Don’t guilt trip us in to putting up with your crap by attempting to make us feel that there is no one else who will love us unconditionally.

This is violent, triggering, and abusive.

5. When Our Partners Purposefully Misgender Us

Often times, our abusive partners misgender us out of anger, to prove a point or because they think that we aren’t appropriately fitting the gender of our choosing.

This is violent and it seeks to delegitimize our perspective, logic, experience, and identity. It’s an attempt to take our power.

Similarly, abusive partners will resort to shaming and minimizing non-binary identities, attempting to force us to even choose and limit our expressions. Please remember that there is no finite amount of gender identities and labels.

Attempting to limit us based on your level of understanding is violence – and it’s abusive.

6. When Our Partners Guilt Trip Us into Becoming or Remaining ‘No/Low Disclosure’

You should never blame us for wanting to remain open or full disclosure with our identities. You should never blame or guilt-trip us for the societal backlash we collectively suffer from in our relationship.

We should always be given the agency to express our identity in ways that feel comfortable to us.

However, we are aware of all the sacrifices you have made to be with us and we should be able to work through things together and make decisions that include and support all lived experiences. Safety and livelihood factors should always be considered important.

Just know it is abusive to ask us to compromise our wellbeing solely for your individual comfort.

7. When Our Partners Highlight the Ways We Add Up or Fail in Comparison to Cis Folks

I personally don’t need the comparison.

Your validation of my life shouldn’t be hinged on how much my beard resembles your father’s beard. I also don’t need reminders that my hands and feet are small as compared to “the average man.”

Many of us have no intention of fitting a cis normative ideal in the first place. We are our own layered individuals. So please stop. It’s abusive and we don’t deserve it.

Transmasculine folks carry a lot of hurt around with us and we often suffer in silence. This world is so hellbent on violently eradicating our existence and we desperately seek the refuge of an intimate connection. We need the support and space to allow our wholeness to thrive.

It is so important that we truly holding ourselves accountable to the ways in which we promote patriarchy and the ways patriarchy is enacted on us.

It takes a collective effort to undo these deeply embedded standards. However, we can in loving and healing within our intimate partnerships.

 

As always please like, comment and share

Is it Beneficial for Trans POC to Work in the Healthcare Industry Pt. 2

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Central Piedmont Community College PTA Program Class of 2010

Welcome to Part 2! If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of this blog where I provide a brief overview of the healthcare industry and list some of the benefits I’ve found from working in the field.

This blog will focus specifically on careers in the sector of Allied Health.

At the end of this blog I will provide a list of some career options. I’ve highlighted my top 5 with salary ranges and educational/funding resources available. Stay tuned as I’m also in the process of creating an easy to follow step by step guide to assist those in entering medical programs, successfully completing these programs and securing a position in the field. The guide will be based on my personal experiences, the hard lessons I’ve learned and will center the trans PoC narrative.

Overview: What is Allied Health?

The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals defines allied health as the segment of the health care field that delivers services involving the identification, evaluation and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; and rehabilitation and health systems management.

There are five million allied health care providers in the United States, who work in more than 80 different professions and represent approximately 60% of all health care providers.

Some allied health care providers work collaboratively with other providers, including physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists. They may play roles in evaluating and assessing a patient’s needs, keeping the physician and others informed of the patient’s progress and caring for the patient. Others work independently as specialists in exercise, nutrition, health education, speech and daily function.

The allied health professions fall into two broad categories:

Technicians and Assistants: Technicians and Assistants are trained to perform procedures, and their education lasts less than two years. They are required to work under the supervision of Technologists or Therapists. This part of the allied health field includes physical therapy assistants, medical laboratory technicians, radiological technicians, occupational therapy assistants, recreation therapy assistants and respiratory therapy technicians.

Therapists and Technologists: The educational process for Therapists and Technologists is more intensive and includes acquiring procedural skills. In addition, students learn to evaluate patients, diagnose conditions, develop treatment plans and understand the rationale behind various treatments in order to judge their appropriateness and potential side effects. Educational curricula teach students to evaluate patients’ responses to therapy and make appropriate decisions about continued treatment or modification of treatment plans. Between 4-6 years of required schooling.

