As many people who read my blogs or postings know, I am a keen supporter of LGBT issues. I have been a voice for Gay Marriage. I support equal rights for LGBT people. It just riles me when I hear some people rail on about how the government needs to stay out of their lives, but yet they are the first to speak about legislating against the LGBT community. They like to take a passage from the Old Testament to prove their point that God hates Gays. When it is brought up that in that same area of text it states that they are an abomination for wearing a cotton/polyester blend shirt, or eating bacon, or having that shrimp cocktail, they say those don’t count. Only those passages that support their hate count. They seem to skip over the fact that in the new Testament, Jesus made a new covenant and gave us a new commandment. Just one, Love. Not love, but, or love if, just love. I add to that, I don’t care who you love, only that you love.
Well Gay Marriage is now the law of the land. Of course, those same people that wanted to take away rights from a group they hate, now say that the Supreme Court was biased and should be disbanded or ignored. Hey why not, Jackson did it when he ordered the removal of the five civilized tribes in what is now known as the Trail of Tears. He was honored by having his picture on our money. Columbus who slaughtered or enslaved the very natives that saved his life and his crews when they were lost and wandering and ended up in the Caribbean, is honored with a day.
I could go on with all of that. However, I think it is time to address another issue. I had a conversation online with a transman. For those of you who do not know this term, a transman is a member of the transgender community. They are people who were born with female genitalia but see themselves as men. A transwoman is the opposite in that they were born with male genitalia but perceive themselves as women. An example of a transwoman would be Caitlyn Jenner. The conversation troubled me because of the negative comments he made about himself. Most of this derived from societal nonacceptance of transpeople in general. I will explain a little more about transsexuals and gender dysphoria later. I feel it is important to show how the hate and ignorance that society shows to transsexuals can have a serious impact. In many cases, transsexuals will take their own life rather than having to endure it any longer. The impact of that ignorance can be seen in the self-impression of this transman. I am not going to use his name, but note, that he is not alone as I have read or heard from many transgendered people the same comments. Please note, that his comments regarding how can she love you, is referring to his girlfriend, who happens to be a transwoman. He is fortunate in that, as she will all ready be accepting of him, while many transgendered people have to deal with coming out with a loved one. Often times this is with disastrous results.
I’m never going to look the way I want.
I’ll never pass.
Everyone will know what I am.
How can she love me?
I am nothing
This is the self-image that many transpeople have to deal with on a day to day basis. These comments represent a small portion of what transpeople have to go through. What everyone takes for granted, transpeople have to think through every day. A simple thing like going to the bathroom raises some serious issues, especially in areas of the country that are really ignorant and pass laws against transpeople using the bathroom of their perceived gender. We create this situation and make people’s lives a living hell due to our own ignorance. So hopefully, I can remove some of the ignorance so that maybe someday, transpeople will be accepted as who they see themselves as not who society forces them to be.
The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists it as gender dysphoria. A prior version of the manual had it listed as gender identity disorder. This was changed as patients weren’t comfortable with the idea that this was a disorder. There is a prescribed course of treatment which includes many hours of counseling with a licensed professional. The professional is there to ensure that what is being dealt with is true gender dysphoria before Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and other procedures can take place.
Please note that gender identity has nothing to do with your sexual attraction. Think of it in three aspects. There is your physical sex based on genitalia. There is your gender, or how you perceive yourself to be, and there is sexual attraction.
Physical sex can be ambiquous as is seen in the case of intersexed people who are born with both parts. In the old days, it was a decision of the doctor, sometimes with or without the parents knowledge, which gender they would assign at birth in these cases. As studies later found, sometimes they were wrong. There was one study done that became the basis for this. The doctor said that you could assume the gender you were raised as. So in the case of an intersexed person whose male genitalia presented more, they would be assigned male, given male hormones and be raised male. Unfortunately, it was later found that this was not the case as gender is based in the mind, not the body.
Science has shown that everything isn’t quite black and white. Gender and sexual attraction have many shades of grey. This is why sometimes it gets confusing when talking about transexuals. The gender dysphoria can range from simple cross-dressing to the need to live life as their perceived gender. Sexuality, normally perceived as either being straight or gay, is actually also many shades of grey and some fall right in the middle as bisexuals, the B in LGBT.
Which brings us back to gender dysphoria. There are some who can resolve their issues with simple cross-dressing. They may just keep around some clothes of the other gender hidden away somewhere and dress when no one is around. Unlike transvestism, this has nothing to do with sexual stimulation, but simply a comfort thing. Kind of like a baby blanket if you will. For many, it is severe and their need to change physical appearance can be life threatening.
As with Gay and Lesbian, some perceive being transgendered as a life choice. In a small way, it might be considered that. Some do make the choice to live a androgynis lifestyle, neither male or female looking. Some choose to just live life as the other gender in the privacy of their own home due to external issues that may prevent them from transitioning. Yet, for many, there is only one choice and it is a rough one. If they opt to transition, they are looking forward to an expensive and long journey. They will have to be in counseling for many years. They will have to get approved to begin HRT. As they get closer, they will be required to live life as their perceived gender for a year before being approved for Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). I haven’t kept up with all of this, but the last I knew, SRS is not covered by insurance as they deem it experimental or cosmetic to get out of paying. So the cost is born by the patient. Yet another reason that some resort to the sex industry to come up with the funds. A sad commentary on our medical system when we force people into the sex trade in order to get the care they need. In England, it is covered.
I could go on and on, but in the end, it is about our society. The young man I mentioned earlier is suffering from severe self-image issues in part because our society is ignorant. It is hoped that in some way, this blog and events like Caitlyn Jenner coming out, and other positive messages from transfolk like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox can help to educate and bring about change. Caitlyn Jenner probably said it best at the Espy’s:
“Trans people deserve something vital: They deserve your respect,” Jenner said. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it,” she said. “But for the thousands of kids out there, coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”
Maybe it is time that we start accepting people for who they are, not who we want them to be. Rather than condemn transgendered people, offer to help. I am sure a transwoman would appreciate that gal pal to help them learn how to do makeup and do their hair. A transman, might like to have male friends that accept him as a man and invite him to hangout and watch the game with them. It is time to start accepting people for who they are. I hope that I have brought a little light and love.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.