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 […]


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 […]


Ecce Femina: How One Becomes What One Is

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of middle school students—many of whom had me as a teacher before I left teaching in order to go full-time—about my being trans, and trans issues more generally. The group was comprised of members of my former school’s new Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). They had prepared questions for me ahead of time, and I spent about 45 minutes answering those questions. One question that has stuck with me was, “What was it like when you first became a woman?” This question was entirely innocent, and came from a place of support, […]


Retrospective Perspective Pt. I

Now that this blog is officially a year old, I’d like to revisit what I said I’d do in my first post. In “Taking the Why and Turning It Into Something Substantial” I said I had five goals for this blog: To help me process my own thoughts related to the fact I am trans. To help manage the stress and anxiety of various transition steps. To capture an honest, unfiltered and deeply personal account of gender transition—journal-style. To serve as a resource for people who know me and have questions about my being transgender. To serve as a resource […]


The Cis Gaze

I’d like to talk a bit about how my transition has changed the way I’ve been perceived by others, and how I present myself to others etc. However, in order for others—particularly cis people—to understand some of those changes in context it seems necessary to have some additional background. So, I’m going to hold off on talking too much about my transition until next time. Instead, I’m going to go over a couple different concepts related to how society perceives women and trans people in order to lay the groundwork for a discussion of the changes I’ve experienced as a […]


I Know Very Well How I Got My Name

A child in a curious phase A man with sullen ways Oh, I know very well how I got my name —Morrissey, “I Know Very Well How I Got My Name” With the advent of my being “fully out on the internet” (see “Signing On”), I can finally talk about a thing I couldn’t before: my name. My name is Galen. My name has been Galen since I was born, and it will be Galen until the day I die. My transition, while it has changed a number of things (all for the better), hasn’t changed this fact. I suspect […]