A Light Hearted and Heavy Hearted Incomplete List of Common Traits Shared by TransPeople Like Myself, Based Mostly on Empirical Data, by Jennifer Angelina Petro


A Light-Hearted and Heavy-Hearted

Short and Incomplete List of Common Traits

Shared by TransPeople

Like Myself

Based Mostly on Empirical Data

By Jennifer Angelina Petro




These are not in any particular order, and yes, of course, cisfolks can have some of these traits too, but who cares. This list is not meant to separate us or further stereotype us.  It is meant as affirmation, celebration, and interesting information.



We like sci-fi.

We like video games—playing them, creating them.

We like memes and GIFS—creating them, posting them, reading them.

Many of us are often on the spectrum—the autism spectrum.

We are incredibly creative—artistically, musically…

We are often gifted writers.

We are kind, generous, and fiercely loyal.

We are activists, both by birth and by choice.

We have amazingly fabulous fashion sense.

We are survivors.

We are resilient.

We have fantastic taste in music.

Many of us are highly empathic to the point of being empaths.

Many of us like animation—anime, manga. Stephen Universe, etc.

We are extremely intelligent.

We can hold and cherish and protect the truth better than almost anyone.

We are often musicians.

Many of us love animals—cats, dogs, rats, hedgehogs, reptiles, etc.

Many of us know how to experience fear and keep going anyway.  And those that don’t someday will.

Some of us belong to pagan, wiccan, or some other more “earthy” type of spiritual tradition.

Many of us have youtube channels intended to help, inspire, support, and educate trans and non-trans.

Many of us are asked invasive or inappropriate questions.

Many of us are made to feel like we need to prove and/or justify that we exist.

Many of us get stared at when we are out in public.

Some of us carry mace when going out alone.

Many of us have been threatened, harassed, assaulted, demonized, and rejected, and yet we still hold true to the truth of who we are.

Many of us experience severe anxiety and fear when out in public and have to use the bathroom.

Too many of us have been murdered for who we are, and by too many, I mean one is too many.

Too many of us take our own lives because of bullying, nonacceptance, stress, and fear, and by too many I mean one is too many.

Some of us struggle with deep dysphoria; some of us do not.

Some of us exist in hiding for years, decades, or even our entire lives.

Some of us struggle with loving our bodies, our voices, certain body parts., etc; some of us do not.

Some of us hate our lives and names before coming out; some of us do not.

Some of us LOVE wearing makeup, binders, etc.; some of us do not.

Many of us have at least one ally (and often more than one) in our corner.

Many of us have different hair colors than the common brown, black, or blond.

Many of us do not have access to healthcare.

Many of us have family members who reject us.

Many of us have at least one or two family members who accept us.

Many of us are unemployed and/or find it extremely difficult finding a job.

Many of us are living in poverty.

Some of us are forced to live on the streets.

Some of us choose to be sex workers for survival and to save money for surgeries (and yes, some choose to be sex workers because we like it).

Many of us seek various forms of surgeries or procedures to help make ourselves more comfortable in our true gender.   Many do not.  Most cannot due to finances and/or lack of healthcare.

Some of us have passing as one of our goals; some of us do not.

Most of us are utterly hilarious and have a great sense of humor (albeit sometimes, wry, dark, or jaded).

Many of us are “TransWhoVians”—transpeople who like Dr. Who.

All of us fucking rock.

All of us are amazing.

All of us are living lights.

All of us matter.

All of us are just plain human (except those from other planets).

All of us are brave even when we’re afraid.

All of us need to stick together.

All of us need to know there is no one way, or right way, or wrong way to be trans.

What traits can you add to this list?







All donations go towards food and medical expenses.  Thank you for your support.

My One Year Anniversary of Coming Out, Sunday, September 18, 2016, by Jennifer Angelina Petro


My One Year Anniversary of Coming Out

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Jennifer Angelina Petro


I look at my initial coming out letter and feel so sad.  It was such a naïve letter.  Of course, I didn’t know any better.

Part of the sadness comes, of course, from the incredible fallout my pronouncement caused.  Over this past year I have had things said to me by relatives, friends, parents of my students, and strangers that would make your skin crawl–inhuman, violent, vicious, hateful, self-centered, and humiliating things.  People crawled out of the woodwork to write me mean, toxix letters—people who haven’t spoken with me in literally decades suddenly found it their place to tell me what a fuck-up I was.  Over the course of this year, I lost friends, family, and regardless of how it was framed as my fulfilling a four-year agreement at my school—I lost a job, my home, and a marriage.

One of the reasons I stressed so much in my original letter and in subsequent letters that being transgender isn’t a choice is because so many people think I have brought all of this loss onto myself by making a sick, twisted, selfish, perverted life-style choice—a choice that wrecked everything.  And no matter what I say or how many times I say it, there will still be those who think I am choosing to be this way.  There will be people who will never speak to me again for the “choice” they think I am making.

