An Archive of My Own

As a kid born in 2000, it is very easy to place myself in the 21st century. No math is required to figure out how old I was when this or that historic event happened. This never bothered me or really affected me. It was a party trick, at best.

When looking at the MTPC website archive that all changed. Suddenly my life could be conceptualized by the contemporary trans political rights movement. 

I was one year old, drooling and teething when MTPC was founded by a group of trans lawyers and youth professionals looking to gain concrete rights in their state. I was two years old when MTPC successfully lobbied the city of Boston into providing transgender protections. I was six, entering first grade obsessed with fairies and flowers, when MTPC established its organizational structure, created its steering committee, and became fiscally sponsored as a 501c3 non-profit. 

I was seven, trying my hand at ballet and soccer, when the first transgender rights bill entered the Massachusetts State Legislature, thanks to the education and advocacy of MTPC. The bill failed two times before a version of it finally passed in 2011. I was 11, dreaming of knights and begging my mom for a bowl cut so I looked like a medieval pageboy. 

As I began to explore the fluidity of my gender, the 2011 bill extended civil rights and hate crimes protections to the state’s transgender residents in areas of employment, housing, credit/lending, and public education. It did not include public accommodations, protections in facilities like retail stores and recreational facilities, a strategic concession made to gain the other protections. 

I was 16 and entering my first queer relationship when a bill that included public accommodations passed. I was 17 when that bill was challenged by “Keep Massachusetts Safe,” a conservative and Christian-supported group, and placed on the ballot as Question 3. I was 18 when Massachusetts residents voted in favor of protecting trans rights. 

Eleven years of legislative work with bills in the legislature before full protections were passed. Eleven years of lobbying, education, fundraising, and failure. Eleven years that I grew up. Decades of survival and advocacy before the bills could even get on the table. 

By fall 2018, when I arrived in Massachusetts as a young, queer college student, my rights as a young trans person in MA were protected. Those laws protected communities and resources which nurtured me as I bloomed into the trans person I was meant to be. 

When my supervisor asked if I could sort through the web archive, compile relevant resources, and update our history page, I had no idea how directly the timeline would intersect with my life. MTPC is the oldest active transgender political advocacy group. I am a year older than the longest active group advocating for my rights. My entire childhood is marked by the political struggle for trans rights. 

This is not to say trans people did not advocate for rights or survival before 2001. Not in the least. MTPC’s work would not be possible without organizing from the likes of The Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and ACT UP. It was not possible without the persistent and radical survival and community building of trans people across the world. 

But it is humbling to be able to track the lifespan of an organization by protecting one’s rights by your own life. It is humbling to know that the rights I take for granted did not exist when I was born. It is humbling to know how hard my rights were fought for before my transness even was something I knew about myself. 

Directly after compiling the MTPC timeline, I had the opportunity to speak with a trans elder who has worked with MTPC since its conception. She shared her decades of experience in the queer and trans activist communities and admitted that at my age she could not have imagined having the protections we have now. She described how it was all about staying alive and finding community, often found in bars and other underground community spaces.

There is so much to learn from MTPC’s archive and the archives of other early trans rights organizations. There is so much to learn from trans elders. In the face of stalling legislatures and divisive politics, it is vital to remember that the previous iterations of our fight for liberation have been similarly frustrating. Amidst internet connectivity and COVID conditions, it is important to remember that the trans community was found and nurtured in more treacherous conditions. I exist because of the determination of the scaffolds of the community before me. Future trans people will exist because of the scaffolds I and other trans youth create. 

As I look toward my future and the future of trans liberation, I keep repeating what the trans elder said to me about imagination. When she was my age, she could not imagine the protections for transgender people that we have now. When it comes to trans liberation, I am working hard to dream big and act bigger. But I do hope it exceeds the extent of my imagination. 

Check out our updated history page, which shares more about MTPC’s story. For more resources on transgender history, check out these resources: NYT, ThoughtCo, GLAAD.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary and gender-expansive community members in MA. We educate the public, advocate at state, local and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity. Learn more about MTPC.