I currently work as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). It is a two year program; I came out of school making about 75,000 annually (working as a traveling/ contracted PTA). Which means I was contracted to work short 6-16 week assignments by various companies all over the U.S. It was an amazing experience and great money. I created my own schedule, essentially had no direct boss and had more freedom to do what the hell I wanted with my time. This has allowed me to really expand my thoughts around economic empowerment and entrepreneurship; especially as a black transmasculine person; who has been resource poor and been rendered financially helpless the majority of my life. So I plan to use my newly acquired resources, time, and energy to create a blueprint of sorts for other trans/queer/gnc folks of color, who may be interested in choosing this path. For me it’s always been about uplifting my comrades in the struggle. However, many of us are re-defining and re-shaping the uplifting process.

So is working in the westernized healthcare industry right for you?

I can’t stress this enough. I am not about simply assimilating in to a violent institution (‘the medical industrial complex’) that seeks to destroy us at every angle. This ain’t about discounting the brutality of these systems for the sake of capitalistic gain. This IS NOT “the change it from the inside” option. This is me sharing my knowledge and experiences on how one can spend the least amount of time in school to secure a degree and licensure…take those tools and assist themselves as well as other folks in their community. I strongly believe this is a potential route to entrepreneurship and an opportunity to aid in fostering sustainable communities for marginalized folks. We have a lot of trauma we carrying around and we are working thru it as best we know how. We are already taking care of our folks…now let’s take advantage and enlarge that.

If you agree with any of these statements then this field may be for you:

“I’m often the caretaker in my inner circle be it: emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual.”

“I have an insatiable desire to learn the inner workings of the human body, mind, and spirit.”

“I’m generally good at working together in a collective to achieve a common goal. I know my role and adhere to it.”

Why I specifically like the Allied Health Sector:

From my personal experience Allied Health careers allow for me to fuse my ancestral knowledge/practices with western science in ways that align with true healing. This is a big reason why I chose Physical Therapy, as it is a rehabilitative and non-invasive form of medicine. It is holistic in nature and works with achieving balance internally and externally. Allied Health careers provide a great foundation to expand your clinical training and create your own lane to health and wellness (whatever that feels like for you).

Here’s a list of some professions included in Allied Health I’ve highlighted my top 5:

*Click the links to check out the program info, funding resources and salary range*

Anesthesiologist Assistant

Athletic Trainer

Audiologist

Blood Bank Technology Specialist

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist

Cardiovascular Technologist/Technician

Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Technician

Community Health Worker

Cytotechnologist

Dental Hygienist

Dietician

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Dietetic Technician

Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic

Genetic Counselor

Health Care Interpreter

Health Information Manager

Healthcare Documentation Specialist

Holistic Health Practitioner

Home Care Assistant/Aide

Medical Assistant

Medical Coder

Medical Dosimetrist

Neurodiagnostic Technologist

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nurse’s Aide/Nursing Assistant

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician

Optician (Dispensing)

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Pathologists’ Assistant

Perfusionist

Phlebotomist

Physical Therapist/Assistant

Physician Assistant

Radiology Technician

Rehabilitation Counselor

Respiratory Therapist

Speech Language Pathologists

Surgical Technologist/Technician

Additional Funding and Other Resources:

http://www.finaid.org/sitemap/

http://www.asahp.org/

http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/careers/funding

http://www.adea.org/GoDental/Money_Matters/Resources.aspx

http://www.achievingthedream.org/

http://www.aamn.org/

http://www.collegefund.org/

http://aianhealthcareers.org/

http://www.catalyst.org/women-color

http://www.hshps.org/

http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/careers/funding

http://www.aphalgbt.org/

http://pathwaysintohealth.org/

http://www.american-school-search.com/colleges/hbcu

http://tour4diversity.org/

Thanks for reading. As always please comment, share and subscribe!

Is it Beneficial for Trans POC to Work in the Healthcare Industry? Part 1

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Central Piedmont Community College PTA Program Graduating Class 2010

Short answer: For me personally, YES. It can be very beneficial for a trans person of color to work in the healthcare industry.

You can scroll to the bottom of this blog if you just want to check out some of the benefits I listed (from my personal experiences of working in this field) In Part 2 of this blog I will provide some resources and links to info and programs if you’re interested in entering the healthcare industry.

