April 1, 2020
– Understanding what it means to be transgender.
A big reason that prejudice and discrimination exist is lack of knowledge and ignorance. We tend to fear or attack the things we are unfamiliar with; and while this was a good defense measure in the early human days, the fact is that we don’t anymore. We have the capacity to understand and judge the things that go around us. And so, I am going to try and explain what it means to be transgender and hope we can all overcome any prejudices, together.
To understand the concept of being transgender, I want to first establish the difference between gender, sex, and sexuality.
Gender is a social construct. It refers to how we are supposed to be and behave as males or females in society.
Sex refers to the genitals we are born with. It is the biological element.
Sexuality refers to who we are attracted to. So, being gay, lesbian, bisexual etc comes under this category.
Being transgender is when a person’s gender identity does not correspond with their sex. So a man, who feels they were born in a woman’s body or vice versa, is a Trans person. A woman who transitions to a man is a Trans man and a man who transitions to a woman is a Trans woman.
All of us like to be addressed as the gender we belong to and so do Trans people, especially since they establish a new identity that may or may not be different from their previous one. Transgender people are not necessarily just either male or female. They can be gender neutral, or gender fluid (not having a fixed gender), or even non-binary (meaning neither male nor female). So we need to address them as such. Some preferred pronouns maybe “she and her”, “they and them”, “he and him”, “ze and zer” etc.
If you ever come across a transgender person and don’t know how to address them, then instead of assuming things or avoiding talking to them altogether, just go and ask them. It will lead to a much more comfortable conversation and give that person a much needed sense of acceptance.
In order to fully adapt as their preferred gender, trans people might take certain hormones or get surgeries done, although it is not a mandate in order to be identified as transgender.
See, that wasn’t hard to understand.
Now the question is, is it right to be transgender or not?
You see, the flaw lies in the question itself. There is nothing right or wrong about choosing to be transgender. A person is born a certain way, they don’t like it, and so they decide to change it. Does it pose a threat to any individual (the trans people themselves or anyone else)? Does it cause any property damage? Is it potentially dangerous for survival? No, no and no. It is just a way of being, albeit unconventional, which seems to be its only shortcoming. And denying a person the right to peacefully be how they want to be is just fundamentally wrong, don’t you think?
It really is as simple as that.
So, today, let’s take a minute and appreciate the people around us who had the courage to step out into the world and be who they really are. They have to fight with their families, suffer from disadvantages in social gatherings, jobs, and finding love. Let’s do our bit to make ourselves more open to accepting differences and creating a world where being different doesn’t stand as a ground for hate and discrimination.
Transgender Visibility Day is celebrated on the 31st of March, every year to celebrate the courage it takes to lead one’s life as they want to, and to make people aware of all the discrimination and continued struggles that transgender people have to face to live in the society.
Everyone wants to be seen, and loved, regardless of their religious, social, sexual, geographical or other affiliations. And as such, it makes us human – which is what matters in the end.
Happy Transgender Visibility Day to all the beautiful people out there – inside and outside the spectrum!