5 days away from top surgery.
Some may think surgery and hormones are an obvious choice for a trans person. That it’s an easy decision once you figure out your shit. That they understand the main reason for transition which is to “pass”.
In some cases this may be true, but that narrative can complicate things even more for others, for me it certainly did.
Everything I’ve done in the last year or so, I’ve done for myself. It took thought and time to be able to say that confidently.
Wrote this in the fall, now it’s time to share.
Thank you to everyone who’s been so incredibly supportive and understanding this past while. Everyone who donated towards my surgery. Everyone who’s stuck around. Bless you.
A letter to myself:
Last night I was talking to a friend who has also recently started testosterone. It came out that both of us had been struggling with the idea that our bodies might be judged by friends, family, future lovers, even by ourselves as “weird” once some of the changes started to occur.
I said something then that I’d been carrying around for a while.
“Us and our bodies are not failed attempts at being cis people.”
As testosterone begins to change me and I prepare for top surgery, I have to keep reminding myself that I will always be in this same body (for better or for worse).
I will still be at home.
When I have a flat chest it will be the same skin covering my same bones. As my voice drops it will come from the same mouth, speaking words formed by the same tongue and teeth that have always been mine.
Sometimes, because of the way bodies are so strictly gendered and policed in our society, I find myself anxious, worrying that as I start down this path I am giving up my “normal”, “female” body, and entering into the unknown where I will never attain the body of a “normal” cis male.
It’s as if the changes some trans people make to their situations (be it name, pronouns, hormone therapy, surgery, clothing, hair, the list goes on) are viewed as “cover ups” to “hide” our “true” gender or body. As if the basic framework for all humans is option A or B and at the core of any person you will always find one of the two.
Even as someone who says “Fuck the gender binary”, it is hard to unlearn these lessons that I’ve internalized so deeply.
But eventually, sense cracks through such thoughts.
It starts with feeling jaded and tired out by such rigid, cissexist standards.
It turns into indignation at the fact that this way of thinking literally erases trans people and our bodies, which are real and concrete, taking up actual space and air on this planet, by the way.
It becomes a quiet, bubbling rage as I see that what I’ve been taught by the entire world around me is that bodies of trans people are distorted, unnatural, “science projects”.
Eventually this rage spills over and floods my anxieties, drowning them as I work myself up to the “Fuck that” and conclude that this was always my body’s path.
This was always where I would end up.
This is the natural course of my life.
My trans body is my home.
It is real, and honest, and worthy of love.
I live in the future.
It is natural, it is beautiful, and it is right now.
It’s been an eventful past few weeks!! I’m a year older and a few thousand dollars closer to top surgery thanks to the Pec Party that happened on Monday at the Gladstone.
It was amazing to see everyone filling into that room for the night. So many faces I hadn’t seen in ages, everyone smiling and so happy to be out on a Monday. Wow. Those are mental images I will cherish for my whole life, especially as surgery gets closer and closer and you need those things for the scary moments.
I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what I’ll be doing for surgery. I’m leaning more and more towards Dr. McLean in Mississauga. He’s one of the best in the game for double incision surgery, and though I wasn’t too keen on that style at first, it’s growing on me. For so long I thought I wanted key hole procedure by this surgeon in San Fransisco because it doesn’t leave the 2 big scars. I was worried they would cause me a lot of dysphoria. But lately I’ve been wondering if it would be harder to not have scars, almost as if nothing had ever happened, as if I’d never had the chest I have now. That’s been fucking with my head a lot, and also the idea of getting on a plane and going to another country for it…Especially one that is not renowned for it’s accessible health care. Anyway, I’m almost half way there with the cash so there’s plenty of time to think about it, but I am getting pretty excited. It feels like it’s starting to get real and changes are actually happening, my life is really going to begin.
This week also marks the launch of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust’s m.bodiment campaign in association with Movember Canada. It’s a social media and poster campaign aiming to open the conversation about queer men’s bodies and body image issues.
I was so honoured and excited to be invited to model for this project. Wow.
The vibe on set the day of the shoot was incredible. After the initial nerves of being totally naked in a room full of strangers, there was a sweetness and a bond happening that you rarely see develop so quickly. We were all lifting each other up and I hope that you can feel it when you watch the videos.
I honestly didn’t even intend on getting fully naked, we had the option to keep on whatever we felt most comfortable in. But when we were all standing together and everyone was undressing there was a level of shyness, of course, but there was also a feeling that this was a very serious and important thing happening.
