SOUP: The Trouble with Transitioning

By Jen Harris

SOUP offers a content warning prior to every column, as the subjects discussed herein may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution. If you would like to try a grounding technique for triggered moments, here is a personal recommendation.

The trouble with transitioning is, I’m not a man. When I look in the mirror, I cannot imagine I could look more like my father, though I know a beard would do the trick.

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My birthing story: I was one of the first non-binary births at Truman Medical

By: Max Sheffield-Baird

I never expected to become pregnant. I had made my peace with it years ago. I was assured by an OBGYN over five years ago that I could not ovulate without medical assistance. As I came to terms with my gender identity as a non-binary trans person, I saw my lack of menstruation as my body doing me a favor and saving me the dysphoria of a monthly reminder of my body not quite fitting the person I knew myself to be.

I’m a nurse. I’ve actually attended two births. Each time I cried. It was a sacred experience to witness. Whether you’re religious or not, I was able to see the argument for a Deity when I’d see a baby take their first breath and their parents get to hold them for the first time. For my own birth experience, I had nervous anticipation. No one comes into Birth prepared. Not really. I had a birth plan but I also knew that nothing goes 100 percent as planned. It was an exercise in letting go and surrendering to the process. I’ve never been very good at that.

I did expect to educate the labor nurses and obstetricians around me on my gender identity and how best to support and affirm me as I went through one of the most vulnerable times of my life. I created a sign and hung it over my hospital bed at Truman Medical: “My name is Max, I’m non-binary, I use they/them pronouns.” The nurses asked questions and were respectful. They asked me if “mom” was still appropriate to use.

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SOUP: Anything for Love

By Jen Harris

SOUP offers a content warning prior to every column, as the subjects discussed herein may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution. If you would like to try a grounding technique for triggered moments, here is a personal recommendation.

The song goes, “I would do anything for love… but I won’t do that,” and the great debate is, “What IS ‘that’?”

That is all of the things that wreck a relationship: addiction, codependency, attachment style, jealousy, infidelity, financial strain, untreated mental illness, misogyny, sexism, racism, sexual repression… the list is long. So, the song is inherently claiming, “I would do anything for love, except be human.”

Historically I’ve claimed to be the sort of person who “won’t do that,” even though I totally DO THAT and that and that. I’d still like to believe I would do anything well-intentioned and healthy for love.

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SOUP: The Fragility of Growth

By Jen Harris

CW: C-PTSD, trauma

What happens when you “walk through something” in life? When people speak of being glad to be “on the other side” of that time of sorrow, grief, suffering; what do they mean?

I have always wondered what they mean, especially when I witness firsthand (and am totally freaked out by) their inner glow. A healed person, a person who has done the work possesses an uncontainable, undeniable, light. A light they seemingly acquired on this journey they’re illustrating but…wait. What?

What do you mean, the only way out is through?

Yeats said, “If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise.”

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SOUP: Let’s Not Have the Same Holiday, Again.

By Jen Harris

Let’s Not have the same holiday, again.

I look up from the 2020 survival trek and oh, it’s that time again. No, not my period. Christmas. I’m talking about Christmas. I’m surprised to smell apple cider and hear holiday music. Are we really celebrating this year, after everything that’s happened? It feels remarkably disrespectful to healthcare and essential workers, the dead, the dying, and those isolated in the purgatory of uncertainty to be glutenous after such a disparaging year, but it appears there are those who are going forward with holiday plans under the guise of being grateful for what remains.

It’s the holiday season (holiday season) // Whoop-dee-doo (Whoop-dee-doo)

Or at least, I think those are the words. Nonetheless, that’s my overall vibe about this year’s holidays. I struggle with holidays. It’s been my experience that many of us struggle with holidays, especially within the queer community.

Look, I’m not trying to exclude anyone, I’m just saying, when it comes to queers and holidays, any holiday, MOST holidays: it’s loaded. Proceed with caution.  

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