This is part 4 of a 7 part series...and this week's letter is "T" for TRANSGENDER.
Which by wikipedia's definition is: are people who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex.
Becca's Definition: A male, born in a female body and a female born in a male body. The fact they were born in the opposite sex of their identity...will in NO WAY will determine their sexual preferences.
This letter is especially close to my heart and as I write this, I am saddened to know there are so many people that still have such ignorance and hate for this group of people. I have transgender friends...I know transgender kids and I associate with advocates for transgender equality. So, if you are reading this and you think you might be one of those that have ignorance and hate....
I ask 2 things:
1. Read the rest of this blog with an open mind.
2. Stop reading.
So much of the United States became largely aware of what this letter stood for when Caitlyn Jenner (age 67) came out in 2015. Her high profile case and media attention made headlines, top stories, and unfortunately material for many people to make fun.
But the truth is that this letter is truly misunderstood and has become a target for controversy and hate. As the founder of LIVE EQUAL, I take my research seriously, ..and throughout the course of LGBT history, this letter is the most neglected considered it was part of the ORIGINAL acronym. Of course part of the reason I started this series is because so many straight people (hell some of the LGBT community) don't know what all the letters mean. So I thought it worthy.
But as of today when I have finally published this blog, even conservatives have begun (I say this loosely) to accept the gay and lesbian community or at least know what the letters mean.
However, just a few months ago, I saw a repost from a family member highlighting thoughts from from Ben Shapiro. Ben Shapiro is known for his anti-transgender/abortion thoughts. The post was offensive to me as a gay person even though his thoughts were NOT targeted at my letter. When I commented on the post, that it made me super sad...the family member questioned my emotion. This person accepts me fully as a gay person but truly does not associate my letter "L" with compassion for the letter "T" .
This blog is my HOPE.....true hope that the biggest reason there is so much confusion is because people really don't understand.
So let's talk about the characteristics of transgender people for a bit. Again, let me clarify, I am not an expert and I have NOT done any clinical research. What I am is a human being that loves my transgender friends and I just want to educate one person to be compassionate and loving to this letter.
First off, transgender people (often referred to as TG) are NOT cross dressers. That definition is not the same and I don't choose to educate you on crossdressers. Do your own research. **
On a second note, a transgender person truly identifies with the opposite sex from the one they were born in. In essence they are the opposite sex. So of course that would lead to the emotional and mental state of such a person. This is where many people turn ignorant. They assume the person has a choice....they assume the person just wants to DRESS UP as the other sex. If they wear clothes of the opposite sex it is because those are their clothes they identify with. Those clothes are what they visualize themselves in and the confusion of identity...is really on us not on them.
This leads me to the "transition". The transition for a transgender person is a difficult one. The timing is hard. They likely have been torn and conflicted since early childhood. Some will wear opposite gender clothes before they choose to transition because it feels right which becomes the first sign of the sexual conflict they face.
Depending on a family's history, and acceptance, a transgender kid might determine when or if they transition. Some choose to transition early...in youth and some not until much later in life. The transition, is the choice. Not whether or not they are actually trans.
So let's talk about the transition for a moment. This is unique for every person. Some will take hormones, some will have surgery. But what matters is that when the TG person decides they are ready to transition...others should respect that choice. It is the time they change their pronouns and the gender on their driver's license. It is the reason they now go into the bathroom of the gender they are now.
This is where it get's controversial. This is where ignorance comes screaming. Being transgender is NOT a sexual thing. It is not a perverted thing. It's just being who they were meant to be. Some transgender people will be attracted to same sex and some will be attracted to opposite sex. Some will be gay and some will be bisexual. For example: Caitlyn Jenner is still attracted to women. So she is a MTF - Lesbian - (male to female) - attracted to females.
So if you are one of the ones that kept reading....here is a question for you. If you saw someone...that looked like a female -and for all you know...is a female. Do you think they should go into the men's restroom? Do you think the 5 year old boy who is learning to pee standing up...wants to see a woman coming into his bathroom at Target? Do you think a woman should be placed inside a male prison even if they had male parts when they were young?
But let's just say you are one of the ones that has argued about perversion in restrooms and to allow a transgender person to use the bathroom of their preferred gender is dangerous to our kids. Then I say you are ignorant. It isn't a perversion. (See the Cross Dressers task I mention above**) and what I get so frustrated about is the ignorance it takes to assume you know what perversion looks like. I know lots of normal looking people that are super perverted.
So let me close by saying this: YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET IT! You don't have to completely understand or relate to any of the letters we are covering in this blog series to be loving, kind or compassionate. And if you are one of the ones that got to the very end of this blog and still are bowed up about "T" is for Transgender. Then maybe you need to self reflect about your compassion to all people.