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Hi friends! I hope to get back to writing regular articles soon, but in the meantime I have some events coming up that you might be interested in!

TONIGHT we have our Polyamory Panel Series session on Disability and Polyamory. This will be a fishbowl discussion to explore the dynamics of living a polyamorous life as a disabled person. From Covid, to boundaries and needs outside of the pandemic, to marriage equality, this topic is sure to have a lot of meat to chew on! Tonight, Monday April 18th at 7-8:30pm EST. Zoom link here! *this will be recorded and livestreamed*

Sunday April 24th at 2-5pm EST we have Queer^ Grief: Honoring the Beauty of Letting Go, Jam & Open Mic!

made with inShot and FlyerMaker apps

Queer^ grief is the grief we hold for having to live in a world that does not always accept, respect, or celebrate us for who we are as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The caret (^) is for those who are additionally queer because of any other marginalized identity that is at odds with normative culture (race/ethnicity, neurodivergence, ability status, etc.).

This is a two-part event. The first 45 min will be a brave space for us to name the pain we have been carrying and find solace in one another as we share in breakout rooms. After a 15 minute break, we will be welcomed back to the space with a grounding exercise. An open format for sharing art and creative expression will follow. People will be able to share whatever form of expression their grief has produced, or that has helped them process their grief (painting/drawing, music, poetry, short story, even comedy, etc.). In this way, not only will we be able to connect over grief and set resilience down, but also be able to connect over the beauty that is free expression, that comes from that pain. More details and registration here!

*this event is free with a suggested donation of $5-35 for either segment, or $10-50 for both; registration required*

Looking forward to being in community with you!

Featured Image Caption: 1 year ago on March 9, 2021, a Facebook post by me, Jaesic Feathers: Welp, it’s official. The geneticist diagnosed me with hEDS without testing. As it stands, hEDS doesn’t have a genetic marker. My history is consistent enough with his experience with hEDS patients that I now have a diagnosis. Neat. I’m looking forward to when I don’t feel so empty inside about this. 20 years. It took 20 years for me to get here.

Since this day last year, I have been on an incredible journey of self-discovery and community building. Because of this diagnosis, I’ve been able to start healing my relationship with my body, a relationship where I actively love myself through my pain, seek out accommodations and better routine, and allow myself more grace when things go haywire. It’s been really hard, but I’m getting better at this, and I’m so grateful to finally not hate the vessel that allows me to interact with this plane of existence. It’s sad that it’s taken me this long to get a diagnosis, and even more sad to only just now be on my way to a healthier relationship with my body only AFTER I’ve been medically validated (because being gaslit, patronized, condescended to, dismissed, antagonized, etc. for over 2 straight decades really does do a number on your self-efficacy and esteem; an all too common experience for AFAB people in medical treatment).

FINALLY I am medically valid enough to have medical professionals who take me seriously and work with me to manage my pain and body’s ability. Fucking life changing. Also life changing? Finding people who know what this dynamic disabled life is like. I am beyond grateful for the connecting capabilities of the internet and to my fellow zebras who have offered their own stories and support over the past year. Finally I feel seen and valid and not alone in my health journey.

Being human is hard enough, and then we add medical discrimination because of biases and prejudice, both in medical and personal life. PLEASE listen to people when they talk about their bodies! 9/10 times they are NOT hypochondriacs! And even if that 1 person is, what else is going on that is causing their brains to be so hypervigilant about their health?? What support is not yet present in their life?

Listen. BELIEVE. Stop judging. Respect. Support. We all deserve to feel seen, heard, and valid. And we all deserve the support we need!

If you’re a fellow zebra, I would love to connect with you over your personal journey and to stand in solidarity with you. Please leave me a comment or shoot me a message through the contact tab on my website’s menu! Sending you so much love 💜🌈💜


A learning opportunity: we no longer use “invisible disability” but instead use “dynamic disability”. Please see the images below to understand why! (This term is also applied to autism, and other forms of neurodivergence.) Thank you 🥰

First image: Created by Asiatu Lawoyin, the Intersectional Autist. Reach them at asiatucoach.com or @asiatu.coach on socials. Image says: “Invisible Disability”: Disabilities are only “invisible” out of ignorance. Invisible is centered within the outside perception & decenters the disabled as well as ignores our internal realities. Also, disabled behaviors rarely are truly invisible.


