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Associate Professor of Informatics, feminist, witch, XR storyteller ADHD, neurodivergent, poly, lesbian, trans woman, mom, she/her

I'm responding here to this piece, and also reflecting on your new piece on "Detransition and the Art of Letting Go" (https://medium.com/@ryanemily/detransition-and-the-art-of-letting-go-20563fb32926) because both crossed my feed this week.

I'll say, first and foremost that if you are finding happiness through detransition then I am very happy for you for that! I am firmly of the belief that the only person qualified to decide if someone is trans and ought to transition is that person themselves. …

How mourning my father helped prepare me for life in a pandemic

In July my family marked the second anniversary of my father’s death. I drove down to San Diego with my daughter so we could spend a few days with my mother, in the home where I lived for much of my childhood. We lit candles, spoke words of memory, and told stories of a man who would surely have had something thoughtful or clever to say about our current circumstances. At one point my daughter climbed into my lap, and broke into improvised song: a lilting melody about how much we missed Pop Pop, but how he would always be…

How a few simple words can produce existential trauma for trans people and what you can do to help them.

Image credit: Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Something like this happens to all of us at some point in our transition:

“You have to give us more time. It’s very hard for us to adjust to this.” This from my mother-in-law, after over a year of me being in transition. When she deadnames or misgenders me, it is often while playing with my daughter. After one extended visit, my daughter started to use the wrong name and pronouns at home. …

Addressing common concerns about allowing transgender authors to change their names on previously published work

By Theresa Jean Tanenbaum, Robyn Speer, Irving Rettig, Teddy G. Goetz, Z Toups, Katta Spiel, & B.M. Watson

Image Credit: Flickr User SEO, Creative Commons

As transgender, nonbinary, and gender-non-conforming (henceforth, trans) authors and scholars, we all struggle to properly receive credit for our contributions to scholarship in the sciences and humanities. At some point in our careers the names and/or pronouns that we used to publish under stopped being correct, and we found ourselves having to fight to be called by the names that we now use in all aspects of our lives. We seek a simple remedy: to have the words that we have written…

A list of dumb things I think about doing with my testicles as a transgender woman.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled social commentary and Serious Discussion About Trans Equality to discuss something fundamentally silly: what to do with my testes after my orchiectomy.

Photo by the author. “Henry Hoke’s Load of Balls”, as seen in: http://www.australianapublications.org.au/store/p63/The_Lost_Tools_of_Henry_Hoke_-_The_Thwarted_Genius_of_Australia%27s_Greatest_Unknown_Inventor.___A_Speculative_History_by_Mark_Thompson..html

Being trans in a transphobic society isn’t always easy. We are at higher risk for a litany of terrible things: assault, rape, harassment, murder, denial of housing, loss of healthcare, employment discrimination, and suicide. …

I fell in love with another trans woman, and I’m still catching my breath.

My love is a thistle, tenacious and beautiful
Her mysteries forever unfolding, through prismatic personas
aspects of past traumas etched in her bones
My love was a soldier and a peacemaker
and a caretaker
And she’ll regale you with stories of far off lands
Music flows through her hands
which I know are strong enough
to stitch me together when I’m falling apart
My love is a lily, late blooming and delicate
fighting off old fears
recovering lost years from murky depths
After years of gaslighting
My love fights the fights that need fighting
for others less free
dancing in the kitchen
lips bitten (I’m smitten)
My love is never alone
and I want to be found in…

People who push the idea that trans women are “socialized male” should walk a mile in my shoes.

“The Ghost of Genders Past” — an unintentional collaboration between me and my smartphone’s memory card.

I’ve been a girl my whole life, but I didn’t always know it. As a result, many of my childhood experiences were defined by cognitive dissonance. Growing up as a trans girl is like being gaslit by the whole world and still finding the strength and confidence to say “No! THIS is who I am!” After all, no other girls are subjected to the same degree of toxic masculinity as trans girls. No other girls are forced into boys locker rooms, or men’s restrooms, or all-male prep schools. No other girls are told to “man up!” or “don’t be a…

Just by considering that you might be trans, you are doing something powerful and beautiful!

I got this tattoo years before I was ready to call myself trans. It allowed me space to talk about my gender questioning with other people, before I’d really figured out what I wanted.

I want to talk to the gender questioning folks out there. Questioning your identity can feel like you’re slowly unravelling. But it can also feel like you’re finally putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

You don’t need to know that truth all at once. And you don’t owe that truth to anyone but yourself. You don’t need to make a decision and feel trapped by it. You don’t need to appear consistent to the people around you. Consistency is how other people control you. The world wants us to be stable. Fixed. …

Gender Transition

Notes from my first year in transition

Last year, on American Independence Day, I made my own declaration to seek freedom from my gender dysphoria. At the time I had no idea where this journey was going to take me, I just knew that I needed to take this leap of faith. I hadn’t even started hormones yet when I made the announcement; that would come a few weeks later (expect more writing and reflection on the medical aspects of transitioning on that anniversary). When I came out last July, I still considered myself nonbinary, I didn’t yet know my whole name, and I felt presumptuous and…

Reflecting on the inexorability of my gender transition

March 2, 2020

A sequence of photos showing Tess at several key points in her transition.
A sequence of photos showing Tess at several key points in her transition.
Left to right: November 2016, a day before being hospitalized for pancreatitis; July 2018, the day my father died; March 2019, a few days after admitting that I was transitioning; July 2019, the first day of hormone replacement therapy; November 2019, four months on hormones; February 2020, seven months on hormones.

Spend enough time around trans people and eventually you will get the story of their “awakening” to their gender identity. For some it’s a persistent knowledge that they assert when they are young, insisting upon their correct gender consistently until caregivers take notice. For others, it’s a revelation! Some alignment of circumstances where a life lived out of focus suddenly becomes crystal clear. For me, it was more diffuse. My transness was always there, lurking just beneath the surface. It lay dormant, at first because I didn’t know how to explain myself, and later because I was…

Theresa Jean Tanenbaum

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