Monday, July 30, 2012

Regroup & Refocus - A Swimmer, Again? A Real Swimmer this time?

So just as I was getting back into the running groove a few weeks ago, tweak! The ligament stretched so hard it was painful to even walk for 2 weeks. Feeling dejected that my career as a distance runner my really have to be over, I was feeling extremely frustrated. Not so much that I couldn't run anymore (although that was and is a tough loss I am still trying to cope with accepting), but with the fact that it literally ended outside of my own terms, from a freak injury last November that literally climax over night as I was sleeping. I always envisioned that my first ligament injury would come with a loud SNAP! as i struggled to climb up a hill during a road race, but no, it all happened when I was sleeping. Now seriously, the overuse was the major cause, and the straw that broke the camel's back was literally just waiting to happen.  But here we are 9 and a half months later, and I am barely better by 10%, if that.

I tested the ankle today with 8k of running, and after 7, I was on a bench stretching it out. I don't think it has never been so painful!  I finished slowly, but realized that I can't do this much longer.  The good news is that the run was considered the cross-training, as the primary event was swimming. yes, after 27 months, I have decided to return to the water - starting with open water pond swimming, until I get the arms back in  shape to the point where it is worth my while to get back into the pool for extended sessions.

Yes, I have decided to take up swimming again, and feel I have the energy to do it.  looking back at my swimming log (which I kept as part of my running log, as I swam as cross-training to help build endurance when i ran so much I couldn't run the knees any more. I was a great little swimmer who was very dedicated - I swam 5 times a week, including at least 1 mega 2 hour marathon swim.

My participation at World Outgames as a marathoner was the primary reason, but how fun to step into the pool the very next day, and swim the 1500M freestyle.  In 2009, my swimming role was that of a novelty.  Not much else.

But you know, as I battle the gays and lesbians over Pride, I have decided to take a serious but friendly approach to this next challenge. I want to swim so well over the next two years that I can call myself a swimmer who sometimes runs, not the other way around. I want to get into the pool and do 1500M and get into the open water lake and do the 2 miles. Two races, two events, 9th edition of the Gay Games - as presented by the Federation of Gay Games, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in August 2014. I'll be a 'master' in age, and by classification. So, who not set a goal to hit the pool and lake and beat all the gays and lesbians and bring home some serious gold medals for the trans community, this time, as a female! 

So there it is. The long-term athletics goals are on the table. To be the best at this event! Transitioned will attempt to defeat all Cis competitors. I'm not just looking to win my age group, but to be overall winner! Let's see if I can do it. And let's see if the often-closeted LGB athletics community will come out and accept my challenge!

So that's Augusut 2014 in Cleveland.  So, Cleveland" you say? Well, it's close to my many friends in Toronto, Kitchener, London, and Windsor, I am sure there will be a few social events on the way. Maybe even a few newly recruited trans athletic colleagues making the trip across the border to one of my old favourite towns!

Mount Pearl Family Fun Day report

Well, I traveled to Mount Pearl a week ago Sunday with a new focus in my role as a transitioned woman, that being, to simply try to live a somewhat regular life. Attending a city-lead celebration entitled "Family Fun Day" complete with Teddy Bear's Picnic, Scavanger hunt, plastic Duck race, and birthday cake, was my first step.  Not surprisingly, it was not an inconspicuous appearance for me, as my reputation preceded me.  The featured musician, Terry Rielly - a local legend best-known for his annual teddy bear picnic children's concert, took advantage of the opportunity to introduce me to the audience as an example of the wonderful value of embracing diversity. He then proceeded to debut a new original tune "All Kinds of Love", which literally brought me to tears.

After the concert, there was a cake-cutting ceremony, featuring Mayor Randy Simms (depicted left of me), and Provincial Member of Parliament, Conservative Party member Paul Lane (depicted right of me).  The Mayor also hosts a well-know radio talk show, and keeps a close eye on my twitter feed.  He had read my press release and was aware that I was attending! How cool was that?  We had a brief chat, ironically enough, about teenage bullying in Mount Pearl high schools.  Paul and I had exchanged many e-mails and tweets over the past year, so we were already quite familiar with each other, but it was really nice to finally meet him in person. We had a great chat that included topics ranging from parliamentary proceedings, politics on twitter, to trans health, human rights, and pride week festivities. 

I also had the chance to meet with a couple of non-profit organizations - one that deals with crime-prevention, and one that deals with environmental-clean-up work.  In total, I met many amazing people who care about their City and their province. While I may never totally blend into any public event, given my rather well-known prominence as a public figure from my various television and radio features, it was nice to know that a group of people, and an event, that might be considered 'traditional' and 'conservative' were extremely welcoming towards me.  I will look forward to having more opportunities to get involved in community events like this, where the theme has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity.

depicted below:

  • Terry Rielly sings with Teddy Bears and volunteers from the audience
  • Mayor Simms cuts cake with children looking on
  • Beautiful waterfall in the area
  • Ducks at the Pond near by

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

McCreath cancels all Political Memberships 2012/07/21

As a follow up to my previous posting, I have decided to cancel all my political party memberships so I can become a completely neutral free agent of sorts.  As someone who generally fights for basic needs such as human rights and health care, this is not something that should be a political issue anyway. My goal is to take steps to work with all political parties to ensure that the best interests of myself and others like me, are met.

Jenn DNS Tely 10 Race 2012/07/22

Well, I am actually quite proud of myself for no-showing the Tely 10 mile road race this weekend. I've come to respect the fact that I am getting older and have less energy and have an injured body that requires more time to recover from workouts.  I could have easily forced myself thru this tough challenge, but I knew it would be costly in the long run.

Nobody hates to fail more than i do, but in this case, skipping the race was the best thing I could have done. I needed the rest and the ankle ligaments weren't ready or able to handle the work load.

Sort of proud of myself, even though i am disappointed too


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Political PRIDE? Not for Me!