Second image: What is a Dynamic Disability? A disability which tends to fluctuate in severity (pain, energy, etc.) in a difficult to predict manner. Those with a dynamic disability are able to do certain tasks at one time but unable to complete those tasks at another time. Created by @joannanobanana on socials.


Third image: Autism is a “dynamic disability”. What this means is capacity & functioning are not concrete & may fluctuate dependent on factors such as environment, cognition, executive function, processing capacity, interoception/exteroception, neuro-fatigue, anxiety, communication differences, burnout & sensory overwhelm. This means Autistics may be capable of a task one day, but unable to perform the task at another. Made by Neurodiversally Unbroken 2021.

Feature image: Found on a dear friend’s timeline, which is text that says, “Dear little me, You took so much on that was not yours to carry. We can set it down now, whenever you are ready. Love, Me.” Photo credit unknown.

cw: inner child discussion, spirituality, religion

Last night’s Intersections talk (on Queer Cult) dipped into this a bit and I’d like to share my thoughts. We were discussing queer spiritualities: what it means to be queer and spiritual, how those identities intersect and dissect and influence, etc. Within this discussion, I described my spiritual journey that took place because I realigned to my queer identities. Coming out was the door I needed to have opened to find my humanity again, something my conservative Christian upbringing took from me.

On a Full Moon last Fall, I held a special ceremony for myself where I wrote a letter to my parents on one side of the page, and a letter to myself on the other. I lit a candle under a tree that was shrouded in moonlight and burned the letter. Letting go of the pain my parents caused me throughout my life was holding me back from accessing my inner child and healing that relationship; it was keeping me from living in the present as my full authentic self. As adults we have the responsibility to be our own parents, and that can be a rocky relationship if we don’t have anything to model it after.

I wept and wept under that tree, as a vision of me holding my younger self took over my mind once the burning was done. Finally I could see Little Me, confused and scared and hurt. I could see what she needed: she needed to be told she wasn’t wrong for being who she is, she wasn’t wrong for knowing she’s different and for knowing there is a better love and life waiting for her.

That night I got to witness just how neglected my inner child had been my whole life. I neglected her because I was scared of how mad she’d be at me. But because of the added neglect on my part, she made her anger known in ways that disrupted my life in really impactful ways. Impulsivity, selfish behavior, angry yelling, emotional meltdowns that could have been avoided, etc.—all of these and more because I didn’t want to look my inner child in the face…I couldn’t bear the shame of not taking care of her all this time either.

And part of me in the present was still mad at HER because I had the wrong perspective. Instead of loving her because she was an innocent child, I held grief over her (and me in the now at the time) for not being “normal”, for having specific needs, for “fucking up” over and over (because I didn’t have the tools to effectively communicate or self-regulate properly).

Because of what happened within that ceremony, after the added benefit and privilege of proper therapy, I’m now on my way to repairing the relationship I should have with my inner child, and because of this, I am feeling more wholly myself everyday. I’m finally ready to set down that pain, see my parents for who they are WHERE they are, and stop hurting myself trying to change them or make our relationship something it isn’t. I get to be my own parent and love my inner child so wholly that they get to be imaginative and feel nothing but freedom—freedom of shame, restriction, judgment; freedom to BE; freedom in knowing they are unequivocally enough, who always has and always will be. Coming back to my inner child is starting to mean coming back to the queerest version of myself; the most authentic version of who I am to my core—a free spirit, a ball of light made of love, courage, and a desire to make a difference.


It’s wild to see what growth looks like, and how nonlinear it really is. I’m grateful to be where I am now, even as I had to go through the rough stuff to get here. If you’re struggling, just know you’re not alone, and you are so so strong because you’ve already been through a lot and you’re still here reading this. My inbox is always open if you need someone to talk to: I offer peer support sessions on a sliding scale (and pro bono), just click here to schedule. 💜🌈💜

Hi friends! I know I haven’t written much lately, but at least it’s for a good reason—I’ve been super busy networking and getting things running! I’ve updated my events tab, but here’s a flyer for this week’s events. I hope to see you there!

Transcription:

This week at Queer Cult: Tuesday, Feb. 8th @ 5:30pm EST is Talks with the Neurodivergent Rebel! This will be on identity-first language, functioning labels, pathology, and grief.

