News Flash: Being Trans Isn't A Choice People Randomly Make

News Flash: Trans People Do Not Just Wake Up One Day and 'Decide To Change Genders'

You did not wake up and decide to be cis either.

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"What if I wake up one day and decide I identify as an attack helicopter???" This stupid overused joke has been recycled to me time and time again as a way to disregard trans and nonbinary individuals since belittling minorities became an edgy internet fad. I looked into a hysterectomy for myself when I realized that I received such bad dysphoria during my period and menstrual cycles that I genuinely wanted to shed my skin. I felt my body was betraying me. It felt like there was some sort of evil force within me trying to betray my body and keep it from operating normal or how I felt like it was supposed to operate.

The feeling I experienced when my body bled or spotted was a feeling I genuinely think I can not accurately describe to anyone unless they have felt that pain of true dysphoria. It is a deep and dark feeling that I truly think is one of the worst ones an individual can experience. I would never wish it on my very worst enemy. Time and time again I have the old, recycled joke towards trans people in a pathetic attempt to degrade them.

"Well... what if I identify as an attack helicopter? What if I identify as this chair?"

This is a crass scrape off the bottom of the barrel that I see attempted to pass off as some pathetic attempt at humor or even at times presented in actual debates. The point is, if you truly did identify as an inanimate object and were plagued with crippling dysphoria every day of your life that made you want to shed your own skin and crawl away from the body you feel you have the misfortune of being given, I would hope you possessed support from your family, friends, and even strangers in your life that would stand by you through that trial. Jokes like this are rather pathetic try to degrade trans and nonbinary individuals without any real facts or opinions as to they want to keep individuals from living the life that is best for them or choosing to be in a body that they are actually comfortable in and feel they can belong to.

I have experienced dysphoria first hand. I wish I could put these feelings onto the person that I am debating with so that they can live a day in the life of someone who has to fight just to feel moderately comfortable in their body and not be overcome with the feeling of wanting to abandon their own body because they feel they are trapped. Another thing I like to bring into account is how unbelievably difficult it is for a trans person to transition. This is not just an emotional difficulty but rather refusal from doctors. The operation I looked into was both endometrial ablation and hysterectomy to rid me of my dysphoria that plagues my body and works as nothing but a horrific hindrance to a vast majority of women.

If you are a woman you are completely incapable of getting your reproductive organs altered in any sort of way. This is because doctors and humans, in general, believe women are to bear children. The fact that a woman may have no desire for children or not conform to expectations does not come into account with doctors and physicians. I Googled what it would take to get a hysterectomy or endometrial ablation. All answers told me it was going to be nearly impossible.

A woman would have to be incredibly sick, have fibroids, endometriosis, or some other form of serious ailment for a doctor to even consider. A man is easily able to get a vasectomy. It is as simple as walking in and asking for the procedure. However, it is believed to be absolutely impossible for a woman (or non-binary individuals) to know their own minds and work towards the body that they desire.

Many times trans people are denied their hormone replacement therapy and have to go through a long, extensive process or paying for and convincing a therapist to write them a letter informing the doctor that they are indeed trans and can go through surgery. The process is exhausting and by the time you finally are able to get to your procedure (if you are even guaranteed permission by doctors and therapists) you feel all the fight has been beaten out of you. You are broken down, humiliated, and still trapped in the body you wish to escape.

One does not wake up and decide to be. The process contains more denial than a vast majority of people will endure in their entire lives. The dysphoria is painful. The constant rejection and lack of cooperation from doctors is the most infuriating thing in the entire world. Trans people are here and living as one can be the most difficult thing in the world. Denial is constant. All I can do is hope to get the results I deserve and applaud others who have success stories as well. Success in transition is difficult when the doctors who you are putting your life into the open hands of, are refusing cooperation. We can do so much better.

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47 Things All Female Athletes Have Said

Yes, I know I am sweating a lot. No, I do not enjoy practices. Yes, I have said all 47 of these.
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Whether you're a collegiate athlete, or a high school one, you have probably found yourself saying most of these phrases. Us athletes know that the athlete life isn't for everyone, and we often find ourselves questioning if it's still for us. So, this is for all my fellow athletes.

All my fellow athletes who know the struggle is undoubtedly real, and who find themselves saying these 47 phrases almost as often as I do.