I write this blog with extreme mixed emotions this morning. Having met in person yesterday with Federal NDP MP Dany Morin, and Provincial NDP MHA Gerry Rogers, I am quite pleased and excited that not only do we have gay politicians, but they want to take on trans issues. This is huge progress from where we were even five years ago, when politicians attending pride simply seemed to speak about gay marriage.

At the same time, while I was running St. John's Pride Inc from Sept 2010 - March 2012, I was always very careful to ensure that the organization remained politically neutral. Yes it is great that so many NDPers wanted to speak at the flag-raising, and were granted that opportunity, the fact that NDP t-shirts were apparently being sold at pride this week, well, that's crossing over the line.  At the flag-raising, I heard NDP member Gerry Rogers speak and encourage people to donate money to St. John's Pride Inc., and to Planned Parenthood Newfoundland, but did not hear her encourage donations to either of the trans entities that I am involved with: East Coast Trans Alliance or Newfoundland Patient Association for Transsexual Health. Hmmm.

While I know many folks out there are happy that the NDP was the only political party that showed up, Pride is supposed to be an lgbt event, not a political event.  There are many gay and trans Liberals out there, and even some gay and trans Conservatives too.  I can only imagine how they felt to see this type of fundraising at pride for NDP.

Secondly, I must point out that I have kept a keen watch on NDP members this week.  I am really interested in figuring out whether they really do care about trans people, or if this just a political move? Funny how we kept seeing and hearing cis NDP politicians talk about trans rights, yet no effort was ever made by the NDP to have trans folks speak about these issues, on behalf of the party.

The ultimate test came for me last Monday. I advised Rogers that I was unhappy with the lack of trans speakers at the flag raising and let her know there would be a separate trans flag event. I encouraged her to take part. I was essentially met with a brick wall. Much like Conservative Minister of Justice Felix Collins argued that we don't need trans rights because we are already given protection under 'sex', I was essentially told that a trans event was not needed and should be considered included into the main pride event.

Not only did St. John's Pride Inc fail to recognize or attend my trans flag event, neither did the NDP.

While I had an awesome private meeting yesterday with Federal Quebec NDP MP Dany Morin, to talk about trans issues, and while I genuinely believe Dany is genuine about his wishes to help trans people, sadly, I don't get that sense from many other NDP politicians.

Egale Canada, ironically enough, often talks about the difference between tolerance and full acceptance. In my year and a half as member of both provincial and federal NDP Parties, while I have felt tolerated, I definitely can't say that I have ever felt fully accepted (except for a few rare isolated cases - such as my meeting with Dany; my e-mail exchanges with Niki Ashton - a Federal NDP MP from Manitoba who I think the world of; and Lorraine Michael, who I think genuinely loves and cares for all human beings on this planet).

For years, I resisted joining a political party because I knew the importance of taking steps to demonstrate that I feel that gay and trans rights have to be universal, and not a partisan political issue.  When I chose to join the NDP in April 2011, I felt it was the right time to show my public approval for their efforts to demonstrate commitment to gay and trans rights, at a time when the other parties did not.

One thing that is not high on my priority list is to show loyalty to any political party. My loyalty has to life, first and foremost, to what's best for me as an individual who is struggling to negotiate day to day life in a very tough environment. secondly, my loyalty has to lie with my trans friends, my gay friends, and the various advocacy work I have been involved with. While I previously stated I was going to give up advocacy work, I have realized that what I need to do now, is become a part of forming a somewhat more formalized trans community.

This week, about half a dozen trans people in Newfoundland reached out to me. They told me that they wanted and needed me to be part of such a community.  we formed a bond and partnership. We agree that there needs to be a trans pride that is at an arms-length from any gay-lead initiative. Yes, we need to be a part of the broader LGBT community, but at the same time, we need our own safe space - both publicly and privately.

With this in mind, I am going to make a promise right now that there will be a Trans Pride Newfoundland next year. there will be pride event that are organized exclusively by the trans community.  some will be public events for all, and some will be private safe-space events for trans-only. I can only hope that the gays will respect our needs to do this. we hope to develop a working relationship with them so that they will feel comfortable endorsing and attending events such as a trans flag event that they all wanted no part of this year.

Back to politics, if any of us want full acceptance for trans or gay people, then we need to ensure that our involvement in society is accepted by everyone. This cannot be a partisan political issue, and we can't be used as political pawns.

I am going to work long and hard over the next year to take steps to ensure that all three major political parties gain an understanding of pride, trans pride, gay, and trans issues. I will stop at nothing to make sure leaders from all political parties attend and speak at pride events next year.

Yesterday, I made the bold move of publicly skipping the pride parade in favour of attending 'family day' in Mount Pearl - where the only politicians I saw were those of a conservative nature. Well, I was extremely pleased to see just how welcoming and accepting they were of me and my attendance. the mayor had read my press release and knew I was coming. Conservative MHA Paul Lane was more than happy to shake my hand, accept a big hug, chat for several minutes about gay and trans issues, and take a photograph with me for the media.  I get a sense that this guy really does care about everyone, regardless of where things are politically. Ditto for Conservative Steve Kent, who unfortunately was out of town.

While in office, Liberal Siobhan Coady was always there at Pride. But she also reached out to me privately to talk trans issues on frequent occasion. Now that she is out of politics, I decided to put her to the test to see if she really did care, and you know what I truly believe that she does indeed care!

I hate having to wear a political colour. I want to be able to openly praise any political party and any politician when they do good, and openly criticize any and all whenever they do bad.

If we want gay and trans rights, then we need everyone at the table as human beings, not as politicians. we need to develop genuine rapport with all, and as advocates and activists, we need to do so without political stripes.

While I am not going to make any official decision today or any formal announcement today (as I want to have the chance to privately address my NDP leaders first), I'm sure you can all read in between the lines here and get a sense for where my thoughts are at.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Comments now require approval

While I often love a good respectful debate, I can't stand annonymous trolls.  There seems to be lots of folks taking shots at me on this blog. I am not one to censor, but I will not stand for slander. Argue respectfully with facts or well-argued opinions, and your comments will be approved. Attack me and tell lies? Sorry, it won't fly.