I hadn’t realized the guy next to me was also trans and pre-top surgery until he started undressing. When he decided to take everything off I knew he was nervous, I could feel his hesitation, and I was hugely empowered and encouraged by his actions. I went for it too.
We were all giving each other permission to take up space that had maybe never been given some in a “men’s space”. Not only permission to take up space, but also the promise of safety, support, unconditionally, regardless of what was under your clothes.
It was an amazing experience to be part of m.bodiment. I thank Egale, Movember, and Route 11 for the opportunity. I’m sending all my love to my fellow models. You handsome men. Thank you.
The summer’s over but that doesn’t mean anything is slowing down these days.
I am really excited to open ticket sales for my 2015 PEC PARTY (aka TOP SURGERY FUNDRAISER) at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom on October 5th. It is such a blessing to have Lucas Silveira, Army Girls, The Mohrs, and DJ Alyssa Vilellas on the bill for the evening, hosted by Tyler Uptight and his friend Cameron. Check out all their links below and get familiar so you can come sing along!
I really hope any of you living in Toronto will come party with us, share this with your friends, and if you can’t make it on the night there is totally a donation button Here is the ticket link: https://itrulycare.com/events/ts-pec-party and if you would like to RSVP on Facebook and invite friends, do it!!: https://www.facebook.com/events/178028235863348/
Top surgery is something that comes with a lot to consider on many different levels, and asking for help with it took even more thought. I decided a few months ago that it was something I was interested in, though I’ve kept fairly quiet about it until now. As committed as I am to sharing my transition (for lack of a better word) publicly, when it comes to this, I feel it is more important to share the thoughts the process provoked in me on how we gender bodies in general, rather than the personal backs and forths I went through to come to my decision.
I so appreciate everyone who has kept up with me as I update this page, and I look forward to sharing the few pieces I’ve written on my experience of a trans body in the near future.
For now, I just wanted to let anyone out there know about this event, but watch this space for my musings, coming soon…
Barely home from NS and it feels like I’ve got 2 seconds to catch my breath before I’m on the road again! Love it. It’s wild how quickly one becomes accustomed to the life of floating around, not distinguishing between the weekends and weekdays, sleeping in. I’ve missed it. Lord knows how I’ll get back to 7am mornings from here…
Nova Scotia was lovely. I spent most of the trip in Antigonish, and even though there weren’t as many beach days as I’d hoped, it was a beautiful time.
Festival Antigonish has started doing a weekly cabaret night after one of the MainStage shows and I was stoked to catch that on my first evening in town. It busted my heart right open.
I’ve been hanging around that theatre since I was about 11 or 12 (almost 10 years, holy frig) and have made many friends and memories there. I wasn’t quite sure how things were going to go given that history and the notion of “small town Nova Scotia” one develops in their head.
The night of the cabaret was overwhelmingly lovely. There was an unexpected amount of queerness in the room, and to see that happening so casually alongside long time Antigonish residents and theatre goers is a testament to the huge cultural shift that’s taken place around LGBTQ+ issues in the last few years.
It was invigorating to experience somewhere so familiar in such a new way; a way that made me feel safer and happier than I can ever remember feeling in Antigonish. It was as if the space I’d seen just a small part of the fight for years ago, was suddenly available. I was okay to be there as exactly who I wanted to be, without fear.
If that’s because queers said “Fuck it” and just decided to take their space, or because there’s been education leading to a new understanding of human differences, who knows? For the first time I felt like it might not be so bad to be a young queer in the Nish, like we could survive, even thrive there. Let me tell you, that is huge.
Hey guys. I’m pretty stoked to announce that tomorrow is my last day of employment!! (For now)
I’m pumped to be taking August off before getting back to Egale Youth OUTreach in September. Going to spend the month doing a bit of traveling to NS (relax time) and NYC (go hard time), sleeping in, playing lots of music, catching up on some writing…Prepare yourselves for a loooot of Instagram posts.
Couple things I’m super excited about in NS: I’m finally getting my fulls!! Wow, about time, I know right? That’s going to mean I’m on the road (lol. get it? the road? okay. too good) to getting my name change done, which I’m pretty stoked about. PLUS! My friend Kaitlyn is coming with me and if you’ve been watching my Instagram/Facebook you’ve seen our awesome “Fuck Your Gender Binary” shirts. We’re going to be bringing a bunch with us to sell, so if you live in Halifax or Antigonish, get your order in now and save on shipping between August 4th-13th! They’re only $10! Pretty sweet I’d say. ON TOP of those sweet tingz, I’m spending most of the time in Antigonish with my dad checking out the sweet plays happening this summer at Festival Antigonish. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got going on.
