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The T Guide: Our Trans Experiences and a Celebration of Gender Expression - Gigi Gorgeous, Gottmik

Last updated Aug 29, 2023


# Metadata

# Highlights

# Introduction

A lot of people in this country— and in the world— don’t really understand what it actually means to be trans, or all that the concept of transitioning entails. (Location 37)

# Gigi Gorgeous on Gottmik

# Contributors

She is the subject of the documentary This Is Paris and hosts the podcast of the same name. (Location 108)

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality, (Location 112)

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 (Location 122)


# Gender & Sex

A person’s gender is defined by how they see themselves, and a person’s sex is usually assigned by whatever their genitals look like at birth, but this is complicated. We all have lots of different sexual characteristics, many of which change during our lifetimes. (Location 142)

Gender’s who I am. Sexuality is who I love. (Location 150)

And it’s a journey. Every stage of my transition has come with a new level of acceptance. (Location 153)

I have to constantly check in with myself to make sure I’m making choices because I want to, and not because of the pressure I’m getting from society. (Location 158)

and the spectrum of gender and sexuality is nuanced. (Location 163)

is a great example of someone who doesn’t subscribe to society’s ideas about gender. One day she’ll wake up and be like, “I’m a girl today,” and another day, she’ll wake up and be somewhere on the spectrum between girl and boy. She doesn’t feel the need to transition. She’s just very cool with who she is, and how people perceive her doesn’t affect her mentally in any way. (Location 171)

I went to see a doctor in Orange County to have a vein removed from my forehead. In order for him to see it more clearly, I had to sit upside down in a medical chair so it would protrude. (Location 191)

# Find Yourself with Courtney Act

When the terms gender fluid and gender nonconforming became more popular, I came to the conclusion that it was okay for boys to be feminine and girls to be masculine. (Location 214)

# Deciding to Come Out

if you’re not happy, then whatever you’re doing isn’t working. For a long time, I didn’t even know why I was unhappy. Was it because I thought I might be trans and I didn’t know how to deal with it? Or was it because I was just depressed? The first step was figuring out the answers to those questions. (Location 240)

or if you’re just not sure about what you want to say yet, then try to keep yourself happy until you have your answers. I know that might sound trite, but it can be useful. (Location 246)

I think one of the reasons I didn’t transition for so long was because I didn’t see a lot of examples of men I wanted to look like. Every trans guy I saw in the media was hyper-masculine and muscle-obsessed. (Location 264)

But at the end of the day, making sure you’re supporting your child and making sure they’re happy is the most important thing. (Location 288)

I met someone recently who has a Finsta [fake, or private, Instagram account]. (Location 308)

# Adam Lambert on Coming Out

# Choosing a Name

As far as the legal logistics, each U.S. state has different rules, so make sure you look up what’s required of you in order to change your name and/ or your gender on your state-issued ID. (Location 346)

# Advice for Parents

Parents, if your kid comes out to you, the only correct response is, “I love you.” Even if you’re freaking out inside, still say, “I love you.” And after that, just listen to what your kid is telling you. (Location 398)

I was so over them. I hated their reaction, and I was ready to cut them off. Then you invited them to LA, Gigi, and after that trip, they realized it wasn’t a phase, and they got into acceptance. (Location 407)

She was sad because she thought my life was going to be harder, and she worried that I wouldn’t be successful. So, become successful, people! And that doesn’t necessarily mean getting money or fame. It just means thriving. (Location 434)

I feel one popular mistake parents make is thinking that they’ve failed in some way, and wondering what they’re going to tell their friends. This type of selfishness is so not useful. If your kid comes out to you, don’t think about yourself. Think about your kid. (Location 449)

Get into it or get lost, parents! (Location 459)

# A Mother’s Pause with Tiffany Namtu

When you come out to someone, they’re either going to accept you or they’re not. And even though it feels better to be accepted by the people you love, acceptance isn’t really the goal. The goal is for you to feel free. (Location 474)

# My Journey with Gigi by David Lazzarato

I have often thought about what I could have done differently. Looking back, I should have found an experienced counselor to talk to during the beginning of the process and onward— someone I could share the worries and fears with that I didn’t feel comfortable talking to others about. (Location 516)