Want me to take you seriously? Don't hide behind an alias or a computer screen. Request a face to face meeting if you have an issue and let's chat.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Transgender to skip Gay Pride Parade in favour of Mount Pearl Family Day!

Critical of the gay community for often throwing the trans community under the bus and speaking and acting on their behalf, transitioned Newfoundland marathon runner Jennifer McCreath refuses to be silenced.  Rather than conform to expected norms, she is going to skip the Pride Parade this Saturday in favour of attending a more mainstream societal event occurring concurrently, the Mount Pearl Family Fun Day, where ironically, she plans to bring a Rainbow Flag, while her trans colleagues will take her Trans Flag to the parade.

"It's important for every-day Joe and Jane to realize that not all trans people (or gay people for that matter) are sex-craving fetishist predators with diseases." said McCreath, in reaction to concerns that Pride Week has taken on a more risque look by booking events such as Frisk Pride Fetish Fantasy and Zha Zha LaWhore's Pride Party .  "Even more importantly, they need to know that trans people have families too, and they live regular everyday lives in this city and province."

Originally a co-founder of non-profit entity St. John's Pride Inc., McCreath resigned from the Board in March due to what she felt was lack of trust and support towards trans leaders by gay community members. "Ironic how the gays are praising themselves for doing the same things I was criticized for last year," McCreath said.

McCreath is also concerned about the lack of presence at Pride week by prominent Liberal and Conservative politicians.  While a card-holding member of the Federal and Provincial NDP Parties, McCreath feels all political parties need to be persistently pressured into supporting gay and trans rights, "we are talking about continued fight against bullying and discrimination in terms of housing, employment, health care, and acceptance in social circles. This has to be a universal right, not a political issue."

While a Pride Board member, McCreath contacted all Mount Pearl city councillors about Pride involvement and did not get a response from any of them. She is determined to find a way to get all political parties to publicly show support, and she plans to start by attending Mount Pearl Family Day and mingling with the locals and the various politicians who are scheduled to be there, including infamous twitter-friendly Conservative MHA, Paul Lane, who McCreath has recently developed some rapport with. McCreath is also encouraged by her communication with Steve Kent, who she says has also expressed signs of support.

Anxious to shed her 'trans' label and simply be seen and accepted as Jennifer the person, McCreath intends to drastically reduce her direct trans advocacy and focus more on simply living life and attending community events. Her attendance at Family Day, as well as her participation in Sunday's Tely 10 mile road race are two perfect ways that she hopes to demonstrate this, "I don't need a transgender or transsexual label for life. I have completed the hormonal, anatomical, and legal transition from male to female. Transitions is in my past. I am simply, a woman with a history," said McCreath.

Media requests:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

latest rant against trans-invisibility & double-standards by gay pride

Hello blog readers. This was going to be a facebook status but it got too long. So heck, I might as well post it here. I think it's important for folks all over the world to see just how badly the double-standard exists. When I did something for Pride last year, it was a terrible idea. but when gays do it this year, it's a great idea! and the silence and invisibility.  they are doing the very same things to me that i was falsely accused of doing to them!

Hi Vannie. u know i love u. but this 'pride inc board at the front' concept seems disgustingly ironic. for 18 months, all i heard was 'narcissistic Jennifer is trying to steal the spotlight'. well, i NEVER put my picture or bio on pride website. i earned respect and credibility for the org thru my respectful and credible personal reputation, and thru hard work. i brought city grants, provincial department of tourism resources, and a 60 minute educational panel on rogers tv, to pride for the first time.  i didn't nor don't have to self-promote.

sorry but things like 'frisk fetish' and 'zha zha la-whore night', is why buddy from Edmonton on the radio called in today. his image of LGBT is that of a near-naked, sex-craving, sexual predator, who is full of diseases.

this is why people are afraid to introduce me to their kids. this is why i can't get hired as an analyst, it's why folks consider me a threat on airplanes and in bathrooms. this is why trans are still considered mentally ill and don't have explicit human rights..

i heard robyn, luke, susan, noah, etc on cbc radio today talk pride for 52 minutes. don't get me wrong - i actually really really do like robyn and i genuinely mean that. but no trans comments at all! ironic that susan called in and said something like 'if you are invisible, then you are perceived to be unworthy' ...well this is EXACTLY what is happening to trans people.

many talked about how i needed to leave the board so pride could go 'back to the community' ..well, after stating u would publicize ALL community events, u refused to recognize or publish my trans flag waving event - an event that was covered by the Telegram! they felt it was worthy of recognition! u r attempting to censor and silence the trans community. it's a myth that the gay community can, and is doing, a good job speaking for trans people and trans issues. u are making it harder for us to speak for ourselves!

funny, incorporating pride was a terrible idea for 18 months, but as soon as i left, nobody seemed concerned. let's face it. the gay community tolerates trans, but certainly does not embrace them or want them as 'LGBT' leaders.

this new board has shown me essentially no respect (both before and after the Taavel blog post). quite frankly, i am extremely disgusted. i DO feel alone and i DO NOT feel welcome or accepted. that's why i skipped reception, bonfire, and variety show this week. and that's why i organized trans flag event.

u bumped me from city hall cuz i was a lower 'priority'? well, what was priority? tons of gay people and tons of cis politicians?  well, time for me to do the same.  i am going to skip your parade and attend another community event where i feel more welcome/equal, and where i can make a stronger trans visibility impact. stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Factors & Services for transsexual / transgender Transition in Newfoundland

Introduction: I am often asked for a list of resources for transition and trans services in Newfoundland, so I decided it was time to sit down and type out a long blog. The following contains a list of facts, as well as personal opinions based on my transition experience in Newfoundland.  While I strive to keep the information as accurate and realistic as possible, please keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor or lawyer and NOTHING on this blog constitutes formal medical or legal advice. Also, keep in mind that this blog was written July 17, 2012, so the information may no-longer be up to date.

