Welcome Aboard!

If this is the first time you’ve flown Trans Substantiation, there are a couple things you might need to know: First of all, this is an inclusive space. While this blog is run by a trans woman, by no means is it limited to only AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth) trans people and their perspectives. I hope that all people—whether part of the LGBTQ+ community or not—find something of interest here. Obviously, this blog’s focus is on trans issues, so if you’re wanting to research your fantasy football lineup, this is probably not the place for that. However, there is no barrier to entry into […]


Things That Understandably Call My Gender Into Question 2

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to come to understand those who oppose trans rights. You could call it “know thy enemy” if you wanted to get weirdly militaristic, but I’ve been trying to approach the issue with empathy. You know, trying to see the world from their perspective in hopes that it might engender in me some sense of understanding and compassion. As part of this, I decided to make a list of all the things that might understandably call my gender into question. By this I mean things that, once pointed out, simply “make sense” […]


The LGBTQIA+ Community—Or Lack Thereof 1

Featured image by mathiaswasik from New York City, USA (LGBT Solidarity Rally) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons A lot of people refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people (and occasionally queer, intersex, asexual and other people) as a “community.” There is a lot of utility in referring to these groups as a whole. We have a lot in common, and we have all been engaged—to varying degrees—in a sort of collective bargaining for our right to exist in the world. The prejudice, discrimination, and hate directed at us by various narrow minded individuals and groups has made us […]

Image of LGBT rally by mathiaswasik from New York City, USA.

How am I not myself?

There are a number of times in our lives where we are prompted (or forced) to evaluate where we are at in our lives, determine how we feel about where we are, and decide what to do next. Such prompts can be as small as breaking up with your first love after two tumultuous weeks of dating, and as large as the death of a loved one. Depending on the enormity of the prompt, we might even find ourselves evaluating who we are as individuals, and how we see the world. Over the last two years I’ve had a number […]


Trans Self-Love Is A Revolutionary Act 1

  “Even if your love was unconditional It still wouldn’t be enough to save me” -Laura Jane Grace, “Unconditional Love” Being trans, and loving yourself—not just in spite of the fact you are trans, but in part because you are trans—is a revolutionary act. It is an act of celebration. It is an act of rebellion. It is, in effect, a giant, bold, and defiant middle finger held up to a society that continually paints trans people in a negative light. Ultimately, this sort of self-love is the most powerful response a trans person can have to all the negative […]


I Was A Bearded Lady – I Just Didn’t Know It Yet 4

Society is used to trans women saying that we knew we were girls from a young age. It’s part of the traditional narrative around trans women that includes the “woman trapped in a man’s body” trope. This idea of knowing you were a girl from a young age accurately describes the feelings of many trans women. However, it doesn’t describe the feelings of every trans woman. We all have a unique way of framing and explaining our feelings—both to ourselves and to others. Unfortunately, an informal hierarchy has popped up around these different ways of talking about our experiences (among […]


Richard Simmons Suing Over False Transition Claims Isn’t Transphobic

I’m going to interrupt my usual navel gazing for a second to address something that has become something of a talking point in the last few days. Richard Simmons is suing the National Enquirer for libel. Simmons is most certainly not the first person to ever sue the Enquirer over their “reporting” choices. The Enquirer thrives on “scandalous” and “salacious” news. It relies on these things in order to get people to pick up their tabloid and buy it. Accurate, objective reporting isn’t all that profitable, and the Enquirer is more than willing to push against the general mores of […]


My Body Was a Cage

Before transition, there is no point at which I can say that I felt truly at home in my body. Accordingly, it isn’t possible for me to accurately represent my own experience of gender without talking about my body. And yet, I often find myself minimizing or leaving my thoughts and feelings about my body out of my discussions regarding gender. I want to fix this. I’ve said before that I knew—with the naive certainty only available to young children and Donald Trump—that I wanted to be a girl by age four.¹ Even then, I knew that there were boys, […]


Gender Is Over! If You Want It—Or Maybe Not

The title of this post is a riff on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas from John & Yoko” campaign from December 1969. My attempt in referencing this is to cast a light on a not insignificant trend in current discussions of gender. Namely, that some people think we ought to work toward a “post-gender world” in the same way peace activists think we ought to work toward a “post-war world.” These individuals believe that gender is harmful, and that it’s possible to move past it—if only we would choose to […]


Go Ahead, Make My Gender

The phrase “gender is a social construct” has become more and more popular in recent years. The increased prevalence of this phrase in conversations about gender can be seen as an outgrowth of society’s evolving views on gender. Over the last decade in particular, there has been an increase in the acceptance of feminine men and masculine women in society at large, and society has become more permissive of gender nonconformity (including trans and nonbinary people). While gender still stands ironclad and unassailable for many people, others have started to see where old ideas about gender have corroded and holes […]


Another Retrospective Perspective – Pt. I 1

When Galen first came out to our friends and family this past summer/fall, I had a lot of people asking, “How has this been for you?” My answer was usually something along the lines of “Good! There have definitely been ups and downs, but we’re happier now than ever before.” In line with Galen’s “Retrospective Perspective Pt. I,” I’d like to attempt to provide a bit more context for that answer in order to capture more detail around what it was like for me in the early months of Galen’s transition. Like “Retrospective Perspective Pt. I,” I’ll cover late December […]