Harrisween

Hey everyone!

I’ve had quite the week. The struggle has been real to be a motivated law student this week.

I had a truly amazing day on Thursday. I found out that my application to do an externship at Georgia Legal Services Program in Athens has been accepted. I’ll be there all next semester and will get credit for my time. We haven’t registered for next semester’s classes yet, but I plan to be there for a full day on Wednesdays and Fridays. I am looking forward to not being in the classroom all week.

I also went to the Stonewall Bar (LGBTQ) Association’s Annual Awards Dinner Thursday. I went down a little early and got my haircut in Decatur. These Athens guys just can’t hang with my Decatur barber shop! Afterward, I went to my old Decatur law office to say hi to the gang, and then I dropped by Atlanta Legal Aid to say hi to my summer crew. Unfortunately, I was too late to see everyone at ALAS. I hope that I can get back there sometime soon to have lunch with everyone or something like that.

The dinner was a lot of fun. I ran into a former UGA OUTlaw president at the reception who was nice enough to invite the UGA students to sit at the King and Spalding table up front. The keynote speaker was Mary Bonauto, one of the Supreme Court oralists in the Obergefell (marriage equality) case. Her speech was truly spectacular. About 75% of it was about transgender rights. She was sitting at the table beside me, and after the dinner I introduced myself and thanked her for her speech. She seemed kind of surprised to see me. I don’t know if it was because she thought I’m a cisgender man or she was surprised to see a trans guy in law school. Regardless, I told her about a paper that I’m writing about Title IX and bathrooms. She gave me her card and told me to send it to her when I finish! No pressure, right?!?

After the dinner, I went to an after party that was fun. Lawyers are quite entertaining… haha

I went to a birthday/Halloween get together yesterday. I had a really good time. I dressed up as Clark Kent. I can’t help but look back and think about some of my past Halloween costumes: a UGA football player, a cowboy, a disgruntled Tennessee fan, the red Power Ranger, Batman, and the list goes on. Halloween was a day when gender norms got thrown out the window, and I got to be authentically Harris. Now I get to be the man I was always supposed to be 365 days a year.

All the best,

Harris

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3 strikes, I’m out

Hey everyone,

I really should be asleep right now, but I wanted to actually get a post out on the day that I say I post.

Anyway, this past week has really been tough. I’ve been misgendered three times within the last 10 days. The first time was when a professor that I’ve had virtually no contact with before this semester used a female pronoun in reference to me when talking with me and an attorney. At first I didn’t quite hear her, but it did finally register in my head. Then I had to think for a second to make sure that she was referring to me and not the female attorney that I was talking to. About the time I decided the professor was in fact talking about me, the attorney apologized to me for not correcting the professor’s use of the wrong pronoun.

The second time I was misgendered was at my favorite (at least one of) professor’s house. The professor invited all of his class to come to his house for snacks and a discussion. As we were circled around, sitting on his back porch, he referred to me as “she.” He quickly corrected himself and moved on, but that one hurt pretty bad.

This professor has been one of my most active supporters. I met his wife once before when I was at his house with a group of students before my first semester started. I had him for contracts my first semester of law school, and he invited our class to his house. His wife greeted me for my second trip to his house by saying, “How do you do, sir?” I hadn’t had enough contact with her the first time that I was there for her to know that I’m a guy. Needless to say, this professor is someone that I respect greatly.

I ran into the professor the next day, and he apologized. I accepted his apology, but I’m still pretty hurt. He said that he doesn’t know why he used the wrong pronoun. Honestly, I’m not so sure either. About 75% of the time I’m read as male. Albeit, probably a 14-year-old one, but male nonetheless.

The third misgendering was by a very close friend. We were talking about dating, and he used the phase “another woman.” I called him out on it, and he apologized profusely. I accepted his apology too.

Back in January, I used my friend’s paper cut analogy to describe how being misgendered feels. The friend that misgendered me asked that I describe why being misgendered hurts so that he could be a better advocate when it happens. I’ve thought about it a lot since he asked, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the ability to define oneself is a most treasured aspect of being human. When someone misgenders a transgender person, on some level it’s dehumanizing. I’ve come to the conclusion that when someone misgenders a trans person, it’s because the misgenderer doesn’t respect the trans person or similarly, the misgenderer doesn’t believe that the trans person.

All of this is to say that it is very important that you take great care to use the right pronouns when talking to or referring to a trans person.

All the best,

Harris

National Coming Out Day

Hey everyone!

Well I’m late on the post again. I’ve been so busy with school, and I was worn out by Pride last week to write a post. A law school friend told me yesterday that she and others at the school appreciate my blog posts. That made me feel pretty good. I’ll keep trying to carve out some time to make the weekly posts.

Last Sunday was my fourth Atlanta Pride. I got to be in the parade with the Georgia Democratic Party, and it was a lot of fun. My sister came to Pride too. It was her second Pride. She seemed to really enjoy it.

National coming out day was this past Tuesday. The first time I came out (as a lesbro) was about three and a half years ago. The second time I came out (I dropped the les) was a little over a year ago. To say that life is all rainbows and sunshine now that I’m out as a trans man would be a lie. Transitioning can be very painful at times, but it’s the kind of pain that makes you stronger. I hope that everyone can find the strength to come out. Living an authentic life is the best kind of life. As they say, a closet is no place to live.

Rightfully or wrongfully, I get angry from time to time at the people at the law school who don’t come out. First of all, I see you. Second, there’s nothing wrong with you. Third, anyone who says there is, is full of…

I know coming out is hard. You risk losing friends and family in coming out. You also make it harder on people who are already out. To be clear, I’m not saying that you should risk your safety to come out. Please put your safety first. I’m just saying that you should think about the reasons that you choose to stay in the closet and how that affects you and the rest of the community. It gets better. I’m always here to talk if you want to.

All the best,

Harris

 

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Happy Pride!

6 Months (& 1 Week)

Hey everyone!

I missed posting last week, which is a shame because it was my official six months on testosterone. Law school takes over sometimes. I don’t really have a lot to say this week. I’m busy with school and OUTlaw planning. I did actually take the lower dose of T like the doc suggested. I don’t think that my voice dipped like it usually does this past week. Since I take my shots every other week, around the middle Friday is when I’m at my deepest. My voice didn’t seem as low this time around, which gives me anxiety.

In light of some recent comments that have been made to me, I’d just like to give a short PSA about how to talk about trans bodies. I’m certainly not a spokesman for the community, but I think it’s safe to say that you generally shouldn’t tell a trans person who’s about to have top surgery in a couple months that he shouldn’t be afraid to take off his shirt and advocate for the “free the nipple” movement. Now clearly I’m all for people doing whatever feels comfortable with their body. This isn’t about anything but how to be respectful. I felt objectified, and it made me really uncomfortable for someone to talk about me in that way. Please don’t do that.

 

All the best,

Harris