Project Manage your Life: While doctors can help you decide what is right for you, ultimately, you have to take responsibility for your own life. There is no magical blood test that can determine whether or not you are trans. This decision must come from you based on your own identity. Keep this in mind at all times as you negotiate your way through life. If you know what you need, don't be afraid to doctor shop until you find ones willing to work with you and meet your needs. if you don't know what you want, find doctors and other resources that can help you sort out what you want and need.

Coming Out: once you have come out to yourself as trans and have decided that transition is a must, you will need to carefully map out transition. This has physical, mental, social, financial, and societal implications. Every transition is unique and should be mapped out based on various life circumstances of the patient, their family, their friends, their employers, and others who may somehow impact or be impacted by the transition. An experienced therapist can help map out a transition plan. This includes deciding who you need to tell, in what order you will tell them, what you will tell them, and how you will tell them. is a site I highly recommend reviewing, as it will give you a list of every factor you will need to consider.

Provincial Health Standard: there is no formally-recognized trans program or trans protocol that has been endorsed or recognized by the Provincial Government. 

General Health Funding:  Newfoundland residents may apply for general provincial health care insurance, that is available to all residents. Medical Care Plan. MCP will allow you to visit family doctors, on the public purse.

What you need to know about CAMH:  Centre for Addictions and Mental Health is a health care organization in Toronto, Ontario.  As per current MCP Policy for the coverage of transsexual surgeries, which is outlined in great detail in a letter I received and posted on my blog, trans patients who feel they require bottom surgery, and wish to have the Provincial government pay for it, must attain a recommendation letter from CAMH.  In my opinion, this is the only thing that CAMH can offer, that doctors in Newfoundland can't. Take special note, MCP will not cover procedures if done at private clinics on Canadian soil.

Standard of Care:  World Professional Association for Transgender Health ( recently released their 7th edition Standards of Care. This is the most-recognized and most-utilized guideline for trans heath by trans health care providers.  Canadian Association for Transgender Health ( endorses its use and has trained many doctors in Newfoundland to become familiar with the guideline.

Hormones: any doctor licensed to practice medicine in the province may write prescriptions for hormones and hormone blockers. An endocrinologist is a hormonal expert and is often sought to monitor the hormone levels of trans patients; however, an endo is not essential. A family doctor or psychiatrist may also write prescriptions.

Hormones are generally not prescribed without a formal diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (to be renamed Gender Dysphoria in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association).  A psychiatrist or clinical psychologist may make this diagnosis - usually upon 3 months of psychiatric assessments and therapy sessions. Psychiatrist visits are covered by MCP, so long as a family doctor has made a referral. Clinical Psychologists are generally not covered by MCP. WPATH suggests that assessors have at least some experience with trans patients. To find a current list of ready & willing experienced doctors, I'd recommend contacting CPATH.

My general advice is to start with your family doctor. Talk to them about your hormone desires and find out if they would be willing to prescribe upon a recommendation from a mental health professional.

Financial Coverage for Surgeries: As stated in the MCP policy, bottom surgery may be covered if recommended by CAMH. Top surgeries, facial surgeries, hair removal, hair replacements, egg/sperm storage, voice surgeries, are not covered.

Access to Surgeries: Most surgeons will follow WPATH standards, and hence, will require two recommendation letters for bottom surgery, and one recommendation letter for top surgery. Bottom surgery will require one letter from a psychiatrist and one from a clinical psychologist.

WPATH does not necessarily require hormonal treatment as a prerequisite for surgery.

WPATH does recommend that the patient undergo a 12 month "real life test" where they prove they can function in society while living and presenting themselves full time in a new gender role that corresponds with their desired new sex.  Specific requirements as to what constitutes "full time" is up to the mental health professional.  If you have a mental health professional willing to help, but needs guidance, I would refer them first to CPATH, and then to WPATH.

ICATH.ORG Model:  An alternative to psychiatric diagnostic trans models, the "informed consent" model has recently conceptualized in clinics in Seattle Washington, and London Ontario. The theory behind this is that patients should have the right to make decisions about their bodies, and that so long as they are able to demonstrate that they understand the implication of taking hormones, doctors at these clinics will give them hormones, without the diagnostic process, so long as they consent and pass a physical. 

Medical Resources:  many trans people have found doctors here in Newfoundland to oversee their assessment, hormones, real life tests, and surgery recommendation letters.  Waiting lists may be an issues, so seeking out doctors on the mainland, may be another option.

Hormone Guidelines:  there are many guidelines in the world for transsexual/transgender hormone regimes.  Vancouver Coastal Health's model is probably the most-used one in Canada.  The Endocrine Society is another model often used.

Surgical Resources: it's best to do your homework. research all the surgical options and read up on all the surgeons.  Having gone through vagina/clitorus/labia plasty with Dr. Pierre Brassard, I am very pleased with the results. I have parts that look genuine, and I was female-orgasmic within a year post-op.

Egg/Sperm storage: hormone replacement will render a patient sterile very quickly. it is very important for patients to understand this implication.  Those who may wish to have biological children later in life must consider storing egg/sperm at a fertility clinic for future use. As of 2008, i was unaware of any private clinics in Newfoundland. I highly recommend Repromed in Toronto.

Facial Hair removal: laser is cheaper than electrolysis, but it is not always as efficient and effective. I did 10 sessions of laser on my face at Hillcrest Clinic on Thorburn Road in St. John's.

Hair replacement: hair transplant may be an option for those who have moderate male-pattern-baldness. A wig may be the only option for those with substantial male pattern baldness. 

Voice:  for F2Ms, testosterone will naturally deepen the voice, in most cases, within 3-6 months.  For M2Fs, voice retraining or risky vocal surgery are the only options. Deep Stealth productions offer free do-it-yourself voice retraining kits - which may or may not prove effective.  Vocal coaching is another option, although I have never sought out such a resource in Newfoundland.

Financial: Transition costs MONEY! As part of your transition plan, you will have to factor your financial situation into your expectations in terms of timetable and overall deliverables.  Most importantly, you need to function in society. Before you can even think about transition, you need to be sure that you can afford the basics in life: rent, food, electricity, phone, etc.

