I'm sorry to say that there's resistance from certain factions of the LGB community to transgender people. I don't know the percentage, but what I've encountered has been surprising, especially from lesbians. The same hardheaded bias that has been thrown at the LGB community by straight people seems to be repeating itself with some LGB folks against transgenders. They say oft times the oppressed will look for someone to oppress in turn. What's your take on my point?
First, let me point out that transgender is an adjective, not a noun. So, "...some LGB folks againsts transgender people." :)
Yes, you're right. There has been push back from some folks in the LGB community. I think this comes down to a basic misunderstanding of what being trans is and what it isn't. It is an actual lived reality. It's not dress up. It's pretend. It's not accompanied by some ulterior motive. This is our lives. We are not the boogeyman
I think the more visible trans people are, the more space we have to tell our stories with the LGBT community and outside of it, the more change we'll see.
I understand that the correct pronouns are important to a transgender person. What I'm not sure about is when 'she' becomes 'he' or vice versa. Is it when a person starts taking hormones, has surgery, presents him or herself with a new identity?
I've probably gotten more questions about pronoun use from readers in recent weeks. What's your advice here?
This best thing to do is ask. The transgender community isn't a monolith and the experience varies. You can ask, "What pronoun are you going by now?" Or "What pronoun do you prefer." It's really up to the individual.
From issues in the workplace, to advocacy from major groups, to portrayal in media, to legal rights, I feel like anything involving transgender people is inherently put on the back burner until after lesbian and gay (and maybe bi, if they're acknowledged) people are addressed. It's my experience that a lot of LGB people and orgs hold this view as well, and that's particularly frustrating. What can people who aren't trans do to make sure that trans/gender identity related rights and issues aren't an afterthought?
Tiq, This question is related to one you just answered but seems important in a different way
Issues facing the transgender have been on the back burner for awhile, but the tide is changing. Social media had been integral to getting the stories of trans folks out in the media and has resulted in significant organizing and even policy changes. I think the best way for an ally to keep trans issues at the forefront is to share these stories. Post them online, on twitter. Write about them. Spark dialogue with other folks. Being able to share information is a powerful tool.
My 15 year old former daughter, now son, told us last year that he was transgender. This was surprising to us since he was never a tomboy and seemed like a typical girl although he did strongly dislike the skimpy clothing that girls wear and the teen girl drama. While I love him whether he is a male or a female, I struggle with understanding his choice. Do you think it's possible that the increase in transgender teen boys may be due to them rejecting our society's traditional roles for women (i.e objectification, focus on physical appearance)? My son says he feels more comfortable as a boy. I wonder if that's the same as saying he doesn't feel comfortable as a girl. I mean, what does being a boy vs being a girl really mean in western society where women can pretty much do everything men can do? MTF transgender women make much more sense to me because our society is really not accepting of men showing emotional or physical femininity.
We have to move away from this idea that being transgender or the transitioning process looks one certain way. He didn't have to be masculine prior to his transition. What's happening here is a conflation of gender identity and gender "performance." What we're learning is that being a man isn't intrinsically to traditional tropes of masculinity and being a woman isn't intrinsically linked to traditional tropes of femininity. They are two separate things that meet at various points for various people. However, I think that the increase in people transitioning comes from the fact that folks now know that they don't have to be the gender they were assigned at birth or have to engage in the idealogy behind the M or F on their birth certificate. Gender and sexuality are a spectrum. Not a straight line (no pun intended. lol)
This may seem like a very ignorant question, but when someone is referred to as a trans man, does that mean they were born female but now identify as male or the other way around? Thank you for conducting these chats!
Yes. A transgender man is someone who was born female and is now male identified.
Standing and applauding. Why won't people see that not all men and not all women look and act the same?!? Is my husband "less masculine" because he hates sports and reads books? That's a sad commentary on the limits people impose on heterosexuals, let along LGBTQ.
If we are supposed to call people what they want (which I agree with) and use the terms they use to identify their bodies (which I agree with), why are people whose bodies and minds conform called "cisgender", a word most of us have never heard of, let alone identify with?
Cisgender refers to the folks whose gender identity and gender they were assigned at birth are in aligned, which is most folks. Having this term is a way of not making non-trans folks the default. For example, without this term, one could say, "John is a man and Tiq is a transgender man." This makes me into some sort of other....something other than a man. So saying cisgender and transgender creates a context of equity. I personally prefer the term, non-trans.
Thanks for this conversation! I know that language continues to shift in this area, but I'm confused about your statement that transgender is an adjective not a noun. When I worked with a transgender man he explained to me that for him the word transgender was equivalent with male or female. Therefore, he did not like "transgendered" because we don't say someone is "maled" the are "male." However, we do say "males" for a group of men. Why then is it incorrect to say "transgenders?" I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand. Thank you
To say I'm a transgender is to NOT say I'm a man. Transgender is a process. It's a way to identify the space we created to live as our authentic selves. It describes how we came to be the men and women we are.
Also, transgendered is verb. That's a no no as well.
You can find more info at the link below
When I met my husband over 15 years ago, I had never met a transgender person before and I was barely out of the closet. My husband was an activist back then and taught me many things. Flash forward to today; a few months ago, a contractor I've seen for years at work transitioned. I don't know her at all, but was just mildly surprised, not at all shocked. Not that many years ago, she would likely have left her job and started over when she started transitioning. Nope. She did it at work. He left work one Friday and she came in the next Monday. I wanted to applaud, but politely just acted like nothing out of the ordinary happened.
That's amazing!! With so much happening around ENDA and its lack of inclusion and the heartbreaking stories of trans folks losing their jobs or never being considered for one, this is a nice pick me up! :)
I have a trans friend of long standing who is in her late fifties and adamantly corrected me when I suggested in a casual remark, early in our friendship, that she had been a gay man before she was trans. Can you help explain to me why my comment was wrong?
Maybe she never identified as a gay man. Maybe she identified as a woman prior to her transition. It may be worth to ask her if you want to understand her transition more.