* * *

1. Do you have an extra hair tie?

2. What if we just said no? What if we just didn't run when the whistle is blown?

3. I, like, really, am not feeling practice today.

4. Do these pants make my quads look big?

5. Are you going to eat before or after practice?

6. I'm so sore.

7. Want to get McDonald's after practice?

8. Did you see that she wore makeup to a preseason practice?

9. I actually looked like a girl today.

10. I wonder what college would be like if I wasn't an athlete.

11. We're up before the sun way too often.

12. Is it gross if I don't shower after weights?

13. How hard do you think practice will be today?

14. Coach is literally crazy.

15. I ate like 20 minutes ago, so there's a 50% chance I puke during this practice.

16. I'm not going to drink the protein shake they gave us because it's going to make me gain weight.

17. I think my legs are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

18. I think my arms are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

19. Today in class a non-athlete was talking about how busy her schedule is. It was so annoying.

20. Thinking about preseason makes me want to cry.

21. Is it even healthy for us to have this many practices in one day?

22. I'll be right back, I'm having PGD (pre-game dumps).

23. I think I'm going to throw up.

24. I should have worked out more on my own.

25. How do other girls have the energy to put makeup on for class every day?

26. My legs are dead.

27. Why did we think being a college athlete was a good idea?

28. Do you think coach will be mad if I have to go pee?

29. I think I peed my pants a little bit during conditioning.

30. Should I wear my hair in a pony-tail, or in a bun?

31. I should probably start eating healthy soon.

32. Only six more practices until the weekend, we can do this.

33. I'd rather be sore for a week straight than climb into this ice bath.

34. They might have beat us, but at least we're still pretty.

35. I can't wait to celebrate our win this weekend.

36. How many hours of sleep did you get? I got 6, it was crazy, I feel so refreshed.

37. I look like such a boy right now.

38. Will you braid my hair?

39. That referee totally rigged the game. We should have won.

40. I think I'd hate being a reg (regular student).

41. It's OK if I eat this since we had conditioning this morning, right?

42. If you're not doing homework, get off the bus Wi-Fi, everybody.

43. These pants fit my legs perfectly but are huge on my waist.

44. I smell so bad right now that I can smell myself.

45. I bet my grades would be so much better if I wasn't an athlete.

46. Coach only gave us, like, one water break during practice. It was horrible.

47. I am so happy that I'm an athlete.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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I Had To Tell My Mom Her Only Daughter Would Now Be Her Son

No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.

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It was three years ago on March 27 when I did the scariest thing I've ever experienced in all of my (almost) 22 years of living; I told my mom I was transgender.

The first time I had ever told anyone the secret that had been eating me alive was two days prior when I came out to my best friend, Cali. I knew she was going to accept me and nothing would change but it still overwhelmed me with anxiety trying to find the words to say. It took a solid 20 minutes trying to type out the perfect text to explain what I was feeling, and even after those 20 minutes I don't think I ever got it right, but my shaky hands hit send anyway. For the first time, it was out in the open. I wasn't the only one alive who knew I was living a lie. As frightening and nerve-wracking as it was, it felt so good to get out in the open.

The 27th was Easter Sunday, I only remember this because I remember having the thought "well, way to ruin Easter Sunday for your mom, asshole." We had a family breakfast that morning, I didn't know it at the time, but that was the last family event where I was looked at as the daughter/granddaughter, thank God. Had I known, I probably would've made a scene to celebrate. Anyway, my mom was bartending that night at our local VFW and I was about to pop in to say goodbye like I always did before I made the 4 hour journey back to school at Edinboro University where I was wrapping up the last of my freshman year. I sat in my car outside the main entrance and stared blankly at my steering wheel for what felt like hours. I didn't want to tell her, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I needed to. I couldn't take living in secret from the most important person in my life anymore, she needed to know.

I thought about what was about to happen and my brain immediately played the worst case scenario over and over in my head. "She's going to hate me, she's going to disown me, and she's going to kick me out. I'll be alone and on my own." My dizzy and overwhelmed head fell into my shaky palms and I sat hunched over trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. I knew all of these things were a possibility, but I also knew that the happiness that would come from transitioning would outweigh any of the negative situations I would face coming out. My happiness and my freedom was my first priority. I knew that I accepted myself, so it didn't matter if anyone else did, my mother included. I couldn't keep myself in the dark anymore, I didn't think I would survive it. I was prepared to walk out of there in 10 minutes on my own, myself against the world.

