An FAQ Regarding my Gender Identity and Transition

Since I last posted here, almost a year ago, things have progressed with my gender transition. More people are now learning about my true identity, as I will soon reach the point where I will be living as myself 100% of the time. So here is a list of FAQs regarding my gender identity and transition, mainly for people who are learning about my true identity for the first time. If you have any further questions, please feel free to post them in the comments, or send them to me via the communication method of your choice. (I may update this post with further questions if I get any.)

What is your gender identity?
The word I have used to describe my gender identity is femandrogyne. This means that I have seen myself as being between male and female, but leaning more towards the feminine side. However, since I first came out, I’ve felt more and more feminine, and now prefer to describe my gender simply as female.

What are your preferred pronouns?
I prefer feminine pronouns, i.e. She/Her.

What name do you wish to be known by?
Sophie Green.

What was your name before you were Sophie?
Karl S. Green. I refer to this as my “old name”. However, many people in the trans community refer to their “old names” as their “dead names”, and do not wish people to know them, or use them. Whilst I am OK with people knowing what my old name is, please bear in mind that this will not be the same for many other trans people that you may meet.

Both your website and Twitter handle state your name as “Sophie K. Green”. What does the K stand for?
It doesn’t technically stand for anything (although it should be obvious where it comes from). I added the K when changing my Twitter handle, as “SophieGreen” was already taken. In most places I will write my name simply as “Sophie Green”. I will only add the K when I need to make my name unique, such as for my Twitter handle or website URL.

Will you be changing your name by Deed Poll?
At this stage, I have no plans to officially change my name. Therefore, for all legal and official purposes, I shall remain “Karl”. But, for all other purposes, including day-to-day living, I shall be “Sophie”.

Why did you choose the name “Sophie”?
“Sophie” has always been one of my favourite girls names, and I have thought of myself as “Sophie” for many years now.

Are you planning to undergo a physical transition?
At this stage, no. For various reasons (which I don’t wish to elaborate on, so please don’t ask) for the time being I don’t wish to undergo a physical transition. However, I may change my mind on this in future.

Are you undergoing hormone treatment?

What are you going to do about facial hair?
Up until now, I have kept my beard, although i have kept it short. Once I start living as myself 100% of the time, I’m going to try shaving it again. However, I find shaving uncomfortable (I always have) so I’ll have to see how it goes. Even if I shave in the morning, it may start showing again later in the day. Please be mindful that facial hair is often a sensitive issue for transwomen, so if you see me with any hint of facial hair, please don’t draw attention to it.

Which toilet/bathroom do you intend to use?
Once I’m living entirely as myself, I intend to use the ladies. No one has anything to fear from this – whenever I go into the ladies, I will simply be going there to use the facilities.

How long have you known that you were trans?
That’s hard to say. There were indications in my mind from when I was as young as 5 (although I’m not prepared to elaborate on what they were). At that age I was too young to know exactly what it was, or what to call it. During my schooldays LGBT issues simply weren’t spoken about in school (due to a legal restriction known as “Section 28”, which has since been repealed). I certainly knew by the age of 11 that I was a girl. When I was 14 I tried to come out to some friends at school, but it didn’t go well and I retracted. It took me until a couple of years ago to start coming out as my true self.

Why have you decided to become a woman?
I haven’t decided to become a woman. I have always been a girl/woman. What I have decided to do is be open about my true self, and to start living under my true identity.

What is your sexuality?
I define my sexuality as pansexual. This is similar to bisexual, but it is a term which recognises that there are more than two gender identities. As well as being attracted to men and women, I am also attracted to people who identify as anything inbetween, or who identify as agender (i.e. as not having a gender, as not being male, female, or anything inbetween). That said, I still have a preference for women. But that is a preference, and I am open to having a relationship with people of any gender identity.

If you identify as a woman, why aren’t you more attracted to men?
Gender identity and sexuality are two separate issues, and one does not automatically inform the other. There are transwomen who also identify as lesbians, and transmen who also identify as gay, and these are perfectly valid identities.

Are you just doing this to get attention?
No. No transgender person comes out as transgender, and transition to their preferred gender, in order to get attention. We take great risks in coming out and to start living our lives as our true selves, and none of us takes these risks just to get attention.

How have your friends reacted to your gender identity? Do you have a support network?
The vast majority of my friends have been very supportive. When I first came out, there were a couple of “friends” who proceeded to block me on social media. Those people I can do without. But my true friends, of which I have many, have been very accepting of who I am.

When do you intend to start living as your true identity 100% of the time?
In most settings, I am already living as myself. I intend to start living as myself, in all settings, 100% of the time, from May 2016.

Right, I believe that covers most things for now. Remember, if you have a question which hasn’t been included here, you are welcome to ask me.

Transphobia in Wealdstone

Ever since I came out as Sophie back in December, I’ve been going out more often in feminine clothing. Whenever I present as female I don’t refer to it as going out “as Sophie”, I refer to it as going out “as myself”. “Sophie” isn’t a character that I play, Sophie is who I am. Since coming out as Sophie, I’ve been growing in confidence in going out as myself.