Also on Tuesday, Feb. 8th @ 7:15pm EST is Intersections of the Naked Space. This will be on spirituality and the Magical Playground of the Inner Child. Both events on this Tuesday will be livestreamed to Facebook @thequeercult

On Saturday, Feb. 12th @ 1:30pm EST I have an interview with Aucademy, based in the UK. I will be sharing my autistic and queer self-discovery journey and its intersections of religion, relationships, and grief. This will be livestreamed to Facebook @aucademy.

Image description: two images are divided by a white border. On the left is an image of Jae at their high school graduation. They are wearing a floral, knee length dress with tank-top sleeps. A medal of honor hangs from their neck. They have shoulder length blonde hair, and they are smiling with a blue graduation cap atop their head. The image on the right is of Jae from this past year. They are wearing an opened black vest with no shirt underneath, black dress pants, and a black and silver medallion. Their hair is bleach blonde and cut so it’s shorter on top and shaved on the sides. They hold a smirk on their face and a mug in their right hand that reads: World’s Greatest Me.

cw: mentions su*c*de and abusive relationships

There’s a trend going around where people are posting a picture of themselves from 2012 next to a picture of themselves from this year, 2022. So, I thought it’d be a fun reflection if I did this challenge today, on my birthday.

On the left I see a child in a graduation cap. I see someone who doesn’t know who she is and is tired of faking happy all the time. Sure, I had moments when I was truly happy. But nothing seemed to fit right. Not my clothes, not my body, not my friends, not my education, not my family, nothing. In fact the only things that made sense were music, nature, and animals because I truly didn’t know myself. Things would make sense one moment, and then come crashing down the next. I often wanted to unalive myself, even though I was so excited to start a new adventure off in Michigan for college. But college brought more strife, and I couldn’t make sense of why nothing was easy. Not one thing. Everything took so much effort; I was sick all the time, people abandoned me or stabbed me in the back, work was hell, classes were hell. Again, not saying that there weren’t good moments. But overall I was a lost child in a big, scary world, without much healthy guidance, self-awareness, or boundaries. That girl there had convictions, yes, but was constantly fawning to appease those around her and making foolish decisions. She got stuck in abusive relationship after abusive relationship. She got wrapped up in who people were telling her to be, instead of unapologetically existing in her full authenticity and finding the people who empower her to do just that.

That girl on the left had a lot of self-discovery to do, and a lot of self-compassion to develop. And then 10 years passed us by.

When I look to the right, I see a human who confidently embraces all that they are. I see someone who sees the possibilities life has to offer and isn’t afraid to reach out and receive what the universe is bringing to them. I see someone who knows they are inherently the world’s greatest “them” because they are the only one who can be them. I see someone who values their unique voice, quirks and all, and values when others share theirs. I see someone who knows life is a journey of growth and constant evolution, where it’s okay to make mistakes so long as you stay accountable and choose to do better.

I am grateful for the challenges and hardships I’ve had to endure these past 10 years to get to where I am now. Without them, I wouldn’t be this compassionate for myself and others. I wouldn’t pursue my passions with the fervor that I have now. I wouldn’t be the fierce advocate that I am now. I wouldn’t have the most amazing queer, dance, disabled, kink, polyamorous, and neurodivergent communities that I have now. I wouldn’t be in the healthy, stable, life-giving relationships that I’m in now.

Finally, I know myself. I know that I am transmasc nonbinary, pansexual, polyamorous, autistic, an ADHDer, disabled, and spiritual without religion. Finally I know, accept, and love these things about myself. No, I treasure these things. And finally I know that it is no one’s right or in anyone’s power to take the knowledge of who I am from me, or cover it up with their own toxicity. These past 10 years have taught me that knowing and loving myself is just as important, if not more important, than gracefully receiving and reciprocating love from others.

So here’s to growth, love, and the inclusive, equitable, compassion-first future ahead of us. If the last decade was setting the stage, I am so ready to take to that stage now and play my part in creating this future dream. Thanks for being here for the show and playing your own part too. 💜🌈💜


To everyone who has believed in me and seen me through these last 10 years, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I truly would not be here in the form that I am now without your patience, compassion, and support. It really does take a village…


I am shamelessly posting my gofundme here for continued growth through community support. Thank you 💜

Featured image says: Disability isn’t a bad word. Credit to neurowonderful.

This barely scratches the surface of what I experience because of this disease, but here’s a taste:

This is my life with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, with chronic illness. Bad things happen out of the blue, and I just have to carry on with the pain. But sometimes it’s physically impossible to do so, like it was last night.