Getting back to NYC is going to be lovely too as I haven’t been there since last September. I can’t wait to visit all the spots I came to know over my month there and all the people I’ve been missing! I’m going to be collabing on a project with Mars Hobrecker (also originally from Nova Scotia), and I can’t waiiiit to share that with you all when it’s finished.
Hummm…Those are all the updates I can think of for now. I hope everyone in Toronto is surviving this heat wave…I’m off to Hanlan’s on Friday.
Life has slipped into that summertime haze recently. I cook a lot less, I come home late, I forget to clean my cat’s litter box (sorry Marnie). It’s hard to stick to the illusion of being a grown up when you just want to be in the park as much as possible. But I’m not complaining, I really enjoy the chilled out feeling that comes with summer.
That being said, I have been slacking on the blogs lately.
First and foremost I want to say thanks so much to everyone for all the support around the Globe and Mail article and thanks to Josh for doing such a great job with the piece. I’ve said it a lot and I’ll say it again, I was blown away at the sensitivity and the depth of research that went into the article on all angles. From my conversation with Josh, to Darren who took my pictures (and jammed out to Bob Dylan with me), it was a wonderful experience. I was definitely a little worried about taking something so personal public, but the support I’ve received around the article and even these blog posts, has been heartening and inspiring and I just want to say thanks.
Summer has been treating me well so far. On Saturday I discovered Hanlan’s Point, the “clothing optional” beach on Toronto Island. I don’t know if its strange the safest space I seem to have found for myself in terms of swimming is a beach with a bunch of naked people on it (mostly cis gay men), but I’m glad I’ve found it. Swimwear has been one of the most frickin annoying things my whole life for one, and secondly, when I started to accept I was trans I felt like I had to start hating my body.
I’ve been lucky in that I had a pretty good relationship with my body for most of my life, and though I do have moments of feeling awkward or uncomfortable with myself for a variety of reasons, gender-related and otherwise, I didn’t feel like the “I have hated my body forever” narrative entirely fits my experience as a trans person. So being able to finally find a space where I can just wear a pair of swim trunks and not have to put on a sports bra or whatever (which makes me feel a lot more dysphoric than being shirtless) and not be harassed in any way is a very big win. Hanlan’s Point, you just made my summer!
Speaking of swimwear, here are some links to some good tips/options that I’ve found in my search, I hope they’re helpful if you need them
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQFOd_AH-dg (I have some thoughts on the whole culture of ‘passing’ but that’s for another day, and Benton has some great swimwear tips)
Apart from running around like a wild shirtless beach fanatic, I’ve been in and out of the studio and am getting really stoked about the demos Dave and I are making. I was so glad to share Sally with y’all and I can’t wait to put more out there. Soon enough, soon enough…
I hope everyone is having a great summer 2015 so far.
Rock on, be safe, enjoy yourselves in the sun.
Thanks for reading.
The Globe and Mail: How T. Thomason is claiming a stake in the music world – and helping other transgender artists do the same
Well, this time last week I was getting ready to head home from the ONE Film Festival in Ottawa after it’s inaugural year and the world premiere of the short film DAWG, which I was super fortunate to work on with my mom, Shelley Thompson, last winter. Apart from a pipe bursting in our hotel and dripping on my phone all night (lol what are the chances), last weekend was a lot of fun and great opportunity for the movie. One of the highlights was the screening of “How to Change the World”, a documentary by Jerry Rothwell about the origins of Greenpeace and all the wild things they got up to. Wow. Talk about inspiring. I highly recommend it if you ever get a chance to catch this flick.
Mom and I did a couple lovely Ottawa touristy things as she hadn’t spent a lot of time in the city before. We drove Sussex Drive, looked out over the canal, wandered around the Byward Market (and ate the best burritos ever!) I had an interesting experience in a barber shop in the market that I’ve been thinking about a lot since and figured the best way to process it was to write some stuff down.
I’d been desperate for a haircut for the past couple weeks and especially as we were going to the film festival, I wanted to look sharp. I’ve really been digging going into barber shops now that I have my short hair, but I usually call ahead to make sure they’re queer/trans friendly, as I’ve heard some horror stories about friends being refused service, though I like to think those incidents are occurring less and less these days. Anyway, my friend recommended a place, so mom and I made our way over on a whim.
The guy at the counter was super nice to me and booked me in right then and there. We started chatting a little and he called me “man”. That’s when I realized, I was passing.
