Walking In Their Shoes

In case you haven’t figured out from a previous blog post: I am a man. I am a trans man, if you count the pre-qualifier.

I’ve been asked how I knew I was (I am) trans many times. The answer isn’t that I always knew I was trans but that I always knew I was a man. Well, maybe. I always knew I wasn’t like other girls. I say that more easily now that I have become so much more comfortable with myself. But can I really say that I was a girl?

The trans handbook says things like:

I have always been a man/woman. I was never really a woman/man. My outsides never matched my insides. I was always a man/woman on the inside or in my head and heart and soul.

If I have always been a man or boy, can I really say that I was a woman or a little girl? Well, I was certainly raised as one and lived as one. Was I just pretending?

If you’re looking for the answers to these questions I don’t really have them. From my lens of perspective, I think it is a little bit of both.

I have always been a boy. I was raised as a little girl so that made it really hard for me but I think I can confidently say I know what it is like to be a little girl. Even if I was only going through the motions because it was how I was being raised. But gender is fairly meaningless to children until they are taught otherwise. I don’t think I was a boy pretending to be a girl. I was a kid pretending to be an astronaut.

I have always been a man. That made puberty and early adulthood even harder. I don’t know that I can really say that I was a woman. I have had female experiences but I didn’t think in the same head space that women do. I’m not generalizing that all women are the same so I’m hoping that you’re sticking with my thought process and not critiquing every statement. I know that I didn’t quite think or feel the way a woman does. I did experience the same fears a woman can feel for safety reasons, but to be fair a male identity doesn’t really stop a trans man from living with some of those same fears.

Sidebar: Socially, there is a lot of discussion about men not understanding the constant fear that many women live in. I understand where those statements come from having lived as a physical female. That said, I think there is another side to these arguments: men can experience emotions, such as fear, too. Men are taught and conditioned to bury and hide those feelings to the point that it becomes too easy to forget that they have them at all. Ironically, it’s gender stereotyping on both sides that is perpetuating the issues. There are so many powerful, public speeches coming out about the gender inequality that is good for creating a dialogue for change but not when it turns into an attack on men that are being accused of being beyond understanding. Unless you are a sociopath, we all have the ability to emphasize and learn so no one is beyond understanding if we come from a place of education and not accusation.

Back on topic….

By the time I was old enough to be physically considered a ‘woman’ my head and my heart and my soul finally knew I was a man. I lived as an out lesbian for so long that I know what it is to be a lesbian but I don’t know what it is to be a woman, not really. It would even feel strange to say, ‘I was a woman.’ But I was a little girl… and a little boy.

Maybe I can at least say that I have walked in a woman’s shoes (literally, heels suck). I know that my ‘past life’ as a female made me the man I am today. Maybe that’s why I had an easier time with my transition than others. Yes, it was awkward (sooo awkward) but I wouldn’t be who I am now without that time. It’s not easy being a woman and not many men can know what that feels like but maybe a few of us can at least empathize on a deeper level.

Life gets better for all of us when we try to understand other lenses of perspective. That’s why I share all of this. Maybe by sharing I can help someone else understand a different lens from their own without them having to walk in some awful heels. At the very least I think I will make a great father to my as-of-yet unborn little girl because I can empathize with her more than she will realize.

Restroom Madness

Can I just say that I miss Ladies’ Restrooms, and leave it at that?


Fine. Let’s talk about it.

Or I’ll talk. You listen. (Read? Same thing.)

In 2016, America went nuts because of HB2. North Carolina made the ‘bathroom bill’ that set the world on fire debating a topic that beforehand didn’t really seem like any issue. Bathrooms were being discussed long before the infamous bill happened but the scale of which had not reached national level until someone decided to pick a fight. The funny part is that if you ask most people who started this fight they would probably say it’s the Conservatives but in reality — it was the Liberals.

It started with the best of intentions. Liberals were trying to set policy in place to protect LGBT rights, specifically in Charlotte, NC. It’s not a bad thing that they tried to do it but here is where it went wrong:

Nobody really cared where I peed until somebody tried to protect my right to do what I was already doing.

It’s stupid really but that’s the reality. Trans people were already using the restrooms they wanted. Yes, it is the extreme Conservatives that have passed bathroom bills but nobody was trying to prevent anybody from using the restrooms until Liberals tried to make sure that everyone could. That’s a loose statement because I guarantee someone could find proof that people were preventing trans people from using the restroom of their identity before the Liberals started promoting protective regulation; probably in a school setting. There were new waves of gender-neutral bathrooms being initiated on universities, so there was other proactive action being taken before it all got out of hand.

