Articles in the Embodiment Blog category

  1. Dear Cisgender Erotic Embodiment Teachers

    Unlike my usual posts, this post is written for cisgender embodiment facilitators.

    Content Warning: lots of explicit language for genitals.

    You are a cisgender erotic embodiment teacher with the desire to be inclusive to trans folks in both the language you use and the events you offer. I have some …

  2. Elements of Embodiment, part 8: Sensual Explorations

    Many trans folks, because of dysphoria, discomfort, or feelings of vulnerability, feel cut off from their bodies, and cut off from feelings of pleasure. Truthfully, in our society, many people feel that way for a variety of reasons: ways were were socialized in childhood, trauma, and/or feelings of self-judgement …

  3. Elements of Embodiment Part 7: Learning About Consent

    We are taught, from a very young age, that we don't have complete control over our bodies. And if we grew up with families that wanted to police our gender, we might have felt that we had to be dressed, and act, in ways that we didn't want. If we …

  4. Elements of Embodiment, Part 3: Emotions in Our Bodies

    I used to spend so much time in my head. Of course, I inhabited a body at the time, like everyone. But I didn't really feel it much. That's because for so many years growing up, feeling in my body didn't feel good, or safe. So I simply stopped. This …

  5. Divine Abodes, Part 4: Sympathetic Joy

    The fourth Divine Abode, or quality of heart and mind that is an important part of our practices of resilience, is "sympathetic joy" (mudita in Pali). Sympathetic joy is our ability to find joy in another person's joy and good fortune.

    Joy can be, and should be contagious. Often, however …

  6. Divine Abodes, Part 2: Compassion

    I started out talking about the "Divine Abodes" in a trans and gender-expansive context in my last post. This is the Buddhist concept of four qualities of heart and mind which I see as qualities that are important for resilience.

    The second of these is compassion. Compassion is the concern …

  7. The Divine Abodes in Trans Context: Loving-kindness

    There are four qualities of mind and heart which are considered virtues in Buddhism, often called the "Divine Abodes." And cultivating these qualities is an important part of a meditation practice. In fact, these four qualities: loving-kindness (or beneficence), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity, are qualities considered important in many …

  8. Gender Euphoria

    The Urban Dictionary defines Gender Euphoria as "The feeling a trans person gets when he/she/they are able to start presenting as the gender they identify as and people start treating them accordingly."

    My first full experience of gender euphoria was a few weeks after top surgery. I was …

  9. How to Talk About and Learn to Love Your Junk

    Trigger Warning: explicit names for sexual anatomy.

    For many trans and gender expansive people, the traditional, that is, gendered, name for our sexual anatomy feels very dysphoric, and, in some ways, simply wrong. For others, re-claiming those gendered names is an important part of our healing journey.

    I don't think …

  10. Do You Know What You Are Feeling?

    As a young adult, I often didn't know what I was feeling. I didn't learn what my feelings were, or what to do with them, well into my adulthood. And interestingly, transition has helped me both be more in touch with my feelings, but also to take them more in …

  11. Contemplative Practices to Build Self-love and Self-compassion

    I often teach two specific forms of Buddhist contemplative practice, Metta (the pali word for lovingkindness) and Karuna (the pali word for compassion.) The Metta practice I teach is geared toward developing lovingkindness toward ourselves. The Karuna practice is geared toward developing self-compassion. They are very similar ideas, but slightly …

  12. Validation as a Trans & Gender-expansive Person

    When we are young, the first place we look toward for validation is our parents and family. If we have a functional family, we get confirmation that we are lovable and loved, and that helps to define a healthy sense of self. It is a natural human habit to look …

  13. Navigating Practical Reality

    It would be great, if under any circumstances, we could say exactly how we feel, set any boundaries we need to set, and be completely authentic in our lives at every moment. The reality is that for many people, including a lot of trans and gender expansive people, we have …

  14. What is Conscious Embodiment?

    Conscious embodiment is a process, not a destination. Most of us will probably never become fully consciously embodied - but we can get very close. It's especially hard for trans and gender-expansive people, because our bodies have so often been places of both inner and outer conflict.

    Are you aware of …

  15. Coming Late to the Party: Transition Later in Life

    A lot of attention has been paid of late to the increased number of kids and teenagers who transition. What hasn't been noticed as much is the increasing number of people who are over 40 or so who are transitioning now.

    I transitioned at 57, after a life-long struggle with …

  16. Finding Spiritual Community

    Many trans and gender expansive people have left the spiritual traditions they grew up in because they were rejected by them. And many have no interest in spiritual community at all - sometimes it's because of the way they were harmed in the spiritual communities they inhabited, and sometimes it's just …

  17. Do You Have a Cis Partner?

    It's not at all uncommon for trans and gender-expansive folks to have cis partners, as I do. Sometimes, navigating issues of gender with a cis partner can be complex, especially if that partner is one that was with you before transition.