But ya’ll know I got to unpack some shit in Part 1.

Let me start by noting: I sincerely believe with every ounce of my being; we queer/gender non-conforming/trans folks of color can sustain ourselves in ways that exist beyond partaking in destructive capitalist practices…while economically strategizing in ways that empower us and center our needs. It sounds great (I know). You’ve probably heard this several times before in social justice circles (I know). It’s a statement that can easily be added to so many lgbtq non-profit mission statements (I know). However, we need reminders that we are already doing this shit. We are already re-imagining and cultivating worlds that free us and value our unique identities. We have always been creators, innovators, care takers, healers, artist, and builders…all while surviving in these systems.

Let me first define Healthcare/The Healthcare Industry:

I’m defining Healthcare/The Healthcare Industry based on my affiliation with it in the U.S. (although it’s regulated similarly on a global level). I will use the terms ‘Healthcare’ and ‘Medical field’ interchangeably throughout this blog.

Healthcare: is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Healthcare is delivered by practitioners in allied health, dentistry, midwifery (obstetrics), medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, psychology and other health professions. It refers to the work done in providing primary care.

Healthcare Industry: is an aggregation of sectors within the economic system providing goods and services to treat patients. It’s one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. Plain and simple it’s BIG BUSINESS and it primarily benefits the most privileged members in any given population while shitting on the most marginalized and resource poor (the folks in most need of this ‘care’).

I want to be explicitly clear this is not a blog that will dimly discuss why trans/queer poc should assimilate into systems that collectively seek to destroy us on a daily. I don’t feel that assimilation will ever aid in our liberation. Please research ‘the medical industrial complex’ if you’re unfamiliar as there is a long history in the U.S. (from the colonial era til present day) of mistreatment towards folks of color by the medical establishment. This mistreatment includes: medical abuse/neglect, medical experimentation with unknowing subjects, medical exploitation and unauthorized autopsies/dissections. There is medical research highlighting these accounts in older medical journals. Less-well-known medical atrocities have also been conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions against folks of color. There are so many people that either don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge the medical field is horrifyingly transmisogynist, racist, fatphobic, anti-poor, disableist and anti-intersex; medical abuse is a common factor when those forces come in to play.

Clearly, we have reason to distrust the current medical establishment. Those of us that do have suitable access to services often spend more time educating medical personnel than we do receiving proper treatment. I know there are several social justice advocates/activists working tirelessly to improve things and I give much props to ya’ll, we’ve gained some traction. However, we are still hurting. We have no options so we remain in community and seek the assistance of one another.

For our most basic care we often rely on the healing practices of our African and Indigenous ancestors. Therefore, I will always honor that ancient wisdom whenever I mention anything remotely close to healing work. We must cling tightly to the numerous gifts our living elders still carry and share with us…much of which has been co-opted, stolen, repackaged…by western science while simultaneously being invalidated. Our elders passed down wonderful remedies, tinctures, herbs, manual therapies and mantras that continue to help us bounce back from dis-ease and keep us strong. Much of this wisdom is intertwined and utilized in several areas of the healthcare industry quite often. Leech therapy for example: (originally an ancient Egyptian modality currently used as a treatment to promote blood flow and tissue healing following microsurgeries). Western scientists are trying very hard to replicate the 140 plus healing enzymes found in the leech’s saliva to create a pill version for pharmaceutical companies to produce and sell.

With the emergence of the Quantified Self Movement (a bunch of new age white hipsters that have formed a global community sharing tools/gadgets/apps that track and analyze personal bodily data i.e. calorie counting, monitoring hemoglobin levels and gauging heart rates) more medical related knowledge is becoming available to the general public. Society is narrowing the gap between healthcare clinicians and patients. We are redefining ‘health’ in terms that feel right to us. We are beginning to take ownership of our bodies and reclaiming our lives. More Trans PoC are taking part in this as well. We are entering the medical field and empowering ourselves as well as those around us.