I used to worry about the bathroom thing a lot. Well… I still do. I don’t worry about the laws because they are totally unenforceable. I saw a political satire comic that had the ‘hoo hoo inspector’ mocking the inability for North Carolina to enforce the bathroom bill.

I found it!

I think it is hilarious but it also perfectly shows that the concept of these laws is ridiculous. (Plus, they always want to protect the Ladies room but there never seems to be a concern about the Men’s room. You know why? Because it’s dirty and no one wants to go in there anyway!)

The ‘Hoo Hoo Inspector’ is not why I worry about bathrooms. Everybody else is always so concerned about who is going into which restroom but I’m always more concerned about what it looks like inside that restroom. Maybe this seems stupid but Men’s public restrooms can be a problem.

Beyond the fact that they are dirty and smelly:

  • Sometimes they don’t have doors on the stalls.
  • Toilet paper is hit or miss.
  • I always look like I have to poop because I’m waiting for the one stall available.
  • I’m always afraid that when I pee it’s going to sound like a woman peeing.
  • Worst of all: I’m afraid that if I was identified as trans in the men’s room that I could be assaulted. (I won’t go into the dark details of my fears but they’re probably the worst thing you can imagine. They’re certainly the worst I can.)

Bathrooms weren’t always scary for me but then again I was very ‘butch’ in the Ladies room so nobody would mess with me.

Wait, that’s not true. I did get messed with in the Ladies room. It was really funny actually. It was before I started my hormone therapy. I was at a bar with friends and as is predictable for this story: I went to the restroom. The Ladies restroom. I walked in and this woman stopped me two steps in to tell me I was in the wrong bathroom. I laughed and said, “Technically, still a girl.” Pre-hormones my voice sounded exactly my mother so she realized her mistake instantly and started apologizing. I told her it was no big deal because it wasn’t, I knew what I looked like and it was an easy mistake. I went into the available stall to take care of business. I noticed then the pair of high heeled feet standing right out front of the door. When I was finished, I found that she was still there waiting to apologize to me some more and she had a shadow; there was another young woman waiting to talk to me. It was a little surreal as I washed my hands to have them both talking to me about how sorry they were for the mix up. Apparently the second had seen my shoes, men’s shoes, and believed the same as the first that I was in the wrong restroom.

But this incident was a far cry from when I used to scare old ladies in the restroom for the same reason. This time they were telling me how cute I was and if I were a boy that they would definitely be interested. However, there is something disconcerting about having your cheek kissed by two women you’ve never met in a public restroom while you’re washing your hands. It was odd and not just because I was at the bar with my fiancee (now, wife) and my mother (that’s not a typo).

Men don’t acknowledge each other in restrooms unless they absolutely have to. I rely on that social construct as much as possible to go in, do what I came to and get out.

Still, I miss how clean Ladies restrooms are and there is always doors and toilet paper.

I don’t miss the lines though so I guess it was a trade off.

Loss of Identity Post-Transition

It’s not what you think.

I have never been more myself than I was until after I transitioned (as previously stated.) However, before I transitioned I had worked very hard to become comfortable with being an out lesbian. In Texas — that isn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t for me. Even in the last 10 years, from when I was probably the most out, it was common to be known as the one lesbian in whatever social circle I was participating in. In college, I was part of a group of students that started the first LGBT student organization. Things felt a little better but there were many struggles within and outside of the organization. It seems odd to say, ‘it was a different time,’ but we have had so many social shifts that the taboo of LGB (intentionally left out the T) has dwindled to a norm. All things change in time.


My Post-Transition Loss of Identity is not about who I am but who I was as a part of the LGBT community. (Yes, the T is back from my previous omission.) When I first began to transition, I still had a place in my small LGBT community. I wasn’t the first transition but I’m pretty sure I was the second and the first didn’t really come around much. I wasn’t regarded any differently and my transitional stage still made me telegraph to people that I wasn’t just another guy. Whether it was my voice that sounded more like my mother or pre-op chesticles, I was still a card carrying member of the rainbow flying LGBT community.

The more time (yes, time) went on, the more my transition shifted how my gender expression was received by people I encountered. They weren’t seeing who I used to be anymore. It caught me off guard when I realized for the first time that I was talking to someone who didn’t know I was (I am) trans because to him I had become just another guy. I think it further surprised me because it was a young man advocating safety for women on college campuses. It clicked to me because he said, “You don’t know what it’s like for a woman. You can’t possibly understand.” I had known this young man for months and I just assumed that he knew, because it felt like everyone knew, that I was ‘the trans guy.’ How could he possibly say that I don’t know what it is like to be a woman? I was one!

