*THIS IS A SAFE SPACE*
Hate or discrimination of any type will NOT be tolerated.

A resource for all things LGBT, Equality, Love and Peace. 💙

I’m B. (Yup, that’s my actual legal name!)

I’m a thirty-something transguy who hails from a rural community named Hardisty, Alberta, Canada. I’m married to the most amazing and supportive partner in the world – Alix, and together, we have our little menagerie of creatures – four rescue cats, a rambunctious pup who thinks she’s also a cat and a pair of turtles named Paul & Linda. We’ve downgraded our zoo – we’ve had fish, frogs, a hedgehog, a chinchilla, bunnies, you name it. If you can think of it, it’s likely stayed here at one time or another.

It’s our perfect little family.

I grew up around here but Alix is from the U.S., I somehow convinced Alix to move here from New York City – not that it was much of a culture shock or anything! (It may have involved bribery with pie)

Our little town has maaaaybe 500 people if you include a few furry family members in there too. Hardisty is one of the largest hubs for the production and distribution of Canadian gas and oil in our country, so we have a ton of transient workers that come through at various times of the year. It’s also a thriving area for farming and ranching – primarily grain and cattle.

With it being a small community, everyone knows everyone and if something happens there’s a good chance that your neighbours are going to know about it before you even get home. Living in such a small centre can be a blessing and a curse. When someone needs help, the community comes together and supports each other like you couldn’t believe. But there is also a lot of stigma about ‘traditional values’ and ‘fear of the unknown’.

As you can probably imagine, coming out as a gender non-conforming queerio in a traditional, fairly religious farming community wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. There were a few ups and many, many downs, but I made it. I’m here today and I have a wonderful support system to thank for it.

I’m incredibly proud to say that living in this very conservative little town has not been much of a struggle at all. It’s been amazing how many folks have reached out to me to learn more about the LGBTQA community. Parents, grandparents, etc. feel comfortable coming to me with questions!

We’ve been accepted wonderfully and openly and have made many lifelong friends.

Now, I want to make myself available as a support for all other folks from small communities who feel isolated and alone. Dealing with strong emotions is 100% easier when you have a friend by your side to work with.

I created justByou.org for people to have a reliable resource of all things LGBT. Having grown up in a small community – I know how terrifying it can be to feel different. Isolated. Afraid.
I’ve spent hours looking for information online, only to be overwhelmed by the millions of different, pages, blogs, podcasts, articles, groups, etc.
My goal is to sort through all that stuff and make a list of resources that will be easier to find what information you seek! AND – if I don’t have what you’re looking for, I would like to help you find it!

As an advocate and an activist, it’s my job to help folks become more educated about LGBT issues.
And while this website may be aimed towards transgender, gay, bisexual, non-binary, asexual, queer, gender non-conforming, pansexual (etc.) folks, it is also a safe place for non-LGBTQA people to turn to for information.

When I first came out, it was assumed that I was a lesbian because I hadn’t started to physically transition to male yet. I remember my poor grandma being so confused by all the terminology that she actually went out and purchased a book – only to be completely overwhelmed with all of the information!

My cousin ended up sitting with her and saying something along the lines of ‘Oh grandma, just skip all the rest of it except these pages”. She dog-eared the relevant pages for my grandma to check out later.
This got me thinking – as clueless and terrified as I was when I first started researching the idea of being transgender (I seriously didn’t know it was a thing!), my grandmother wouldn’t have the slightest clue. I have access to the internet; an endless supply of information at the tips of my fingers. My grandma, on the other hand – still can’t fathom how, with just a few clicks on my cell phone (or small computer, as she calls it 😂) I can figure out who the 18th President of the U.S. was, his birthdate, and what he had for breakfast the day that he died.

It was then that I realized that I need to make resources for people who are maybe not sure what LGBTQ even means!

So here I am, starting up what will no doubt be a huge project. You’ll have to bear with me… I have never ran a website before and it may take some fiddling around to make it user friendly, but I promise I’ll try my best!