Employment:  coming out at work and negotiating a successful transition on the job requires a perfectly-executed plan; and even with perfection, you may still lose your job due to transphobic employers.  Do all you can to ensure you have a safe and secure job. Although I lost the job I had while in the early stages of transitioning, I have managed to retain employment at a new job, which I found less than a year later. highlights key considerations. I would also be happy to chat with anyone about my experiences in this matter.

Housing: not every landlord will be comfortable renting to a transsexual. This is discrimination, but it is a sad reality of life in Newfoundland. I've found that renting property managed by major property management corporations to prove more effective than renting from an average Joe. Be prepared that you could find yourself unable to renew a lease. 

Family:  Not only are you going through a drastic change, but your family and friends are going to be faced with your change too. You never really know how people will react. Be prepared to face losing even the closest of people in your life.  Spouse/partners, parents, children, best-friends, social clubs - all may elect to ostracize you. Be prepared.

Romance and Sex Life: hormones will change your body, your emotions, your sex drive, and perhaps the functionality of your sex organs. Hormones may even change your perception of attraction (meaning, you may come out of transition with a different sexual orientation). obviously, affects of these matters could add stress, anxiety, or depression to you and/or to your partners.

General Presentation:  I personally felt that I had to over-sell my feminine presentation, in order to satisfy my doctors that I was living a true real life test.  Going through a change of gender presentation mostly requires self-confidence and self-comfort.  Not all women are girly-girl feminine. In my case, I was initially very anxious to fem it up. I got right into the make up, the dresses and skirts, the pink, the shaved legs.  But after a while, I went back to my somewhat tomboyish ways.

Remember, transition and gender presentation is about you and about satisfying yourself to live the life that you feel you need to live.  Don't ever allow yourself to be pushed into anything you are not comfortable with.  If this means you have to doctor shop until you find ones you feel you can work with, then do it.

Privacy/Stealth: remember that you are a human being and you deserve your rights to privacy. Never feel obligated to disclose anything you don't feel another person needs to know, or something you don't feel comfortable disclosing. Not everyone necessarily needs to know that you are transitioning. Those who do know or need to know, may not necessarily need to know all the details.

Pronouns:  It is up to you to decide if and when you wish to ask others to refer to you using a new gender pronoun and/or to use gender neutral pronouns. While we all deserve the right to live in a gender gray area, keep in mind that the rest of the world thinks sex and gender are binary. your transition may be easier to sell if it is perceived to be a binary change, whether it really is or not. While the older standards of care treated trans matters as binary, the new version reflects that gender is a gray area.

Legal Name Change:  to change your name in Newfoundland, you generally need to be a resident in Newfoundland for at least 6 months. You may apply to have your name legally changed by contacting the office of Vital Statistics. Although the Provincial Government has a right to refuse name change requests, this is a rarity. Once your legal name change has been registered, you may take action to have all of your various ID documents changed - most likely starting with your birth certificate.

Legal Sex Change:  the policies and procedures for changing legal sex will depend on where you were born. You will need to consult the office of Vital Statistics of the Government province for which you were born.

Human Rights: transphobic discrimination is a sad reality in Newfoundland. There exists, a Human Rights Act of Canada and a Human Rights Act of Newfoundland and Labrador. Most matters of discrimination will fall under one of these two jurisdictions. While both Acts prohibit discrimination on the basis of Sex, it should be noted that while protection for matters relating to gender, gender identity and gender expression have been loosely implied, they are not explicitly stated at the Federal Level. Update: Gender Identity and Gender Expression were added to the provincial Act as of 2014.

While we all have every right to fight discrimination, we also have to keep in mind that we need to be careful about choosing our battles. It may be unfair, but one can easily be labelled as a complainer for complaining too often, even if it is justified. Furthermore, the burden of proof is generally upon the victim.

Depression:  transition takes its toll emotionally - usually because of external factors in the world who make life difficult for transitioning people.  Loss of employment, housing, family, friends, sex drive, sex functions, energy, muscle strength, metabolism, etc, can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. Don't be discouraged. This is fairly common.  If you think you are depressed, talk with your doctors and they can help you manage your depression as you negotiate transition.

M2F Side affects: replacing testosterone with estrogen may drastically reduce your strength, speed, endurance, muscle mass, metabolism, and ability to process oxygen. I went from being a near-elite-level male athlete, to an exhausted, overweight, weak female who needs more sleep. Be prepared for this, and when it happens, embrace it! your estrogen is working!  Just remember it will also bring the desired affects - feminization of body, and feminization of emotions.

Trans Peer Support: There is no substitute for mentors. Having other M2F friends who were deeper into the transition process than I, served to be extremely valuable. It is so important to have someone to ask questions and someone who can relate to what you are going through. Unfortunately, I am the only known out transwoman in Newfoundland that you can clearly find via google. There are others here who are not necessarily out. Likewise, the transman community is small too, and there are only a small handful of those who are out publicly.  I'd be happy to try to engage the few that I know into consulting with you, should you desire others to talk to. Meanwhile, I am quite happy to offer my peer support.

East Coast Trans Alliance: This is an informal network of trans-identified individuals from all four provinces in Eastern Canada. It was initially created with the intent to become a non-profit society; however, that never got off the ground, but the community still exists and functions through a facebook group. Learn more about them at

Newfoundland Patients Association for Transsexual Health: I am in the early stages of putting together a recruiting program to bring trans-identified patients of the Newfoundland health care system, to formulate and formalize a non-profit society for which we can use to educate and advocate for better health services, as well as to make new friends and contacts in and out of the trans and health care communities. To learn more about this concept, see

Jennifer McCreath Consulting: As I have already stated, i am not a doctor or a lawyer, but i am a person who has lived the transition experience in Newfoundland. I feel it is in my best interest to help other trans-identified people negotiate their lives. The more happy and successful trans-identified people we have here, the sooner transsexualism will be accepted by the masses. I am more than happy to do whatever i can to help others, and i will generally offer my time to individuals, for free, when my schedule allows. Consider it an offer of friendship!  To learn more, see

Other Peer Support:  Some trans people find comfort in developing friendships and acquaintanceship with members of the gay/lesbian/bisexual community.  While I have had many challenges relating to and developing good rapport and friendships with various local gay/lesbian entities, and while I don't necessarily endorse or support all of these, I am quite happy to at least point out the ones that I am aware of:

EGALE Canada has conceptualized a concept known as the Gay/Straight Alliance. These are student-run, teacher sponsored, peer groups that now exist in many high schools and universities. Visit to find out whether or not your school has one of these organizations.