    Talking About Gender

    I sometimes forget that I have …

  18. What's in a Name?

    One of the most common things that trans and gender expansive folks do is change our names. Changing our name is often a way of living more into our authentic selves. Some change names in a very minor way - just a letter or two to change from one that is …

  19. Binding, Tucking, & Prosthetics

    One of the truths about secondary sex characteristics is that very often, you can obviously see them. Another reality is that for many trans and gender-expansive folks, the presence of some characteristics, or the lack of others, makes us feel dysphoric. Unless and until we choose hormonal and/or surgical …

  20. The Four Horsemen

    Relationship researcher John Gottman can identify relationships that will end by the presence of what he calls "The Four Horsemen." The Four Horsemen of Christian Apocalyptic legend brought on the end of the world, and these four horsemen will bring on the end of your relationship, for sure.

    The Four …

  21. Learning to Love Who You Were

    Transition, although it is a journey, not a switch, does, in some ways, go from us being in a place we don't like, don't want to be in, and another - a place where we feel good about who we are, and where we are going.

    In that old place, we …

  22. To Stealth or Not To Stealth

    Some trans people live in a way that is often called "stealth." That is, they are not out as trans to most (or perhaps any) people in their lives. Most trans people change their names, but some have moved to different towns where no one knows them, taken new jobs …

  23. Transition: Finding Your Way

    Transition can be a chaotic process. There are so many things happening in parallel. There's the social transition part, which involves coming out to friends and family, potentially changing your appearance in some ways, often using a different name, and using different pronouns. This involves navigating different relationships, and how …

  24. Losing Lesbian Identity

    I've been thinking about this topic for a long time, and a friend recently posted a question about this on Facebook, so I thought I'd dive into this topic. I think, really, this topic is about losing one identity, while gaining another. For me, it was going from identifying as …

  25. It's the Journey, not the Destination

    I remember the first time I gave myself a shot of Testosterone. I'd been to the clinic a few times before to get the shot administered, and to teach me how to do sub-cutaneous injections, but this seemed special.

    I felt like I was on my way to the destination …

  26. Sexuality Can Change With Transition

    When I first started coming out as trans, and was introduced to trans community, one of the things I learned was that many trans people's sexuality changes with transition. That anecdotal information is backed up by science.

    Several studies have shown that changes in sexuality are relatively common among trans …

  27. Changes in Libido

    After I decided to transition, but before I started Testosterone, I noticed changes in my libido. And then, about a month after I started Testosterone, my libido reached heights I never would have imagined. I was aroused, basically all of the time. It was actually annoying, as well as quite …

  28. Complexities of Gender Identity

    If you haven't ever heard of Lou Sullivan, you should read a little about him. He is considered probably to be the first out gay trans man. For a long time, he was denied gender reassignment surgery because of his sexuality. Back then, gender and sexuality were conflated. If you …

  29. Gender Expression and Presentation

    Because of our society's bias toward the gender binary, and the policing of gender norms, a lot of trans people, as well as non-binary, gender-expansive, gender-queer, people feel the need to limit their gender expression.

    It's important to point out that gender identity and gender expression are two separate things …

  30. Dating While Trans in a Pandemic

    I haven't yet had a chance to write a standard "dating while trans" post here, and given that there is a pandemic on, and that changes dating immensely, I figured I would talk a little about both.

    Some people have simply chosen to hold off on dating completely now, and …

  31. Conscious Communication

    What does it mean to communicate "consciously"? And why is that even helpful? Conscious communication means several things:

    • Being aware of your emotions in the moment
    • Taking responsibility for your own emotions
    • Speaking without defensiveness, blame or criticism
    • Active and compassionate listening

    The point of communication is, of course to …

  32. How to Create a Relationship Life That Works for You

    One of the great things about being trans or gender-expansive, is that we're already breaking lots of cultural norms. How about introducing another norm to break: relationships!

    Relationship Anarchy: Know What You Want

    The concept of “Relationship Anarchy” is a relatively new one. The term was coined by a Swede …

  33. The Final Three Aspects of Trans Resilience

    In the two posts before this, I outlined the first six aspects of Trans Resilience. Here are the final three. Another note: these are in no particular order - the first three are not necessarily more important than these last three.

    Explore the sensations of your body. Full embodiment is a …

  34. Three Aspects of Trans Resilience

    The word "Resilience" has 10 letters, so I felt compelled to use 9 of them to outline 9 aspects of Trans Resilience. This is a series of 3 blog posts, detailing these aspects, three at a time. In future blog entries (as well as in workshops, classes and coaching,) you'll …

  35. What Might Self-Care Look Like?

    I've talked a lot about self-love and self-compassion. So what is "self-care?" It's a pretty common term. Self-care, in my opinion, is a day-to-day willingness to act on self-love.

