5.31.2011

TransCanada Border Crossing

I finally got something published. With all of the great encouragement I have been receiving from readers here (and all the practice didn't hurt) I finally submitted a piece based on this blog for publication...and it was accepted! The feminist blog Gender Across Borders hosted a series of essays titled Behind the Mask of Masculinity. There are some really great essays I highly recommend checking them out. Masculinity is examined from many different angles but interestingly many essays seem to come to a similar conclusion:  gender is not defined by biology and masculinity specifically seems to be a quagmire. There is no real concrete definition of masculinity and since many men are working diligently to erode an archetypal image of the male, deciding what makes a man masculine in the 21st Century is definitely up for debate.

As I continue to explore what it means to be a man and learn more about the man I want to become I find blogs and places where people are free to share their thoughts extremely helpful. Sometimes there is someone who can just say something that clicks for you and suddenly a place that was once dark has light. I have had a few moments like that in my life. Figuring out your own identity or realizing that you are not alone in how you feel can be a life saving experience. With that in mind, I would like to share a few things with my dear readers who came here looking for a place where they might finally feel they aren't so alone after all:

There are a couple of places I have found particularly helpful and enlightening that made me feel more at home with the idea of living my life as a good, honest man. First, to a wonderfully inspiring and gentle man named William Harryman who writes one of my favourite blogs called The Masculine Heart. (Thanks Bill, if not for your tweet about the GAB Blog I might still be looking for a place to publish my first paper!) This is a wonderful oasis of male role models, open-minded, open-hearted and honest thoughts from men in all walks of life. Every time I visit this site I am filled with pride and hope for the male species. If you are interested in expanding your own notion of masculinity I highly recommend reading this. For all the women out there who have lost faith that wonderful men still exist, I urge you to spend some time reading what men really think and feel about the world and their place in it. You might be surprised.

If you haven't heard of The Art of Manliness by now then you haven't been reading my blog enough! This is a virtual encyclopedia of masculinity and appeals to men young and old. There is a lot of advice in the comments that is just as useful as the blog posts. There are articles on just about everything you can think of from personal grooming and clothing, work and finance, personal betterment, education, to all the "lost skills" like how to clean a gun or how to chop down a tree. As a bonus, there is a weekly podcast you can download for free from itunes. Now there really is no excuse for being anything but a perfect gentleman.

Another great resource is TransGuys.com a blog and website by fellow Canadian Joshua. There is a TON of information here as well as a blogroll that might help you in your quest for all things FTM. Josh spends a lot of time testing out products for us so we can get the best products without having to spend all our hard earned cash trying to find the best fit. It's so much easier to become the man you want to be withthe right binder and packer and if you are awaiting surgery or just want to experiment with your budding masculinity I recommend a visit.  There is a great FTM community there as well and a mapping project that marks 650+ of the site's over 2000 members on a map. Maybe you are surrounded by Trans guys and you didn't even know it!

Finally if you feel like there is just no place left to turn there is an advice columnist who will answer anything and put the question up to his readers where answers to your problem might get solved up to twenty times! Matt Kailey's Tranifesto is another great resource for FTM guys looking for answers and resources. Matt is a great resource for older transgendered guys (and gals) out there as he works specifically with elderly trans issues like health care and retirement. He is an American guy so much of his knowledge and advice is not applicable for Canadians but issues about masculinity and gender are definitely not confined to any single country!

This blog has helped me in so many ways not only personally but creatively as well. It started out as a journal mostly for me to keep track of my thoughts and experiences while transitioning but it has turned into so much more than that. I wanted to make this a place where guys looking for an honest experience could come and seek advice and maybe find themselves reflected in my experience. I know it was such a relief to find I was not alone and to be able to see what I was in for! I hope that some of you have found it informative and supportive and I hope that if it has helped you in any way that you will share it with your friends, your family and your trans brothers. Thanks for reading!


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