An interview with social worker, writer and queer activist, Jen Hodsdon about the relationship between the lesbian community and the trans community. Jen speaks about how delicate the relationship can be between two oppressed and marginalized groups, and her intention to speak only about her particular experience. She described the forces that bring the two communities together, including gender variance, oppression and risk of violence. She also spoke about how divisive the marriage equality focus can be because it privileges access to marriage, which is not such a priority for the trans-community, for whom basic safety is a larger concern. Jen also spoke about tensions within the communities about the F to M transition and whether it reflects a misogynist rejection of femaleness. She acknowledged the painful loss for many lesbians who fall in love with women partners who then go on to identify as trans men. Jen spoke of her wish to identify as a dyke which she sees as a more inclusive term than lesbian, to include the possibility of variable gender attraction and identification.
An interview with author and gender studies professor, Helen Boyd about being married to a trans woman. Helen describes her early courtship to a man who “occasionally cross-dressed” and how this evolved into loving her partner through transition into becoming a woman. She accepted the experience as an invitation to explore her own relationship to gender from being a young tomboy, to pressures to conform to traditional ideas about femininity as she grew up. Helen explores what it is like to be perceived now as a lesbian because she is married to a woman, and how she and Betty have each worked to honor each other’s sexual and gender needs through the process of transition.
An interview with the founder and president of the first camp for trans youth, Nick Teich. Nick describes many challenges that trans youth face as they grow up, particularly as they enter puberty and begin to develop secondary sex characteristics of the sex that feels wrong to them. The camp is for ages 8 to 15 and is designed to offer a safe place where kids can express the gender that feels right to them, among others doing the same. He tells stories of campers who benefited tremendously from meeting other kids like them for the first time in their lives. Nick also describes some of the medical options available to kids to delay puberty until they are old enough to decide whether to transition.
An interview with the director of the Maine Transgender Network, Alex Roan. Alex defines the terms transgender, transsexual and cross-dresser, clarifying the difference between sex, gender, gender expression and sexual orientation. He describes his own story of experiencing the gap between his sex and his gender , and his experience of transition from female to male. He gives poignant examples of experiencing male privilege from the “other side.” He also describes common issues that trans people struggle with, especially coping with the reactions of family and friends.
An interview with radio program director Lisa Bunker about her experience of becoming aware that she identified as a woman. Lisa describes the process of feeling like a failure at trying to be a man, and the deep relief of embracing her female identity. She describes her experiences of telling her friends, her workplace colleagues and her children, and of transitioning to living full-time as a woman.