Posted on Aug 9, 2022, by Hen Carnell, MTPC’s Summer 2022 Intern. You can reach them at with any feedback.

*Warning, this includes spoilers for Season 3 of the Umbrella Academy*

As the token trans friend, Elliot Page super-fan, and sci-fi nerd, I have been asked several times what I think of Viktor Hargreeves transition in Umbrella Academy. 

I cannot quite come up with a good answer. On one hand, I cherish trans representation. Viktor is the first trans science fiction or fantasy character I have seen on the screen. He is the first trans superhero I have ever encountered. I never had that growing up. Knowing that little trans boys have Viktor to look up to. In his compassion. In his bravery. In his complexity. In his trans joy. That should be enough. 

But, after decades of over-simplified and harmful stereotyping and representation, I wanted Viktor’s transition to feel genuine. I wanted his transition to be given the nuance and time it deserved.

The storyline presented was short and felt uneventful. After a couple of episodes of Elliot Page wearing the world’s least convincing wig, he reflects on Sissy, his lost love, and realizes he is transgender. 

After a transboy haircut montage (which we do stan), he tells his siblings his new name and pronouns. There are no problems or confusion. There are no pronoun slip-ups. Occasionally his transness is referenced as Luther, his brother, tries to include him with the boys. 

It is a non-issue, which is good. We love when being transgender is not viewed as an existential threat or problem! But transness is not a two-episode arc. 

Being transgender is not in a single moment of switching gender. It’s no light switch. Rather, it is in the denaturing and growing of what gender means. Even in more “binary” transitions (FTM and MTF), gender is not just rewritten but rather reimagined. 

It felt like a disservice to the trans community to oversimplify and short-change Viktor’s transition. It feeds into already-dominate narratives about what being transgender is, erasing the fluidity and non-binary aspects of the trans community. 

And while I support joyous, non-harm-focused trans narratives, it also felt thoughtless to not acknowledge the diversity of trans experiences. Page is a white masculine person, not endangered by racism and transmisogyny that tremendously affects transfeminine community members, especially BIPOC ones.  

Viktor is drawn into the predominately white guys-only spaces cultivated by the Hargreeves male siblings. As Viktor is welcomed by his brothers, it is noticeable that Allison, the only black and only female sibling, is the lone person excluded from those spaces. 

Season three of the Umbrella Academy included an influx of new characters. If the screenwriters wanted, they could have easily cast a trans woman or non-binary person in one of the roles. Would it not have been more powerful to include Viktor connecting with the trans community, something so vital to the trans experience? 

Now, I suspect the character of Viktor Hargreeves would not exist in his current form without Page’s own identity. New characters may already have been cast with contracts signed when Vitkor’s transition was written in. I hope that in future seasons, especially ones where all of time and existence are not being rapidly wiped out, the screenwriters provide space for Viktor to connect with trans community. I hope they go beyond supporting one actor’s comfort, giving space and representation to the beauty and complexity of transness.

Despite the imperfect presentation, there were moments so tender, so vital, they felt needed. I loved watching Viktor enter the barber shop for their haircut, in equal parts apprehension and excitement. I remember that feeling, getting my first very short haircut, soon after coming out as non-binary. The scene captured the magic of that feeling.

On the eve of Luther’s wedding (and the complete total apocalypse), Luther asks Viktor to be his best man. It is a quiet gesture of gender affirmation amid the terror, confusion, and intensity of what the Hargreeves children are facing. Trans people deserve recognition, care, and consideration, even – and especially – at the end of the world. The Umbrella Academy gave us that, however imperfectly, and for that I am grateful.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary and gender-expansive community members in MA. We educate the public, advocate at state, local and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity. Learn more about MTPC.

Posted on July 12, 2022, by Hen Carnell, MTPC’s Summer 2022 Intern. You can reach them at with any feedback.