Finally, somehow, I worked up the courage to head inside. I walked right up to the bar (I was only 19 but nobody had a problem with it because nobody dared to give my mom any issues) and plopped myself next to my mom's, at the time, boyfriend, Joe. He was a good guy, he was always looking out for me, so it was no surprise that he instantly caught the anxious vibe radiating off of me. He was captivated by the football game until I sat down and instantly he turned to me and asked what was up. Not the ice breaking, small talk making "what's up?" but the kind of "what's up?" that reads "I know somethings off, spill your beans." "Nothing" I insisted. After a few minutes of painfully awkward small talk, he grabbed me by the shoulder and walked me out near the entrance doors.

"Let's hear it kid."

He just knew something was really wrong, crazy how people can pick up on that kind of thing. I told him I had to tell my mom something but I was scared to because she'd hate me. He asked what it was but I couldn't find the words. I felt like I was going to vomit. I tried to talk but nothing came out.

"Is it about you?" I nodded. "Are you okay? Did something happen to your car?" I was notorious for flat tires and stupid little accidents so it was no surprise that was his first thought.

"No, I'm fine, or I will be, but she's going to hate me and kick me out and disown me…" I kept rambling, listing off all the terrible things I thought was about to happen.

He stopped me, and again, he must have just known, "Do you feel like you're not…you? Do you feel like you need to change yourself?"

I stared at him in disbelief, how in the world did he know?

Tears fell from my eyes instantaneously and he wrapped me in a hug. He calmed me down and assured me my mom was still going to love me endlessly and nothing would change. He told me how they've talked about what would happen if this exact situation were to happen. I felt better.

Just then, the doors swung open and my mom bolted in looking like she had just seen a ghost. She immediately started asking a million questions a minute.

"What's wrong? Who's hurt? Are you okay? Logann, (my name before I had it legally changed, yes I just dropped the second N when I did. A drastic change, I know.) what's going on?"

Again, I was at a loss for words. I couldn't speak no matter how hard I tried. And I did try, nothing escaped my mouth, not even a sound. I couldn't breathe, and felt an anxiety attack just about to take place. I started to hyperventilate, my vision growing black. I couldn't get enough air into my lungs and it felt like I was breathing through a straw just after sprinting a marathon.

Joe must have sensed that because he took over and said, "remember that conversation we had about our kids? What we would do if they wanted…more? They weren't themselves?"

I saw it fall into place and click in her head, she turned to me and asked if that were true. I don't remember what I said or did, I think I worked myself up so much that I blacked out. The next thing I knew my mom had embraced me in the biggest bear hug I've ever received in my life. Her arms almost squeezing the life out of me, I could feel her start to cry as her chest began to shake against mine. She kept repeating that she loved me and nothing could ever change that. She finally pulled away but held me at an arm's length and made sure I knew that she still loved me. She was only upset that I felt I couldn't talk to her about this sooner.

"You're my kid no matter what body you have. I don't know the first thing about any of this but I promise we'll get you the help you need ASAP. Nothing's wrong with you. It'll be okay, I promise it will be okay. I'll make sure of it."

The wave of relief that washed over me sent me to cloud nine. I felt invincible and like I could conquer the world. I still feel that today, just thinking about it. Not many people who want to begin transitioning have the same wonderful experience I had with a mother so accepting, which breaks my heart. Since day one, my mom has been my biggest fan and my biggest supporter. She's bent over backwards to get me the help and resources I needed. It is because of her that just 3 short months later I was able to start hormone replacement therapy. It is because of her that the November that followed, I was able to get my top surgery and she was the greatest nurse during my recovery. It is because of her that I was able to get my name legally changed. I owe all the major and beautiful milestones in my transition to her. She truly is my rock and I wouldn't be the man I am today without her. I hope I'm making her proud.

I got extremely lucky with how my mom reacted to the thought of her only daughter becoming her son. I feel blessed every single day. It made and still makes my transition sail so much smoother. There will never be enough thank you's. However, in the moments leading up to telling her, I accepted the possibilities that she would not approve. That is something everyone who wants to transition needs to understand. Not everyone will accept you or welcome this "new you" with open arms. Just because someone is your family doesn't mean their obligated to accept you, I learned that the hard way. All that matters is that you accept yourself. No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.

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