LBGT-MUN - The Student union at Memorial University has an LGBT services program. Visit them at

St. John's Pride Inc., is a registered non-profit society that oversees community events and support services for members of the LGBT community. Learn more about them at

The NL Sexual Health Centre - AKA Planned Parenthood, has a LGBT youth program. learn more about them at

PFLAG Canada ( has a St. John's Chapter. they offer general support for members of the LGBT community, and their families, friends, and allies.

International Frontrunners is an alliance of LGBT-friendly running/jogging/walking/social clubs. A chapter exists in Newfoundland that is based in St. John's. find them here

Other Resources: I can't emphasize enough how important this site was to me. It was created and is managed by Andrea James, a well-known transitioned post-op M2F who currently lives in California. She is an avid advocate and activist for the trans community.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Newfoundland Government Trans SRS Health Funding Policy 2012

Here is a scanned letter that I received from Newfoundland's Medical Care Plan (MCP) in 2009. MCP is the provincial government's health insurance program. The letter outlines what is covered, what is not, and the terms and conditions for which they will be covered. This is based on the MCP regulation policy document, which was last updated in 1996.  As of July 17, 2012, this information is still current.

In 2009, I launched a Human Rights Complaint on the following issues:

1 - refusing a recommendation from a Newfoundland doctor and requiring CAMH involvement for transsexual surgery funding was an unnecessary obstacle, given current global standards.

2 - refusing to cover all articles on page two, for transsexual patients, regardless of CAMH, was also discriminatory

3 - refusing to cover procedures by Dr Brassard was an inefficient policy, given that no public clinics in Canada exist, and the process for obtaining international approval, was an obstacle.

in 2012, the Human Rights Commission dismissed my complaint without sending it to a Board of Inquiry. It's worthy of note that Gender Identity and Gender Expression are not explicitly listed in the Human Rights Act.

Essentially, their argument is that I was not treated any differently than anyone else asking for transsexual services. The potentially contentious issues I raised are medical issues and apparently not Human Rights issues.

Human Rights experts have advised me that had the Commission had a stronger mandate, and/or had the Act had more teeth, this could have gone to an inquiry.

Bottom line, I will not be reimbursed for the $20K that I spent to travel to Montreal to have the vaginoplasty performed by Dr. Brassard. 

News of my complaint dismissal was generally met with indifference by many so-called LGBT advocacy organizations, and was not deemed newsworthy by mainstream provincial media.

Video Footage of Inaugural Trans Pride Newfoundland 7/16/2012

My Speech at Trans Pride Newfoundland

My follow up Vlog about Pride Inc and Trans Pride events

Monday, July 16, 2012

Trans Pride in Newfoundland 7/16/2012

History was made today in St. John's, NL as what appears to be the first ever trans-specific pride week event in our province, took place on the doorstep of the Colonial Building.  After being taken off the speaking agenda at St. John's Pride Inc.'s official flag-raising event at City Hall, apparently at the expense of letting more politicians have time to speak, I took it upon myself to book a Trans Pride Flag 'Waving' event.

Even without the support or acknowledgement of the official Pride org, I managed to not only attract a crowd that contained other members of the LGB and T community, heterosexual allies, but the media as well. Although the head count was only 7 in total, that didn't dampen my spirits or the other 6 attendees. 

It was a great honour to stand up in front of a group of transpeople and supporters to talk publicly in detail about the impact faced by the trans community over the lack of explicit human rights protection, and dealing with a health care funding program that is 16 years out of date.

After the formalities, the group broke into a lovely casual round-table discussion that lasted almost an hour. 

The local newspaper, the Telegram, conducted a 15 minute interview with me, where I spoke about everything from trans issues; to my very public spats with certain lesbian/gay community leaders, the health care system, the human rights system; and the evolution of St. John's Pride Inc. and my departure from said organization.

One of the big highlights for me was the presence of Sarah Downey (depicted with me), a long-time acquaintance, and sometimes foe. Sarah co-chaired Pride Week in this City the year before St. John's Pride Inc. was established, and she at one point, became an interim Board member of Pride Inc, while the organization was operational under my leadership. Sarah and I have had many passionate debates and disagreements about far too many LGBT issues to list, but one thing that appears to have always been there, is mutual respect. She is a true ally of the trans community and a strong leader who is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in, no matter what.

A video recording of my speech, as well as a vlog, will be posted online tomorrow.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Innaugural Newfoundland Trans Pride Event!


Newfoundland Trans Visibility & Trans Pride Flag-Waving Event!

Monday July 16, 2012 at 4.30 - 5.00 pm, Colonial Building, St. John's, NL

When organization co-founder and Head, Jennifer McCreath resigned from St. John's Pride Inc. in March, she was cautiously optimistic that the new Board members would take steps to rectify the isolation she felt it had caused to members of the transgender, transsexual, and transitioned population. Unfortunately, this was not totally realized, in her opinion. The cancellation of the long-standing traditional panel discussion on queer health care issues, and their decision to deny Jennifer's request to speak at their flag-raising event at St. John's City Hall, about trans health and human rights, has left some major gaps.

With this in mind, Jennifer has taken the lead in organizing the first ever Trans Pride event in this Province: one that will focus on education, awareness, visibility, and advocacy. This event is not intended to compete with St. John's Pride events, but will serve to fill these gaps. With this in mind, the Trans Pride event will take place at a time and location that will not directly conflict with any of their published events.