# The “Right” Way by Robert Gottlieb

Communication and understanding are key at a time when parents know little about this topic and even the child is learning to express themselves authentically. (Location 536)

# Love Your Child by Amy Gottlieb

I had to realize that my dreams for Kade did not match his own. The most important thing is for him to be happy, healthy, and true to himself in every way. “Love them. Be their safe haven. Be their home.” (Location 548)

# Advice for Cisgender Allies

Your fight is my fight. (Location 563)

don’t confront. Just naturally drop the correct pronoun into the conversation. (Location 576)

don’t say it’s fine when it’s not. (Location 587)

As an ally, I think the best thing to do is to ask your trans friend how loud they want you to be. Don’t make assumptions. (Location 594)

# Gottmik’s Hate Crime Experience

# PART 2 Transformation

# Take Your Time with Nats Getty

# Medical vs. Nonmedical Options

Making huge life decisions in a rush is a terrible idea! (Location 664)

FFS is facial feminization surgery (Location 693)

Another major thing, if you go the medical route, is choosing the right doctors. (Location 733)

# Live Your Own Way with Alok

Transitioning for me was about making the conscious decision to move away from the box “boy” that I was assigned at birth to sharing my nonbinary truth with myself and with the world. It wasn’t just about changing the way I presented externally; it was an internal process of self-acceptance, self-declaration, and decolonization. (Location 763)

# Categories of Medical Transition

# Jamie Raines on Medically Transitioning

There’s no such thing as “the surgery,” just like there’s no one way to be trans, so I took my time to figure it out. (Location 790)

# Category is: Hormones (aka ’Mones)

Testosterone lowers your voice, and estrogen doesn’t affect your voice at all. (Location 807)

I wasn’t fully aware of how much I had needed hormones until I started taking them. I didn’t know that feeling so much better in my body was even an option. I loved the physical effects, and I loved the emotional effects, too. As a kid, I’d had such a problem with empathy. I never cried. I wasn’t very good at putting myself in somebody else’s shoes. Well, after about a month on hormones, I had all kinds of feelings I didn’t even know I could have. It was strange at first, and also really interesting. It allowed me to start seeing myself in a new way. Eventually, after a few more months, my emotions evened out, and I just got more used to them. (Location 822)

That’s what’s great about hormones— you can always slow the process down a bit. Just make sure you do your research because there are some irreversible side effects. (Location 831)

Testosterone basically puts you through male puberty and pretty much everything changes: your voice, your orgasms, your body, where your fat distributes. (Location 841)

You can change the features of your face with surgery and other procedures, but trans girls can’t change their voice in a major way. The register is just lower than a cis woman’s. (Location 876)

And you can get surgery on your vocal cords, but it’s risky. (Location 883)

bottom growth on testosterone. Basically, your clitoris grows up to 3 inches in size. (Location 924)

a surgery called metoidioplasty, where they basically elongate your t-dick a bit more and pull your urethra out of it so you can pee standing up. (Location 927)

# Category is: Top Surgery, FFS, Etc.

Some trans girls get breast implants. Trans guys often get a subcutaneous mastectomy. Trans girls are generally left with a smaller, less visible scar, while the scar after top surgery for guys (depending on the type of surgery) is generally larger. (Location 933)

The list of procedures under the FFS umbrella might include forehead contouring, eye and eyelid modification, cheek augmentation, nose reshaping, lip lift, jaw angle reduction, chin width reduction, tracheal shave, lowering the hairline, and hair transplantation. (Location 938)

One rule after top surgery for some trans guys is that you’re not allowed to lift your arms up over your head for six months, (Location 966)

it turns out there are tons of differences between cisgender men and cisgender women when it comes to the face. Men tend to have a ridge above their eyes called a “caveman brow,” for example, whereas on women, that area is generally flat. (Location 981)

And I would say that if you’re uncomfortable with one of your features, don’t be afraid to change it, and don’t be afraid to trust your intuition. I invented a lot of the things that I did, just because it seemed intuitive to me. (Location 1001)

# Category is: Bottom Surgery

As with a lot of trans procedures, bottom surgery hasn’t been perfected yet. It’s still in process, which is kind of scary, especially for trans guys. There are two options, metoidioplasty and phalloplasty, (Location 1027)

