The last twelve or so months have been a roller-coaster of emotions. On every front we seem to be assaulted by attacks on many of the values that we hold dear as Americans. Truth has been replaced by opinion, logic by shock value, and the voices of diverse communities continually silenced under the guise of patriotism and faith.
As a member of a minority group, I have felt the tension very strongly. Every morning as I wake up, there is a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that signals to me an uneasiness about what the day will hold. All around me I see ordinary people empowered to behave in discriminatory and hurtful ways. I have watched my government strategically dismantle the protections people like me gained over the last decade.
There are days when I feel hopeless, when I wonder if the life I treasure will be taken from me. Will I be able to finish my doctorate? Will I be able to marry and have children? What kind of future will they have? I worry about the people whom I love who are also affected by these trying times, and I wonder if they will be safe.
I recently had a conversation with a friend in which I bemoaned these concerns. I told her, “I worry about having my dignity taken away.” “Darcy,” she said, “that is the only thing you have that can never be taken from you.” Her words struck me like a brick, and they led me to think for many days about the pathways our community have taken to get to where they are today.
When we think about the events at the Stonewall Inn and the foundation they laid for the Pride celebrations we have each year, it is common to forget that the first bricks thrown at that fateful riot in 1969 were thrown by transgender women of color. Women such as Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera and Miss Major put themselves in the front lines of our fight for equality. They were marginalized people who had had enough.
They were tired of being told they weren’t good enough, that they weren’t worthy of sitting at the table of American life. They were tired of having their safety threatened and their dignity trampled. They were tired of worrying about their loved ones like them.
My dearest ones: We are in a hard time right now. We will be threatened and mocked. We will have all sorts of injustices thrown at us. But we cannot give up. We must continue to boldly live our truths and reclaim our narratives. We cannot forget that they, our foresiblings, experienced hard times as well, and they resisted and fought back. And the bricks they threw laid a foundation for the lives you are living today.
In the same way, the bricks we throw in resistance will lay the foundation for the next generation.
Darcy J. Corbitt-Hall
President and CEO
Applications Open for North Dakota Dignity Grants
Our Dignity Grants help transgender, queer, and nonbinary individuals reclaim their dignity by reclaiming their legal profile through a legal name change. In some cases, this court appearance can be combined with a legal gender marker update. All applicants to this grant will receive free counsel from a transgender person who has undergone this process in the same jurisdiction.
$150 is paid to the grantee two weeks prior to their court date. The grantee must complete their name change within 6 months of the award date. Proof of completion required.
•Applications open on October 27.
•Applications close on December 15.
•Decisions will be made by December 27.
•Legal resident of the State of North Dakota for 30 consecutive days.
•Demonstrated financial need (making less than a living wage in their state of residence).
•Must complete a phone, video, or in-person interview with the program officer.
•Grant applicants must provide the last four digits of their social security number for identification purposes.
A Special Thanks to Our Grant Sponsors
The Mowat Family
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for transgender individuals is a very long and involved process. The myriad of physical and psychological changes can be almost overwhelming. As a woman assigned male at birth, I will give my personal experience of the first 6 months of HRT.
When I took my first dose of estradiol, I was incredibly excited for the days to come, and within a week of my first dose, I already began to experience changes. The very first thing I noticed was a sensitivity forming in my breasts. They were still the same size and shape, but they began to receive sensation. As the first month continued, I noticed a lot of changes to my breasts including growth. Almost immediately after beginning HRT, I noticed my libido rapidly decline and stay almost completely diminished for the next 6 months. Near the end of the first month , I noticed a change in my body odor— it lost the masculine smell and got sweeter and lighter.