[Well, that’s debatable and a trivialized thing to say. Please see this future blog.]

It’s not his fault that he didn’t know. He saw me exactly as the person I wanted him to see. I believe that most transgender female-to-male or male-to-female hope to hit a point in their transition where new people they meet don’t look at them and wonder, ‘are they or aren’t they?’ I hated when someone would meet me, be prepared to address me as a man, but then I would speak and my voice would telegraph female to them. Almost on cue they would turn down from my face to look at my chest and do a boobie check to confirm their suspicions from the higher tones in my voice than immediately start addressing me as a woman. It was a great feeling to meet new people and not have to go through the looks and questions anymore. My passing privilege (the ability to pass as another gender without being seen as your former gender) was in full force.

There was a trade off I hadn’t anticipated.

There is a cool thing about being LGBT — that moment when you meet someone else that is LGBT and you know that they know that you’re in the cool kids club and they know that you know that they are too. There’s a camaraderie in the minority. When the world started treating me like I was just a regular guy, I noticed that there was a small group of people that did start treating me differently: the LGBT community. I didn’t know that by gaining passing privilege my rainbow card had expired or in some cases, flat out revoked. The same LGBT mentorship or advocacy I had done before was being met with questions of ‘why are you here? you don’t belong.’

Imagine that? I no longer belonged to something that had become such a huge part of my life. To make matters worse, I wasn’t just seen as a guy but I was seen as a conservative christian white man of privilege. While all of those adjectives about me are true, it is not true that I am automatically the bad guy because I’m a white guy. I don’t normally talk about race, but it is significant for this blog.

When you start delving into LGBT issues, intersectionality always comes up and race is just one of the intersections. It’s such a hot topic right now. It makes it difficult to say that it is hard to be a white guy right now. Don’t start hating me yet, hear me out first. Everyone hates the white guy right now because it’s his fault that the world is so messed up. He’s spent centuries making it about his needs that I guess it’s time to pay the piper. I’m all for accountability but my issue is that I’m in my 30s and I haven’t even been a white guy for a decade, what did I do?! I didn’t do any of the things that I am generally held culpable for just by being a white guy. The irony is that I’m the bad guy for attaining privilege but in reality I’ve been ostracized. I’ve sat at lectures and attended conferences where white privilege is a major topic but most of the discussions revolve around calling everyone out for their white privilege and telling everyone who was born white and can’t control their race that it is their fault and they are all bad because of it. (By the way, that is the definition of racism and yes people can be racist against white people too — I see it every day.)

I know it seems off topic but let me refocus it so you understand.

I was born female, half Hispanic and raised by a poor, single parent and lived that for over 25 years, with 10 years of that as an out lesbian and active member of the LGBT community. That is not all that I was but that was the identity I lived and that was my lens of perspective.


All the world sees is that I’m a straight, white man with a college education. It is assumed that I have had no struggles in my life and I couldn’t possibly understand what it is like to not be accepted for who I am.

I’m still coming to terms with this loss of identity. Sorry if this post isn’t as funny or snarky as others. I try to focus on something a friend of mine who works with diversity issues said, “I believe in celebrating all people, even if some people have been celebrated more than others — historically.”

I want to celebrate everyone! I really want to help others with their transition and let them know that just by being themselves they are a cause for celebration. My membership card is gone but I still taste the rainbow every day.

Making of this Non-profit

I did not plan to make a non-profit organization. As it is, I post on this site completely anonymously for the protection of myself and my family. However, I have been very blessed or just plain lucky throughout my transition and have always felt the need to pass on that blessing by offering mentorship or educational resources whenever I can.


First disclosure: I am a transgender man (female-to-male) and I have lived fully transitioned for 5 years.

Second disclosure: I have been on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for 5 years and had top surgery (bilateral mastectomy) 4 years ago. I have not chosen to have bottom surgery (more on that later).

Third disclosure: I live in Texas so most of the resources I am referencing are specific to my state but that does not mean that they are not applicable elsewhere. I hope that with time I will be able to offer the same resources about other states as well.


I did not start my transition until I was in college. Before I transitioned, I lived as an out lesbian. I come from a conservative family who had been loving and supportive of my sexuality even when there were times of struggle. This is just one of the many reasons I say that I am very blessed. Though I had long felt the need to transition, I pushed those feelings aside and wouldn’t allow myself to consider the possibility that I might be transgender because I felt like I had already put my family through enough. It wasn’t until I was dating the woman who would later become my Wife that I was finally able to truly accept myself. I have never been more comfortable or confident with myself than I was until I transitioned to become the man I am today.