I’m up today, committed to doing work so that I may one day be self-sufficient and financially independent, but being confronted with things like last night make it hard to believe that independent life is even possible. I’m on day three of limited mobility and excruciating pain that won’t be touched by western medicine.

I take my pills dutifully, and they do help day to day. But not for days like these. I’ve taught myself to cope without crying, because crying always makes it worse. Sometimes I can’t hold it in though, and while that release is important, it always has bad physically ramifications. I’ve tried everything I can think of: heat, ice, rest, stretching, over the counter meds, prescribed meds. Nothing touches this pain, this restriction. It literally feels like my lungs are being held prisoner in my own body. I can’t move certain ways or a sharp pain will stab me like a knife. I just want it to stop.

You’re not even seeing the full extent of pain I’m in because even in this video I am masking it. The pain I’m in day to day, and then in these kinds of moments, is genuinely unbelievable if you haven’t experienced it yourself. But I’m asking you to suspend your reality a moment and believe that what myself and many other disabled folk go through, is real. I have 20+ years of conditioning to maintain basic functioning, which you see in this video. It took 20+ years to learn to not cry, to not shout in rage, to honor my body through living with the pain.

Somedays I am capable of exercising, working all day, and engaging in social activities. Some days I can do those things but with limited engagement. And then others I literally cannot do anything. I’ll need help getting from bed to the bathroom. I can’t wash a dirty dish. I can’t even use my phone or laptop because my upper body is too fatigued and in pain. And then some days it feels like I literally can’t breathe.

I am always *me* in any of these circumstances. If you can believe that I am happy and doing well when you see me as such, why does that belief end as soon as I show you what’s underneath?

– my thoughts on being gaslit by friends, family, and medical professionals

Living like this is exhausting. I’ve made so much progress since getting diagnosed correctly last year. In fact, I’ve made so much progress that sometimes I feel like a normal human who can do normal things. And then days like these last three slap me in the face and remind me that I am in fact not normal. The back and forth gives me horrible mental whiplash.

My disease isn’t who I am, no. But it does limit the “who” when it comes to what I physically can and cannot do a lot of the time. It’s a lot of mental gymnastics to get me feeling like I can accomplish anything, but I rebound each time because I know I have a lot to offer this world.

All this being said, disability is not a bad word. I am disabled, and that brings new perspective and compassion for others. So please, when you’re out there in the world judging people by what they can and cannot do, consider that those people are going through things you can’t even imagine and have some compassion (this isn’t just for the disabled either). Consider circumstances before you judge, and even in your judgment, hold some compassion. If you’re an employer, see how you can make your working environment more accommodating. Same for educators, public officers, medical professionals–anyone with power to make a difference. How can we make our society beneficial for all? TALK with the people affected! See their needs and meet them where they are. BELIEVE their lived experience. No more gaslighting!

And if you struggle with “invisible” or “silent” illness, I see you. I love you. You are not alone.

To start the new year off strong, I have some offerings I’d like you to know about!

I am SO excited for this brave space. I don’t know about you, but I often have things I’m grieving over (in bad and good ways) because I’m multiply queer. This is not group therapy, but it will be a place for all of us to come as we are, lay down what we’ve been carrying, and find solace in each other so that we may be empowered to have a better tomorrow. Click here to join. This is a *free* event, with suggested donation. I hope to see you there!

My second offering comes in the form of a panel series:

You guessed it, it’s a panel series on polyamory! From the event page:

Welcome to Queer Cult’s Polyamory Panel Series with Jaesic and Andrew: Polyamory 201!
This class was created to inspire conversation about lived experience with polyamory, so that we may feel seen, heard, and valid–so that we may grow together. There are a lot of polyamory discussion/support groups and classes out there, but not many (if any) go beyond Polyam 101. Well, no longer! Our meetings will explore topics that people in the lifestyle come across, both in celebrations and in hesitations. The topics will include:

  • Polyam Basics (to get everyone on the same page, in case beginners do want to attend)
  • When to break up
  • Cohabitation
  • Shame & Trauma
  • Disability and Polyamory
  • Politics and Polyamory

This series will feature panelists of the polyam/non-monogamous community, with a meeting every 3rd Monday for 6 months. If a topic arises during the series that needs further exploration, we may continue the series into 7 months, so stay tuned!
This series is free to the public, though a suggested donation of $5-25 per class is welcomed. Please venmo @thequeercult, or paypal queercultcoaching@gmail.com, or cashapp $justjaesic.