Part of the sadness also comes from seeing how happy I was.  I have never been so happy before or since when I realized I am transgender.  It was a joy that transcended all other joys.  And, in my naiveté, I thought the world would be happy with me. My innocence was reborn even though I know people who believe that isn’t possible, and with that innocence came a youthful foolishness; for my thought that people would rejoice with me couldn’t have been more wrong.

A year later I am in a darker place than the one I mention at the beginning of my coming out letter.  It is a place of not seeing any future, any possibilities, any hope; and, as a result, there are days when I feel I cannot, nor do I want to, go on.   As of this writing I am not sure of anything, and make no promises about anything to anyone anymore.  That all sounds pretty dire, and that’s because it is.  There is another side to this year though that I also want to share.

When I came out there was also tremendous, unexpected support from people I knew and from people I didn’t know.  Mandy published her own letter that day and as a result I had more people friend me that week than perhaps ever in my Facebook history—and the vast majority of those people were from Bryn Athyn.  So while I have lost dear friends, relatives, and family, I have also gained a whole community of people who love and accept me for me, and for that I will be forever grateful.

I also met the best doctor I have ever had.  He is the kindest, most attentive, loving doctor I have ever had, and likely will ever have.  Four months after coming out, on January 11, 2016 he started me on HRT and I will be forever grateful for that too.  No, the meds doesn’t make me a woman.  I have always been a woman.  The medicine simply helps me live comfortably in my own skin.  It does not affirm who I am, nor will surgery, what it does is treat an incurable condition and, again, help me live with some semblance of peace and comfort while in a body that does not fit the inner truth of who I am.

I credit my continued existence to my present therapist, who I have another Facebook note and blog post about.

I have had moments this past year where the joy and ecstasy returned and, no matter what was going on around me, I felt like singing.  My last year teaching was a great example of joy—no, not with the parents—no, as I have already written about in other places—the majority of them flipped their wigs and said some of the meaning things anyone ever said.  It was the children and I.  We had the best year ever.  I cannot think of another group of people I would ever want to be around as I came out and began transitioning.  Despite some of the limited, transphobic thinking of their parents, these kids were enlightened beings—they ARE enlightened beings.  Sure they had questions (which I wasn’t allowed to answer), and a few concerns—mostly things like: Was I OK? Of course, as this chain of events drew us even closer together the only other thing that mattered most to them was that I stay their teacher.  They wanted me to stay more than ever, and this is completely to their credit.  The time I got to spend with them that last school year together will always be treasured, cherished, and an honor.

My own children too continue to love and support me.  They call me “Other Mom,” or “Mom Number Two,” or simply, “Mom.”  They faced our first Father’s Day with grace and made me cards for our first Mother’s Day together.  They are amazing people, growing so fast, and not really ever blinking once at my transition and all of the odd things it entails. And even though Mandy and I have divorced, we are still on the best of terms, and she continues to be one of my biggest allies.

As you know too, I am not shy about talking about surgeries and my body like I thought I was going to be.  I am going tomorrow for my first consult with a surgeon and this makes me so happy I could cry happy tears of gratitude (in fact I do cry tears of gratitude—often about this).  I want surgery more than anything else in the world.  And isn’t that funny?  I have no frame of reference for desiring such an operation, but there it is—the deepest want—longing—desire, and I dearly hope it is possible physically and financially.  And yes, this makes many people uncomfortable—especially some men who cannot fathom anyone giving up male privilege to do such a drastic (in their twisted minds) thing.  But I am all in, and I cannot wait for the next phase of my transition to begin (I will be receiving more letters from friends, family, and strangers about this paragraph, and while yes, I just made it your business by sharing this personal information it does not give you the right to be mean, send sexually insecure, shadow-based hate mail, letters, phone calls, messages—you may keep your bizarre and lust fueled—bigoted-“religious” ideas to yourself.  What I am doing to my body should be of no concern of yours.  So, to all of you already writing me hateful letters, I send a big, hearty-fuck-you in advance).

Many of you have been such dear supports and friends this past year.  I am constantly making calls for prayers, and you always answer them.  No matter how depressing and dark my posts become you love and support and encourage me.  Many of you have even donated money to my cause, and it is with all my heart I thank you.

So, here I am.  One year in.  One year CONSCIOUSLY in.   I have been transgender my whole life just not consciously. If I make it out of this next year then I believe I will be kicking some serious ass in terms of my poetry, music, and activism. I want the fight back—the joy, the bliss, the sweet sense of completeness and wholeness that was here a year ago—the sense of purpose and rightness. I want to love myself and my body, my voice, my age, and my life.  I want to believe the poems that come to me.  I want to help change the world.  I want to get remarried. I want to get all of my poems and songs out there published.

