Monday, 18 September 2017

My name is Cariad Keigher and I am transgender

One of the things that I've struggled with is an overall dislike for myself. I've dealt with it since my teens, resulting in anger, depression, and anxiety. Treating it as a mental illness has only either made me numb to life itself or caused others around me that I hold dear to find me frustrating or exhausting to deal with. This is not healthy; and earlier this year I opted to address it head on.

My name is Cariad Keigher and I am a transgender woman. I've been aware of this since 12-years old and this year I started to transition. My preferred pronouns are "she" or "her"--simple as that. If you're curious about the name, it's Welsh (meaning "sweetheart" or "dear") and I chose it because I wished to keep my first initial but was rather dismayed with the options for Irish names, so a short hop across the pond I went.

"Caoimhe" was a consideration but I already have enough problems with my last name!

Hi! I may not seem super feminine-looking but trust me, I am a girl.

I've always been jealous of other women. The experiences they have, the ability to socialise as one, the acceptance to present as one, and the "normality" to be called one have to me for as long as I can remember been a distant thought. I always thought of it as ludicrous, that this was just me being ill, and that I was a "creep" because I never fully understood what I am.

For many years, it never occurred to me that transgender women can in fact be lesbians and it wasn't until I fully separated the concept of gender and sexuality myself did any of that make sense. I felt caught in a trap until then; thinking that my thoughts and desires had to be something else. Experiences as a teen in terms of the women I'd date and how I felt about myself never added up and as a result took me decades to come to this conclusion.

There are of course lots of consequences for my choosing to transition. Men are very much dominant and hold privilege in the technology sector, something of which I benefited greatly from. I may lose friends, family members may object, and there many in the general public that hold disdain for those that identify opposite that of what they were assigned at birth. Transgender persons have found themselves accosted, discriminated against, assaulted, and even murdered just because there are members of society that are unable to keep their prejudices in check.

It has meant a lot of changes in my personal life that have not been easy to accept. This is not a topic I wish to dive into in this entry though.

Studies point out that at least a third of all transgender persons contemplate suicide compared to 5-15% of the youth population--and this is just for Canada, a country that has transgender rights enshrined in federal law. Suicide is a difficult subject for me to discuss however; I will refrain from discussing it further.

The point here is simply this: I didn't choose to be born this way. Nobody chooses their sexual orientation, gender identity, skin colour, or the place they're born. I don't get why I was born nor why I am the way I am, but what I will say is that I will live life as honestly as I can.

I have my foot on the accelerator pedal and so far I have no desire to take it off.

I highly recommend reading Julia Kaye's Up and Out web comic. (Source)

One anecdotal story I'll share is how during Pride Vancouver this past summer, I saw three teenage girls hanging out together. Two of them appeared to be cisgender whereas the third was seemingly "different". There was no indication whether or not she was transgender and it's irrelevant to the story why she stood out from the others, but the point was that she was accepted by the other two and they were having a good time at Pride.

While I will never get to experience what she has, I will say that I am happy to see that those younger than me have resources available to them that were otherwise unthinkable when I first became aware of myself. There are many out there who have opted to accept others for what they are and I feel that this is the best way as a species to move forward.

There are a few things you can do to help me here:

  1. Please do not refer to my former name as I will not answer to that. My former e-mail address is still valid and will remain so for the foreseeable future. If you have me in your contact list under this name, please change it. You can shorten it to "Cari" if we know each other personally.
  2. The use of pronouns is important.
  3. I am not "transgendered", "tranny", "transsexual", or whatever--these are terrible terms and you should avoid them. If you can, call me a "trans woman" or even better, a "woman".
  4. Don't feel bad if you somehow make a mistake here. I still do.
  5. I don't need any financial support so if you want to do something to benefit me, please donate to your local LGBTQ+ group. I live in a country that offers help to transgender persons in the healthcare system so I will never be asking for help there.

Many people have helped me over the past year and I want to pay it forward as that seems to be the best way considering my privilege. Much of what I am dealing with is being documented just so someone else doesn't have to be as blind as I have been in trying to sort out things.

Sarah is an excellent person and you should follow her Twitter.

Additionally, I am paying it forward by offering ten free copies of Queer Privacy, a book compiled by Sarah Jamie Lewis. I cannot recommend the book enough if you're a queer person and are interested in privacy in the digital age. These books are already prepaid for by me so do not hesitate to use the details below to get yourself a copy. I want everyone to read this book.

September 19, 2017 - 09:45 PDT
I have ten links below that'll get you free ebook copies of Queer Privacy. They're set to be first-come, first-served so when they're gone, they're gone!
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/1CTtZocZiVu9
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/B0cHjuo9PJCX
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/wLBU4sK0H2Xp
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/IG8jI4ahkCGx
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/yqFaomtyF8XH
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/Xg6DIVQbIYMM
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/8GNFpb970sDX
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/2VIInmfy7dcu
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/ZlrPDNAGyEEJ
https://leanpub.com/queerprivacy/c/ZFwRYFsXO23P
Lastly! If you're still following my old Twitter account, it has been retired. I plan to delete its tweets over the coming weeks and have migrated to a new account under the name @KateLibC. It'll still cover my antics and others' in information security, but I guess you'll be seeing more gender and sexuality-related content as well.

Last lastly! The use of "Kate" in my online handle has nothing to do with my name. It's a play on the name "Kate Libby" from Hackers. You should get the rest if you've dealt with programming or a UNIX-like operating system.

For certain lastly! You can always send me questions you may be embarrassed to ask by visiting my CuriousCat profile. I will pick and choose which questions I answer however.

3 comments:

  1. Proud of you Cari. I can't say that enough.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations and best wishes, Cari! You kick butt, as always, and I'm extremely happy for you.

    ReplyDelete