Transgender 101

Key Takeaways:

  1. Transgender does not always mean Transexual
  2. Let people identify themselves instead of giving them a label
  3. Yes, even kids are transgender and no they aren’t too young to know!

I know that my blog has recently discussed transgenderism a lot but I have just finished reading Transgender 101: A Simple Guide To A Complex Issue by Nicholas M. Teich. It is a good read and a valuable read if you know someone who identifies as transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or just want to be more knowledgeable. It should be noted that this book was published in 2012 and could benefit from some updates such as Transgender individuals being able to be in the military. However, that is great that there are things that can be updated. It means we have made progress, if only just a little.

    1. I think that this is something I often explain. Just because someone identifies as transgender doesn’t mean the person is transexual. Transexual is an individual that wants to change their sex to match their gender identity. First, it is important to understand that gender is different from your sex. Sex is identified by the genitalia you were born with. Gender is more fluid but society teaches us that you are either male or female. Trans means across therefore transgender means to move across genders. If we look at gender as a sliding scale with male on one end and female on the other then transgender identified individuals may identify anywhere along this scale and it could change. Now if a natal male identifies as a transwoman they don’t have to go through transition to ‘complete a process’. That’s it, they are how they identify. But, if that transwoman decides to go through surgery she may identify herself as a transexual if she chooses to have bottom surgery so that her sex matches her gender.
    2. Just as all transgender individuals aren’t transexual, you shouldn’t tell them they are. Let them identify themselves. Someone may not be transgender at all but genderqueer and therefore not identify as any gender or between genders or however they see that meaning for themselves. What if someone walked up to you and labeled you as every physically apparent stereotype or label they could think of; would that make you feel very good? I hope the answer is probably not, so you shouldn’t do it to other people.
    3. Yes, children at a young age can realize that there gender identity is not what they are told it is. A great example from the book that I learned about in a gender communication class is about Josie. Josie was born as Joey and has been living as a transgender girl since age 6. No this is not a phase!

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