Trans male: A tale of femininity.

If you have ever seen any of my previous work, you’ll know I have talked about gender stereotypes and femininity before (in fact its almost all I talked about in my work last year). if you’re new here, feel free to familiarise yourself with my work on gender after reading this- its all very important to me.

I am a male. This is not how I was labelled at birth, so I am a trans man. I am on hormones, I have a lil ‘tache, I have had top surgery that masculinised my chest and intend on getting a hysterectomy in the future, when the time is right. However, my gender identity and gender expression, don’t quite “align” in societies “norms” and this has had me thinking quite a bit about whether the way I restrict myself to fit categories is just a principal of safety or trying to please gatekeepers and strictly binary people.

*note: through this I will be referring to things as “masculine” and “feminine”- this is to societies standards, I don’t believe clothes/make up/etc is gendered*

First I want to talk about toxic masculinity, something that plagues cis men and often stops them sharing emotions, crying, generally being a nice human. It also prevents them from stepping foot in the womens clothes department because oh god I’m going to be seen looking at flowery blouses. What an utterly diabolical thought. It also prevents men having their make up done, even just for a bit of fun. Note to cishet men: wearing make up doesn’t make you *gulp* gay. Hint: You’re gay if you got the hots for men. Now, I understand this is personal preference, I’m not saying ALL men should wear make up and dresses and feel comfortable, that’s not how this works, however, men who do, shouldn’t fear being called f*ggot, fear being harassed or fear being assaulted. That is where toxic masculinity comes into play. Just leave people to be as feminine as they please and basically don’t be an asshole just because your version of masculinity doesn’t allow for people to express themselves and feel pretty.

I’m not using this piece of writing to rip into cis men (although I definitely could, sorry).

Trans men are just as bad for gatekeeping and enforcing toxic masculinity. I’m not going to mention any of the “public figure” trans men who contribute to this as they try their absolute hardest to please terfs- lets just say they’re predominantly white and do not deserve any of their audiences. However, these are the kind of people who invalidate gnc (gender nonconforming) identities, call people “trenders” for not wanting every surgery going or acting in any way feminine when they’re “supposed to be a man”. Toxic masculinity.

I played my own part in toxic masculinity too, I didn’t invalidate others, but I definitely invalidated myself. I’ve always advocated for people to live how they wanna live, present themselves how they wanna present themselves, but somehow always managed to invalidate my own expression. This was especially true when I hadn’t started hormones and when I was on hormones but didn’t “pass”- terrible terminology, sorry! I was trying so hard to hyper-masculinise myself, so that I didn’t get misgendered that I pushed down any desire to wear women’s clothing, that honestly you wouldn’t have even guessed was from the womens department, but god forbid I wore womens trousers. I knew where it was from and this meant I wasn’t man enough. I know retrospectively realise that this wasn’t the case and I should have just wore what I wanted because in reality who gives a damn. I fully understand why I was like this, it was because the thought of being called “she” because I was wearing eyeliner would ruin me and crippling dysphoria would kick my ass and to be honest I got misgender enough without being openly feminine. Even now, when I pass 90% of the time, I don’t think I can leave the house wearing make up or a dress without being misgendered, but one day, maybe. For now, I’m like a teenage boy experimenting with femininity in front of the mirror, but keeping it a secret from the outside world in fear or judgement (or dysphoria).

One of my biggest issues with this whole masculine, feminine deal is; how come its generally ok for cis men to wear make up and dresses, but the second a trans man does, he is “detransitioning”. What kind of crappy double standards is that? How is it “yaaas qween” when cis male mua’s flaunt their looks, but a trans man gets maliciously misgendered. How is it “men in crop tops *heart eyes*” but only if they’re cis, skinny and white. All men should be able to express themselves without judgement. What makes it even worse is when the transmed lobby is screaming trender and making people who enjoy traditionally feminine things feel as though they’re not man enough.

So a reminder to my trans male siblings, you do you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing being trans wrong. If you feel male, you’re male. Don’t let societies toxic masculinity stop you from expressing yourself how you want.


I hope this wasn’t too rambly- to put everything in short, do what makes you happy and stop feeding into toxic masculinity, its a very unattractive look on anyone.



Trans awareness week: Being aware vs being a good ally.

What is the difference between being aware of trans people and being a good ally? Surely awareness is enough, right? Wrong. Theres a huge difference between just doing bare minimum and knowing that trans people exist and supporting trans people to the best of your ability.

It is one thing to say “yeah trans people exist” and another to say that trans people exist as well as understanding that gender is a spectrum and accepting all trans people, regardless of if they’re binary or not. A good way to be aware is by taking time to learn about trans issues. Not only by talking to trans people (sometimes we get exhausted explaining ourselves to people constantly), google it. Many trans people have written guides to being aware of trans issues, utilise these resources. Trans people do not owe it to you to explain everything about their lives and experiences. It. Is. Exhausting.

