Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Favorite FtM Pioneers & A Glimpse Into FtM History
Here are some of the pioneering transmen that I am aware of. I am sure there are many more. My hope is that this list is just a jumping off place for you to explore further. In case you're wondering why certain "well-known" transgender people are not included in my list, it's because they do not fit "my" definition of a transman (transsexual man), which is often shortened to FtM or FTM or F2M = female TO male, as coined by FtM pioneer Lou Sullivan, because before that we were called "female transsexuals" within the medical and counseling communities. Lou thought that an incorrect description of who/what we are, so he worked tirelessly to change it. He was, obviously, successful!!
FTM Pioneers

Lou Sullivan (June 16, 1951 – March 2, 1991)
Founded FTM International, the first exclusively FTM organization, in 1986, and is considered largely responsible for the modern acknowledgment that sexual orientation and gender identity are totally different concepts. Lou Sullivan was also instrumental in demonstrating the existence of trans men attracted to men (before him gay transguys were systematically denied transition services). He wrote the first guidebook for FTM persons and also a biography of the San Francisco FTM, Jack Bee Garland (listed below).

Michael Dillon (May 1, 1915 - May 15, 1962)
  • First transman to complete phalloplasty procedure (1946-49) in England. Biography about him,The First Man-Made Man by Pagan Kennedy. May 1915 – 15 May 1962,9171,936913,00.html,
    Jamison Green (1948 - )
    Is the current president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health(WPATH), the organization responsible for publishing the Standards Of Care For Gender Identity Disorders (SOC). He is also the past president of FTM International (1991 - 1999). Jamison is the author of the award winning book Becoming a Visible Man and contributing author of the recently released FTM anthology Letters for my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect.
      Steve Dain (1940 - 2007)
    Transitioned in the late 1970s and lost his teaching job, he was a gym teacher in Union City, CA (Bay Area). He died of cancer at age 67.


      Reed Erickson (1917-1992)
      Erickson was a philanthropist who transitioned in 1963 and launched the Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF) in 1964. "Through the EEF, Erickson contributed millions of dollars to the early development of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer movements between 1964 and 1984." "In 1963 Erickson became [the first ftm] patient of Dr. Harry Benjamin." "Erickson's official name change took place in 1963 with the sex change following in 1965, setting legal precedent in the state of Louisiana. [from wikipedia] Erickson contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, now World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
        Jude Patton (living in Seattle, WA)
        Patton, a Psychiatric Physician Assistant, was the first trans person to be elected to the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA). [not a lot of info about him available]



          Rev. Petric J. Smith (1940 - 1998)
          Smith was "a Methodist minister who testified in 1977 at the trial of a KKK murderer, an uncle, becoming a target for the klan. He transitioned in 1981. He published a book naming dozens of people he suggested might have been involved, at great personal risk." [from FTMI website]

            Mario Martino (deceased)
            "Mario Martino wrote the first full length FTM autobiography, Emergence (1977), about an FTM who successfully transitioned with hormones and surgery. His memoir inspired countless FTM readers. He was a healthcare professional and set up a counseling service along with his wife that guided men through the transition process and answered hundreds of letters from readers with questions about transition." [from FTMI website] Martino also created "The Labyrinth Foundation Counseling Service in the late 1960s in New York, the first transgender community-based organization that specifically addressed the needs of female-to-male transsexuals." [from LGBT Movements in US wikipedia page]

            Jack B. Garland (1869 - 1936)
            "On October 5, 1899, he adopted the male identity of Beebe Beam and accompanied United States Army forces to the Philippines in 1899 to participate in the Philippine War for a year, writing, "I saw war and I lived it." [from wikipedia]
            More Pioneers

            General Historical Information
            • Continueing the tradition of hosting an annual FtM conference, Aidan Key picked up the slack in 2001 and produced Gender Odyssey (GO). This year GO celebrated its 10th anniversary.
            Brief History of Lesbian Feminist Anti-Transsexual Discourses (not entirely eradicated)

            • BACKGROUND INFO: Lesbian Feminist Ethicist Janice Raymond created outrage when she wrote Transsexual Empire (1979). Raymond drew on anti-transsexual discourses that had been developing at the grassroots level for nearly a decade. Raymond argued—and many of her readers believed—that transsexuals were the mindless agents of a nefarious patriarchal conspiracy bent on the destruction of women. Raymond characterized female-to-male transsexuals as traitors to their sex and to the cause of feminism, and male-to-female transsexuals as rapists engaged in an unwanted penetration of women's space. She suggested that transsexuals be "morally mandated out of existence." [from LGBT Movements in US wikipedia page]
              • Lou Sullivan “A Transvestite Answers A Feminist” in The Transgender Studies Reader. (159-164). [NOT A RESPONSE TO RAYMOND]
              • For a response to Raymond's, Transsexual Empire, read transwoman Sandy Stone's, The Empire Strikes Back -
            FtM Booklist (not exhaustive)
            Zander Keig, Co-EditorLetters for my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect
            An FtM Anthology Featuring Jamison Green & Lou Sullivan
            It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e. cummings

