Alex on being a trans* naturist

8 May

Thanks to Alex for sharing his thoughts on being a trans* naturist, and for Dan Jones for the photography. 

I love going to clothing optional events. They are places where I feel very comfortable and safe. This surprises a lot of people because I am transgender. I was identified as female when I was born, but have chosen to live as male. A lot of trans people are very uncomfortable with their bodies, which can make naturist events quite daunting. Although I have some physical dysphoria, however, most of my discomfort is social. This means that as long as people see me as who I am, I feel fairly comfortable.

Of course, getting naked with a load of people who don’t know you when you’re trans does bring up some fears. Mainly, I worry that as soon as people see my chest and genitals, they may see me as female and start calling me ‘she’. I also worry that people who have seen me clothed and read me as male may be shocked and look twice when they notice that I don’t have a penis. That kind of attention can be pretty uncomfortable.

I also worry that I may end up as an educator. A lot of trans people spend far too much of their lives explaining every detail of their identities to people, often strangers. Although I am happy to answer questions that help people to understand trans issues, it gets boring to talk about it all of the time. It isn’t the only thing that makes me who I am, and occasionally I do get fed up of being seen in a very one-dimensional way.

I also have the constant fear of being sexualised because of my identity (and my bits!) A lot of people are attracted to the unusual or to androgyny. Whilst this, in itself, is not a bad thing, people can be a little to vocal about their attractions or about my body, which can get really uncomfortable, especially in a public setting. Another variation on this is curious people who basically ask me whether I have a vagina or a penis – at least in a naturist setting the answer to that question is fairly obvious!

Feeling able to join in these events, however, has been such a positive for me. I think that body positivity is really important and healthy; and my confidence has grown massively. I have been able to let go of my hatred and fear of my body; which has even meant that I have stopped binding and become more confident in my sexuality.

To realise that there are people who can see me naked and continue to call me ‘he’ is a massive boost. I have gained more trust in people’s ability to understand me and emphasize with my situation. I also hope that my openness has helped people who have never knowingly met or seen a trans person to understand us more and fear us less.

Most valuable, though, is the feeling of equality that is unique to clothing optional and naturist events. Taking off our clothes removes a lot of the stereotypes and differences that e carry around with us and allows us to connect as human beings. When I am naked, I no longer feel the need to hide.

 Definitions:

Transgender – adjective to describe someone who lives or identifies as a gender different to  the one they were assigned at birth.

Trans – a ‘catch-all’ term for anyone who is within the spectrum of transgender, transsexual, transvestite, cross-dresser, etc. etc.

Androgyny – an adjective to describe anything or anyone who is somewhere in between male or female or whose gender is unclear.

Dysphoria – the discomfort felt by people whose gender does not completely line up with their body.

Further reading on trans* issues: 

T-vox’s trans 101 – a quick introduction to trans issues.

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24 Responses to “Alex on being a trans* naturist”

  1. Tony Tewfik May 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Alex, very best wishes

  2. stef (@Naked_stef) May 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Yes thanks for sharing Alex, it good to know you happy in your body

    • taffy evans May 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      My sentements exactly.

  3. Felicity Jones May 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Great and informative piece! Thank you for sharing your story. I can imagine people having a lot of questions when they meet you (I would too), but this is a great way to reach many people at once and give them a better understanding of what it means to be transgender. I think it’s awesome how social nudism has helped you gain confidence and be more comfortable in your body. Am I allowed to ask a question here actually? lol Before you got into naturism, did you rely on clothing to reflect your gender identity? (or do you still?) I’m wondering if transgender people reject naturism to avoid the confusion, when their clothing isn’t there to define them one way or the other. Well thank you again, I’ll be sharing this! 🙂

  4. Nicky May 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m an Intersex nudist as well and I’m even far rare than most people.

  5. Nick May 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    I totally agree with Stef and Felicity’s comments

  6. Steve May 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Hi Alex many thanks for this, I find the majority of naturists are very understanding and non judgemental in their approach to body image etc so you are in very good company at naturist events.
    Steve

  7. Martin B May 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Hi Alex, fantastic article and you are brilliant! This is one of the many reasons why I love Naturism so much. I have a physical disability but feel really alive when I’m clothes free and accepted by other Naturists as me and not pigeon holed as something or other.
    Stay naked whenever you can! Love Martin x

  8. Emilia Foxton May 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    A brilliant article Alex. Thank you for sharing your experiences

  9. alex young May 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    hi, thanks for your kind comments. Yes felicity, that is true in a sense. I hope that the way i act is percieved as male anyway but i definitely feel that when i put clothes on im hiding, trying to appear male and hide what my body is like

  10. Sabine May 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Hi Alex, I admire your courage to be open about your body. And I’m glad that you have found acceptance by other naturists.
    I particularly take your point about being trans being just one part of who you are.

