Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How is Lee Gale healthy?

I try to keep in shape and watch what I eat, but this is usually overridden by my love of sweet things.

For me, being healthy ultimately means being happy and free to be myself. I have fought for too long and have pretended to be someone I'm not to now deny myself true freedom to express who I am. Healthiness isn't always just about being aware of physical health, but also being able to assert one's own rights and needs.

It is important for example, to be aware of the risks involved when talking about sex or the need for medical intervention when thinking of transitioning, (as a trans person), but it is also incredibly important to know what it is one wants and to be able to assert that need or desire. People who have less confidence or are unsure of what they want can be pulled into situations where they aren't comfortable and are more likely to take risks. Even the most knowledgeable person can find themselves in a situation where they know they are risking their health in whatever way. I have done this myself knowing that it was a bad thing, but not being able to get myself out of it, usually through lack of confidence.

To keep myself healthy I also try to keep my community and friends healthy. It is important to talk and increase awareness of desires for ourselves and awareness of trans men to the wider community. If people are aware of trans men and feel more able to include us in discussions, we do not have to start from scratch every time we approach someone, making interactions far less stressful and much healthier. Informing others is extremely important and although it can be tiresome at times, it can make a huge difference.

The other day I found myself mentioning to my therapist the fact that I have two partners. She asked me to explain it to 'an old biddy like her' (her words)! When I had finished, she commented on how healthy it sounded. I hadn't thought of that before, but she is right - I feel happy, energetic, loved and most importantly... ME!

-- Lee Gale
Sheffield, England

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