For the next two months, the changes from HRT slowed down, and I began to suffer from low testosterone. I didn’t have enough estradiol in my body to be dominant, so I experienced a complete loss of motivation as well as spikes in my depression. After about three months, my estradiol prescription was raised to 4mg a day, and the symptoms of low testosterone gradually improved. My breasts began to grow rapidly at this point. Within the next 3 months, I gained a cup size and the sensitivity of my breasts increased. Somewhere around this time I noticed a heightened emotional reaction to things such as shows on TV. Also around this time, I finally reached the point when I could look in the mirror and no longer see a man. The other biggest change that appeared was in my sexuality when I finally regained my sex drive. It was different, though. I no longer felt that it was a chore or something that my body forced me to do. It became something that I wanted to do because of how it feels. Now I want to talk about my dysphoria. Dysphoria infects every facet of my life, from the way I socialize, to my own self image. Throughout my life this pain has manifested itself in many forms. At the beginning of my first puberty, my dysphoria first emerged in the form of confusion. I didn’t understand what gender meant, but I wanted to be a girl. However, whenever I deviated from my assigned gender, society rejected it. I couldn’t understand why it had to be that way. The next year dysphoria took a different form. I had false ideas that I was a powerful psychic, which I’m sure
middle schoolers experienced, but the key difference is that I used it to rationalize my feelings of being female. This wasn’t the last time I used a weird belief to rationalize things. In high school, I held a belief that if I suffered through life as a man, in my next life I could be born female in an attempt to avoid facing reality. Also in high school, I experienced a period of time where I behaved in a hyper masculine way doing anything and everything to try to appear male. However, I couldn’t do it forever and became a loner.
I tried so hard to make it without transitioning, to be normal, and for a little bit I won, but nobody wins for long. After I finally found the truth within myself, the dysphoria that previously only had visible effects finally showed itself and became direct. The feeling that you are somehow inferior to the entire female population due to the circumstances of your birth cuts deep but eventually fades. Hormones seriously changed how my dysphoria functions yet again.
Most of these days I can go without experiencing dysphoria and am able to leave it at the back of my mind. Occasionally I’ll experience things that trigger it, such as having to use the gender neutral changing room because of my body. It’s triggered by things that remind me that I was once a man or tell me that I still am in some way. Dysphoria is at its worst when it comes to my genitals. This part of my body is so foreign to me that contact with it leaves me quite dazed. It's something that I would give anything to get rid of because it has serious effects on my mental health.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Explained
Hormone Replacement Therapy, commonly known as HRT, a clinical treatment supported by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, helps transgender individuals achieve the secondary sexual characteristics of their gender. While not all transgender people choose to undergo this therapy, many do to alleviate gender dysphoria. It does this by changing their secondary physical characteristics and also by making their biological functions similar to those of the sex commonly linked with their gender identity. Transgender women, transgender men, and other transgender identities take different types of hormones and blockers customized for their particular goals.
For transgender women and other gender identities seeking to be more feminine, taking a combination of androgen blockers, estrogen, and progesterone is common. These will often result in breast growth, thinner and softer skin, hot flashes, headaches, fat redistribution to the hips, thighs, buttocks, and face, body hair thinning and slower growth, decrease in muscle size, and moodiness and emotional fluctuation. Some describe it as a second puberty. It is also important to note that this type of HRT will render those with male gonads infertile, which is often a difficult and painful consideration for those before beginning HRT to make themselves more feminine.
For transgender men and other gender identities seeking to be more masculine, testosterone is used to achieve the secondary sex characteristics that are desired. The changes that commonly occur include voice deepening, body fat that typically starts growing closer to the abdomen and internal organs, increase in muscle mass, increase in body hair, baldness, thicker and more oily skin, mood fluctuations, increased bone density, end to menstruation, but individuals engaging in coitus can still get pregnant, and the clitoris will become more sensitive and possibly grow. This type of HRT is also often described as a second puberty.
It is important to note that hormones affect each individual differently and that the changes listed above are only the most common that not every individual will experience. Also, hormones take time to work. Many transgender individuals become frustrated with the time it takes for their bodies to change and with the extent that they do. They often desire more dramatic results than what HRT can provide. These beliefs are reinforced when transgender people get inaccurate information from the internet because many in the medical community have not been properly trained on HRT or because they are not affirming of transgender identities.
Learn more: MyTransitionPartner.com/health
To help fund hormone therapy, visit DarcyCorbitt.org/fundgrants
Wren Erickson and William G. Fleck
Wren Erickson (she/her) is a student studying computer science at NDSU. William Fleck (he/him) is a student studying computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity at NDSU. He is an unapologetic liberal feminist who cares deeply about transgender people.
PRIDE is a complicated word, meaning a lot of different things. For a number of members of the transgender and non-binary community, last year PRIDE led to fear and regret. Some of us were treated like side show attractions, made the butt of jokes. Others were touched inappropriately and without consent, and some were denied the simple respect of fellow human beings. This year, I'd like to challenge the whole of our community to do better.
Hello, my name is Kat, and I am a 31-year-old woman. More specifically, I am a 31-year-old transwoman. Even more specifically, I am an often unemployed, 31-year-old, white, designated male at birth, sapio/pan/bisexual, femme/androgynous, non-binary individual with chronic mental illness who has the good fortune of living with her extremely supportive parents.