            Thursday, April 7, 2011

            Mentoring in the FtM Community

            Mentoring in the FtM Community

            The concept of mentorship is ancient and mentoring has been utilized across every nation.  I believe the single most important ingredient that positively influenced the early stages of my transition, development, and progress was directly related to the outpouring of support, guidance, instruction, patience, and friendship I received from my mentor Jamison Green.  I had the good fortune of living in San Francisco, CA (USA), where I was able to interact on a regular basis with Jamison.

            Jamison's position in our community, as a true pioneer, made him an ideal mentor.  He was able to provide me with sources of information about the FtM transition process, insight into FtM community history, access to FtM community resources, and he introduced me to transmen in places like France, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Britain, and beyond. Through Jamison's kindness, encouragement and connections, I was inspired to build a global network of trans brothers, present workshops at trans conferences, publish an FtM anthology, Letters for my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect, and offer my service to the FtM community as a mentor through two organizations: Trans Youth Family Advocates (TYFA) & FTM Mentors with FtM teens and young adults.  As a direct result of my work in/for the FtM community, I was recognized as a Successful Transman.

            The benefits I have gained through being both a mentor and a "mentee" are: a) a stronger sense of self as a man; b) more confidence to strike out into the world and make a difference; c) a well-rounded understanding of various trans identities; d) a wide network of trans brothers, access to developing friendships with transmen like Max Valerio author of The Testosterone Files, Dhillon Khosla author of Both Sides Now:One Man's Journey Through Womanhood, trans therapist Reid Vanderburgh, and Aidan Key the producer of Gender Odyssey; e) and the ability to partner with transmen to publish books: I am co-owner of Vir Potens, a BRAND NEW publishing company focused on topics related to transsexual men.

            Hung Jury: Testimonies of Genital Surgery by Transsexual Men, our first book, due out in fall 2011, will feature stories and photographs of transmen who have successfully completed the phalloplasty or metoidioplasty surgical process in the last 10 years.  Below is an excerpt from our "Call for Papers":

            Surgical genital modification, commonly known as “bottom surgery,” is a memorable experience of gender transitioning for many transsexual men.  It is a momentous process involving incredible sacrifice, fortitude, and most importantly, love - the love of self and of others supporting us through the process.  For many transsexual men, it is this final step that provides a feeling of completeness and wholeness in our bodies and a feeling of greater security in the world.  Yet, we rarely write about our experiences of bottom surgery or share our stories with others, except on a few websites and private listservs designed for sharing information on FTM surgeries.  When we do share our experiences, we are often met with harsh criticism, negative assumptions, and outright contempt.   

            I want you to experience your own success and receive positive benefits, on your journey from female-to-male, and encourage you to find a mentor and/or offer your services to another brother as a mentor!!

            Check out the two opportunities below:

            Mentor Opportunities

            "Lifeworks" Seeks Trans Mentors!  Are you a caring, successful LGBTQ adult who is interested in helping youth?  LifeWorks Mentoring is a non-profit organization that connects youth and adults in the LGBTQ community through our innovative One-on-One Mentoring Program.  The focus of our program is supporting older youth and young adults, ages 16-24, in setting and achieving life goals in our five achievement areas: wellness, education, career, home, and personal development.  We train each Mentor in the skills necessary to really be there for their youth.  We do not train mentors to be like parents or authority figures, but rather people whose focus is to help and support those who need their help in achieving their goals and dreams. To get started with your Mentor Application, or for just for more information, visit the website at

            Here is the second opportunity:

            TransMentors International is a non-profit organization which provides aid, support and assistance to Trans-identified individuals.  We are committed to the health and well-being of all members of our diverse community. Accordingly, we dedicate ourselves to providing an array of information services, educational materials, advocacy training, as well as personal assistance with safe housing, health, faith, resource referrals, emergency assistance and more.  We pledge compassionate support and passionate advocacy on behalf of Trans-identified persons in their journeys toward health of body and mind and in their pursuit of personal freedom, including the freedom to alter their bodies and change their gender roles.

            To get started and fill out your Mentor Registration, or for more information, visit the website at or

            I hope you you will consider joining me in becoming a mentor.

            Zander Keig, MS, MTS
            Member, Board of Directors
            TransMentors International, Inc.
            Co-Editor of Letters For My Brothers - NEW FtM Anthology


            Friday, March 11, 2011

            This is a reprinted interview that was conducted by Gender Identity Magazine editor, Bren Michelle.

            Bren:  Zander, who is the man, Zander Keig?