    This is most important in times of stress. Perhaps you just got misgendered, or had a difficult interaction with a family …

  36. Black Trans Lives Matter

    ~Photo\ above:\ Mack\ Johnson,\ Sydney\ Baloue,\ Christian\ A'Xavier\ Lovehall,\ and\ Sunny\ Marks\ at\ the\ Philly\ Trans\ March\ in\ Philadelphia,\ PA\ on\ October\ 7,\ 2017.\ Photo\ by\ Sydney\ Baloue.\ (From\ 48Hills)~

    This blog, this site, and my work is on purpose not about fighting for justice, equity and inclusion for trans …

  37. Coming Out to Parents & Family

    Coming out as trans or gender-expansive to parents and family can be a very difficult task. You may already know that you'll receive a negative reaction. Or you may be unsure. It can be scary, depending on how close you are to your family. And there may be some members …

  38. "Self-Esteem", Self-love and Self-compassion

    You hear “self-esteem” as an important thing to have. There are countless books, programs, and articles on how to boost it. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad thing, but it’s only a tiny slice of the picture.

    A while ago, I was sitting on the …

  39. Deadnames

    Many trans people call the name they were given at birth their "deadnames." It's a pretty new term. As someone who transitioned later in life, and has somewhat of a public profile, I simply call that name my "old" name - it follows me a lot, and is far from dead …

  40. Should You Start HRT?

    HRT stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy. For masculine identified people, this means injections of Testosterone. For feminine identified people, it means taking estrogen. There are a lot of complexities to this, and this blog post isn't about the endocrinology or medicine - it's about what goes into your decision to start …

  41. How RAIN Can Help with Dysphoria

    Dysphoria, the embodied feeling that something with our bodies isn't right, is very common for trans and gender expansive people. For some, it's extremely intense and hard to deal with, for others it's quite mild. My experience with dysphoria has been more on the intense side, and I've struggled with …

  42. Will Your Relationship Survive Transition?

    Going through transition is a big process. One of the things I heard during the early stages of my transition was "transition is the most selfish thing you can do." I don't know that I agree with this wording exactly, but transition does cause a lot of self-absorption.

    I don't …

  43. No Step Is Required!

    There are people who think that being trans means that you have to have gone through some set of required steps, such as hormone replacement therapy, name change, or surgery. But guess what? You can identify as trans and use the pronoun of your choice without any external changes whatsoever …

  44. Embodiment

    My body and I have had a rough go of it. This is not an uncommon experience for trans people. First, trans people have a higher risk of sexual trauma. Second, our bodies are the locations of both internal and external conflict. We deal with dysphoria, and not liking parts …

  45. Embodiment

    My body and I have had a rough go of it. This is not an uncommon experience for trans people. First, trans people have a higher risk of sexual trauma. Second, our bodies are the locations of both internal and external conflict. We deal with dysphoria, and not liking parts …

  46. Disclosure When Dating

    Dating as a trans, non-binary, or gender-non-conforming/gender-expansive person can be a challenge. Since there is so much gender essentialism and transphobia out there in the world, it can be hard to know when it makes sense to come out to the people we are dating.

    First off, it's important …

  47. The 5 Components of Trans Resilience

    Resilience allows us to handle the inevitable stresses and strains of our daily life living as trans people. Resilience allows us to find joy in life, even in the face of the micro- and macro-aggressions of transphobia. Here are the five components (or skills, really) that we can develop to …

  48. Dealing with Dysphoria

    Gender dysphoria, which is an unease with the physical characteristics of your body, is experienced in may different ways in different people. Of course, you don't have to have dysphoria to identify as either trans, non-binary, or gender-expansive, but it's a very common experience. For many of us, it is …

  49. What if Coronavirus Put Your Transition on Hold?

    I was supposed to have some gender-confirmation surgery in late May. With the Coronavirus crisis, all "elective" surgeries are on hold for the time being. I have no idea when those will resume, or when I can re-schedule.

    This, or something like this, is true for hundreds if not thousands …

  50. What is "trans resilience"?

    I love the word "resilience." Webster's has two definitions. The first is "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change." The second one is more interesting: "the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress." At …

  51. On Being Misgendered

    Being misgendered is all too common an experience for those of us who are trans or gender-nonconforming. It can be a very stressful, sometimes devastating experience. Most of the time, it's a mistake. When we first meet someone, our brains make super quick assumptions based on a little information. Sometimes …

  52. Cultivating Self-Love

    It's a common theme that if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else. It's not strictly true, of course. You can love someone else even if you don't love yourself, but you won't be able to fully receive the love you are given by others without cultivating love …