Metoidioplasty: a gender-affirming, lower body surgery that creates a penis by cutting ligaments around the erectile tissue (clitoris) to release it from the pubis and give the shaft more length! (Location 1031)

The female orgasm is more of an all-body sensation, and the orgasm on testosterone is much more centralized, and weirdly addictive. (Location 1048)

I also wonder how society will change in the future. Are we always going to assign gender by sex? I hope not. (Location 1070)

Coming to terms with how I want to have sex was really the turning point for me in terms of bottom surgery. (Location 1082)

# Jazz Jennings on The Importance of Gender-Affirming Care

I socially transitioned when I was five, so I was fortunate to be able to go on puberty blockers and cross hormones before developing secondary male characteristics. When I was 17, I underwent gender confirmation surgery to complete my transition from male to female. (Location 1102)

# Realistic Expectations

most people are thinking about themselves most of the time, which means that the comments and weird looks that might come your way really shouldn’t be taken that personally. (Location 1111)

It’s so important to be patient and loving with yourself during the process, because transitioning is not an easy thing. (Location 1116)

that medical procedures are not a be-all, end-all. They don’t change your personality. You’re still you. Which is why it’s crucial that you get your mind in the right place before you start changing the physical stuff. (Location 1128)

We as humans always try to find flaws and think we have to fix everything, which is why finding true self-love and confidence is extremely crucial. (Location 1166)

Whatever you believe ends up being your reality. Which is why you have to keep asking yourself, “What am I believing right now?” (Location 1175)

If you’re able to, I strongly suggest that you throw yourself into the world like I did. You’ll learn to navigate any situation, and you’ll get much better at pulling yourself out of a negative rut, because you’ll have more experience. (Location 1227)

# Gender Stereotypes & Dysphoria

Unlike cisgender people, trans people get to experience being stereotyped as two genders. (Location 1287)

The reason I apply white makeup to my face sometimes when I do drag is because on certain days, seeing myself just as a gorgeous, feminine drag queen is just too much. I give myself a clown-white, alien look, which is anti-human and therefore anti-gender in a way. (Location 1371)

# Follow Your Own Path with Amanda Lepore

You’re the one who has to be with yourself at the end of the day. (Location 1389)

# Role Models

the internet is a fabulous resource. If you see someone online who you admire, write to them. Be proactive. Ask them questions. Ask them if they’ll be your Trans Mom. A lot of people love taking on that role and are more than happy to help guide you. (Location 1466)

The first step to finding your tribe is envisioning your tribe. (Location 1471)

# Show Up with Violet Chachki

Any queer person will tell you just how important it is to find your chosen family— people you bring into your life who see you, hear you, understand you, and support you. (Location 1498)

# Tips for Looking Masculine or Feminine

When you’re trans, you’re kind of forced to become an expert on human anatomy, and you get really familiar with all the little tricks you can use so that people are more likely to perceive you (and you’re more likely to perceive yourself) in the way that you want. (Location 1514)

But if you put your hands up in the air and shake them for like 10 seconds, the veins become less pronounced and your hands look softer. If somebody’s wanting to take a picture at the club, I like to do a little shake-the-hands-dance before posing. GOTTMIK: And then for guys, it’s the opposite. (Location 1524)

The lip lift really helped feminize my face, and I accentuate my lips even more with lipstick. (Location 1580)

When you do something uncomfortable for long enough, the discomfort becomes your normal and it’s easy to forget that your body isn’t happy. (Location 1595)

# Gottmik’s Masculinization Tips

The key is knowing your face shape and what you want to achieve with your hair. There are amazing websites that have every face shape possible and give suggestions for the best result. (Location 1617)

If you get a double incision like I did, make sure you’re vocal about what shape you want the scars to be and work with the doctor (Location 1623)

I love my top surgery scars, but since I have a lot of red undertones, I wanted to tone down the redness a bit. I tried lasers, but for me, scar camouflage ended up being the best option. This includes basically tattooing your scars with a skin tone. (Location 1624)

if you’re living in a space that you’re not completely out or supported, it may not be possible yet. When that was my case, binding my chest was a huge help to me. (Location 1627)

Gender is a spectrum, and sometimes the jacket in the women’s section may give you the look you want. (Location 1648)