If I can step back and look at my life objectively, I see how much I have survived—many forms of abuse, hatred, and loss, and yet, here I am, alive and well, not kicking—more sort of rolling up into a ball and weeping with terror—but I am here.  I survived my life not knowing who I was.  I survived experiences meant to “make a man out of me.”  I survived traumas of many kinds, and I am still here, for that I can be proud.

So, Happy Anniversary to me.  Here’s to a smoother year.

All my love and gratitude,




You are always welcome to donate what you can and want.  I am still unemployed and soon, as mentioned above, I will be starting a crowd-funding campaign for my surgeries.  Get in on the ground floor now for that and ear-mark your donations and I will not use them to buy food.  🙂  Thank you.  All my love, Jennifer



Rejoice in the Body Positive, A Spoken Word Poem, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Rejoice in the Body Positive
A Spoken Word Poem
Jennifer Angelina Petro



sassy me
I do not wear makeup to cover him,
I wear make up to honor her.
My makeup isn’t done on a walking cadaver,
My makeup is done on a living, breathing, woman.
I do not wear makeup to impress you or to make you think that I need it to be beautiful–
I am beautiful and I choose to wear makeup because it’s fun—
It’s part of my life I never got to explore
Until now
And it’s fun. I get to be a teenager in a way I never was able to until now,
And I love it. My body is a canvas to play upon.
And I rejoice in the body positive.
I do not wear makeup or shave my face or legs or chest to conform
To anyone’s misguided standards of what it is to be a woman,
I do these things because I like to—I love the smooth feeling of newly shaved legs,
I love to run my hands over my hairless breasts,
I love a smooth face—much easier for makeup application—but don’t think
For a second I do any of this for you, or to pretend to be a her that I’m not,
I do not do this to hide him–
He, like it or not, is still with me. He
Is my most faithful friend.
I do not hate him—
He is alive and well, informing this beauty with all he’s got,
And yes, this beauty is mine. And I rejoice in the body positive.
This hair on my face, chest, legs, arms—it’s all there
For a reason. He did not sprout it to torture me, and I refuse to be laden
With the damp shawls of self-hate any longer. I rejoice in the body positive.
This form, this face—it’s all me—so what it may not
Blurt out “woman” to your ideas of what a woman is or should be—this beauty is mine,
This body is mine and, much to the chagrin of those scared radical femmes,
It is every bit a woman as theirs’.
So what if my life as a woman disturbs you, or my weight or my shoulders,
My big hands or my jowls—this beauty is mine,
I cannot stop you from living in your lies of how a woman should look or dress or shave,
This beauty is mine—these hands, this face, these breasts—
This beauty is mine–
And I rejoice in the body positive
For hairy women rock—all women rock.
I shave out of choice not enslavement to you—not to tame the wildness–
And some days I don’t shave, some days I do not wear makeup
And the world does not come to an end.
I do not shave or wear makeup to hide the earthiness of the body.
I do not do these things to hide the way I was born.
I do them out of my own sense of myself and how I want to look.
If I grow a fucking beard again, it would in no way negate
My womanhood. This is the body I have. I could fight it,
Hate it, and condemn myself to death while still living in it,
And for what?
Today I choose to rejoice in the body positive—
These breasts, this penis, these hairs on my arms, this heart—it’s all beautiful—
And if I want to shave I shave, if I wear makeup I wear makeup,
If I wear a dress that flows like liquid wind
Or jeans and a t-shirt—–it needn’t matter to you—
I rejoice in the body positive—and send the joy of who I am
Resounding through the mindless traditions—-shattering the paradigms of what beauty is
Of what womanhood is, of what manhood is—-Come! Let’s tear off all the hoods—
And rejoice in the body positive.
Gendered clothing, facial hair,
Makeup, body parts—it’s all preposterously silly—
Free the nipple, free the vagina, free the penis,
Free the chub, free the skin and bone model starving to death,
Free it all from the constraints of fear-based, shame-based, hate-based,
Lie-based, money-based, lust-based, greed-based, power-based,
Ignorant-based, bigoted-based, false-masculine-based, false-feminine-based,
Deep shadow-based BULLSHIT—
And yes, the world will come crashing down—so be it–
Sometimes the temple needs to be destroyed
So that a real sanctuary can be built—a sanctuary for all bodies,
All genders, all colors of the rainbow and the darkness, the brilliance,
The whispered hymns and the shouted choruses, a place where love reigns
And hands explore and hearts make room, and minds open
For the fresh winds of freedom to blow through–
Come build with me.
Come celebrate the body positive,
Come love who you are and change what you want,
Come love who you are and change nothing at all,
Come love who you are and let go of the world’s expectations
Of who you should be or what you should say—let freedom ring,
And rejoice in the body positive,
Come love who you are and love one another,
Let’s dance or keep still, whatever we need,
Whatever we choose, let’s do it all with ferocious kindness,
And rejoice in the body positive.



All donations go to furthering my transition.  Thank you.  <3