Yes, I’m okay, and even better than that

Photo of a woman standing, with short purple hair, glasses, a purple shirt and maroon hoodie, a pendant of an inverted cross.
I don’t want to talk about or even think about Twitter (or as I call it, the Site of Damnation) any more than strictly necessary, so I’ll make this brief. I left the platform a couple weeks ago because the realtime nature of it was unhealthily addictive to me, was taking up extraordinary amounts of my time, and was incredibly stressful to the point of adversely affecting my health. At the height of it, I realized I had been unknowingly chewing sores into my lips and tongue while coping with days of targeted harassment. After leaving I almost immediately realized I didn’t even want to go back, and there was essentially no reason to do so — fundamentally, it is a second-by-second update of everything to get upset about in the world. Participating meant being incentivized to seek applause by constantly adding to the negativity and sharing more for people to become upset about. Of course it wasn’t healthy for me to be exposed to that environment; who would look at that and say “this is a daily experience I would love to have”? The platform is structurally poisonous. Continue reading “Yes, I’m okay, and even better than that”

Yes, I’m okay, and even better than that
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An interview at TransEthics: Public outreach, healthcare, and community dynamics

I’ve just finished a wonderful interview at Victoria Darling’s TransEthics blog, covering topics like public awareness of trans issues, support for trans youth, barriers to healthcare access, controversies within the community, and more. A quick preview:

TE: Is it your goal with the series to make trans people more relatable to the general public?

ZJ: This is a theme of the series, but more than that, it’s a theme of all of my work. I’ve found that this is often a matter of actions more than words. Simply existing publicly as an out trans person means creating opportunities for people to become familiar with us – when they see me, they know one more trans person than they did before. They know about my life, my history, my motivations and ambitions, my unique and defining features and interests.

This is what it means to humanize a group of people in the eyes of the larger public. It’s easy to make quick and uncharitable generalizations about who we are when you have a near vacuum of actual knowledge about us as real individuals. Unfamiliarity reduces us to an abstract concept for the wildest array of misconceptions and fears to be projected upon, rather than actual people who are a lot like you and are sharing a world with you. My series more narrowly serves to highlight specific issues facing trans people – aspects of our lives that can be quite challenging, but that cis people would otherwise have no reason to consider or be aware of in the usual course of their lives. These are experiences that I want to convey to cis people – I want more of them to have a deeper and more meaningful grasp of what this is like for us.

You can catch the rest of the interview at TransEthics.

An interview at TransEthics: Public outreach, healthcare, and community dynamics

Low T: A Tale of Two Hormones (Gender Analysis 01)

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Hi, welcome to Gender Analysis. In recent years, prescription testosterone has become a booming industry around the world. From 2001 to 2011, the percentage of men over 40 in the US who were prescribed testosterone replacement grew from about 0.8% to 2.9% – more than a threefold increase. And data from 41 nations shows that yearly testosterone sales have increased from $150 million in 2000 to $1.8 billion in 2011. Meanwhile, chains of “low T clinics” focusing on testosterone therapy have opened dozens of locations across the country.

So what’s behind this growth? Let’s take a look at one commercial for prescription testosterone gel:

“I have low testosterone. There, I said it. See, I knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. That’s when I talked with my doctor. He gave me some blood tests – showed it was low T. That’s it. It was a number.”

Companies selling these medications increased their spending on testosterone ads from $14 million in 2011 to $107 million in 2012, using a snappy new name like “low T” and the promise of a quick and easy pick-me-up for older men. If your T is low, you feel bad; if your T is higher, you feel good – right? This is the approach that’s fueled an explosion in testosterone usage. The problem is, it’s not just a number. In reality, “low T” levels are uncertain, the symptoms are vague, and the relationship between levels and symptoms really isn’t so direct. Continue reading “Low T: A Tale of Two Hormones (Gender Analysis 01)”

Low T: A Tale of Two Hormones (Gender Analysis 01)