In 2019, a trans woman in Oregon was badly assaulted (and hospitalized as a result). Her crime? She needed to pee.

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Photo by Livin4wheel on Unsplash

The news programs used a picture that showed her face beaten, swollen, and bruised. It also showed some stubble. As you can imagine, that got a lot of comments, along the lines of, “she’s not even trying, what did she expect?”

I remember early on in my gender transition talking to my therapist about what my goals were, whether they were realistic, whether I could handle transition. She wanted to know what I wanted. I told her, “I want to look like I’m trying.”

I didn’t expect it to be reasonable to expect…

I work from home. I wanted to be able to let my wife know, “Joelle is busy right now.”

This article will be fairly technical, but won’t give step-by-step instructions for everyone. It’s more meant to serve as an inspiration to other computer professionals — to determine how they might do something similar.

I love working from home, being able to have an environment that is set up exactly for me. Everything in my office, from the desk and chair I use, to the room’s lighting was designed to make me comfortable.

But I wanted something outside my office door…

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Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Transgender people have never had a great relationship with medical care. Most trans people have stories about being mistreated while obtaining medical care — not just for trans-related healthcare, but also for general healthcare. It’s not unusual to be refused treatment by transphobic doctors, to be misgendered and dead-named by providers, to experience the biases the medical profession has against sex workers (whether or not we’re a sex worker), and to be subject to assumptions (without necessarily any evidence) about what gender we really are.

Sometimes the problem is intrinsic in the way medicine sees trans bodies and the research…

My doctor suggested a mammogram. That caused me to dig into the research.

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I admit I wasn’t looking forward to doing a mammogram, so I was probably really looking for excuses not to do it. I was concerned about how I would be treated. Would I be treated as a human in such a gendered space? Would my femininity be acknowledged, or would I be humiliated? So I was looking for my excuse.

That got me thinking: what screenings do we need? I already knew some basics (I’ve heard something about hormones and breast cancer), but my curiosity took me…

The UK news organization, Daily Mail, reported that seeing trans people on TV caused young people to seek out medical transition.

Except, no, the actual research didn’t.

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Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

First, let me link to what I’m talking about:

Science reporting is notoriously awful (ironically the linked paper also mentions the Daily Mail’s bad reporting of another science issue, the false link between the MMR and autism that destroyed public confidence in vaccines). There isn’t a simple reason for this, but it is worth looking at.

What did the research study actually study?

Looking at the paper, published in the JAMA Network…

What it feels like to be a trans woman…walking down the street.

I do an hour or so of walking a day, for my health. I always try to keep an eye on what’s going on around me because, well, people can be horrible.

I’ve had beer bottles thrown at my head and plenty of insults screamed at me while walking down the sidewalk. Clearly my existence bothers people. But honestly this generally doesn’t bother me much — I’d feel differently if one of them stopped, but thus far they just stick their head out the window and shout something…

Coming out as trans is hard in the best circumstances. If you have to stay home, it’s even harder. But there are things you can do!

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Photo by N. on Unsplash

Why now?

First, why might people come out as trans right now? It’s pretty simple: many of us have more time on our hands, which gives us more time to think about what we want out of life. In addition, the thought of illness and mortality might make us question, “Do I want to live this way the rest of my life?” …

COVID-19 is impacting everything. That includes your trans friend’s surgery.

I don’t normally post content warnings, as I try to make it clear early in my story what I’ll cover so that people can avoid content they don’t want to read. But I’m going to make an exception here: COVID-19 is stressful. Having our medical care delayed is stressful. And reading about this may be more stressful than beneficial. If you’re dealing with possibly delayed surgeries or procedures, I’d suggest something other than continuing reading. This article isn’t for you. It’s for the people who say you’re overreacting.

So, for…

If transphobia kills me, as it kills too many of my trans siblings, I want my friends to write my name on a brick and throw it through a window. I’ll leave it up to them as to which window they throw it through, but suspect it’ll be a political office or church window.

And right now, someone, somewhere, is reading this. And maybe that person is pissed. I’m advocating for the destruction of property.


There are a lot of taboos when it comes to talking about trans medical care. Talking about something that goes wrong is one of the biggest. For me, it was minor complications, but the lack of discourse on the healing process made them feel a lot worse than they were.

First, a note about this article: I’ll be referring to body parts by medical names, talking about some of the more difficult parts of my healing after gender confirmation surgery (“bottom surgery”), and including some highly stylized diagrams of anatomy.

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Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

The Expectation vs. Reality

When I had gender confirmation surgery (“male-to-female bottom surgery” or…

Joelle Tori Maslak

Programmer (🦋, 🐪, & 🐍), Gender Traitor & Shape Shifter ⚧, Geek 📚, Christian ✝, Motorcycle Rider 🏍️ , Puppy Parent 🐾, Wife 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩.

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