This project has been something I’ve been dreaming up for years and I decided that it was just time to get up and get it going. I know that there are people all over our country and other great nations who live in small rural areas and could use some perspective from someone who understands the challenges. I was fortunate to have an amazing family and group of friends who were integral in me being where I am today, but I know not everyone is that lucky. I want this to be a resource for people who relate, people who are curious but afraid to ask, and simply as a source of information for anyone and everyone!

I have people contacting me several times a week with questions, comments, concerns or curiosities about the ins and outs of gender non-conformity and queer issues. I take great pride in being asked these questions and try my hardest to pass along appropriate, relevant and useful information.

Oftentimes, prejudice is just ignorance.

Sometimes people come off as sounding disrespectful when, in fact, they simply didn’t know better. Other people seem non-supportive when they are actually so afraid of saying something wrong that they choose to stay silent rather than offend someone. If I can help people bridge the gap of awkwardness and uncertainty, then my effort will have been well worth it!

Some of the things I’m planning to include on the website are – a Q&A (and/or advice?) column, a glossary of terms, a personal blog of my experiences, guest articles, links to podcasts, etc.

If you have any requests, suggestions, etc., let me know!

So don’t be shy, introduce yourself or send me a private message if you prefer to stay anonymous- this is a safe place.

You have my word on that.

I Dreamed A Little Dream…

IMG_6679Alright, so I’m about to do a thing that scares the absolute SHIT out of me.

No… I’m not jumping out of a plane from 16,000ft. It’s not cliff diving or even white water rafting (although all 3 of those are on my bucketlist!)

I’m going to share some suuuuuper personal shit. You ready? Sitting down?

Anyone who’s known me more than about 4-5 years probably knows that I looked a little different a while back.

Since then, I’ve lost a few pounds, cut my hair, obtained a couple new scars, you know… the usual.

Oh. I forgot one.

I changed my gender.

And my name.

And my face shape.

Oh… and my voice!

(I’ll give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor…)

Many transgender people say that they were ‘born in the wrong body’ or that they were assigned the wrong letter when they were born. I don’t think any of this applies to me personally, but I do know for a fact that there are a lot of examples I can think of from all those years ago that make more sense now. I think my heart was always more masculine than my body appeared. And I think my brain was more masculine too. This isn’t to say that one ‘gender’ is any better than any other, but that I never quite fit the way that I looked.

Long story short: I made some changes.

Was it scary? Oh shit yes. Terrifying. I was convinced that if I ‘came out’, every single one of my friends and family members would disown me. That I’d lose my job. Lose the respectful reputation that I’d taken years to compile.

But was it worth it?
Absolutely. Yeah, there were loads of shitty days. Periods where my mood was so low that I wasn’t sure I would live to see the next day.

But I kept pushing and pushing and pushing until I finally got to come out on the other side.

Obviously I didn’t do this alone. My friends and family gave me more support and love than I could have ever anticipated. And I found community with online groups, LGBTQ resources and now I’m at a plc where I’m (almost) comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

Yes, I absolutely have a dozen other things I want to ‘change’ or ‘improve’ upon about myself, but it’s a process.

(I didn’t grow this epic facial hair overnight, kids 😜)

So now I’m taking another big jump. I’ve designed and executed my very own health and fitness plan. I’ve made some epic lifestyle changes that have helped my body physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m going to continue to make healthy choices and extend my life because now I have a reason to.

I’m also getting back into one of my biggest passions – creative writing. Ever since I was a kiddo, I’ve dreamed up all kinds of tales. I have a kick ass imagination and one of my favourite hobbies is to get those stories on paper.

Sometimes it’s journalling, blogging, writing songs or poetry and occasionally even fanfiction haha! I love writing and it’s an amazing way to dig through emotions and clear my mind.

I’m a paramedic, I’m currently in nursing school, I run my own wellness coaching business, and I also facilitate several volunteer groups, non profit organizations and charities!  I just have so much to live for now that I want to give back in all the ways that I can.

We all have goals. Plans. Dreams!

Maybe you want to make a million bucks, or pay off your parent’s home, or you want to lose those last stubborn 10lbs from last winter. Or maybe there’s a secret hobby that you’ve discovered that you’re too shy or nervous to get started on. Maybe you want to jump out of that plane. Or maybe there’s a new language that you’re dying to learn.

