The following are Ryan’s transgender interviews on TV, news and the radio. Some interviews went better than others due to the questions asked and the time given for him to actually respond. You can see over the years how media has changed the language and questions asked. For example, the Larry King Live interview took place in 2009, if Ryan were asked these questions today he would have approached them very differently.
TV Interviews and Appearances
Families in Transition, MEL, 2016
Interview for Girlfriends TV, 2015
Appearance on Ricki: The New Ricki Lake Show, 2012
Appearance on Trisha, 2012
Appearance on Larry King Live, 2009
Interview with KMTV News, 2013
Interview for 10|11 News, 2011
Gender Outside the Binary: Eating Disorder Recovery and My Transgender Identity
I started outpatient treatment for my eating disorder prior to coming out as transgender. This included almost six years of weekly therapy and support group sessions, meetings with a nutritionist, psychiatrist and physician, and participation in the peer education group on campus. During this time, I continued to severely struggle with my eating disorder and other self-harming behaviors, and found it difficult to fully connect with the other people in treatment and members of the student group. I felt like an outsider because of the way that I dressed, my interests, and something I felt inside, but couldn’t quite identify. When I was able to identify these feelings, first by coming out as lesbian, and then eight months later as a transgender man, I felt even further disconnected from my peers. Coming out is one of the hardest things to do, after spending a lifetime rejecting yourself, the fear of further rejection from others, including those working with you in your recovery, is defeating.
Gender Outside the Binary: Part Two
As I mentioned in part one of this series, one of the biggest fears I had when I first realized that I was transgender was whether my feelings were real or due to my body image distortion and eating disorder.
Two questions that I immediately raised were:
What if I transition and I still feel the same way?
And will my therapist validate my transgender identity, or will she also relate it back to my body image distortion and eating disorder?
Ten years after my transition, I can say that the dysphoria I had due to my assigned gender and body was a factor in my eating disorder, but separate from my body image distortion. How does dysphoria differ from body image distortion? When talking about dysphoria and transgender identities, I am referring to the combination of fear, discomfort, anxiety, anger, and sadness a person feels toward the gender they were assigned, their gendered body, and/or how they are treated by society. This goes beyond body image distortion, and beyond the surface of a person’s skin. It dives down into the confusion that is created when you feel your very core is something different from what everyone sees, or expects from you, based on your assigned gender. It intensifies when you express your feelings, only to be rejected or disregarded by family, friends, therapist or teachers.
Diversified Bodies, Identities and Eating Disorders
Eating disorders do not discriminate toward gender, age, culture or background, which is why the Family Panel at the 2012 Annual NEDA Conference focused on the stories of people affected by eating disorders that often aren’t represented in education or media coverage. The panel was composed of people who Diversified Bodies, Identities and Eating Disorders By Ryan K. Sallans, MA, National Speaker and Author, Colorado were impacted by eating disorders and also impacted by being the minority, the outsider, the marginalized and misunderstood.
When it came time for me to share my story with the audience I joked that at the age of 19, when I first walked into the therapist office on my college campus, I would not have been one chosen to appear on a diversity panel. My profile fit the stereotyped checklist for an eating disorder: anorexic, Caucasian, upper-middle class, college-aged, and female.
The Moment Courage Stepped Into My Life
The room felt as if it were shaking up and down until there was gentle pressure placed on the top of my knee. I looked down to see a brown leather shoe holding me in place, anchoring me to the moment. The shoe belonged to my therapist, who was sitting across from me. As she pulled her foot away she asked, “Where did you go?”
“I don’t know,” my pat answer every time I heard her ask me that question. I couldn’t give her more, words were always stuck, either lodged in my throat or swirling in a dark lackadaisical tornado in my mind.
“I see you brought a folder in with you today,” she gestured toward the blue eight by eleven binder that I had set to the left of me on the couch. “Is there something in there you wanted to share?”
I looked down at the folder, a piece of scotch tape held a handmade label in place; my messy handwriting that spelled out “Journaling” was protected under its sheen. I kept looking at the folder, contemplating if now was the right time, and if sharing was still a good idea. I’d experienced plenty of moments in the past where I thought my artwork or journaling were a must share before an appointment, but then self-doubt and embarrassment would cause me to change my mind or “forget” to bring it up.
