‘Being trans is not something you put on and take off. It’s part of who you are’

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04/17/2021

Rowan Moore’s son Felix came out as transgender to his family seven years ago, when he was 19. Here they address some of the significant themes in the discussion about trans rights today. Upon his death in 1989, retired jazz singer Billy Tipton, who lived as a man for more than 50 years, was discovered to be transgender. His story generated sensationalist press attention, but it also drew the notice of the trans community. “Men like Billy,” trans activist Lou Sullivan wrote at the time, “prove that we as FTMs [female to males] are not a bizarre recent phenomenon.” Here I am as a trans man today, still having to explain and justify my identity. Growing up, I couldn’t have been less like the popular idea of a trans man. I played with Sylvanian Families, not monster trucks. I loved sparkly dresses and anything purple. I was a girly child who grew into a girly man. People sometimes expect trans people to embody a stereotypical image of their gender identity, but in my experience trans people are much more likely to be creative and unconventional in how we express gender. This is even more true among people I know who are both autistic and trans, myself included.

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