Here’s the healthcare path I chose:

Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (Allied Health Sector)

Two Year Program: Associate Degree (No student loans required, paid out of pocket and received financial aid)

Average Annual Income: $46,000 and $80,000 with travel contracts

As a black transmasculine person I was initially discouraged from entering the PTA program by the school administrators in very subtle ways; such as neglecting to provide me with the critical information I needed in order to complete the application package appropriately. In general the application process for most medical programs is very arduous; partially due to strict federal and state regulations on these schools. These programs (especially in the really racist/homophobic/transphobic states) get a little sketchy with their ‘weeding out candidates’ process. The schools often claim the programs are so competitive that they need to make sure they have the most intelligent, disciplined and well-rounded students in place. But from my personal experience this is nothing more than a gate-keeping tactic to keep these programs filled with white able bodied cis folks. My application package was denied 3 years in a row for stupid ass reasons. If you are applying please don’t get discouraged. You can and you will get in. In general these programs are very rigorous, especially the 2 year or less curriculums. The programs are small and you become like family with your fellow classmates. It is always exceptionally challenging with us trans/gnc/queer PoC because we usually having to navigate the racism/homophobia/transmisogyny (which I endured my share of) on top of the brutal course load. I thankfully had some great comrades throughout this process and we equally supported and uplifted one another. The medical programs are designed to break you. To challenge you in every way possible to ensure that you will make a damn good clinician. My particular program was a lot more difficult than the career itself. It was worth the sacrifice.

So what I currently do is assist others in entering medical programs (my field in particular because I have the most knowledge regarding the process from start to finish). I have developed a system to aid folks in the general preparatory phase, successfully completing the program and finally securing employment or attaining additional education. I share this with as many folks as I can. I also share my clinical knowledge with as many as my folks as I can. It’s all about empowering one another ya’ll. We got this.

Here are some benefits of working in Healthcare as a trans PoC.

  1. Often times there is little to no upfront cost for many healthcare educational programs (I’m currently compiling a list of funding options specifically in place to assist marginalized groups).
  2. Job security, schedule flexibility, contract work (be your own boss), opportunities to attain additional certifications, great pay, decent health/retirement benefits.
  3. Gaining knowledge/clinical skill to apply in personal life and share with others for free.
  4. Continuing Education Opportunities (with several free options)
  5. Working with or in close proximity to medical providers and personnel; building partnerships that aid in educating and bringing more awareness regarding trans related needs and services.
  6. Entrepreneurial opportunities: creating private practices that can specifically assist trans/queer/gnc folks of color.
  7. The opportunity to center and re-write the trans narrative of health and wellness
  8. Getting compensated for the care taking you’re probably already doing for free while uplifting your community!
  9. Working with medical establishments to help create educational programs that receive government funding to develop and implement goals, policies and plans to ensure that trans/queer/gnc/disabled people are treated fairly. Also working with medical establishments to provide ongoing cultural competency training for all health care profession students and staff.

Please check out Part 2 of this blog for helpful resources and links; for those that may be interested in working in the healthcare industry.

As always, feel free to like, comment and share.

Thank you so much for reading this long ass blog!

Nurturing Her While Redefining my Masculinity

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I’m in love for the first time in my life. I’m locked in…although the connection keeps me swimming in this disgustingly gooey love pie. Much of my existence is affirmed by bae on the daily. Areas of myself that were once numb and necrotic are reemerging revitalized. I’m working like hell to remain as self reflective as possible while dancing in this romantic bliss. This ain’t that: ‘finally found my queen all the others were wack’ type of love by the way. It’s imperative that I dig deeper. It’s so necessary for me to do better. It ain’t smooth sailing cause I’m able to maintain a seemingly ‘healthy’ relationship with a dope ass sista. I’m constantly paying attention to the ways my identity performance impacts my partner. Is this performance restricting her truth? Does it overshadow her experiences?

What I am currently doing is working to uncover and redefine pieces of me and this right here is me actively undoing some toxic ass masculinity. The same type of masculinity that I’ve performed several times before in intimate relationships of all kinds. This is me working thru some for real da real trauma…and healing parts of myself in the process. This is me examining and relinquishing the numerous ways I aimlessly enacted violence on femme folks by upholding strict patriarchal and wildly misogynistic views.