This June we have many moments for joy and celebration, like at the Trans Resistance March and Festival and other wonderful LGBTQ+ centered spaces. At the same time, recent Supreme Court rulings and the continued legislative attacks on transgender healthcare remind us there is still work to do in fighting for trans liberation. 

Curious about how Massachusetts is doing regarding trans-related issues? Read below to recap trans-related news in the Commonwealth from the last month. 

A image of the Massachusetts State house. Tilted upward, it emphasizes the golden dome and white columns and sits against a light blue sky.
Photo by Aubrey Odum Mabey
Most Massachusetts public schools receive a failing score for LGBTQ+ youth protections

The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ+ Youth ranked public school handbooks. Unfortunately, they found that the average score was a D, with the majority of 64% receiving an F. The report states that transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth “are the most underrepresented and underserved in Massachusetts education policy and practice.” The commission urges schools to establish non-discrimination regulations in their handbooks, especially around gender identity, and move away from gendered practices. Read the report here and learn more at

Massachusetts appears on several Anti-Trans Legislation trackers for bill H1536

Many community members have been surprised and disappointed to find Massachusetts on anti-trans legislation trackers, like this one. Bill H1536, presented by David F. DeCoste representative from the Fifth Plymouth District, proposes protections for “religious beliefs and moral convictions” that hold marriage is between a man and a woman and that gender identity is based on biological sex. Thankfully, the bill did not meet the crossover deadline, which suggests it has a low chance of passing. 

Trans and nonbinary doctors frequently experience transphobia at work, a recent MA-based study shows 

A recent study by Dr. Laura Westafer, a doctor at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, shows trans and nonbinary doctors frequently experience transphobia at work. This transphobia included trans and nonbinary doctors being misgendered and called the wrong name by co-workers, alongside experiences with observing transphobia towards patients. Westafer calls for “institutions and individuals to engage with strategies to target transphobia and gender biases in the health care setting.” Read the study here and read more at WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. 

Massachusetts Legislature takes multiple steps to protect abortion care and LGBTQ+ rights

“Access to reproductive health care services and gender-affirming health care services is recognized and declared to be a right secured by the constitution or laws of the commonwealth,” states Bill H.4954, a recently introduced bill meant to protect live-saving healthcare in the Commonwealth. 

While the ROE Act, passed in 2020, provides legal protection for abortions in Massachusetts, lawmakers in the Commonwealth are working to better protect abortion rights for all, regardless of state residency. Bill H.4954 would protect patients and healthcare providers from laws in other states which have or will outlaw abortions. It would also protect patients and healthcare providers from laws prohibiting gender-affirming healthcare. Arizona, Arkansas, and Alabama currently have active laws banning best-practice gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, while numerous other states have introduced bills with the same purpose. 

The Bill passed in the Massachusetts House on Wednesday, June 29, and has moved onto the senate. Read more at The Hill.

In addition to their work protecting reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare, the MA legislature is pushing to repeal archaic state laws which ban sodomy and other ‘unnatural’ sex acts. Read more at the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary and gender-expansive community members in MA. We educate the public, advocate at state, local and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity. Learn more about MTPC.

Posted on July 2, 2022, by Hen Carnell, MTPC’s Summer 2022 Intern. You can reach them at with any feedback.

Transitions are Not Services

Language Note: I use the term “trans*” to describe transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and gender-expansive people of all identities.

After winning the 2019 HackOut, an LGBTQ+ hackathon, Euphoria.LGBT Inc. began launching its app series meant to streamline gender transition. The tagline for their project – “transition as a service” – elucidates the project’s goal: to make transitioning a service in a capitalist market.  

The app suite promotes a linear checklist-like journey of transitioning. They recommend you start with the Clarity app which ‘tracks’ gender identity and expression alongside sexual and romantic attraction. Then, when you have clarified your identity, Euphoria.LGBT takes steps to move forward on your transition. There is Bliss – a financial planning app – meant to help you manage savings for transition-related costs, and Solace, a database with information on steps of transitioning which you can check off as goals are completed. For some steps, it encourages you to go to their partner Plume, a VC-backed trans* health service that does not take insurance. The final app, Devotion, provides daily affirmations meant to be gender inclusive.