Be “aware” of trans people all year. We don’t all come out of the woodwork just for November. We exist all year. We struggle all year. We want equal rights and awareness, all year. Understand that we are not the enemy, we are simply living life and would like the world to be more inclusive of not only trans people, but everyone. It genuinely hurts NO ONE to make things inclusive, it does however, make marginalised groups feel more comfortable living. It is a win-win situation.


  • Use a trans persons correct pronouns, even when they’re not around. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but if someone refers to your trans friend/family member/coworker with the wrong pronouns, correct them, don’t change how YOU refer to them. Most of the time, the person will be grateful that you corrected them. This is especially important with GNC pronouns. Always refer to people with the correct pronouns.
  • Call out transphobia when you come across it. No matter where you are, call transphobia out. Transphobia can come in many forms; from physical violence, to off the cuff remarks. Sometimes, people don’t even realise they’re being transphobic, until they’re called out. This is why it is so important to call it out, so that people not as educated as yourself in trans matters, can become a better ally and not harm trans people.
  • Dismantle the rigid gender norms. For everyone. Its all well and good saying “men should wear crop tops”, but when that translates to “cis men should wear crop tops”, it becomes an issue. Many times when trans people wear clothes that don’t fit the box that they’re confined into, they are accused of not being trans and this is so harmful. Be a good ally and say no to confining people to the gender norms. This includes non-binary people too. When a non binary person wears “mens” clothes, they are still non binary. When a non binary person wears “womens” clothes, they are still non binary. stop policing what genders can and cannot do and wear.
  • Learn inclusive language. This can range from using they/them pronouns to refer to someone who’s gender you may not know (or to refer to GNC folks), to calling “feminine hygiene” products “menstrual products”. This also means you need to understand that trans men are men, trans women are women and that a persons genitals does not determine their gender. Understand that it really isn’t that hard to be inclusive and once you get into the mindset, it is one of the easiest things to do.
  • Lastly, understand your cis privilege. Understand that people are more likely to listen to cis people as they are the minority, so amplify trans voices, rather than speaking over them. Understand that some trans people are in fact discriminated against and murdered, purely for being trans. This just isn’t the case for cis people. You. Are. Not. Discriminated. Against. For. Being. Cis.


Side Note: Support trans creators. Trans people are often discriminated against in the work place and find it harder to get and keep a job, so support them the best you can. It really is appreciated.

Go to your local TDoR (Trans day of remembrance) event on 20th November. A great way to kick off being a good ally, is to support your local TDoR event, where we mourn the trans people who have sadly lost their lives this year.


The exhibition

Gosh I bet you’re all SICK of me talking about this exhibition, but please, let me be excited and proud of everything I’ve accomplished!

The day was finally upon us, 14/06/19, the exhibition opened. Everything in place, my work had been up for multiple weeks (I had terrible visions of it somehow falling down or getting damaged before opening day), all that was needed now was the people who were interested in viewing photography.

4:30pm Celebratory drinks.

5:30pm The guests arrived.

I of course hung around my work, my ego needed to hear kind words being spoken about something I finally put into the real-world public realm rather than online. I was not disappointed like I feared I was going to be. Thankfully people actually took time out of their schedules to not only look at my work, but to meticulously read the captions that my wonderfully brave models had written about their trans experience and then reflect upon those words. I heard people asking “is that really how the world views trans people?” and unfortunately all I could think was “yes” and this made me realise that there is still so much awareness that can be done. It appears that within the trans community, these topics are often heard, the hatred seems to be amplified in our ears and we can’t escape it, whilst it is totally possible for cis people to turn a blind eye, cover their ears and pretend that they haven’t heard the unkind, targeted words. They may read the articles within the media of scare-mongering, but it does not affect them and they may not necessarily notice the people that are actually being affected by the words, therefore its easy to forget, however, when it is presented to them in an art/visual form, it is a lot harder to escape. It is happening and there needs to be more to make it stop.

Past the opening night, on 17/06/19 I had a very engaging conversation with an older man, whom I was wary around as I unfortunately haven’t had much luck with the older generation accepting the trans community as a whole, but he was very engaged with the work, had lots of respective questions and was thankful that I had brought light to something that he didn’t quite understand the ins and outs of before viewing the work, but understood that society needed to change further to support LGBT+ people. He left with different sources that he had asked me to direct him to and I felt so happy having a good experience and chat with someone who was genuinely understanding and friendly. It makes me feel as though my work is truly making some kind of difference even if it is just within the local community, for now.








Exhibition opening dates

17/06/19- 21/06/19


6 Green Terrace, Sunderland SR1 3PZ