Today was a day where it was time.
Can We Adapt Sex Ed For The New LGBT-Inclusive America?
by Casey Quinlan
Ryan Sallans, an LGBTQ healthcare educator and trainer, said it is vital for trans people to be represented in sex education. Sallans’ own sex education in the 1980s consisted of a now infamous video of a woman making pancakes in the shape of fallopian tubes.
“When I think about transgender students, one of the biggest gaps we have in education is around fertility and reproduction and transgender identities, especially students who are on hormone therapy, or currently on puberty blockers,” Sallans said.
One of the common issues trans students have with current sex education is with the gendering of body parts, when they would prefer explanations such as “when a person gets pregnant …” Sallans said that he has seen misinformation spread as a trans man getting hormone therapy, which is why it’s important for trans students to know the correct information at an early age.
“For example, when I began my transition 10 years ago, I was told by a medical provider that after six months on testosterone, there was no risk of pregnancy, and after five to 10 years on testosterone I would have to have a hysterectomy,” Sallans said. “Now, we know that testosterone should not be relied on as a person’s birth control, and it is not medically necessary for all transgender men to have a hysterectomy. For some, it may be, but that isn’t because of being on testosterone, but rather other medical needs and risk factors, and also is not set within the five to 10-year range.”
How to Manage a Job Search as a Transgender Candidate by Jada Graves
Ryan Sallans, LGBTQ-inclusion educator, trainer and author of “Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life,” recalls receiving a job offer, only to have it revoked.
“The hiring manager Googled my name, and based on what was found, they changed the job description,” he says. “I could have pursued legal action, but I chose not to. The issue is greater than not receiving the job. Filing for legal action would have made the matter public record. Some people don’t want to be outed in that way. It’s hard for anybody to find employment these days, but job seeking for anybody who is transgender seems to be particularly tricky.”
New York Can Pass Same-Sex Marriage But Not Trans* Protections: How GENDA Died by Casey Quinlan
Ryan Sallans, a trans man who speaks as an activist on transgender issues, said there is hesitancy from leaders in major LGBT advocacy organizations to use the word “transgender,” pointing out that, historically, trans issues are pushed out of LGBT groups’ legislative agendas.
“The protections aren’t just protecting transgender people… It’s broader than that. It protects other gender non-traditional people, but looking at the statistics it’s mostly transgender people affected,” Sallans said.
“A lot of the time, people think, ‘Bring too much attention to the word and people will look away. Sometimes they drop gender ID from it [nondiscrimination bills] entirely.’ There are multiple factors—It has to do with money, education and transphobia within the LGBT community,” Sallans said.
The Legacy of the "Boys Don't Cry" Hate Crime 20 Years Later by Katrina Markel
Bacon isn’t the only Nebraskan to believe that Brandon’s death ignited outrage that, in some ways, translated into local LGBT activism. Transgender man Ryan Sallans grew up in Aurora — a town with around 4,400 people and about the same size as Falls City. In his autobiography, Second Son, Sallans explains, “After Brandon’s murder, in 1993, people in the transgender community decided they didn’t want to be in hiding anymore.”
20 Years After 'Boys Don't Cry' Murders, Transgender Violence Still Happens by Nicholas Bergin
Ryan Sallans, a 30-year-old man who grew up as a girl in Aurora, began exploring his sexuality in 2004, and with the aid of therapy, hormone treatments and surgery, reshaped his body.
“I was never a woman. My gender identity was male. My biological sex was female,” Sallans said. “You can change the body, but you cannot change the brain. So I chose to align my body with my brain. And it would be impossible for me to live any other way.
“When I decided to transition, I told my parents in a letter, ‘You can either have a happy kid or a dead kid.’ Because I couldn’t go on any longer not living as my authentic self and having people validate who I was.”
Sallans learned about Brandon Teena the same way most Americans did, through the independent film, “Boys Don’t Cry,” which earned actress Hilary Swank a best-actress Oscar for her portrayal of Teena. Sallans went on to watch the more factual documentary, “The Brandon Teena Story.”