Nicole Maines and Isis King Shared Their Advice for Young Transgender Women
In a new episode of Sarah Hyland's educational comedy series Lady Parts, the duo shared their experiences with transitioning and offered support to anyone coming into womanhood.
It may be 2020, but the societal expectations placed on women are still overwhelming. The new educational comedy series Lady Parts is aiming to change that. Hosted by actress Sarah Hyland and ob-gyn Sherry A. Ross, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., the show features a rotating panel of celebrity guests who chat about all things womanhood and women's health.
Together, the women talked about the countless pressures placed upon anyone who identifies as female, especially trans women.
To kick off the conversation, the panel discussed what being a woman really means. "It's just how you feel inside," King said. "It really boils down to that."
Too often, being a woman — and femininity in general — is tied to the way you look, continued King. But in reality, it has nothing to do with that. "People see me as uber-feminine, but a lot of times, I'm super tomboy," she shared. "And I feel like just as much of a woman whether I have hair or shave my hair off. I'm still me." (Related: What It Really Means to Be Gender Fluid Or Identify As Non-Binary)
In her everyday life, King admitted that she feels immense pressure to "look like a woman" at all times. She recalled men who wouldn't date her because she wanted to shave her head or didn't want to wear heels. "We're not in the '50s," said King. "I don't wear lashes and heels and nails 24/7. I feel like that's what some people expect, and that hyper-sexualizes trans women."
Maines agreed, likening the experience to being "under a magnifying glass to uphold the standards of being a woman."
From a biological standpoint, Dr. Sherry said the notion that gender depends solely on genitalia is outdated. "Gender perception has really evolved so much, especially what defines a woman in 2020," she said. "We are ripping apart social norms, stereotypes, and we're realizing that the truth is, to be female has nothing to do with your female genitalia. This is the future. This is the openness we all need to have from medically on down."
While it's definitely necessary to continue having conversations about gender identity, Maines noted that individual introspection is key, too. "People need to start minding their own business and realize that someone is not transitioning — someone is not existing — for another person," she shared. "I'm not doing any of this for anybody else. This is for me, so it's nobody else's business to be like, 'Well you don't look like much of a woman.'" (Related: How Nicole Maines Is Paving the Way for the Next Generation of LGBTQIA Youth)
For trans people, especially those in the public eye, evading invasive questions about their bodies can be exhausting. Recently, in a powerful post, actor Indya Moore shared several inappropriate comments they've received about their body via DM and in person. One of the comments came from a waxer who asked Moore, mid-waxing appointment, how to go about getting labiaplasty.
"Stop asking me about my body," Moore wrote in another post addressing these intrusive questions. "Stop coming to me with inquiries about body modifications. It's triggering, disturbing, and hurtful. It's rude. It's offensive."
"Trans people aren't living examples of your dream boob job," continued Moore. "We are not cosmetic mood boards. We are literally still fighting the notion that our lives, [our] humanity, are cosmetic. So do not ask me about my hormones, chromosomes, don't ask me about no surgery."
According to King, some of the ignorance around trans people and their bodies comes from a lack of representation in mainstream media. "The more representation, the more normal it is to see us in different lights," explained King. "TV and media hold so much power. I think it's important to continue to have many different depictions of us. The more we see, the less shocked or invested people are in how we express ourselves."
Pivoting the conversation, Hyland asked Maines and King to share any advice they have for young trans women who are still coming into their womanhood. "I would say, take your time," King shared. "Allow things to happen naturally."
Maines noted that transitioning is different for everyone — especially when it comes to the effects of hormone replacement therapy, which can differ based on individual genetics — so it's important to "hold yourself to your own standard" rather than someone else's. "[Transitioning is] something you do for yourself," continued Maines. "It's a process of self-discovery and bringing what's on your inside to your outside." (Related: Bethany Meyers Shares Their Non-Binary Journey and Why Inclusivity Is So Damn Important)
In terms of seeking information about surgeries and hormone therapy, Dr. Ross suggested reaching out to local LGBTQ+ health centers that can help guide you. "This is a movement that's taking speed," she said. "There are some amazing doctors throughout the country — in the world — who can put you on the right track and give you the appropriate medication [and] appropriate doses."
King, who shared that she was homeless during her transition, said that LGBTQ+ shelters in cities like New York and Los Angeles can be particularly helpful in finding access to affordable health care. (Related: How Does Transitioning Affect a Transgender Athlete's Sports Performance?)
Ending the conversation, Hyland thanked the women for coming on the show and left viewers with an important reminder: "People are people. Love them for who they are."