There are so many different definitions of gender. Within the transgender community, there are many different identities under the trans* umbrella. Finding out where one fits in is a personal and often painstaking journey.
The Internet and media have revolutionized coming out and accessing resources for young transgender youth. There are YouTube channels dedicated to FTM testosterone change diaries (keeping track of voice changes, facial hair, body structure, etc.) and others that simply weigh in on issues facing the FTM community today. However, some transgender youth are being called out by members of the same community for not being "trans enough" or are labeled "trans-trenders," which is taken to refer to women who take steps to begin to transition to male simply because they do not fit a stereotypical mold of womanhood ("I don't like my body/situation/how people treat me as a female, so I think I want to be a guy!"). The fear is that these "trans-trenders" will make obtaining lifesaving medications, such as testosterone and other forms of hormone therapy, difficult for those who are transitioning with a real medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
I am not saying one has to have gender dysphoria to transition, nor am I saying that the older FTM community doesn't have legitimate concerns about the younger generation. The media have given young adults the tools to access everything from transition logs to therapy letters to online therapy sessions. With a click of a mouse, they can view photos, chronological diaries of others' transition, and glimpses into others' daily lives. The problem is that they often don't stop to realize that they're just that: others' lives, not theirs. Is there too little follow-through and common sense in today's young people who seek to transition? Instances of "regretting" transition are rare but seem to have increased lately. This coud lead to marked difficulties in obtaining hormones and necessary medical treatment for many with gender dysphoria.
How have the Internet and the media shaped what it means to transition in today's society? What are some things the older generation can do to educate "trans-trenders" instead of lashing out at them (which accomplishes little, if anything at all)? Where are the women who will stand up and say to the young women who are considering transitioning simply because they don't feel welcome or accepted as female, "It's OK if you don't fit society's view of women, because you are still welcome here"?
How we transition is changing. How has this changed you?
Follow Catherine Oliver on Twitter: www.twitter.com/justabitradical