As a further blessing, my family was even more supportive and were the encouragement behind starting How To Trans. Whether or not it grows to be more than a resource website at least it will be my contribution. I was able to journey through my transition from a place of education and it made all the difference. I hope I can offer that to you.


These resources are not only for transgender people. I will include many posts and pages for allies, people who are unsure how they feel about trans issues, and yes — Parents. I’m specifically making a note for parents because:

A) I wouldn’t be anywhere without mine. They are a dependable constant in my life. I know that isn’t the same experience for everyone but I can only speak from my own experiences. I wish others had the kind of parents that I do but you can’t have mine — because they’re mine.

B) It isn’t always easy to be a parent to a transgender child, no matter their age. Scratch that, it isn’t easy to be a parent at all but sometimes transitioning can be or seem to be a self-involved process and people forget that parents and loved ones are transitioning as well. Parents, I promise I won’t forget about you.

I will be sharing resources that helped my parents and loved ones over the years. Again, I hope they help you as much as they did us.

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor will I ever be, speaking for anyone but myself and through my lens of perspective. I am not the transgender poster child, nor do I intend to be. There are probably many things I will say or points that I will make that are from my opinion, based on my experiences. While I do not mean to provoke or trigger anyone, I have in the past offended other transgender people (seriously, one misunderstood text conversation and you’d think I was a transphobic tranny) – case in point, I use the word ‘tranny’ comfortably while others find it extremely offensive. I am not a representative of all transgender or LGBT(I’m not typing the whole alphabet, it’s confusing) people. I am not politically correct. I am human and my lens of perspective is that many LGBT are overly sensitive and unsympathetic for others who don’t oppose or oppress but still struggle with aspects of humanity, such as the LGBT, that they have not had the exposure or education to better understand (which is a major focal point for providing these resources). If you don’t like or agree with something I have said or shared feel free to tell your best friend, but don’t tell me or ask me to change it or tell me to ‘check my privilege’. I find it offensive and it triggers me in my ‘safe space’ of free speech. That is my truth and I’m living it the best I can.


On the interweb.




I get asked a lot of questions. A LOT. Strangely, I don’t mind. That’s something that I’ve had mixed experiences within the Trans Community. I’ve worked with other transgender people who do public speaking but tend to tell the audience all the questions that they shouldn’t ask of a trans person. My approach has always been that people should ask me whatever they want, even the questions that another trans person will say is offensive. The reality is that everyone has questions and if there isn’t at least one person willing to answer them the questions will never go away and ignorance will continue. Education is the only way for us all to grow together.

The number one question – Do you have a penis?

The short answer is No, but that’s not even half the answer.

Along with HRT, there are two major types of surgeries that a trans man can elect to undergo. First point, surgery does not make the man. I was always a man. The hormones just helped me feel more myself and present outwardly by changing my voice and growing facial hair. I chose to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, also known as Top Surgery. The Medical page goes into more detail. I had Top Surgery to help resolve my body dysphoria.

Bottom Surgeries as more complicated. The adage is that it’s easier to dig a hole than it is to build a pole. Trans women seem to have more and better options than trans men, though both are astronomically priced and have painful recoveries. The Medical page goes into more detail. At this point, I have not chosen to undergo Bottom Surgery because I don’t feel that the technology is there yet to justify the cost and the pain. Sometimes my body dysphoria makes it difficult but I know that whether or not I have a penis doesn’t change that I’m a man. The person I am is what makes me a man.

There is one more thing I have to say about this question: I answer it because it is a deep, burning desire to know for many people and I would rather I be asked because I can handle it. However, that is a deeply offensive question to ask a transgender person but not because of the answer that people are hoping to find out. It’s so offensive because it is offensive to ask anyone that question and nobody would ask anyone else that question yet transgender people are asked it routinely. Being transgender does not mean that the intimate details of your body are now open to public discussion. We are at a point culturally where transgender people are so other that it dehumanizes them. Most people who ask that question don’t realize that they have devalued the transgender person they have asked because it is tantamount to saying, “You are not deserving of the equal treatment I give freely to others so it is now alright for me to ask you a question that would otherwise be completely inappropriate.”

How do you have sex?

