These action-oriented articles function as starting points for trans people and those questioning their gender identities who live rurally, remotely, or in small communities, and are looking for resources, support, and trans community.
Cities often have services, resources, and trans community, which can help people transition with more ease. However, living in small, rural and/or remote communities presents a set of specific challenges. Cities usually have more available trans-related resources, services, and higher concentrations of trans people. Often, less populated places have few, if any, resources and services to assist a transitioning individual, who is left to fend for themselves. People in such situations may not know where to look for support and care. The lack of anonymity can compound transition-related challenges in these settings. Every non-urban transition is unique and experiences will differ depending on a wide-range of factors. If you find yourself living rurally, remotely, or in a small town, these articles may help ease your gender journey.
Part 1: Finding Trans People, Narratives & Gear Online
If you are living rurally, remotely, or in a small town, the quickest and most anonymous way to access trans-specific information and community is by going online. This only works if you have internet access, but providing you do, going online is an effective way to learn about others’ experiences, to meet people who are like you, and more! Here are six places to get you started:
Youtube is a great platform to learn about transition and trans people’s experiences. There are countless trans people on Youtube uploading a videos about their transition process and there are certainly those in similar situations to you. For example, here is a Youtube video about being trans in a small town. Searching and finding videos on Youtube can be a really helpful way to learn about other people’s wide range of experiences related to transition and to gender.
Facebook is another platform that has a range of online groups for trans people. If you want to remain anonymous, you can create a new Facebook account with a name and pronoun that you’d like to use. Simply make sure that Facebook doesn’t think it’s a “fake name” as they have been known to take down profiles they don’t think are legit. Also, make sure to adjust your privacy settings if you’d like to remain as anonymous as possible. For local support, check out TransAction Victoria and the TransVictoria Peer Support Group, or to connect with folks from all over, try The Facebook Transgender Alliance and Gender Outlaws. There are also many other groups on Facebook that you can find by doing a keyword search.
3) Instagram, Twitter, and other social media
By searching hashtags on instagram or twitter, you can sometimes find people who share a similar experience or similar values, and begin to build your social connections online. Some popular trans-related hashtags are #transisbeautiful #trans #transgender #nonbinary #twospirit#girlslikeus #thisiswhattranslookslike #mtf #ftm #lgbtq , and many others you’ll find along the way. Try it out!
4) Books & e-Books:
Books, e-books, and podcasts can be helpful tools to learn about transitioning and about a variety of trans people’s experiences. There are many great books written by trans people, and it can be very affirming to read and listen to their stories. Here is a great list (or try this one or this one) by gender variant people to get you started. Some classic reads include Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg, anything by Kate Bornstein, anything from Transgress Press, Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, and Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon. A comprehensive and very informative book is Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, which is a go-to resource for anything you want to know about being trans.
For those of you who enjoy listening to podcasts, there are some that focus on trans experiences that you might enjoy. For example, Marlo Mack’s How to be a Girl, follows Mack and her young trans child, on the day-to-day experiences of a mother helping her child transition. It is a really heart-warming and informative podcast. Other podcasts worth checking out include Beyond Gender Podcast, where the creators highlight experiences of trans people from all walks of life, and One From the Vaults, by writer and activist Morgan M Page, explores trans people across 20th century history. Radiolab also produced a segment called New Stu, which follows Stu Rassmussen, a transgender person from a small town in Oregon. The piece is about Stu’s journey as he runs for mayor, the town’s response, and how they dealt the haters “from away” (Note: Stu is transfeminine, but hasn’t changed his pronouns or name.) Listening to people talk about a variety of trans experiences can be really soothing and a helpful reminder that you are not alone.
6) Gender Affirming Gear:
If you want to purchase some gear to help affirm your gender on a more physical level and can do so, you can shop online. Most places send the orders in discreet packaging, but you can always call in advance to ask them. For people on the trans-masculine spectrum looking to order chest binders, the US company gc2b sells some of the most comfortable and breathable binders available. In terms of packers and other gear, the Toronto-based store Good for Her carries products for trans-masculine folks. There is also FTM Essentials for gender affirming gear. For trans-feminine people, TG Fashions has some good options, and Origami Customs creates awesome swimwear and lingerie for all people of all genders and body types/shapes/sizes. If you are living on Vancouver Island, UVic Pride has a Gender Affirming Resource Program that offers new and second-hand lower cost/subsidized transwear, and they may be able to connect you with what you need. Exploring style and gear in a way that feels safe for you can be a really positive experience to affirm your gender.
The internet is full of information, community, and more to help those who wish to explore their gender. People who do not have easy access to larger urban centres can start by venturing online (providing they have a reliable connection) to learn and meet others like them. The internet offers people living rurally, remotely, and in small communities relative privacy and opportunities for connection, which can be both be crucial. Many people often turn to the internet when considering and navigating a transition because of all they can find online. This is the first article in a series about rural, remote, and small town transition, so stay tuned for more!