This is for beginners and experienced alike, though the conversation will be geared towards those with more experience in living the lifestyle after our first session. Questions will be answered for ~30 minutes after each panel. If more time is needed, or there are questions that are more sensitive, Jaesic is available for peer support sessions, which you can schedule here!

Our next meeting will be January 20th at 7PM EST. Looking forward to being in community with you! 💜🌈💜


If you missed the first session, or can’t make a future one, stay tuned for a post to Queer Cult’s YouTube channel, soon to be published. There we’ll have replays and interviews for you to enjoy!

Hi friends! Happy New Year!

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written anything. When I first started building this platform, I threw so much energy into that I ended up burning myself out. These things happen, especially amid the neurodivergent community. What’s really cool about this, however, is that I’m finally starting to recognize my cycles for what they are. And now that there’s an observational gap to see the truth of it all, I can start working towards mediating those cycles so that I’m consistent in my work and joy.

Consistency is key! I can’t tell you how many teachers in my lifetime have written on report cards or semester reviews that I’m a wonderful student who’s eager to learn, but would do better with more consistency. That shit is deflating as hell, even just in remembrance, and I get my fair share of it here at home as I live with my mom again (that’s another post of its own).

All this to say: I’ve always wanted to do better. But setting my sight on “doing better” has never worked for me in the past. It shouldn’t have to be about “doing”. Colonialism and capitalism have really worked their magic to convince us all that we’re only worth what we can produce. Humans are meant to create, yes, but monetizing that creation has put a pressure on us that causes self-loathing, depression, anxiety, and dysfunctional relationships. What happened to just BEING?

My life coach training has really opened my eyes to the fact that we are more than our thoughts, feelings, fears, and circumstances. Yes, all of those things are real, and valid, and affect our day to day. But we are not those things; we are the witnesses to those things.

Example: an unpleasant feeling pops up: jealousy. We are not the jealousy itself, because we have a choice in what to do in response to that jealousy. When we access our higher selves, that self allows us to take a healthy action because we’ve observed that feeling.

So in light of all that, I’m wanting to express that I’m finally figuring out how to access my higher self more consistently (believe it or not lol), and not let capitalism determine my worth. As a disabled person, this new mindset is vital to my survival and future thriving. I get to show up as who I AM—compassion, creativity, courage, joy, light—to the circumstances before me, including my own neurology/physiology.

And here’s where the title of this post comes into play: I am so excited for the new year. I have new energy, new connections, other connections are deepened and strengthened, and I have a clearer vision of what I want to contribute to the world. I’m starting a new chapter, one where I put my BEING first and let the rest fall into place.

So this is my promise to you, and to myself: I am going to stay committed to loving myself enough to stay dedicated to my purpose here. It may not look like the typical production of a blog. I may be more sporadic than I’d like, I won’t be doing many “trends”, and I may post content that isn’t always writing. But I’ll always come back here to share my story and to support and build community.

Thanks for still being here. I look forward to being in community with you in this new year.

Much love,
Jaesic

Image description: a book is laid out so that the pages are fanned out, with two pages folding into each other in the middle to form the shape of a heart.

Hey friends, I’m so excited to bring you this collaborative list of non-fiction books by LGBTQIA+ community members. It’s easier now to find works of literature that center queer narratives, by queer authors, but not as easy as it should be. That’s why Artie and I have teamed up to bring you a fresh list of fantastic queer content! I am especially thrilled to have so many works in this list that center non-binary identities. Here’s to hoping you’ll find something to relate to or learn from, or both! And be sure to visit ArtieCarden’s site for the rest of the list and their other content! (Thanks again Artie for reaching out to me to make this collab happen!) Alrighty, here we go:

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker: “Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged. Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media. Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.”

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham: “Today, the options and freedoms on offer to LGBTQ+ people living in the West are greater than ever before. But is same-sex marriage, improved media visibility and corporate endorsement all it’s cracked up to be? At what cost does this acceptance come? And who is getting left behind, particularly in parts of the world where LGBTQ+ rights aren’t so advanced? Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.”

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt: “The youngest-ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his personal history in a brilliant new essay collection seeking to reconcile the world he was born into with the world that could be. Drawing on intimate personal experience, A History of My Brief Body is a meditation on grief, joy, love, and sex at the intersection of indigeneity and queerness. Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. Piece by piece, Billy-Ray’s writings invite us to unpack and explore the big and broken world he inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.”

