BEN GREENE IS A PUBLIC SPEAKER, EDUCATOR AND A PROUD TRANSGENDER MAN BASED IN THE USA
What is your professional background? You describe yourself as a Public Speaker, Educator, and proud transgender man. What does your work involve?
I’m a public speaker and LGBTQ+ inclusion consultant, which I’ve been doing part-time since I came out at 15 and full-time since I graduated college in 2020. I deliver speeches to organisations across many domains: high schools and universities, law firms and global corporations, hospitals and conferences, and groups like NASA! I share key vocabulary, my personal story, and allow people to ask me whatever they’d like. I often follow this up with policy review work and other internal projects to help clients be active allies to the transgender and LGBTQ+ community. Outside of my formal speaking, I spend a significant amount of time doing free coaching for queer youth and their families.
Did you experience any challenges coming out as a proud transgender man?
Definitely. Even now many years since my first coming out, I still struggle with finding a place for myself in the world. Where I really struggled at first was feeling like I was the first person to do anything. I hadn’t met, seen, or even heard of a transgender adult before, especially not a transmasculine adult, and so I didn’t have any idea that there was a future for me. According to the news and to the TV shows I watched, there was no such thing as “happily ever after” for people like me, and that weighed on me heavily for a long time.
Trans visibility has increased in the past few years. What more needs to be done?
The main issue that I see is that there is a lot more visibility in many domains, but that isn’t paired with education. So, you have a lot of people hearing that there are more transgender people or meeting transgender people and not knowing what that means and feeling very confused, which then turns into anger towards the trans community. What we’re seeing now is a huge wave of anti-transgender activism around the world because people are lacking that education and empathy for the trans community.
You have been writing a book called “My Child is Trans. Now What?” So, now what?
The most important pieces of advice I can give to folks who have children that come out are:
1. Don’t forget to celebrate! There is a tendency to jump right to solving problems that may come up, but coming out is also a beautiful process of truth and acceptance that deserves celebration.
2. Follow your child’s lead. They will share with you what they need, what they’re comfortable with, and what questions they have.
What advice would you give anyone considering their gender and/ or sexuality?
Try to think about who you would want to be if you knew no one would judge you and no one was watching. In a dream world where you could be anyone, love anyone, who would you be? Are there things you’ve been afraid to do, say, wear, or ask? If you realise something about yourself, then ask yourself who or what is holding you back. Are you able to surround yourself more with people who lift you up and make you feel comfortable?
Describe a typical day your life.
I start every day by making breakfast, walking my dog, and reading before I look at my phone. I spend a lot of time sending emails, and then attend virtual speaking engagements in the afternoon. When I’m done working, I’ll take my dog to the park, spend more time reading, and find a new recipe to try for dinner. In the evenings I find time to wind down with my fiancé or join personal coaching calls with newly-out trans youth and their families.
what are your preferred personal pronouns?
I use he/ him pronouns, though tend to avoid the phrase “preferred pronouns”. It isn’t a preference, it’s a fact! It’s like online shopping: if you ordered a package to a “preferred address”, would you fully trust your package was going to come to you and not your neighbour?