            I am first and foremost, a husband to my beautiful wife, Margaret Keig.  Beyond that, I am a pragmatic optimist, forty-four-year-old post-op transsexual man, living in sunny San Diego, CA, USA.

            BrenWhat do you do for a living?

            Currently, I am a full time graduate school at San Diego State University, working on a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.  I am enrolled in the 2 year program and intern 16 hours per week at Jewish Family Service of San Diego as a crisis case manager.

            BrenWhat issues do you feel passionate about?

            I feel very passionate about providing positive mentorship in the female-to-male (FtM) community.  As a mentor to young and early transition transmen, I offer transition guidance, practical advice, words of wisdom, education of FtM community history, an orientation to trans community politics, insight into navigating medical systems and connection to FtM pioneers, like my mentor Jamison Green.

            Bren:  Could you provide me with some resources that could be helpful to a female-to-male?

            I suggest the "The Transitional Male," "Transguys," "Hudson's FTM Resource Guide," and Dr. Nick Gorton's site.

            BrenI understand you went to seminary.  What was that about? 

            In 2004, I graduated from Pacific School of Religion (PSR), in Berkeley, CA, with a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) with an emphasis in world Religions.

            When I originally applied to PSR, I had intentions of becoming a minister, but changed my mind just prior to classes starting. I realized that my intention for attending seminary was to become more familiar with religious language, so that I might engage in more thoughtful conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity with religious people.

            I was not and am not, a Christian. I consider myself a non-theistic mystic, meaning I do not accept nor reject nor wonder if a supernatural deity exists and I am constantly marveling at the natural world and all of it's magnificence.

            BrenThere seems to be a lot of negativity from many church people toward trans persons.  If you could speak to a conservative church crowd, what would you say to them?

            Religious scriptures, creeds and systems have, in my opinion, the ability to create both belonging and separation.  I have no interest in debating with religiously conservative Christians about this, therefore I do not engage in the conversation from that perspective.  I do however, engage in open conversations with religious people of all faiths about what leads them to believe as they do about LGBT people.

            BrenHow did you meet your wife?

            I met Margaret at PSR in September 2002.  Margaret was a Master of Divinity student and a United Methodist clergy candidate.  We we're "married" 3 times: we signed a CA Domestic Partnership agreement in August 2005; we held a Quaker-style wedding in October 2005; and we applied for and received a CA Marriage License in April 2006.

            BrenHow has the lesbian community and your friends responded to your life change?

            Neither Margaret nor I were very involved with lesbian community for a few years prior to our marriage. When we met, I was trans-identified and Margaret was bisexual-identified and not too concerned about what people had to say about our relationship.

            Our friends and family have been 100% on-board!   We are very fortunate to have loving and welcoming families and friendships.

            Bren:  How do you consider yourselves, a straight couple, or something else?

            Margaret and I don't tend to categorize our relationship using conventional terms, like "straight" or "heterosexual". We are more comfortable considering our relationship queer.

            BrenWhat do you feel has changed the most in your life?

            The freedom to walk down the street and no longer see contempt and disgust in people's eyes, because of my pre-transition masculine gender expression, has been the single, most significant, change in my life that matters the most to me.

            BrenWhat do you enjoy about being a man?  

            I really enjoy having a beard and mustache, a male-contoured chest, and being legally married.

            BrenDo you have any regrets?

            I have ZERO regrets. Sometimes, I wish I had transitioned at a younger age, but then again, I don't think my life would have evolved in the same way it has, and I live a charmed life.

            Bren:  What do you feel your role is as a man?

            My role as a man is the same as when I was a dyke: Be compassionate, charitable, empathetic, outspoken, and kind.

            BrenIf we interviewed you ten years from now, what would you hope to have accomplished?

            I would like to be able to report that: I am celebrating a 20 year relationship with Margaret, as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), I have been involved in systematic and systemic changes concerning transitioning transsexuals, I am in excellent health and surrounded by many loving friends.
            Zander and his dad
            Zander currently serves on the board of directors of TransMentors International.  Zander also just co-edited with Megan M. Rohrer a book titled,"Letters for My Brothers," that features essays from transmen such as Jamison Green, Cristopher Bautista, Chase Ryan Joynt, Malcolm Himschoot, Lou Sullivan, Reid Vander Burgh, Aaron H Devor, Aazron Raz Link, Patrick M Callahan, Elliot Anthony Brooker, Zander Keig, C. T. Whitley, Raven Kaldera, Tucker Lieberman, Lyle Blake, Keith Josephson, Evan Andersn, and Matt Kailey.  The book is NOW available from LuLu for $23 + S&H).

            If you have questions for Zander, he will be writing a monthly column regarding the medical, legal, and social aspects of transition transmen.  Write your questions to him at zanderszone@gmail.comand me may answer your question in next month's "Zander Zone."