Following the footsteps of separate Trans Pride events that have popped up in recent years in Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax, McCreath hopes that this event will serve to build a stronger Newfoundland & Labrador provincial Trans community, as well as better educate the general public on trans issues.

This event will also serve as a launch for two citizen petitions that will be submitted to the Provincial Government: one that asks the Minister of Justice to provide explicit Human Rights protection for trans people, and one that asks the Minister of Health to bring trans health funding programs in line with global best-practices.

While trans-focused, this event is intended for everybody, including gay/lesbian allies, heterosexual allies, politicians, and the media. Jennifer encourages everyone to attend and promises that everyone will be treated by her with love and respect in a friendly, non-confrontational environment.

More information:
Jennifer McCreath  
709-753-9529 twitter: @jenn_mccreath

Links of Interest:

Event Agenda:

- Welcome and Keynote address by Jennifer McCreath:
- The dichotomy between sexual orientation and gender identity
- Terminology 101: transgender, transsexual, transitioned, drag queen, cross-dresser, transvestite, cis
- The mental illness myth: report of the 2013 declassification by the American Psychiatric Association
- Transition age & timetable: how and why youth support groups aren't enough
- Review of this year's changes to Trans Human Rights in the rest of Canada vs Newfoundland
- Government Health funding denied: a review of Jennifer's recent loss at the Human Rights Commission
- Brief history of the Transgender Pride Flag

- other speakers TBA

- Flag-Waving Photo op

- Trans Rights and Trans Health Petitions

- Press Conference: questions from the audience and the media

- Post event informal coffee/supper networking-social at nearby cafe or restaurant

Keynote Biography:

Jennifer McCreath is one of Canada's best-known trans advocates. She transitioned from male to female during 2007-2011 and now currently identifies as a transitioned woman. She has successfully undertaken a variety of trans advocacy and policy work. She penned a gender-inclusion policy for the 2009 World Outgames, an international sporting event for the LGBT community, and secured its deployment, and became one of the first formally-sanctioned transsexual athletes in world history. She also co-wrote a membership policy for Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. She also co-founded the East Coast Trans Alliance and is in the process of founding the Newfoundland Patients Association for Transsexual Health. In 2011, Jennifer produced and hosted the first ever Trans-specific event on the steps of Newfoundland's Confederation building, which attracted mainstream media attention. Jennifer currently offers free peer support and advice to transitioning and questioning individuals.

Jennifer also played a key role in founding St. John's Pride Inc., in 2010, and co-produced and directed a made-for-television panel discussion on queer health care issues in 2011. She also organized a partnership with the Provincial Government and co-produced and emceed the inaugural Pride Week Variety Show at the Arts and Culture Centre, in 2011. Jennifer has also delivered presentations and lectures to audiences ranging from university classes to legislative review committees. She has also been featured at pride and/or trans events in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario.

Jennifer has also been an active member in other community advocacy projects, having delivered speeches at live events to raise awareness over matters including police violence at a G20 Summit, concern over the closure of the House of Assembly, and the promotion of Government transparency. Jennifer is also a regular volunteer at the Terry Rielly Teddy Bears' Picnic. Jennifer has frequently appeared on mainstream television, radio, and in newspapers to be interviewed on a variety of issues, and she maintains a very active print blog and video blog.

Jennifer is also well known as a marathon runner, having successfully completed 30 in her career - including twice at the Boston Marathon. Jennifer currently resides and works full time in St. John's as a civil servant in the field of information management. She intends to seek election to public office in the near future. She is also an avid animal lover and animal-rights activist.

Official Press Release:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

still a runner?

Well, they say statistics don't lie....

Overall km run:

2007: 2912.2
2008: 3611.6
2009: 4002.0
2010: 2242.7
2011: 1114.0

1st 1/2 2012: 218.0

Number of Marathons:

2007: 5
2008: 7
2009: 7
2010: 6
2011: 5

1st 1/2 2012: Zero

What I once ran in 10 days, i now just ran in the past 6 months.  June 30, 2012 was a tough day for me. it was a chance to reflect on the first half of the year, and was also the day I attended the funeral of an amazingly talented young athlete who was tragically hit by a car. As one opportunity was lost, I reflected and decided that it was time for one opportunity to begin - again!

I had used my torn ligaments as an excuse to do practically no running in June, but I realized this was just a lame excuse. I ran on it in May, and didn't make it any worse. It's tough dealing with depression, but that can't be an excuse either. It's all about wanting it bad enough and making it a priority.

One positive thing out of the first half of this year, is that i managed to lose 9 pounds!  This is mostly due to change in diet and walking more. Getting in shape is extremely important for life. Whether I run, walk, swim, or do other activities, I have to get into better shape if I expect to live a better life.

I know this is something I want to do. there will be no expectations with regards to living up to, or comparing myself to who and what I was. I had some amazing running success in 2008, and although there's no reason to believe I can't reach those heights again, there are other factors to consider.

So it's back to basics.  On July 4, I broke in a new pair of shoes, my 36th pair since Jan 2007.  In 4 days, I have had 4 light runs in the 4-5k range. Nothing to special, but a good start. Getting out there for a light run everyday is the only way to start putting together some consistency. 

So as Yogi once said: It's Deja-vu all over again!  Much like Jan 2007, we start out with no expectations other than to get out there every day and build from there.  Older doesn't mean can't. Look no further than locals like Meaney, Ryan, Bulgin, Barron and Steele to prove that!

I may not be officially 'back' yet, but i've at least found the road again! Let the journey begin!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

McCreath's plea for safety at Thorburn Road intersection 7/3/2012

Well, as a reaction to a recent pedestrian accident on Thorburn Road, locals have organized protests to raise awareness to the dangerous driving and lack of crosswalks at the intersection where the accident happened. I decided to do a little investigational work so I could better understand the situation and formulate an opinion of my own.