I have to mention that this collection of essays has gutted me and hit me at my core in so many glorious ways. Such a profound read, I can’t recommend it enough. There are many poignant and punctuating one-liners too—savor them! Just be sure to be prepared for intense emotions when you start digging into it.

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life As a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale: “In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in.”

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl and Fox Fisher: “Frank, friendly and funny, Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave transgender and non-binary teens informed, empowered and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen. Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it’s like to go through cross hormonal therapy or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Fox and Owl have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know. With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.” 

Life Isn’t Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Alex Iantaffi: “Much of society’s thinking operates in a highly rigid and binary manner; something is good or bad, right or wrong, a success or a failure, and so on. Challenging this limited way of thinking, this ground-breaking book looks at how non-binary methods of thought can be applied to all aspects of life, and offer new and greater ways of understanding ourselves and how we relate to others.Using bisexual and non-binary gender experiences as a starting point, this book addresses the key issues with binary thinking regarding our relationships, bodies, emotions, wellbeing and our sense of identity and sets out a range of practices which may help us to think in more non-binary, both/and, or uncertain ways.A truly original and insightful piece, this guide encourages reflection on how we view and understand the world we live in and how we all bend, blur or break society’s binary codes.”

Nonbinary Lives – An Anthology of Intersectional Identities by Jos Twist: “What does it mean to be non-binary in the 21st Century? Our gender identity is impacted by our personal histories; the cultures, communities and countries we are born into; and the places we go and the people we meet. But the representation of contemporary non-binary identities has been limited, until now.Pushing the narrative around non-binary identities further than ever before, this powerful collection of essays represents the breadth of non-binary lives, across the boundaries of race, class, age, sexuality, faith and more.Leading non-binary people share stories of their intersecting lives; how it feels to be non-binary and neurodiverse, the challenges of being a non-binary pregnant person, what it means to be non-binary within the Quaker community, the joy of reaching gender euphoria.This thought-provoking anthology shows that there is no right or wrong way to be non-binary.”

Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love by Mia Violet: “This is the deeply personal and witty account of growing up as the kid who never fitted in. Transgender blogger Mia Violet reflects on her life and how at 26 she came to finally realise she was ‘trans enough’ to be transgender, after years of knowing she was different but without the language to understand why. From bullying, heartache and a botched coming out attempt, through to counselling, Gender Identity Clinics and acceptance, Mia confronts the ins and outs of transitioning, using her charged personal narrative to explore the most pressing questions in the transgender debate and confront what the media has gotten wrong. An essential read for anyone who has had to fight to be themselves.” 

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe: “In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”

Transgressive: A Trans Woman on Gender, Feminism, and Politics by Rachel Anne Williams: “How do I know I am trans? Is trans feminism real feminism? What is there to say about trans women’s male privilege? This collection of insightful, pithy and passionately argued think pieces from a trans-feminist perspective explores issues surrounding gender, feminism and philosophy and challenges misconceptions about trans identities. The book confronts contentious debates in gender studies to alleviate ongoing tension between feminism and trans women. Split into six sections, this collection covers wider issues, as well as autobiographical experiences, designed to stimulate the reader and encourage them to actively participate.”

Trans Voices: Becoming Who You Are by Declan Henry: “Imagine what it must be like to feel you are a woman ‘trapped’ in a man’s body. Or a man ‘trapped’ in a woman’s body. And what happens if you decide to reject your birth gender and become a trans man or a trans woman? Drawing on over one hundred interviews with individuals, this book is a compilation of the voices of those who have decided to undergo transition – both male-to-female and female-to-male. The book details the diverse experiences and challenges faced by those who transition, exploring a range of topics such as hormone treatments; reassignment surgeries; coming out; sex and sexuality; physical, emotional and mental health; transphobia; discrimination; and hate crime, as well as highlighting the lives of non-binary individuals and those who cross-dress to form a wider understanding of the varied ways in which people experience gender. This powerful book is an ideal introduction to those keen to understand more about contemporary trans issues as well as those questioning their own gender identity.”

