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In the queer community, there are a lot of words. The acronym (LGBTQ2IADP+) has grown longer, and the collective amount of patience to learn what each letter stands for has grown shorter. If you begin to factor in specifically branched terminology, say, terms that are unique to the transfeminine or asexual communities, the list continues to expand.

Have I mentioned that we don’t agree on what many of the words mean? For example, I am comfortable calling myself queer, but others may (rightfully) find that word offensive based on their own unique definitions.

One day, I received a comment requesting…


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My mom is pretty cool. She sings in a nationally recognized gospel choir and plays the tambourine (at the same time). She’s a single mother, and she’s helping to put me through college. She’s a mixed race lesbian who grew up in the 70s. She plays softball and slides into the bases even though she definitely shouldn’t. She’s exactly the person you’d picture to have raised me.

And, she’s one of the most dedicated allies for trans, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary people I’ve met.

I interviewed her this weekend in the hopes of creating a reflective, safe space for both…


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435 days. 435 days since my first shot of testosterone, taken alone in the bathroom of my childhood home while following along with a YouTube tutorial shared by my PCP.

As T has begun to stand its ground in my body and make more and more noticeable changes, I’ve consolidated my thoughts into bullet points that may be useful for a person considering starting T or a person going through the earlier stages of HRT.

1. My voice is lower than I’d like it to be.

When it began to drop in October, I didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t a feeling I was prepared for, but it was thrilling…


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I’ve given campus tours for my university, Willamette, since the spring of 2020. Weird timing, I know, but I’ve gotten the hang of it over the last year and a half. As a genderqueer college student giving campus tours to other soon-to-be college students, I’ve picked up on several patterns in my interactions with prospective families that contribute to more positive, transparent, and inclusive tour experiences.

I want to pass this knowledge on because college and university tour guides don’t always receive the most thorough EDI training, which means we have to fill in the knowledge gaps for ourselves.

Introducing Yourself to Tour Groups

When…


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I’ve reached a point in my gender that I didn’t expect to hit for at least two more years. I’m passing as a he/him. Most of the time. Unless I specifically choose to make myself pass as a she/her or a they/them.

I’m not used to my gender presentation being this malleable.

I’m not sure if I’m having an identity crisis, or if I’m simply at a crossroads or a “teachable moment.”

It cannot go without saying that I’m privileged to have this problem. Receiving top surgery may have saved my life in the long run, and going on T…


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Picture an afternoon college campus tour. A small liberal arts institution in the Pacific Northwest. A 45 minute stroll through the academic buildings, residence halls, dining spaces, and campus grounds. A sunny day, cracking 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You’re a mom, walking behind her daughter as she asks her questions, beaming with pride as you watch your child take another step toward adulthood.

A lovely afternoon, save for one tiny detail: You cannot tell the gender of your campus tour guide. You’re looking at a lean kid. They’ve got short curly hair, and they’re wearing a face mask most of the…


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Do you remember learning the order of operations for evaluating a math expression in grade school? It was taught as PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction) or “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”

I loved PEMDAS. That process, along with learning my times tables, was the height of my short-lived math career. I appreciated the simplicity and conciseness of the acronym and the fool-proofed feeling of it.

I want to propose a similar concept for people who use multiple pronouns — not for them; they know what they’re doing. But for those of us who don’t use multiple…


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Funny story: my gender’s taken on a strange form these days. It’s become a mirrorgender of sorts — the kind where the people who see me pick my gender for me, and they don’t always agree. It’s funny, and I rarely correct people when this happens because I’m too busy enjoying myself to mind the misgenderings much.

In the past two months, three instances of my gender becoming a mirror for others to use as they see fit stand out. Welcome to story time.

1. The Photoshoot

As many of you may already know, I work for the admissions office at my university…


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As a young nonbinary adult who’s been out of the closet for more than a year, I’m comfortable with who I am, and my mom is as well. I came out slowly over time, first mentioning that I was considering changing my name and then suggesting that I was starting to use they/them pronouns alongside she/hers at school.

When I finally officially came out to my mom over the 2019–20 winter break, she had questions, but she didn’t boot me out of the house — which is a low bar, I’ll admit. She wanted to understand what being nonbinary was…


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I had top surgery (FTN) six months ago. Six months. October 8th, 2020. And I’m loving it. (Cue the McDonald’s theme song.)

Whether you’re pre-op and looking to hear about top surgery benefits from another trans person, newly post-op and looking for a light at the end of the tunnel as you spend time in the post-op compression binder and emptying out your drains, several years post-op and looking to reminisce, or an ally looking to learn more about why transmasculine individuals undergo this procedure, you’ve come to the right place.

Without further ado…

40 Perks of Being Post-Op Top Surgery:

  1. Not needing to wear a binder…

theoaknotes

Picture a Gen Z kid explaining gender to you over a coffee date. Hi, I’m Oak. It’s nice to meet you. Find me at theoaknotes@gmail.com. Words: Psychology Today.

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