Essentially, we have crosswalks at Moss Heather Drive and Mount Scio Drive. At a casual walk, it took me 3 minutes to get from one end to the other. Hence, if one were to arrive at the midpoint and seek out a crosswalk, rather than jaywalk, they'd be looking at an additional 6 minutes of walking to get to and from the store. Furthermore, one must press the button and wait for a walk signal. This took me 30 seconds the first time and 45 seconds the next time. so first of all, we are asking people to add an average of 7 min 15 seconds to their trip to the store. is that reasonable? Well, many folks feel jaywalking is a better option.

Meanwhile, the real story here: during those 7 min 15 seconds, I observed the following behaviour from drivers:

6 appeared to be speeding
2 changed lanes without signaling
2 were driving in a dangerous manner (i.e. weaving in and out of traffic)
1 talking on a cell phone
1 using a computer to send a text message

Meanwhile, no police officer appeared to be in sight.

Furthermore, I observed 2 jaywalkers who crossed at exactly the same point where the accident happened. this was a mother with a young child.

Bottom line, here are my observations and conclusions:

- people will risk safety in order to save time; 7 min 15 seconds is too much to ask
- an additional crosswalk would substantially reduce the probability of jaywalkers
- crosswalks alone will not force drivers to adhere to the Highway Traffic Act
- the deployment of an extra police officer to monitor this area would more than pay for itself in fine collection from tickets that could be issued and persuade other drivers to adhere to the laws

Bottom line, something needs to be done to make this place safer. This includes taking steps to keep pedestrians safe, and taking steps to force drivers to be safe.

For more of my analysis, see my video report on my vlog.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

selective mourning - a tragic news story that hits close to home

Sometimes life just isn't fair. i think i've got problems, then i get a major wake up call from a tragic news story that literally hits close to home.  on wednesday afternoon, the idenity of a pedestrian/auto accident from the previous saturday was revealed, and it was also revealed that she had died from her injuries on tuesday.  The victim was 21 years old. a very sad story that we seem to see in newspapers all over the world on pretty much a regular basis.  We generally overlook the news, as we are so used to stories like this, that we become immune to them.  well, even though this particular story was a victim that i did not directly know personally, i found myself extremely saddened and strickened with grief all week.  the accident took place just down the street from where i live.
The victim was captain of the local university volley-ball team - a team i watch play live from the stands in person, on a fairly regular basis.  the victim was not only a great athlete, but a team leader and a community leader. She had overcome so many challenges - including being told she was too small to play. She was ruthless on the court, and expected perfetion out of herself and her peers. When she put her mind to something, there was no stopping her. She stood out in my mind on that team, not only for her athetic play, but the way she took control of the playing field and commanded respect from both her foes and teammates - even during her rookie season. I knew little about her, but i admired and respected her.

She had just graduated and made the Deans honour list. she was a well respected volunteer in the community. she seemed to be loved and idolized by everyone who knew her - including several other members of the volleyball team who i have become aquainted with over the last 5 years as a fan and fellow member of the niche unofficial local athletic community. She was in the process of applying for Med school; and was preparing to take on a new role as Libero - a defensive specialist on her volley-ball team, where experts predicted she would be a candidate for defensive player of the year in the entire country. She was also in the early process of taking up another sport - golf. She had accomplished so much, yet had so much ahead of her.

While i may not have had a direct connection, i felt it appropriate and important to attend the wake on friday, and the funeral on saturday - which were both open to the public. ironically, after years of facebooking, i had the chance to have my first real face to face meeting and chats with several members of the volleyball team. such a sad way to have to meet.

After learning of her death, through news stories and the power of social media, i learned much more about this volleyball player - who now in my eyes, was clearly one of the most amazing people in the entire world that i have ever heard of.

The funeral took place, interestingly enough and fittingly, on the school campus in the arena where she played volleyball - right on the court - where a net was set up, along with a podium.  close to 500 people turned out to pay their respects.  including the entire mens and womens volleyball team, who appeared in uniform shirts, and sat on the front row seating where the team benches are usually set up.

A lovely video tribute played in the background on the big screen, while passionate speakers took turns on the microphone delivering heartbreaking speeches, which had to be the toughest thing any of them ever did. family members, friends, and coach all spoke. Another friend did an amazing musical tribute with guitar and voice - covering one of her favourite songs.  At the end, 8 members of the team - who were likely among her best friends, carried out the tray that held her ashes, and a lovely picture of her in her graduation cap and gown. as lovely as the funeral was, it was probably the toughest hour of my life. some knew her well, and some didn't, but we were all there with heavy hearts, crying our eyes out, for pretty much the entire event. I was so shaken up that i could barely walk home.

While it's not surprising that one might become taken with her, and feel a strong sense of loss over her death, i find it confusing as to why her death seems to have had such a huge impact on me. i've mourned the loss of many people over the years - ranging from family members to celebrities, but this one seems to hurt as much as, or even more, than them all.

I had a video blog up about this, but took it down after receiving a comment suggesting that it might not be fair or appropriate for me to be invading the space of her closest family and friends. and that certainly make sense. the last thing i would want to do is creap out these folks in their time of grieving.... and this is why i make no mention of her name anywhere in this post (even though a little googling will allow you to find her).

But yah, ultimately, this blog is about me and the things happening in my life. i have not felt up to blogging for 5 days now, and this is why. last night, i actually googled the grieving process, so that i may better learn to understand how to deal with this sadness i am feeling over this. if anything, i feel proud that i have a heart and soul. my grieving is moreso for the many close friends, teammates, and family members, than for anything else. many people who knew her, are people i know, love, and respect - and this is perhaps why i am hurting so much. i think another factor is that i see many of her characters in me - including her ruthlessness and perfectionism in everything she did. i feel like we were cut from the same mould, and that i have somehow lost a sister of kindredship of sorts.

Oh well, i will try to take away something positive from this week. i feel honoured to have seen her play volleyball, and feel that learning more about her has given me inspiration to become a better athlete and better person, by trying to emulate and demonstrate many of her good qualities.

Anyway, life must go on concurrent with the grieving process, and go on it will. Summer is finally here in Newfoundland, and its a long weekend - so i will enjoy a holiday monday of sunny outdoor environments that will include beaches, ponds, and ducks.