“Passing” in the trans community usually means being perceived as your “preferred gender”. For me, passing means being taken as a guy.
Even before I came out as trans/cut my hair/started binding, I was “sir”-ed fairly regularly. I’ve witnessed first hand how people treat you when they perceive you as male, and I think it goes without saying (as surprising as it may be to some) that you are generally treated with more respect, listened to more attentively, questioned less. Thats a result of living in our patriarchal society where male privilege sadly runs rampant. I’ve also witnessed how uncomfortable people get when they can’t “figure out” your gender, what language to use for you, etc., or they feel like they’ve been “tricked” into thinking you’re something you’re “not”.
For me, just on the inside, in the place where I am getting to know myself and be okay with whatever I may find, passing is exciting. It is comfortable. It is what I’m going for. But with it comes male privilege, which is difficult to navigate when you’ve grown up and been socialized as female.
It is a really hard thing to wrap your head around that suddenly your competency, your intelligence – your general ability as a human – supposedly changes, entirely based on some people’s perception of your gender.
It’s something I think about a lot as I wrestle with the notion of going on testosterone (which would eventually mean passing the majority of the time). But more on that later, back to the barber shop.
So, I am enjoying the fact that I’m passing and I’m trying not to be hyper aware of all the things that could “give me away”. Am I sitting with my legs open wide enough? Is my voice too high? Are my hand movements “too feminine” (whatever that means)?
I know better than this, I’ve had a lot of conversations with other trans masculine friends about “passing” and how damaging it is to try and mute your personality/mannerisms to fit into a stereotype. Ultimately, transition is about becoming more yourself, not about squishing yourself into yet another box. So if you’re a guy who sits with crossed legs – fuck yeah! If you’re a guy who has more estrogen than testosterone in your system – fuck yeah! If you’re a guy with a chest or who wears nail polish or who sits to pee – hell fucking yeah!!
I know all this, I believe all this, and yet, I am still hyper-aware because I can’t help it. Passing is my happy place, my comfort zone, it’s when I feel seen and validated. Where I get a glimpse of what might be.
There are no other customers in the shop, the rest of the barbers are sitting in the chairs and we’re all chatting as I get my hair cut. I’m struck by how friendly they are, how engaged and how they’re really listening and responding to what I say. I can’t tell if they’re just very nice guys or if this is how men treat other men.
We’re talking about where I get my hair cut in Toronto and I’m excited to learn they’re opening a shop near my house. I tell them I’m in the market for a new barber these days as mine hasn’t been doing it for me. They assume my barber is male, I refer to her as “she” and the next question is “Oh well, is she hot?”
It is said so casually, not even with some sneaky, dirty tone behind it the way teenagers would ask the same question. It is asked almost without thinking, without any true interest, a knee-jerk reaction to a woman becoming the topic of our conversation.
I freeze up for a second because I’m caught off guard by it, (they were such “nice guys”!) and I’m suddenly aware of my own safety and what could happen if they “found out”, if they felt like I had “tricked” my way into their male space.
I say “Uh, um, yeah” and change the subject.
After I leave the barber shop, I tell my mom about what happened and my frustration that I hadn’t been able to come up with something witty, I was too surprised and kind of scared. We brainstorm responses for these situations in the future. Responses that are not lectures or anything, but something like “She’s really nice, we have great talks” or (if I hadn’t already said I wasn’t happy with the haircuts) “I go for the haircuts” or (if I wanted to have a little fun with them) “Not as hot as the guy who runs the place”.
That’s all fine and good, to learn from experience and prepare for next time, but it’s stuck with me since. The nonchalance of his tone, the normalcy of it.
Essentially, in that moment, my barber was stripped of her years of experience, her knowledge, the knowledge she has yet to acquire, her potential for growth as a professional in an industry, the time it took for her to get to where she is in that industry, and judged based on a man’s opinion of her body.
What the hell?
A few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been aware of any of this. I’ve definitely been that guy who is a bit of a douchebag, slightly sexist, maybe even misogynistic. The stereotypical teenage boy, at times.
I’m sure most young masculine people go through a phase like this as we digest all the shit we’re shovelled about how masculinity and femininity supposedly interact. Where masculinity equals dominance and femininity equals submissive. Fuck that.
My mother, my manager, my mentors, my best friend, my favourite rockstar, my first love – all women. I dare you to try to mess with any of them, I wish you luck and protective armour, you will need it.
