LGBT Lives: Transgender Q&A with Jason Gallacher

Q: First off are you or do you consider yourself to be Transgender?
A: I consider myself to be an average 20 year old man but if labels must be put in place, yes I am transgender.

Q: So when did you know that you were transgender? And was is a gradual realisation or did you just always kinda know?
A: Well, I always knew from a young age that something wasn’t quite right but I couldn’t quite figure out what. It was as early as primary school where I felt somewhat different to everyone else but I was only young and didn’t know what “transgender” was let alone consider the fact that I could belong to the community. There were actually a lot of little signs scattered throughout my childhood that could’ve implied that I was actually a boy as opposed to a girl such as the fact that I was the only person who wasn’t a cisgender boy in the primary school football team and the fact that I always wanted to dress a lot like the boys in my class instead of dressing like the rest of the girls. I suppose I always kind of knew that something was out of place with my gender but it was a gradual realisation into discovering that I am indeed transgender and that there are many other people out there who have gone through similar experiences as I have.

Q: How long did it take to come to terms with your gender identity?
A: It took years. I actually didn’t accept the fact that I was transgender until I started college. The thought was always at the back of my mind throughout high school but I was scared to embrace it so instead I pushed it away and forced myself to present as a girl even though I was going against who I really was. It made my high school experience miserable and I must say that I began to feel a lot more happier when I accepted and embraced my true gender identity in college.

Q: How did you decide on a new name?
A: I was 11 and making friends on virtual pet sites. Online I told everyone that I was a boy and when they asked me what my name was, I instantly told them that my name was Jason. It didn’t take any thought, I didn’t have a list of possible names, I didn’t try out a number of different names. It just came to me and it has stuck ever since but some people do list names that they are fond of and try out different ones until they find one that clicks and they are just as valid. A name means more to someone than some might think.

Q: Have you told people about your gender identity?
A: Yes, I have told most people in my life including my family.

Q: Have people in your life been accepting?
A: Thankfully yes! I know I shouldn’t be thankful because in an ideal world everyone should be accepted for who they are but unfortunately that is not the case but in my personal experience I haven’t had a single bad coming out experience yet.

Q: What is something about being transgender you wished everyone knew?
A: That we’re just human beings trying to live our lives just like everyone else. We aren’t threats but on the flip side we don’t need to be coddled. Yes, we do want our allies to fight for transgender rights alongside us but we want them to speak WITH us as opposed to OVER us and certainly not FOR us. We’re all in this together! As human beings.

Q: What is the most surprising thing about this process for you?
A: I suppose the physical transition. If you had told younger Jason that it IS possible for him to sound the way he wants to sound, look the way he wants to look and be referred to as who he wants then he would’ve been super excited that it can be made possible!

Q: Have you looked into hormone treatments or surgery and do you think that it’s right for you?
A: I have and I absolutely do think it’s right for me. I have wanted it for years and I can gladly and very proudly say that I am on the path to starting hormone replacement therapy and surgery!

Q: What is your opinion on gender identity?
A: I believe that gender is a spectrum and that people are who they say they are. I also believe that gender is fluid but while this is the case, there are people whose gender don’t and probably never will change. Everyone’s gender identity is different and no two experiences are the same. There is much more to gender than just “male and female” and I wish that more people understood that.

Q: How do you feel about the LGBT+ community?
A: I have good opinions on the community but like most things, it has its problems. There seems to be a lot of “gatekeeping” in the community, especially towards trans/non binary people and these things are committed by both trans/non binary and cis people. For example, there are trans people who invalidate other trans people because they don’t “look trans enough” and there are lesbians who exclude trans women because they don’t think that they are “real women”. Likewise, there are gay men who exclude trans men because they “aren’t real men”. And then there are people who don’t believe non binary identities exist which is just as ridiculous considering the LGBT community prides itself on being inclusive and accepting. While this is the case, as a whole, the majority of the community IS inclusive and accepting. You really feel at home when you are surrounded by members of the community and you feel as if you can embrace your true self in a safe space. I just wish those guilty of “gatekeeping” would stop doing so because they are totally going against what the LGBT+ community stands for.

Q: How do you feel about the stigma attached to bathroom use?
A: I have been to the toilet at my university a grand total of 2 times during my year and a half there and it drove my anxiety crazy. cisgender people who don’t like sharing the bathroom with trans people are scared that we’re going to assault them and molest their children as if we’re some sort of monsters. Yes, there are people in the bathroom who are terrified of getting assaulted and let me tell you, they aren’t the cis people. Going to the bathroom SHOULDN’T be a taxing experience for your emotional and mental health yet I haven’t felt more scared for my life when using a public bathroom. It sounds ridiculous and that’s because it is. We need more gender neutral bathrooms for those who don’t feel comfortable using a gendered one as opposed to being told to use the disabled ones. Being transgender isn’t a disability after all. Long story short, I have no interest in attacking you and your children, I just wanna pee.

Q: What is your opinion on crossdressing/drag?
A: I personally don’t care for it. It doesn’t offend me yet I know of a few transgender people who are and I can totally see why. Transgender people are attacked and even killed on a daily basis and I suppose it all comes down to drag queens/kings being able to take off their outfits and makeup at the end of the day and continue living life with their cis privilege (which most definitely does exist) whereas we can’t.

Q: And if you don’t mind me asking did your sexual preference shift or change when you realised your sexual identity?
A: I’m not entirely sure. I never really considered myself to be “straight”. Not even as a child. I never had a label for it then and I still don’t have one for it now.

Q: What has been the biggest change since realised your sexual identity?
A: There hasn’t really been any change since my sexual identity was never set in stone.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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