So here I embrace my layers. I’m also here to provide more nuanced interpretations of black transmasculine experiences. We’re beyond the one dimensional heteronormative ‘stealth t-man’. We’re also more than the tall and thin ‘androgynous appearing genderqueer’…you know the one token ‘MoC’ person that sits on all the LGBTQ panels with hip floral print shirts and cool fedoras…I’m so over the really shitty dialogue involving the ‘softer/less threatening trans guy’…’the feminist that gets it right.’ Nah we need and deserve more room than that. We demand the right to narrate our bodies, our experiences, our multilayered identities on our own terms in a system that is predicated on categorizing, containing, and criminalizing us.

Many of us MoC folks are holding it down, unapologetically loving our partners and feircely protecting our sistas in various types of relationships…as only we can. Disrupting the binary based rigidness that polarizes masculinity and feminity. We are redefining these limited versions of manhood and creating more interconnectedness all while rising above strict societal narratives.

We are practicing revolutionary love. love that screams: ‘Our lives are worth it!’ Doing everything in our power to fight like hell for our femme of center folks. Cause this system we living in is tryna kill our sistas…and many of us ain’t having that. We are delivering sweet care and genuine respect. No strings attached. No guilt trips. No policing of femme bodies. Loving with sincerity. Diverting from hegemonic masculinity and being ok with embracing our newly defined oneness. Loving authentically and completely. Allowing our vulnerabilities to surface in ways that are healthy for us. Working thru the need to hide our pain behind stoic expressions. This ain’t some ‘oh I can get sensitive too.’ shit. This is unlearning how to be a soldier and conquerer…the shit linked to numerous genocidal and terroristic acts. This is letting go of European manhood. This is relearning how to step up for my partner in ways that don’t reduce her worth. This is also learning how to step back while still being able to support and affirm her. This is me growing. This is us healing

Thank you for reading.

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Reimagining Entrepreneurship for Queer/Trans People of Color

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Off the grip. Let me start by telling you what I’m over.

– I’m over major non-profit organizations (led by white cis neoliberal folks) pimping queer/trans people of color for their financial gain.

– I’m over tokenized mainstream media puppets that aid in furthering a narrative which ends up creating more barriers to our liberation.

– I’m over the ways in which we are forced to participate in a slither of an existence in order to free ourselves of capitalistic systems of oppression.
NO MORE.

Many of us are re-imagining and re-defining what entrepreneurship is for us. This involves working thru the feels around prescribing to a financial system that a lot of us don’t believe in. We can name all of the ways these systems have destroyed our lives, the planet, belief in humanity etc. Yes they on some low vibratory, oppressive bullshit…but currently if we don’t have it we don’t survive (at least for many of us). I’d rather us generate money ourselves to truly make substantial changes in our communities as opposed to begging folks to do so.

For most non-profit organizations it’s in their best interest financially to keep you homeless and resource poor. These entities aren’t designed to truly bring you economic/healthcare/legal justice. Nor are they designed to educate you on the systems that oppress you…as they are part of those damn systems. Not knocking folks in the trenches that do amazing work…but it’s you helping us…not the org you work for. So moving beyond the relentlessly clenching to this structured non-profit framework, is important for our liberation.

I’m a black transmasculine entrepreneur, content creator, educator, independent contractor, writer, motivator and I’m grateful. I currently use my creativity to manifest. After I was fired from my job on some discriminatory bullshit for not fitting a specific gender binary. I had no legal protection in my state. There were no non-profits that assisted me. Hell we tryna not to get murdered each day. You think folks truly give a fuck about us being financially secure.

Yet as modes of survival queer/trans PoC put our ingenuity and creativity to practice daily. We ain’t got no choice but to be innovators it’s inherent…and it ensures that we stay a float another day. We’ve had to juggle, struggle, flip tricks to put food on the table each night, keep a roof over our heads, our babies safe.

Guess what? All those unique ways you hustled that money up (braiding hair, selling drugs, fish fries) Yo ass is an entrepreneur and that’s the spirit that’s always resided in you. We can work together in community to cultivate these financially liberating experiences. So let’s take that energy and truly bring abundance in to our lives. I’m a firm believer in this. As I’m living it. It’s time for many of us to truly be compensated for our brilliance. That’s what empowerment and freedom feels like to me.

as always thank you for taking the time to read this

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