# Gigi’s Feminization Tips

thinning the brow can soften the face and dramatically transform it instantly! (Location 1655)

Lashes decorate the windows to the soul and instantly make you look more flirtatious and accentuate the beautiful shape of your eyes! (Location 1656)

Earrings: Little studs or hoops do a world of wonder for framing the face and adding a little sparkle. (Location 1664)

# Paris Hilton’s Guide to Being Confidently Feminine

Wear outfits that make you feel completely unstoppable and unapologetically you. The world is your runway. (Location 1675)

my most important boss babe tip: be confident, because there’s nothing more beautiful than believing in yourself. As I would say, that’s hot. (Location 1676)

# Gigi’s Cautionary Silicone Tale

# PART 3 Your New Life

# La Demi Martinez on Staying Safe

If I could give any trans girl advice, I would say be careful, and don’t assume that others, even when they appear to be allies, have your best interests at heart. (Location 1742)

# Chosen Family

have a group of people around you who are trustworthy and supportive. (Location 1751)

I think another important thing to mention when it comes to forming your community is that every relationship is a lesson. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, because people will burn you. (Location 1782)

The other thing I want to add is that even when a friendship dies, it’s not necessarily a loss. Not all relationships need to go on forever. Sometimes, really important ones last for a finite amount of time. Eventually, you might outgrow one another or realize you have irreconcilable differences, but that doesn’t mean the friendship was necessarily bad. Maybe it caused you to realize something important about yourself. Maybe it made you a stronger person. (Location 1791)

In the best-case scenario, it’s nice to have a chosen family in addition to your biological one. (Location 1822)

# Competition Within the Community

It’s natural to look at someone and admire their features, their personality, and/ or their success, but feeling like you’re in competition with that person can be toxic. Instead of allowing other people to make you feel less than, use them as inspiration. (Location 1826)

there’s a lot of competition in the trans female community. A lot of us feel so much emptiness within our hearts, and we’re starved for validation. Many of those who don’t have it will do anything to get it. (Location 1848)

you have to be careful about you who trust, especially when you’re in the vulnerable position of changing genders. You have to be guarded. And it would be great to not ignore red flags like I did. (Location 1855)

I usually wait until I get burned to cut someone off, which is both good and bad. I really do see the best in people. But I don’t forget being burned. Once it’s over, it’s over. (Location 1861)

Envy is unhealthy. (Location 1884)

In the last few years, I’ve arrived at a place of peace within myself. I really wish I could go back and tell the younger version of myself to be happier and not stress about the bullshit. As with everything else in life, there will be people ahead of you and people behind you. I wish I could tell younger me to really take it easy on herself. (Location 1897)

# Pageant Competitiveness with Sasha Colby

# Stand Together with Lina Bradford

We’re supposed to be this beautiful unified rainbow, and yet we are sometimes harsher with each other than the world is with us. (Location 1935)

# Candis Cayne on Competition Within the Community

# Public Restrooms

As with so many other parts of the trans experience, there’s no need to do it alone. Bring a buddy to the restrooms with you if you feel uncomfortable. (Location 1962)

I’m hoping that in the future, genitalia won’t be widely associated with gender in the same way it is now. (Location 2037)

what’s changed is that I know how to handle my energy now. I hold my chin high up. I turn on the confidence. (Location 2050)

# What to Do with Negativity

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the hate that’s coming at you has nothing to do with you. I’ve actually found that people who hate trans people often have queer preferences themselves. (Location 2081)

Everyone is in their own little world, thinking about themselves and their problems, and everything people say is a reflection of how they’re feeling, not a reflection of who you are. (Location 2082)

# Know Your Truth with Schuyler Bailar

I often tell my mother that the womanhood she taught me has made me the man I am today. I did not jump out of the box of womanhood to be shoved into someone else’s box of manhood; and so, I hold my womanhood close. (Location 2150)

# Dating

I decided I wasn’t going to let people into my life in an intimate way until I’d created some intimacy with myself. (Location 2189)

What I learned is that I couldn’t count on outside sources to give me validation. (Location 2203)

They either don’t date at all, because it’s so depressing to be made to feel fetishized, or they go for it, and because striking gold is so rare, a lot of them end up settling for someone who’s mediocre but really accepting. (Location 2214)

