Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Quote of the Day: "Light thinks it travels faster than anything, but it is wrong. No matter how fast the Light travels, it finds that Darkness has always gotten there first, and is waiting for it." - Terry Pratchett

Hello, my name is Shawn Bean. I am 21 and hail from the streets of Portland, Oregon, and I am a pre-op transgender who prefers female pronouns. I'm also new at blogging, so bear with me. My general blog topic is going to be about my transition from male to female, and how I'm affected by it. The posts won't be pretty (I see no real reason for it), but they might be informative and (I hope) useful for anyone here who decides they want to undergo this transition. I hope to get a few responses, maybe some input, and at least a little support, so I guess that's it. Now, onto the actual blogging.

06/22/2011 -
Ever since I started dressing in skirts and taking the time for the daily ritual that is makeup application, I've started feeling better about myself. Kind of like I'm bringing out a side of myself that allows me to be gentle and bitchy at the same time and have people look at me and think "Oh. that's just normal girl behavior."
You see, being a transgender on the streets of Portland, I'm something of an anomaly. There are Queers, Lesbians, Flamers, and Bisexuals everywhere, but noone really seems to know how to deal with me.

Males, even gay ones, on the streets here in P-town are expected to be harsh, brazen perverts, and are expected to have violent tendancies. When I dress in my comfortable male clothes, I am expected to do the same. But that's not me. When I dress as a male, everyone just assumes I'm gay from my voice and actions. That's not me. I am a female in mind and spirit, and I am kinder, and gentler than that. I can't bring myself to do violence unless there's no other option.

Well, back to the subject. When I dress as a female, it feels so liberating. I can walk up to my friends, and they don't expect me to act as a male does.

The only drawback I experience is pretty severe. When I walk down the street, people look at me like some kind of freak, or a carnival sideshow attraction. I hear mutters of 'faggot', 'creeper', and 'freak,' and it hurts. It really hurts me. So much that I just want to go hide and not come out again.

I've read the stories of people like Kate Bornstein, and they gave me hope that I'd be accepted in a time such as this, and in a place so liberal as Portland. Then Vanguard came to Portland, and I heard the struggles that transgenders go through on a daily basis in San Fransisco. A 12% employment rate? Having to do sex work just to scrape out a living? If that's how transgenders are doing employment-wise in the LGBT mecca of the US, how is a homeless girl like me supposed to even do that well up here?

I make no illusions toward myself; I'm not pretty, I'm not healthy. I am slightly feminine looking, and I and 100lbs overweight. Sex work would be a waste of time for me. I've found a couple of places that might hire me and be accepting of my transition, but I have to hope and pray that they'll even give me an interview first.

Now that my ranting is done, here are some fun things. As of Monday this last week, I have found a clinic that will put me on a waiting list for female hormones. The waiting list is about 4 months long, so that's a downer, but with patience and dedication to my goal, I will wait it out and get that ball rolling.

I have also gotten my first appointment with a gender therapist, set for July 15th, and because of Oregon's stupid law, I will have to see her for 2-4 months to detemine whether or not I will be allowed to go through with the gender reassignment surgery.

I hope this hasn't sounded like too much complaining, and I would love some feedback from anyone who wants to do so. Thank you for bearing with me, and I will be here again in 2 weeks time.

With all respect,

Shawn Michael Bean.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lessons Learned in Holywood

This weekend Joey, Mia and I travelled to Los Angeles to speak with the LGBT young adults staying in the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's shelter.

The facilities are very beautiful, house 24 youth for up to 16 months and an additional 7 emergency beds. Styled a bit like college dorms and following the basic model created by psychologists and social workers (as opposed to Larkin Street Youth Services that operates off the pastoral model of ethics for working with youth) to create a safe, space for a group that seems to be very different from the youth we've meet with in New York and San Francisco.

While they struggle with the same loss of family and issues and hate crimes, these youth seem to also wrestle with the rarely realized dream of making it big as a star in Hollywood.

While the center has some amazing programming and has been able to create some amazing opportunities for individuals to go after their dreams, my favorite example is the trans women from the shelter who were able to become interns on the set of America's Next Top Model. The staff clearly goes above and beyond their job duties in providing support and trauma aware care for these young adults.

My gratitude or these programs means I will refrain from talking about the growth areas I saw her, for fear that it will damage relationships I'm building with these programs or discourage folk from supporting this amazingly vital work.

The lesson I'm left with from Hollywood is the exuding cost of chasing your dreams. The ways bullying of trans individuals continues to be a pervasive part of gay culture, and the damage that secrets and the need to perform straight in order to get work affects lives of the most vulnerable the most of all.

While we were in town, we were able to visit the ONE archive and learn more about Bishop Mikael Itkin. Thanks to everyone at ONE for your help!

Join us next week in Portland!

Location:Hollywood, CA

Friday, June 3, 2011

Traveling Exhibit: Feedback

The first Vanguard handout read:

The time is here to bring together the youth of the TENDERLOIN to form a more unified community among ourselves. We find that no one has room for us in their society, therefore we must work together to form our own society to meet our OWN needs. Our needs and goals are:

1) Coffee House and meeting center

2) Emergency Housing

3) Medical aid, area VD clinic, etc.

4) Employment counseling.

5) Police cooperation

6) Financial aid (if possible)

We are willing to work with interested groups, but, who can be more trusted and relied upon than ourselves. To find satisfaction we found one another. [1]

Which of these causes that the Vanguard youth of the 60's were fighting for do you think are still needed today? The youth in San Francisco think they're all needed. Publish your comments below to let us know what you think.