G. L. Balend

The lack of masculine transgender representation in media

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Photo by Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

Whenever the debate around transgender rights occurs, transgender men are often left out of the debate or are barely an afterthought. This is because many people don’t realize transgender men exist. I blame this on the lack of representation of transgender men in media.

How is the current representation of transmasculine people lacking?

Looking across the various forms of media, when there is any transgender representation at all, the character is often a transgender woman. Until recent years, transgender women were portrayed by either a cisgender woman, or a cisgender man in drag. …


The complicated story behind my deceptively simple name change

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Photo of the writer, G. L. Balend

In early 2020, I began the process to have my name changed legally. Again.

This is a common rite of passage for most transgender people, as we come to terms with our identities and seek to find a name that better suits us as we begin our transition journey. However, I have changed my name legally twice before, and neither of those changes were for gender related reasons.

Childhood confusion

To begin with, my deadname was Gigi. However, this was never my legal name. It was a nickname my mother and grandmother called me. It was the name of their favorite movie, and somehow, they thought it suited me. Why my mother never legally named me that, I don’t know. …


Dealing with writer burnout and what’s next

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Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

No one can deny that 2020 was a remarkable year. Not remarkably good, mind you. Simply remarkable. Between the pandemic, the US presidential election, the tragedy of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths (among many others), the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the massive wildfires in Australia and the western United States, it feels like it’s been a decade since January.

Did reading that leave you breathless? That’s about how this year has felt. Every time we thought nothing else could happen, something else did. That list is merely the tip of the iceberg of what this year had in store for us, but I don’t plan to chronicle this entire year. …


My transition journey as a middle-aged transgender man

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Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

You can’t look up information on transgender people these days without coming across stories from those who have detransitioned. These are people who at one time identified as transgender, began their medical transition, and for a variety of reasons decided to stop moving forward with their transition.

At first, I came out as genderqueer in 2017 at the age of forty-five, which is when I began my transition journey. I started by socially transitioning and going to therapy. I cut my hair, changed how I dressed, and began wearing a binder. …


Prejudice against marginalized groups is not a point-of-view

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

This year has shown us the deep divide between people that we still need to overcome. Racism is still rampant and rearing its ugly head all over the world, especially in the United States. Misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia are equally on display.

Too often I’ve had people tell me I should look past others’ difference of opinion and not call people out on their bigotry. They expect me to continue to associate with people who either are or openly support prejudiced bigots because of some other merits they might possess.

Human rights are not open for debate

Opinions are for whether pineapples go on pizza. (In my opinion, pineapple absolutely belongs on pizza). In all seriousness, opinions are for debating diverse topics, from literature to economic policy. …


Avoid these common mistakes

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Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

It is always uplifting to see allies stand up and defend transgender people, both online and off. While I know they mean well, many make these common mistakes. Here are some tips to help you better support the transgender community.

Don’t dread offending us

Yes, there may be times you say or ask something that may offend a transgender person. However, it impedes communication if you flinch anytime you want to ask a transgender person anything. Most of us are reasonable people and as long as what you’re asking isn’t offensive in polite company, then go ahead and ask.

I know many transgender people don’t want to be seen as encyclopedias, but I also know that a lot of information about transgender people online is confusing or downright conflicting. Sometimes the best way to clear up something is to ask us. …


Coming to this realization isn’t a simple decision

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Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Recently I had an unfortunate altercation with a distant family member. She had kept her silence regarding my transition until some drama bubbled to the surface regarding another hot button topic. That’s when she revealed her genuine feelings and accused me of being unable to decide which gender I am.

The fact I am a transgender man is neither a decision nor a choice I made. It’s something I have always been, even if I could not articulate it until recently. …


Navigating the world as a transgender man

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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

I’m now perceived as male most of the time, both online and in public. Because of this, I have come to realize that I can no longer interact with others in the same way I used to. I’ve had to pause when responding to people and weigh my words, especially if I’m in a position where I either don’t want or shouldn’t out myself.

Geeking out on pop-culture

This may seem trivial, but when people discuss their crushes, especially celebrities, I never had to give a second thought about admitting mine. …


A Transgender Man’s Perspective

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I will be honest and say that Joe Biden was not my first choice when it came to a candidate for President of the United States. My personal pick was Pete Buttigieg, not because he’s a fellow member of the LGBTQ community, but because of his youthful zeal paired with a moderate approach to government. I’ve always been a moderate independent voter and Mayor Pete’s stance on several issues appealed to me.

However, Pete Buttigieg did not win the nomination, and I will be voting for Joe Biden this coming November. This is not the year for voting for a third-party candidate, as I have done many times in the past. My rights are slowly being trampled on and stripped away as a transgender person, and I fear what another four years under the Trump administration might bring. …


Debunking the Transmedicalist Rhetoric

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Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

There is a section of the transgender population who refer to themselves as transmedicalists. They insist that anyone who does not suffer from gender dysphoria and/or does not plan to transition medically cannot claim to be transgender.

As a transgender person who has not suffered from gender dysphoria, I wanted to write about my personal experience and observations. This debate really boils down to an issue of semantics and shows that there is a need to reevaluate some of the labels we’re using within the trans community.

What is gender dysphoria?

The definitions for gender dysphoria vary wildly. …

About

G. L. Balend

Transgender writer and author. Posting weekly on a variety of LGBTQ and health related topics. http://glbalend.com/

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