These identifiers say a great deal about me. They speak both to the oppression I face and the privilege I enjoy. They also speak to the fact that I am different in one way or another to almost everyone who reads this. As such, I cannot and will not presume to speak for an entire community. I will, however, speak up with those transgender and nonbinary people who are like-minded and wanting to be heard.
PRIDE means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, PRIDE is a party, a celebration of what we have achieved. For others, like me, PRIDE is a wake, a funeral march for those who've fought and died to bring us where we are, and it is also a bolstering of support for those still fighting and dying, not just here, but everywhere around the world. It is a solemn responsibility to project and respect our own identities for the sake of people who cannot. While others may hoop and holler, we stand with stoic reflection. Neither perspective is wrong, nor is it mutually exclusive, and both should be respected.
Some people come to PRIDE to let their hair down, get cuddly, enjoy the performances, perhaps even do a bit of people watching, and that's wonderful. While doing so, please bear in mind that not all transgender and nonbinary people are performers and that we don't exist for you. Being outside the gender norm is not a performance; it is an identity, one that we struggle and fight for on a daily basis. Do not heckle us like we're on a stage. (The actual performers on stage may invite heckling, in which case, do so in that space.) Don't be offended if you ask for our story or a history lesson and we're not inclined to give it to you. That's what Google is for, not PRIDE. We are everywhere and among you in every identity. Don't try to break our stealth or search for us. Simply let us exist with you. Finally, please, please, please don't assume that consent ceases to apply just because you're curious. We're different from you, and it's PRIDE. Don't touch, grab, kiss, or take pictures without express permission. No means no and, more importantly, ONLY yes means yes. Respect our space and solemnity as we respect your joy and exuberance.
PRIDE is a complicated word. For some it means joy; for others it means sorrow; for others it means strength; for more it means struggle. For a great many people PRIDE is a complicated amalgamation of all the above and more. The LGBTQIA community is internally diverse, full of intersections, and shares a proud history. We must come together for all members of our broad and beautiful acronym. No matter what PRIDE means to you, remember that PRIDE also means respect, the respect that we've fought and still fight together hand in hand to earn.
Learn more about being an ally: MyTransitionPartner.com/ally
Katrina Jo Koesterman (she/her) is a nerd and activist in training living in Moorhead, MN. She does NOT like long walks of any kind, especially not on beaches.
The Board reviewed and approved updated financials and minutes from the previous meeting.
The Board approved temporary personnel appointments made by the Executive Board.
Bylaws and Policy Updates
The Board unanimously approved updates to the Bylaws which clarified and updated unclear language. All policies approved by the Board will be codified into a single corporate policy document. The Board approved six policies related to volunteer and personnel management, safety and security, the 2016 budget, and creation of the programs and community division.
New Personnel Sought
The Board is seeking the following personnel:
•Chief Financial and Operating Officer to manage the business and finances of the Foundation.
•Executive Director to recruit volunteers, redesign, and lead MyTransitionPartner.com.
•Native Spanish speaker who identifies as transgender, gender queer, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming to translate our resources into Spanish.
To Whom It May Concern:
Today [6/5/2017], I was advised by the Internal Revenue Service that we have been recognized as a tax-exempt public charity as defined by section 501(c)(3) of Federal tax code. All donations received on and since December 29, 2016, our date of incorporation, are tax exempt and may be deducted from personal income tax.
I have instructed our secretary-treasurer to review our donation records so that we can send donation receipts to donors who made a donation during the last few days of fiscal year 2016. All donors making financial gifts between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, will receive a donation receipt in January 2018.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all our donors, volunteers, team members, and trustees who have given their time, talents, and financial gifts to make this milestone possible. Because of your generosity and faith, we have been able to take a three-year personal project and turn it into something with international reach that has the capability to help hundreds of thousands of people every year. I am looking forward to the next six months of our first year and the amazing things that I know that our amazing team can accomplish.
Darcy J. Corbitt-Hall
Chairwoman, Board of Trustees
Who We Are
Darcy Jeda Corbitt Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity promoting the health and global wellbeing of transgender, queer, and gender nonconforming individuals. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by US Federal Tax Code.
All Rights Reserved
“MyTransitionPartner,” “Here for a better version of you,”, and the trans flag heart logos are trademarks of Darcy Jeda Corbitt Foundation, Inc.