As some of you may know, this week is Transgender Awareness Week. This week for some can be very emotional, especially if someone close to you was lost. What I want to do here is try and educate some of my readers of what transgender is, and what struggles come with being a transgender individual.
Transgender is defined as a person who identifies as a gender different from birth. So in other words if you identify as a female, know you are female, feel that you are female, but you were born male. Then you are a transgender woman. If you identify as male, know you are male, feel that you are male, but you were born female. Then you are a transgender man. This can be confusing for some people to understand, and honestly there are some LGBTQ people in the community that do not fully understand what transgender is.
What are some of the more personal struggles with transitioning? This part gets a little more one sided, since I am a transgender woman, I can not speak of the struggles faced by someone who is FtM (female to male), but I can speculate based off of what I have heard. As a transgender woman which can also be defined as MtF (male to female), I have face many personal obstacles along the way. First one is kind of obvious, which is the area below the belt or genitalia, however you want to word it. When someone starts their transition, what is between your legs is a very big issue, and can cause a lot of dysphoric feeling, and even depression. There are ways to cope, like tucking everything down between the legs using tape, but this is really only temporary relief. The more permanent fix is obviously surgery, but that is way expensive, and can take years to get funding for. The next part is growing your hair out, because we can all agree that male pattern baldness is not fun. When I started transitioning, growing my hair out was more of a deal to me than anything else, because that is something that everyone sees. For some the point of focus may be makeup, which is not the easiest thing to do. Makeup for me came pretty easy, and watching some YouTube videos helped as well. All of these things can cause dysphoria, and these are also the things that cisgendered individuals do not see.
The next part is about discrimination, and not having equal rights. Did you know that in some states, a transgender person can be denied employment due to their gender? Did you know that our government (republicans) are trying to make it legal for an adoption agency to deny an application due to gender and sexual orientation? If you did not know any of that, well guess what, it is very true. Those are the thing that are happening everyday in this country and around the world. We as transgender individuals are not asking for special accomodations, we are asking for the same rights, and respect that everyone else has. For a country that is supposedly “free”, why are we still having to fight for equal rights in the year 2020?
Basically the point is that we are here, and we are just as human as the rest of the world’s population. Put yourself in our shoes, even for a minute. What if you moved into a society that was predominately the opposite of your gender. In this scenario, you are not allowed to adopt, vote, go to the same church, or even speak your mind. How would you feel in that situation. You would feel out of place and discriminated. That is how we as transgender people feel everytime we apply for a job, go to school, or even go to the grocery store. Some of us live in a constant fear that someone will out us or jump us. So give some thought to how you view transgender now versus before. For those of you who know someone who is transgender, give them some recognition for who they are, and that you respect them for who they are. Just give them some support. A little support can go a long way with us.