Happy 2020, friends! It’s so weird to be 20 years into this century and 2.5 years (900 days on Jan 20, 2020) into my transition! This morning, I woke up to the sound of my Roomba and was reminded that we really ARE in the future. I thought about watching the Jetsons as a kid and dreaming about having a robot to make things easier for me, and here we are. That’s no longer a dream.
Another lifelong dream of mine was to become the man I am today. As you’ve read in my previous blogs or learned from following my insta, I am well on my way to being that man I always knew I was. It wasn’t easy. In the 1st grade, I remember laying in bed and imagining the arms of a large machine coming down and fixing all the parts of my body that were wrong. Turns out, it was an evil machine that always robbed me of what should have been. I’d leave the daydream feeling sad and defeated after the machine inevitably botched my imaginary surgery. Waking up, nothing was fixed; everything was still wrong.
As I began my social and medical transition in August 2017, I once again wished for a robot, or a switch I could flip. Unfortunately, that’s not how transition goes. It’s a long, and sometimes frustrating process — but 100% worth it!
I can’t offer up a magic pill, only my experience, aka my 2020 Vision.. (see what I did there?). So in the interest of a new year and a new you, here are some trans resources that I used or would have found valuable as I traveled into 2020 as Kasen.
1. Louisville TransMen
Louisville TransMen is one of a few trans-specific groups here in Louisville. As the website also explains, LTM is “group is open to anyone 18+ years of age who identifies as a trans man, FTM, transmasculine, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, masculine of center, and/or questioning, and who was assigned female at birth.”
A few things to note about LTM:
- LTM offers monthly group meetings where trans men can come together for support, friendship, discussion, resources and more.
- Many members can’t make it to the monthly meetings. LTM offers members a very active and private Facebook group where members can continue to connect and feel supported. No matter where you live in the region, you can always connect with someone near and live you on this group page.
- LTM was given financial support from the Fairness Campaign to cover the cost of name and gender documentation for trans folx. This fund is also available for trans women in our state.
- Within LTM, there are lots of opportunities for visibility and leadership. Active members can be nominated to serve on the LTM leadership committee. LTM also takes an active role in queer events around Louisville, such as the annual Transgender Wellness Summit, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade and the Louisville Pride Festival.
To get connected with LTM, check out the website, DM them on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 502-509-7576.
2. Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher
I knew I wanted top surgery from the moment puberty happened. Having surgery is not a decision anyone takes lightly. By nature, I am a researcher. In everything, I want the best product/result at the best cost, so when it came time to find a top surgeon, I researched hours a day for months. I looked at surgeons that were near me. I looked at before and after photos. I joined Facebook top surgery groups and read every top surgery blog I could find. I watched youtube videos and followed #topsurgery hashtags on Instagram. When I heard about this top surgeon at a gender-confirmation center 2 hours away in dug deep into her before requesting a consultation through her website.
It is bittersweet for me to share Dr. Gallagher as a resource because she is moving her practice to Miami, so she’ll no longer be a quick drive from Louisville. But, despite the distance, I would recommend her to anyone seeking top surgery. Just watch her youtube videos or follow her social and you’ll see that she is a huge ally and voice in the trans community. She doesn’t try to hide us and our surgeries in a dark corner of her website, like other plastic surgeons, she instead celebrates our freedom and happiness with a megaphone.
I am grateful for the deep voice, facial hair and other effects of testosterone, but it was Dr. Gallagher who truly gave me my life and my body back. This woman is a miracle to our community. Lots of guys in Louisville has traveled to her and not one that I’m aware of regrets that decision.
Me with Dr. Gallagher right before my surgery and at my 6 week post-op check up.
There are moments in life that are forever etched into your memory. You can recall these moments with little effort or distortion. Every interaction with Dr. G. is imprinted in my mind. The moment I met her, the final moments before I went into the O.R., and especially the moment I woke up from surgery in the recovery wing. Dr. Gallagher has no doubt had a HUGE impact on my life and has been a large contributor to me becoming the man I am today. THANK YOU DR. GALLAGHER!
If you are looking for a surgeon that will affirm you, as you are, and truly cares about your results, don’t hesitate to trust Dr. G.
3. The Solace App
Solace is a brand new, not-for-profit app for trans folx. Solace “provides information and resources to guide transgender people through whatever process of gender transition they desire”. The creators have taken publicly-available information and compiled it into a free app that offers resources, advice and even a progress tracker for members of the transgender community.
The app is new, like dropped in Winter 2019 new, and it’s got a ways to go — but for a FREE app from people living in Washington state, it does a great job offering state-specific information. I’ve only recently played in the app, but I initially noticed how secure it is, requiring your email address and passcode to access the app each time.
Screenshots of the Solace App in the Apple App Store and one of the welcome pages within the app.
Once you’re logged in, you can set or view your personalized transition goals and news. They’ve broken the resources into 3 categories, “legal, lifestyle and medical”.
- Legal offers info everything from updating your passport, to obtaining a court order for a name change, to birth certificate updates to how to fill out the 2020 Census, so trans people can actually be counted and seen by the US Government.
- Lifestyle offers tips like how to come out at work, dealing with being misgendered, going to the gym, men’s shoe shopping, how to pack, dating & sex, and even how to make friends and find support groups
- Medical offers resources for finding a PCP, therapist, gender-confirmation surgeon, info on reproductive healthcare and how to sign up for health insurance
This app offers a wealth of info. It would have been helpful to have when I was beginning my transition, but I’m glad to see it exist for others now.
As amazing as these resources are, they are only part one of the resources Kasen has to share with you. Be on the lookout for part two of his 2020 resources list, coming soon!
Want more but can’t wait? Follow Kasen’s transition on Instagram @trans.parent_kasen!