As I’ve come to understand my masculine identity, be honest about it, live in it, I’ve become more of a feminist than I ever was. On top of being lucky enough to know and learn from so many strong feminist women/feminine people, I am super lucky to know a lot of proud feminists who are masculine or male identified. It has been crucial to my self-discovery to surround myself with men/masculine people who are willing to talk about recognizing and navigating their own male privilege and resisting the mainstream idea of “a man” (hi dad!)
Separating misogyny and masculinity is important and has helped me feel way more comfortable as I develop my masculine identity. I’m so grateful to everyone who has spent the time chatting with me over terrible coffee or cheap beer in the past year.
I don’t quite know how to wrap this up, apart from saying thank you for reading and allowing me the space to share my thoughts about this. It’s a lot to think about and figure out, but it’s really important, I think.
I don’t want to become “that kind of guy”, I just want to be “my kind of guy”.
NOW, this guy has a little something something of a demo to leave you with, if you’re interested in the musical self-discovery that’s been going on lately Enjoy.
The last couple weeks have been wild and it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here!
CMW happened and I was stoked to catch up with some amazing friends from back home.
I don’t know what I expected from the music community in Nova Scotia, I hadn’t really realized it was something that worried me at all, but it was the best feeling ever to see so many old friends and hear them use my name and pronouns as if it had always been that way.
For example, the second Carleton Stone saw me, he was giving me that same lovely Carleton smile we’re all obsessed with, telling me he was proud of me, and calling me T. I’m getting a little emotional just thinking back on it. That’s some unconditional bromance shit right there.
If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Carleton’s new band with Breagh Mackinnon and Dylan Guthro, Port Cities, as well as my friends Nicole Ariana and Laura Roy. That’s just a taste of the talent out of Nova Scotia these days – prepare to have your minds blown.
I started compiling songs that have really hit with me over this last chunk of time, and I want to share one with you now. It’s Saturday, it’s a long weekend and it’s finally summer (sort of…)
Here’s the song I danced around my living room to after coming out to my close friends in the winter.
Kanye will always have a special place in my heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I-d0LJ6ojg
Thank you everyone who took the time to read my last post and for the amazingly supportive responses I’ve received. It means more than you can imagine.
I’ve switched over my Twitter and Instagram account names, so if you’re interested in following me, check out @swtbbt. I’m in England at the moment so you’ll see a whole lot of family pics and old buildings…
Anyway, this is just a very quick note mostly to say thanks so much for everything since my “coming out”, and to let you know that I’ll be posting here every week.
The main topics that’ll likely pop up are; my transition (the story up to now, feelings, fears, questions, resources), and my music (new project, maybe a sneak peek at a demo, what I’m listening to/drawing inspiration from).
The idea behind the blog is to allow myself an outlet during this time of change and to create a space that is transparent and honest, and to hopefully act as a resource for anyone who needs it. In my mind, the more voices breaking the silence that seems to be all too familiar to people of the LGBTQ+ community, the better.
Thanks for reading.
I’ll be forever grateful to the person who showed me this video: youtube.com/watch?v=-n08vFSKIts
“Woman” is a word I’ve always struggled with in relation to myself, but I was lucky and grew up with parents who didn’t pressure me to conform with the mainstream idea of femininity – for as long as I can remember, I was a tomboy.
Except for the year I was a boy – Matthew, age five.
For the past ten months I have been thinking pretty solidly about my gender.
For the past six months I have been leading what feels like a double life.
In my personal life, the majority of my friends have switched to calling me “T” and using gender neutral (they/them/theirs) pronouns. I have a LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning, two-spirit) friendly day-job where this is respected, allowing me to feel comfortable and happy in my skin.
Online and in my music life, however, it has been a different story.
I didn’t know how to tell everyone who has supported Molly Thomason and enjoyed her music for the past 6 years that she wouldn’t be around any more. Trust me, I played with all kinds of ideas; faking my own death, moving across the world, etc. Only the most dramatic options of course (sue me, it runs in the family)
In the end, with the support of my family, my amazing manager, Sheri Jones, and Sheri’s team, I’ve decided that the best thing is to bring everyone and anyone who wants to come on this adventure along for the ride.
For my own sake – I need to live honestly.
For anyone reading this – you have most likely come to a show, bought a CD, told a friend about my music. I am forever grateful and you deserve to be met with honesty.
I am a non-binary trans-masculine person and proud of it.
“What does that even mean??” You ask. Well, I’m looking forward to posting more as things unfold and keeping anyone who is interested, in the loop.
Check back here for new blog updates in the next few days. We will be switching over the Molly Thomason Facebook page and Twitter account to reflect this change.
Love and thanks,