  11. ashjam May 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Really awesome to see this Alex! I’m a transguy myself, and would love to be a naturist, but all the fears which you (so eloquently) voiced hold me back. I’m having top surgery in just over a month, and I feel that I will be much more comfortable after that. So with any luck, I’ll be joining you in being a trans* naturist!
    Rock on 🙂

    • alex May 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Look forward to seeing you around 🙂

      • ashjam May 24, 2012 at 9:55 am #

        Haha, well you’ll only really see me if you come to NZ….but it’s the thought that counts 😉

    • Tony Tewfik May 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

      Hi Ashjam, I am a man in his mid 50’s, I remember when I first braved taking my clothes off in public, thinking that every one would be staring at me and only me..Of course they did not. One day I saw a lady walking along a beach who had a double massectomy, I remember my admiration for her! Wonderful woman. Enjoy, nobody is going to look at you more than anybody else, you will be only another naked human!

    • Nicky May 10, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      Cool, I’m an intersex person and have been a nudist since teenage years. So I am use to being nude and going out skinny dipping. On top of that i’m comfortable in my own skin and my own body. I know some intersex people are sensitive to their bodies and skin. Maybe if they try nudism, it would help break the shame of being born with an Intersex body.

  12. Tony Tewfik May 10, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    When I was in my teens and 20’s, it was quite the norm to mix with naked people in festivals or on beaches, now when I go to my local nudist beach there are only people of my age, or older. It is so refreshing to read the comments written here. I am an artist and have spent all of my working life depicting the naked body and it has often surprised me that so many people have no inhibitions in posing for me, when they would not ever consider undressing in front of their peers.

    • alex May 10, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      I would happy pose for you if you like, and if you are in/near manchester. Alex

      • Tony Tewfik May 10, 2012 at 10:20 am #

        Thank you Alex, Unfortunately I seldom venture out of Cornwall. But I would love to work with you should you ever find yourself down here. Have a look at my site anthony-tewfik.com

  13. David May 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Rock on, Alex! Thanks for the honesty.

  14. anonymous May 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    i’m trans (non-binary) and i’ve always wondered how other trans people would function in a naturist setting! i’m not a naturist myself- i got linked here from a trans*-related site- but i think it’s interesting. thanks for sharing your experiences! i’m so glad it’s been so affirming for you genderwise.

  15. Marty May 21, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks Alex, I am a sufferer of BDS in that I can’t stand the sight of myself either mirrored or in photos, yet I enjoy and always have the naturist movement. Thanks for sharing your trans story – I knew a boy next door who turned into a lovely woman during her early teens, she has gone to sleep in rest now,, but I loved her. Here is a story in today’s “Age ” newspaper in Melbourne Victoria (Aust.) hope you like it. I hope you continue to grow in self worth and confidence.

    Cross-sex treatment on the rise
    Julia Medew
    May 21, 2012
    Read later
    AN INCREASING number of Australian children are receiving treatment at a special clinic for gender identity disorder, including hormone treatments to make them feel more like the opposite sex.

    Since 2003, a publicly funded clinic at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital has treated 39 children and adolescents for gender identity disorder – a condition where a person feels trapped within a body of the opposite sex.

    Seven of these children successfully applied to the Family Court to suppress puberty so they had more time to consider sex-change treatments in late adolescence or adulthood. Others have court applications pending, while some could not afford the legal costs or wanted to continue counselling.

    Advertisement: Story continues below
    All seven adolescents who had puberty suppressed went on to receive cross-sex hormone treatments at age 15 or 16 so they felt more like the sex they identified with. Surgery is only available to people over 18.

    For biological males, oestrogen treatment encourages breasts and other female characteristics while softening testicles and making them smaller. For females, testosterone suppresses menstruation and encourages hair growth, muscle bulk and voice deepening, with the latter being irreversible. It also increases the size of the clitoris and increases erections.

    Negative side effects of the cross-sex hormones are rare but can include migraines and liver problems. The long-term rate of regret with reversal of gender identity for adolescents is unknown, but researchers say less than 1 per cent of adults who have sex change surgery after thorough assessment regret their decision.

    Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, the doctors who run the clinic, Jacqueline Hewitt and Campbell Paul, said all patients received mental health assessments and support, and in cases of unrelenting cross-gender thought and behaviour, hormone treatments were considered. They said puberty could exacerbate distress for children with some expressing revulsion towards parts of their bodies and becoming suicidal.

    Growing awareness of the service meant patient referrals had increased from one in 2003 to eight last year and they said the clinic had become the main service for children and adolescents across Australia having hormone treatments. ”We’d like to see clinics in other major cities,” said Dr Paul, a psychiatrist and director of the clinic. ”It’s important to provide the right support and access to experience.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/crosssex-treatment-on-the-rise-20120520-1yyvp.html#ixzz1vUFRfDec

    • taffy evans May 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      Thank you Marty

      • taffy evans December 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

        I have a friend who has emigrated to Melbourne & has decided that she is trans therefore really a he. He is currently going through suppression therapy & has asked for surgery b4 he is 18. They have told him that he can but its a lot more expensive and the court has to approve.
        What Marty do you think I can do to support him from the other side of the world?

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