But, yesterday, I had my first experience of receiving transphobic abuse.

I was walking along a street in Wealdstone, in Harrow, north London, where I live. I was minding my own business, as I made my way to the shops in Harrow Town Centre. I wasn’t wearing anything outrageous or provocative, just clothes that felt right and comfortable for me.

I then walked past a man who started shouting at me. He repeatedly shouted, “Oi! Why are you dressed like a batty boy?!” (For the benefit of anyone who’s unaware – as I’m not sure how widespread the use of this term is – “batty boy” is a derogatory term for a gay man.) I didn’t look at him. I kept my eyes down, face forward, and carried on walking along the street – quickly. He appeared to be shouting at me louder, and following me, getting closer. I hazarded a look back, and he had abandoned his pursuit of me, turning to cross the road – although, at this point, I believe he may have used the term “******* pussy”.

This was a busy road during rush hour, so there was plenty of traffic about. There were also a couple of other pedestrians nearby who could hear this man’s abuse. Therefore the risk of any sort of physical assault was hopefully low – although what this man might have done if there hadn’t been so many witnesses about I dread to think…

Whilst I was a bit shaken up, I carried on to Harrow Town Centre, did my shopping, and got home in one piece. Thankfully, not everyone in Harrow is like this man – whenever I’ve gone shopping as myself the people who’ve served me in shops have just treated me like anyone else, without making any issue about my gender identity.

And that is what I want. I just want to be treated as normal, just like anyone else going about their business.

Why do some people feel the need to act in a threatening and abusive manner towards someone, just because they are different? I wasn’t doing anything to bother this man. I wasn’t talking to him, following him, interacting with him in any way. In what way does my choice to wear a skirt in any way affect him? If it somehow offended him (and there’s no reason why it should), what does shouting obscenities at me achieve? If someone dressing in accordance with their gender identity, which may be different to what they were assigned at birth, in any way offends you, just look away and ignore them if they walk past you. Making them feel insecure achieves no purpose.

Admittedly, I will now be a little scared to go out as myself. There is every possibility that I may encounter this man again, or others like him. Some people might say that, in order to stay safe, I should only were masculine clothes when I go out, at least if I go out alone.

But I don’t want to do that, and I don’t see why I should. I should feel free to wear whatever I feel comfortable wearing when I go out. If I want to wear a skirt when I go out, I have the freedom to choose to do so, and I shouldn’t feel threatened into doing otherwise.

I briefly described this episode on Twitter yesterday, and, fortunately, I have many friends who are supportive of me, and accepting of who I am. Hopefully, the man I encountered yesterday is in the minority, and that this was an isolated incident. Admittedly, I will be careful about where I go when I go out as myself, but I’m not going to change how I dress because of other people’s prejudices.

I am free to be who I am…

The Story So Far…

So, I’ve decided to try and finally do something with my website. I’ve registered a new domain name to fit my new identity, but the old domain name still exists as well. I’ve also turned my site it into a WordPress blog. However, the old site is still in existence, and you can find it here.

I know everything is looking a bit sparse here at the moment. I’ve opted for a very basic theme, just to get things up and running smoothly. In time I hope to make everything here look a bit more interesting. However, if you have any advice, particularly if you have experience with WordPress (and can recommend any themes!), please let me know…

A new site feels like a new beginning. However, for anyone who’s new to my site, or who’s unaware of the developments in my life over the past year, here’s a brief run-down on the story so far.

Around a year ago I came out as bisexual, as well as stating that my gender identity is femandrogyne. For me at least, that means I don’t feel fully male or female, but lean more towards the feminine side.

At the time, I was a guy going by the name of Karl S. Green. In December I decided to embrace my feminine identity, and now mostly go by the name Sophie Green. There’s a post on my old blog where I publicly announced this. There’s another post on my old blog from two weeks ago where I provided an update on my life.

Whilst I have come out as Sophie to my immediate family, I still go by Karl there. And I’m still Karl at work, and have not come out there. I’m nowhere near ready to come out there. However, there are some people at work who do know about it. There are those who are Facebook friends, and so saw everything there. And there may be other people at work who found their way to my Twitter feed or my old blog, and saw the news there, but haven’t said anything to me due to my not being publicly out at work. (Although, if you are someone who knows me from work, and you’re reading this, and you’re cool with my new identity, you’re welcome to send me a message to let me know…)

So, with this new site and new blog, I want to try and go back to regular updates. I’m not sure how regular updates will be though. And, whilst my gender identity is clearly a big thing in my life at the moment, and there will inevitably be some blog posts regarding it, I am more than just my gender identity. Therefore, expect blog posts on a whole variety of topics…

So, I think everyone’s up to date now. Just one last thing: If any of you have any questions about any of this, do feel free to be up front and ask me, either publicly in the comments, or privately via the communication method of your choice…