Not the second most asked question but it falls under the same category of inappropriate dehumanizing. I experienced this question more as an out lesbian though than I have as a trans man. I think it’s silly because if you’re asking this question than you already understand the mechanics of sex which means you’ve probably already imagined or considered how it works (or seen a porno) so really when someone asks this they just want to hear something smutty.

Do you have a period (menstruation)?

What’s with all the junk questions? Just kidding. I know. We’re curious creatures. And it’s totally ok to talk about someone else’s junk, just so long as it isn’t mine.

Oh, wait, it is mine.

No, I don’t have a period — anymore. The testosterone that I take weekly stops menstruation completely. However, if I ever stop taking it for about 4 – 6 weeks than it’s shark week all over again. I had to stop my HRT to undergo Top Surgery and had the only period I have had since transitioning. I was horrified.

What restroom do you use?

The one with the toilet.

Seriously, I use the Men’s Room because I am a man but the Ladies’ bathroom is about the only thing I miss from before I transitioned. Cleaner bathrooms. See also, Restroom Madness blog.

Can you be trans and be gay?

YES! I’m not but the fact that I get asked this question makes me happy because it means that people are connecting the dots that sexual attraction and gender expression are two different things. I have lived as an out lesbian before my transition but I am a straight man.

A follow up question that I get asked but has the same answer: if trans woman is assigned male at birth but is attracted to women why doesn’t he just stay a man and be with a woman? There are many things wrong about that questions but I will let it go, hypothetic-person-I-made-up-to-ask-the-question-wrong-intentionally. Let me repeat that sexual attraction and gender expression are two different things. A trans woman may have been assigned male at birth but that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not she likes other women or men. The point is who she is and not who she likes. Your identity is not defined by your attractions, that’s just a facet of your personality.

Usually the people who struggle with these realities the most are those that it is just outside their realm of conceptualization. It’s not really their fault.

Isn’t being transgender a sin?

This may seem like a shocking question but I do get asked about religion.

I’m Catholic. As a kid, I was even an altar server (unleash the altar boy jokes!). I struggled with Catholicism during college. At the time, I was an out lesbian and it was difficult to reconcile my need for religion while most all religions condemned LGBT people. After my transition, I found an inner peace I had never known before and developed a closer relationship with God and the Catholic church. I’ve been grateful to the current Pope as he has chosen to teach love that brings people back to the church instead of condemnation that pushes everyone away. I can’t tell someone else what their faith should be or how they interpret their beliefs. I know without a doubt that God loves me and I pray every day.

I’ve had people say that by trying to change myself that I’m subverting God’s will. I think it’s ridiculous to even consider that anybody or thing is capable of subverting God’s will. My Mom is the one that has the best answer. She simply says, “This is the way God made my Son and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

When did you become transgender?

Somebody else might go into a litany about why that questions is wrong but I know what you mean. I transitioned November of 2013. That’s when I celebrate my Manniversary!

What if you change your mind?

I change my mind all the time — but not about this. It’s a hard one to explain to people. The best I can do: It can be hard for a cisgender person to wrap their brain around it because it is quite literally beyond their comprehension. I had an acquaintance in college before I transitioned that could not understand that I had no sexual attraction whatsoever to men. She couldn’t wrap her head around that because while she could accept that I am attracted to women to idea that I had no attraction at all to men didn’t make sense. To her mind it was a simple math absolute. Women are attracted to men and men are attracted to women and women being attracted to other women did not cancel out that they must still also have an attraction to men on some level. For some cisgender people, their identity is such an absolute that it is not fathomable for it to be a question while for others identity is fluid. No, I won’t change my mind because I fall into the category of absolute. I know without question or hesitation that I am a man. I always have been.

This answer is almost always followed up with, but when did you know? Please see previous Q & A about my Manniversary and the blog of the same name.

Are you a transvestite (or drag queen/king)?

No. Transvestites are statistically straight men who like to play pretend or fetishizes women’s clothing. Drag Queens are fabulous people who sometimes also are trans women but it is not a requirement. Same goes for Drag Kings. Drag has become its own style and cultural altogether so while it has a close relationship with the Trans community they are not mutually inclusive.

What is your real name?

Trick question: This blog is Anonymous.

The actual question is, did I change my name for my transition? Also a trick question because I did but it was my last name because my birth certificate had my last name as a hyphenate but I have only ever used one of my last names so I was getting the other dropped. I did not change my first name but I had the benefit of a non-gender specific name so there really wasn’t a need. My Mom has since made many a joke that she should have named me something hyper girly like Trixie (no offense intended if that is your name) but now she has resolved that it was all just God’s will.