I first discovered the Euphoria Apps from trans* Twitter outrage about them. The comments ranged from fear about data mining and invasions of LGBTQ+ privacy to questions about the ethics of a venture-capitalist-backed project. Many comments called the founders’ sell-outs and questioned the project’s actual need in the community. 

I signed up for the free versions of each app (don’t even get me started on the $50 per month premium version!) and explored the features. Clarity, the app meant to explore identity, relies on binary, gendered labels of identity, expression, and attraction. It is a less-fun version of an “Am I Gay?” BuzzFeed quiz and felt painful to use, as it erased so many parts of my trans* and queer identity and community. 

Solace provides the bulk of Euphoria.LGBT’s services, as it focuses on the transition process, but that bulk was sparse. Fundamentally, it acted as a mini-resource guide with information about transitioning. You can mark what goals you want to achieve and then check them off when you are done. The articles were sparse, did not provide citations or author credentials, and provided little to no further resources. 

Most importantly, there was no true inclusivity. There were no articles or sections specifically by and for trans* people of color, nor disabled or low-income trans* people. When information on BIPOC trans* people was added, it was an afterthought. For example, there was only one sentence in the “interacting with law enforcement” article that mentioned that BIPOC individuals were more at risk when interacting with cops. It otherwise ignored the implications. In the “men’s hair styling” section, there was one mention of “textured (coiled, kinky, or curly)” hair added on, but no acknowledgment of differences in styling and barbering techniques. 

Financial resources were often ignored or negated, with many suggestions – like getting an attorney or using Plume – financially prohibitive. Whenever there is a discussion of money, the article is linked to Bliss, Euphoria.LGBT’s savings app, and ignored other potential resources like mutual aid, non-profits, and governmental assistance. 

Bliss is the only app that I felt myself somewhat onboard with. Although I did not set up a complete account that linked to my bank, I perused their information and began the process. The benefit of Bliss is that it provides a less hostile space for trans* individuals to manage their money than traditional finance institutions. I hate that all my bank info has my deadname, not my chosen name! It made me want to avoid my bank app when budgeting for my recent top surgery. Having Bliss would have helped alleviate the micro-pain of technology’s automatic deadnaming. But, as mentioned above, while savings and financial literacy are useful tools for transitioning, they do not erase or replace other much-needed forms of support. Bliss would have been helpful for me only because I have the financial resources to save for surgery. 

Devotions, the app with gender-inclusive affirmations, is not worth examining. If you like daily affirmations, generally, go for it – they have nothing to do with gender, trans*ness, or queerness. 

Returning to the apps three years after they were announced, I found myself re-asking the longstanding concerns that the trans* community raised. What are the ethics of these apps? The website claims that all information is private, but tech companies often mislead audiences. Additionally, their model isolates users from the trans* and queer communities, where identity, resiliency, love, nourishment, and joy are learned, taught, and cultivated. 

What’s the point of these apps? All the information they share is already being circulated via online and in-person LGBTQ+ communities. Resource guides like the book Trans Bodies Trans Selves compile much more extensive and inclusive information than the app. Reddit threads, blogs, and Facebook groups provide a wealth of information and community interaction. 

When looking at the components, however, I am most concerned about Euphoria.LGBT’s engagement with gender itself. The depictions of gender are binary, stripping down identity to the boxes of him, her, them, and other. The types of identity they make space for are binary (or ternary) identities with white skin and affluent backgrounds. These constraints will never represent the trans* community. Additionally, they glorify a single type of transition, focusing on a speed-focused and linear marked system with savings goals and checkboxes. While a need for ease of access to transition services remain, no trans* person I know has had had or wanted a linear transition.

