Back Roads Zine

The following reposted here from a local queer mailing list:

If you are a transsexual, transgender, or gender variant person who has physically transitioned outside of the traditional route, WE WANT YOUR STORY!

For people who wish to physically transition – to change their body in ways related to their gender – there is an established route – a highway if you will – that we are expected to follow. The highway first passes through a place called “therapy” where you are supposed to talk to a shrink and get a diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder”. Then, the next stop is a doctor (maybe an endocrinologist) where you can get a prescription for hormones and tests to follow up on your hormone levels. Next, you are supposed to drive endlessly through a land called “real life test” before you are able to reach a surgeon who can make certain changes to your body. If you make it out the other side of surgery, you are finally able to access rights such as a legal gender change, access to single-gender spaces, etc.

Of course, this highway is filled with roadblocks, checkpoints, and toll booths that serve to prevent people from proceeding along it. Many folk who wish to reach the end are stopped in their tracks, and cannot proceed further. This could be because they are short on funds, because they work in the sex industry, because they have a medical or psychiatric diagnosis that prevents them from accessing hormones, or because they simply are unwilling to pass through some of the stops on the way to get where they’re going. Thus, many of us end up taking detours and back roads in order to get where we’re going. We forge letters from doctors or psychiatrists; we access hormones via the internet or the street; we find non-medical ways to alter our body.

My goal in this zine is to provide people with a map of these back roads. While it is fairly easy to find quality information on what we can expect while travelling along the main highway, there is a distinct lack of information about the more minor routes. It’s not clear which routes are safe, or even which routes will actually get us where we’re going. That’s where you come in. If you’ve traveled one of these minor routes, and gotten where you’re going, tell us about it so that more can follow behind you. If you’ve tried to venture off the highway and gotten stuck in a ditch, tell us about it so that others will not follow in your path. If you’ve deviated at all from the main highway, others will want to know how that went.

Send your submissions to We will make every effort to make sure that your contribution remains anonymous, and will publish your submission without your name or any other identifying information, unless you wish to be identified. Please send submissions before November 1, 2009, although late submissions may be accepted. Email if you have any questions about this project.


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