Transition Denied: Confronting the Crisis in Trans Healthcare by Jane Fae: “Trans people in the UK currently face widespread prejudice and discrimination, from how they are described in the media to the lack of healthcare support they receive. This institutional bias is illustrated by the tragic case of Synestra de Courcy, who died following neglect and rejection from the NHS, leading her to sex work to fund her transition and dangerous self-medication. Charting Syn’s life from childhood through to her untimely death aged just 23, Jane Fae exposes the gross institutional and societal discrimination trans people experience on a daily basis and its impact on the lives of trans people young and old. Promoting honest discussion and bringing these hidden issues into the light of day, this book is a must read for anyone interested in trans rights, and NHS accountability.”

Trans Power: Own Your Gender by Juno Roche: “‘All those layers of expectation that are thrust upon us; boy, masculine, femme, transgender, sexual, woman, real, are such a weight to carry round. I feel transgressive. I feel hybrid. I feel trans.’ In this radical and emotionally raw book, Juno Roche pushes the boundaries of trans representation by redefining “trans” as an identity with its own power and strength, that goes beyond the gender binary. Through intimate conversations with leading and influential figures in the trans community, such as Kate Bornstein, Travis Alabanza, Josephine Jones, Glamrou and E-J Scott, this book highlights the diversity of trans identities and experiences with regard to love, bodies, sex, race and class, and urges trans people – and the world at large – to embrace a “trans” identity as something that offers empowerment and autonomy. Powerfully written, and with humour and advice throughout, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of gender and how we identify ourselves.”

Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum by Eva A. Mendes: “Bringing together a collection of narratives from those who are on the autism spectrum whilst also identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and/or asexual (LGBTQIA), this book explores the intersection of the two spectrums as well as the diverse experiences that come with it. By providing knowledge and advice based on in-depth research and personal accounts, the narratives will be immensely valuable to teenagers, adults, partners and families. The authors round these stories with a discussion of themes across narratives, and implications for the issues discussed. In the final chapter, the authors reflect on commonly asked questions from a clinical perspective, bringing in relevant research, as well as sharing best-practice tips and considerations that may be helpful for LGBTQIA and ASD teenagers and adults. These may also be used by family members and clinicians when counselling teenagers and adults on the dual spectrum. With each chapter structured around LGBTQIA and autism spectrum identities, Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism highlights the fluidity of gender identity, sexual orientation and neurodiversity and provides a space for people to share their individual experiences.”

I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities by Audre Lorde: “The internationally acclaimed author challenges homophobia as a divisive force, particularly among Black women.”

A reviewer writes: “Originally published in 1985, I Am Your Sister is a short yet insightful essay regarding the homophobia and heterosexism in Black communities and how it is used as a silencing tool to divide and further oppress Black women. This is a critical read for all feminists, anti-racists, and/or LGBTQIA advocates.”

You can read this pamphlet for free within the text I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde here. Instead of purchasing, consider donating to The Audre Lorde Project!

Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in their Own Words by Maxfield Sparrow: “Written by autistic trans people from around the world, this vital and intimate collection of personal essays reveals the struggles and joys of living at the intersection of neurodivergence and gender diversity. Weaving memories, poems and first-person narratives together, these stories showcase experiences of coming out, college and university life, accessing healthcare, physical transition, friendships and relationships, sexuality, pregnancy, parenting, and late life self-discovery, to reveal a rich and varied tapestry of life lived on the spectrums.”

Thanks for taking a look at these great publications! Again, be sure to visit ArtieCarden’s site for the rest of the list!

Disclaimer: “on the spectrum” is generally very disliked in the autistic community, though not everyone abides by that consensus. Identity-first language is preferred, i.e. “autistic person” not “person with autism” or “they’re on the spectrum”.

Featured image description: A comic of a cartoon brain with eyes and a mouth fills the top left box. The context is Childhood. The brain says, “Why do you keep wishing you were a boy?” To the right of the brain box is a box of a person lying in bed with their eyes closed, saying, “It’s probably just crushes. I can’t be a boy.” The bottom left box has the context of the year 2021, and the brain says, “You can be a boy.” Next to this box is the last box in the comment, with the same person lying bed, their eyes wide open in a panic. The room is dark, so their eyes really stand out.

A dear friend of mine recently sent me an incredible article, full of stories about queer kids who had the opportunity to fully embrace themselves at Camp I Am (closed in 2018). I only made it past a couple of the kids’ stories before I found myself sobbing.

Why am I crying? Am I not ecstatic for these children?