What’s it going to take to get you started?

If you’re anything like me – you’re probably procrastinating, anxious about the ‘what ifs’ and paralyzed when you think about failure.

Fuck failure.

Even if you only make 10% of your goal, isn’t that 10% more than you had before? Doesn’t really seem like a fail now, does it?
Maybe you only learn the first 3 chapters of that new language book. But I bet you could get by in a foreign country a little easier now, no?

Maybe you can only afford to pay for a couple months of your parent’s mortgage – don’t you think that they’re still going to be super grateful?

Instead of fearing failure – embrace the excitement of it! Be competitive! Dare those goals to go unmet. Listen to some kick ass music and get inspired to make a difference!

Then get going on it.

Because you can’t change something if you don’t get started.

Bullying Is NOT Okay

As much as we all hate to admit it, summer is quickly coming to an end and before we know it, kids will be filing back into the classrooms at school.

For some, this means returning to a safe haven. A place filled with close friends, laughter, socializing and routine, but for others, setting foot inside the school once again feels more like volunteering to step in front of a firing squad.

Kids can be friggin’ mean. It blows my mind how AWFUL some of the things are that kids say and do to each other. Angry words, mumbled threats, physical violence, spreading rumours, and creating isolation or a wall of shame around their peers.

Which side of that wall will you child be on? Are they going to be the one who gets pushed around? And for what? Because they have freckles? Or they aren’t as tall as they ‘should’ be or haven’t hit puberty as quickly? Maybe it’s their glasses, or that their family can’t afford the latest fashions and trendy supplies.

Or maybe your kiddo is going to be slammed with words that slice deep like icy splinters that pierce their heart and sting like salt in a fresh wound. Maybe they get told that they’re not good enough, not fast enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough.

Just… not enough.

It’s also entirely possible that your kid is the one hurling these insults. Throwing those metaphorical daggers, causing fear and forcing more self-loathing into the more vulnerable children at school. The glares. The stares. The threats and the mistreatment.

Please teach your kiddos that none of this is okay. None of it is ‘normal’ or ‘part of growing up’. This isn’t normal.

This is violence. Assault.

School is meant to be a safe place for everyone.

When it’s not, how can we expect our children to be focused? How can we expect them to get great marks when all they think about is how they’re going to have to dodge the bullies on the way to the bathroom, like a running-back forcing their way between huge, intimadating-as-hell defensive linemen as they try their best to reach the end zone.

What is that end-zone? Is that peace and quiet at home? Or is it somewhere much darker and scarier?

Maybe your kid isn’t the one hurling the profanities OR the one who those sticks and stones are directed towards. Maybe they’re just a bystander watching the scene unfold.

Sometimes saying nothing is worse.

Imagine the feeling of your best friend in the entire world stand idly by as you are being beaten. Ripped to shreds by a pack of rapid wolves. Imagine them not stepping in when you need them the most.

Gut-wrenching.

Teach your kids that this behaviour is NOT okay. Talk about what to watch for. Show them how to be an advocate. Lead by example. Explain to them that many times, when people are being bullied that they don’t feel strong enough to stand up for themselves, to reach out and ask for help, or even to just say ‘no’. Tell them that sometimes those folks just need a friend to hold their hand, keep them safe and tell them that they’re not alone. Or if it’s another child that’s being attacked – tell your kiddo that it’s okay to find a trusted adult and get some help.

BE A TRUSTED ADULT.

Explain to your children the differences between tattling and asking for help.

Tell them that you’ll never EVER be upset with them for coming to you for help. Sometimes they may not be able to say all of the words they need to, but if you pay attention to their body language, moods, and their behaviours, you know when something is wrong.

Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage them to ask questions. Celebrate when they are curious. Be proud of them when they want to help.

But most of all, just listen.

Listen to what they’re saying. How they’re saying it. When they are saying it. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll figure out the why.

Bullying is not okay. Ever.

Be the best parent you can be. Be an ally. Be an advocate. Be there for your kids when they need you the most.

Just B

💙