Nats has taught me that I can fall in love with anyone. It’s not contingent on gender. Figuring this out about myself is part of my evolution and part of my growth, I feel. Before, I was blocking myself off from love, partly because of my own insecurities. (Location 2278)

But in reality, I didn’t think it was necessarily in the cards, because I spent a lot of years being promiscuous and getting bored of people fast. I wasn’t the type to fall in love easily, or for long. I’d date someone for a month and then realize I couldn’t stand them. The longest relationship I was in pre-Nats was two years, but I was cheating constantly. It wasn’t love. I can see that now. It was just stupid. So, even though I thought it would be nice to get married, I also thought I’d never be that lucky. Maybe I felt unlovable to a certain degree. Maybe I thought I didn’t deserve to be loved so fully. They say it finds you when you’re not looking for it, and that certainly was the case with me. (Location 2303)

If you spend your time putting pressure on finding a relationship or getting married, it will consume you, and you’ll just be upset waiting for it to happen. It’s detrimental to lose sleep over something you have no control over. I think trusting fate is probably a better way to go. Relationship or not, you want to be thriving. Get busy. Focus on the things you love. And then if the right person comes along, great. They’re adding to the equation, but you don’t need them to survive. (Location 2340)

But if you feel unlovable, then it’s natural in a way to seek out situations that reinforce that. (Location 2365)

# Advocating for Yourself

The less worthy we feel, the less we advocate for ourselves. (Location 2374)

I realized that all I’d been doing was making money for this management company. What did I have to show for the last year? Not that much. Anyway, it was an aha moment. I was like, I need to take control of my career! (Location 2389)

Drag Race as a show has almost single-handedly changed the world of drag. The first few seasons reflect how drag used to be viewed— as an underground, punk rock form of self-expression. (Location 2417)

When things get popular, they often get homogenous, (Location 2421)

I ended up meeting Scott at his apartment in Toronto. I guess I’d maybe expected him to be some 40-year-old guy, but it turned out he was a college student at Ryerson University, and only 2 years older than me. (Location 2465)

I think it’s so important that people know what their rights are, especially at work. If you feel like something is off, trust that feeling. (Location 2545)

I think it’s always a good idea, too, to find some allies at work. A lot of the time, you can’t see that something is off in the moment, so it’s helpful when somebody else can point it out. (Location 2547)

In your gut, you always know when you’re not fine. (Location 2560)

# Stay Present with Laith Ashley

After I started taking testosterone, feeling more confident in my skin, and witnessing the changes I wanted to see with my body, I actually started stepping into my femininity a lot more. I feel like I’m much more feminine now than I was prior to transitioning! (Location 2576)

remember to be kind to ourselves. Remember that no one is perfect. Remember that the closer we get to an idea of perfection in our heads, the further we stray from it. It’s moments like these that remind me I need to stay present, because that’s what’s most important in this life. (Location 2582)

# Visibility & Responsibility

When we think about what the transgender community needs most in order to make progress in this world, it’s visibility. (Location 2587)

A lot of the time, the queer person’s life is tragic, which is not helping our cause. We need characters who are living full and complex lives. (Location 2597)

I think if you have any inkling that you might want to share your story publicly, then do it if you can, because it’s very rewarding. You will hear from people; you will help people; you might save people’s lives. (Location 2645)

We move forward; we move back; we move forward. That’s the way of things. It swings like a pendulum. My hope is that we don’t swing back too far. (Location 2660)

# Stay Hopeful with Sarah McBride

For those of us who are lucky enough to be living our truth and pursuing our dreams all at the same time, we must remember that we are only true trailblazers if we actually leave a trail behind us for others to follow. (Location 2688)

the change we seek will not come from politicians or public figures alone. It will come as more and more trans people open hearts and change minds in their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and faith communities. (Location 2693)

National LGBTQIA+ Organizations (Location 2698)

Our Recommended Doctors (Location 2707)

Transition Assistance Organizations (Location 2726)

Crowdfunding Organizations (Location 2735)

# Acknowledgments

World of Wonder (Location 2749)

I would like to acknowledge my incredible family— both chosen and biological— for allowing me to always be myself and encouraging every wildly chaotic dream I think of. I would never be who I am or where I am without you. (Location 2750)

# About the Authors

He Said, She Said. (Location 2759)