The magic of gender and transition is not in clear lines or linear paths. And they are definitely not services to help follow slightly altered cisheteronormative ideals of one’s progress through life. It is in the magic of self-discovery and self-actualization. It is in the magic of true community. So much of my identity has been realized through exploration, trial and error, and community relationships. 

The company uses the name “euphoria” to evoke – I assume – the feeling of “gender euphoria.” A term opposite to that of “gender dysphoria,” the painful mismatch between body, self, and perception, “gender euphoria” describes when one’s experience of gender feels magically, beautifully right. But I found no euphoria in their apps, only the dysphoric tinges of misrepresentation, exclusion, and disappointment.  

This is not to say technology does not have a role in transness or transition. Technology can be an incredible tool in the hands of trans* people for promoting trans* autonomy, sharing resources, and connecting communities. For example, Namesake, an organization that MTPC partners with, uses technology to assist trans* people in the process of legal name change in Massachusetts. Namesake differs from Euphoria.LGBT in many ways, including design and language choices that are more intersectional and inclusive. 

Notably, the emphasis on Namesake’s work is not in making transness nor transitioning a product. Instead, they help trans* people with a specific (and difficult) task in a way that affirms their identity. Namesake envisions a world where “trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people maintain agency and autonomy over their own identities, from real life to the digital world.” To Namesake, technology acts as a tool of self-autonomy, not the dictator of trans* identity.  

Gathering honest, community feedback is an essential part of creating safe and affirming technology. This summer MTPC is working with Namesake to launch a pilot program for their services. This pilot program will create space for community engagement and reflection, allowing participants to shape the technology itself. Follow the link here to get involved! We are looking for users to update their legal name and gender marker, in addition to sponsors and volunteers. Financial assistance is available for the costs associated with the name and gender changes.

When I dream of the future of trans* technology, I dream in so many directions. Safer, easier, and more accessible HRT and gender-affirming surgeries.  Open-source resource guides that provide easily accessible, up-to-date, and intersectional information. Communication networks that are free of data mining and ensure safe and protected support systems. In enacting these futures, we should never sacrifice what being trans* is for the ease of app buttons or marketability in a capitalist society. Instead, we should use the tool to further the scope of trans* community and possibility.  

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary and gender-expansive community members in MA. We educate the public, advocate at state, local and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity. Learn more about MTPC.

Posted on June 23, 2022 by Hen Carnell, MTPC’s Summer 2022 Intern. You can reach them at with any feedback.

A photo from Hen from the waist up, wearing a blue button-down with white hashmarks, purple baseball cap, and large wire-rimmed glasses. They are smiling and standing in front of a large tree with orange leaves.

Hello! My name is Alice-Henry “Hen” Carnell (they/he) and I will be MTPC’s communication and programs intern this summer. During my tenure as an intern, I will be taking over MTPC social media accounts.

Before I launch into work, I want to introduce myself. I am a white trans* individual living in Somerville, MA. I study environmental justice and LGBTQ+ literature at Williams College and will graduate with a B.A. in January 2023. My previous professional experience includes work in education, communications, and publishing. I am committed to wealth redistribution, reparations, and #landback efforts. Personally, I organize with my college’s mutual aid network and am committed to redistributing 10% of my yearly income to black and indigenous individuals and organizations. In my free time, I play ultimate frisbee, rock climb, make zines, and read science fiction.

In my role at MTPC, I will work to promote accessible communications and uplift trans* voices. This week I am launching “Spotlight Sundays” – a weekly social media outreach effort that will highlight trans* community members who are making waves in Massachusetts. If you are a Massachusetts trans* artist, activist, business owner, or anything else awesome, and you’d like to be featured on our accounts, please let me know via email ( or MTPC’s social media. I will also write for our blog, assist with fundraising efforts, and do archival research work. I am so excited to be working with an incredible trans-led organization and learning more about non-profits!

Feel free to email me directly ( with feedback or questions! 

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive community members in MA. We educate the public, advocate at state, local and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity.

Posted on June 21, 2022, by Hen Carnell, MTPC’s Summer 2022 Intern