It wasn’t a question of if I was happy or not for these kids. Instead, my body was recognizing my grief before my brain could figure out what was happening.

While my parents did what they thought best, and I was provided for, my upbringing wasn’t entirely supportive. That is to say, I was supported, but my parents only supported their ideal version of what they wanted me to be, and not who I actually was. In fact a lot of the time I was punished for who I was/wanted to be. After reading about how these young queer people had the opportunity to experience a piece of the world free of the bullshit—sexism, homophobia, transphobia—and had the resources to build a healthy support network to explore themselves within…something just broke down within me.

. . .I’d probably be a fully transitioned “boy” today.

While allowing children to take hormone blockers (and then hormones after puberty) as gender-affirming healthcare is relatively, to my knowledge, a newer practice (and thank the gods at all!), part of me wonders what life would have been like had I had the supportive environment I needed growing up. If external culture and internal familial life had been aligned with less judgment, more understanding, and more dismantling of the patriarchal structures society perpetuates, I’d probably be a fully transitioned “boy” today (hormone therapy, and top surgery if needed).

Socially speaking, I wanted to be a boy. Growing up I hated dolls, skirts and tights, and socializing the ways little girls do. Everyone was so cliquey, and most of them often didn’t want to play sports, get dirty playing in the woods, or include me in general (I was a weird, awkward kid). My peers always found ways to let me know that I was an outsider and did not belong. I always got along better with the boys and loved what the boys got to do, but once gendering really set it, I wasn’t always welcomed with them either.

I never cared about physicality until puberty hit. By then, I was deeply conditioned to accept that I was a girl—any attention I got from the boys was good attention, even though it felt wrong. It felt wrong because I was taught any of that was sinful, but at the same time, there was always something more that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

Another friend just today relayed the idea (from a repost on Hank Green’s TikTok) that gender is like a non-Newtonian fluid. What is a non-Newtonian fluid, you ask?

A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid that does not follow Newton’s law of viscosity, i.e., constant viscosity independent of stress. In non-Newtonian fluids, viscosity can change when under force to either more liquid or more solid. Ketchup, for example, becomes runnier when shaken and is thus a non-Newtonian fluid.

– Wikipedia

I guess my gender is ketchup now 😂 [laugh-cry emoji].

But in all seriousness, as a child and into adulthood, I adopted “womanhood” because I was told that was my only option based on my physical sex. There was (and is) all this pressure to conform to the binary and not question why. But even as a kid I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t see its validity, as all humans are capable of so many things, men and women alike. And come to find in my late twenties, there are more options outside of (and within) the binary! Everything started to make sense once that knowledge was attained. I am a non-Newtonian liquid. Once I relieved myself of the pressure (brainwashing) of the binary, I came back to my fluid self.

Now that I understand myself to be autigender nonbinary, I can say with certainty that if I must be a human, having a penis and no breasts would suit me better than having what I was born with. I have a deep desire to look like a cis man, meaning I technically desire to be on testosterone. But there’s no chance of me seeking hormone therapy because I cannot risk losing my vocal range and tone quality. I’ve waited all my life to have the singing voice I have now, and I’m too scared of taking T because it’s almost guaranteed to change my voice. I’m also too scared of getting surgery because what if I don’t actually like the change? It’s taken me a long time to get accustomed to the sensitivity of the bits I’ve got. I don’t want to lose that now, even if I don’t like having the bits themselves. Honestly I wish I could just be bitless. No genitals or secondary sex characteristics. Just a plain human body, full of nothing but ambition and love. But all that being said, even with a “transitioned” body, I would still identify as nonbinary. I have no desire to actually be a man.

So to answer the question the title purposes, no, I am not a boy. And generally speaking I don’t have the desire to be a boy, though I do sometimes prefer the “masculine” pronouns he/him. Had things been different growing up—where people would have understood there are more than 2 genders and gender-affirming healthcare is appropriate—I’d probably have no breasts, a deeper voice, and more regular use of he/him pronouns, but I still wouldn’t be a boy. If anything I’d be a *nonbinary* boy.

In this timeline though? I’ll settle for the knowledge that I am perfectly valid the way I am, and will continue practicing self-compassion and acceptance for the things I cannot change. Oh, and get some new ink. That helps.


…Care to help with my dysphoria? Add to my “new ink” fund —> @thequeercult on Venmo and queercultcoaching@gmail.com on PayPal. Many thanks and much love 💜