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Across the country, conservative lawmakers are pushing for policies that would prevent transgender people, who identify with a gender different from the gender they were assigned at birth, from using bathrooms that match their gender. State officials say the laws are necessary for public safety — although there’s no evidence that allowing trans people to use the bathroom because of their gender poses a public problem.
And recently, the Trump administration rescinded the directive, originally written by the Obama administration, requiring federally funded schools not to discriminate against trans students, and the controversial , allowing trans students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. The Trump administration has successfully argued that whether trans people are protected under the law should be decided at the state, not federal, level.
Too Many Gender Identities
At the heart of the problem is a lack of understanding of trans issues and gender identity. After all, up until a few years ago, concepts such as gender identity and expression – and how they affect hundreds of thousands of Americans – were being transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary – doesn’t even scratch the surface of news and entertainment. kind of thinking.
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Now, this issue is in the public eye. Stories from Caitlyn Jenner; Laverne Cox, a trans woman, plays Sophia on Netflix
All are more focused on the many aspects of trans life and what it means to identify with a gender different from the gender assigned at birth. And state lawmakers, particularly in North Carolina, are passing anti-LGBTQ laws that specifically target trans people — a response to the progress we’ve seen with LGBTQ rights.
But growing gender identity issues are in many ways more than public awareness. What does transgender mean? And what will force not only someone as rich and famous as Jenner, but thousands of other underprivileged trans people around the country to come out openly in the face of discrimination, exclusion from family, and violence?
Some people do not identify with their gender as the gender they were assigned at birth. Some people, for example, may be born with a penis, and therefore be called male at birth, but later find out that they identify as female and do not conform to the social norms of gender. or women. These people are adopting forms of gender identity and language that are unrelated to their body part or the gender assigned to them by a doctor at birth.
The Gender Identity Terms You Need To Know
And to understand what it means to be transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary, you need to understand what gender identity and language are and how the two concepts differ.
Gender identity is a person’s self-identity as male, female, or male outside of society’s norms. Gender identity refers to the characteristics and behaviors that a person identifies as male, female, a combination of the two, or one of the two.
Most Americans are cisgender, meaning they identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Perhaps because of this—and because non-cisgender people are seen in mainstream media these days—there is a difference for many Americans. For them, it may be difficult to understand, for example, how a person who was born a woman and raised as a man can identify.
Lily Carrollo, a trans woman in North Carolina, said she has helped cisgender people expand their understanding of gender identity through mindfulness exercises that, if successful, express feelings of not being seen by anyone.
Glossary Of Must Know Gender Identity Terms
He begins by asking people if they have enough money to physically change to another woman. Most people don’t, he says, because they continue to identify with the gender they were born with and identify with. “If you get into why they say no, they’ll often say it’s not worth it,” Carollo said. “That’s what you lock in.
A common misconception is that gender identity is related to expressing attraction or affection. But a trans person can identify as male, even if they were assigned female at birth, or be gay (assigned to other men), straight (assigned to women), bisexual, asexual (not related to either), or not. drawn Traditional gender is not defined. Trans women, transgender people, genderqueer people, and non-sexual people can be men, women, bi, neither, or of other preferences.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, agreed that the concept is difficult to define. “If someone was living as a man in relation to women, and now they are living as a woman in relation to women, what does that mean? They are right; i now they’re gay,” said Keisling, a trans woman in Washington, DC. . “But did their sexual behavior change, or were they still attracted to women?”
This graphic, put together by Trans Student Educational Resources, helps clear up some of the confusion by showing what gender identity is and what it means to be human rather than stereotypes. like sex and sex given at birth:
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The idea behind these differences in identity and representation is gender stereotypes – how society expects people to act in relation to the gender they are assigned. at birth-a social process, not a biological one. It’s a controversial idea in religious circles and conservatives, but there’s a lot of debate among anthropologists who think that gender is simple enough that different groups and people can construct and explained differently.
Thus, transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary are terms that people use to describe their gender and identity and how they differ from traditional and including the expected ones.
Transgender – or trans – is an umbrella term, so it refers to at least 700,000 Americans who believe their gender identity does not match the race they were assigned at birth. Although some studies show that people can identify as trans as children, it can take years of trauma and social stigma for people to start their lives as transgender. which they will see.
Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality knows what it’s like to embrace a stereotyped identity.
Americans’ Complex Views On Gender Identity And Transgender Issues
“People say things like, ‘You’re pretending to be a man,’ or, ‘You’re pretending to be a woman,'” he said. “What they didn’t understand was that I was really being hypocritical at first.”
He explained that it is a common – and “surprising” – myth that trans people confuse or mislead others. “We’re one of the few who are approaching things with full honesty and full knowledge,” he said. “We say, ‘This is really me.'”
Going from identifying as one gender to another can be called a transition, but not everyone follows the same path. Some trans people feel comfortable coming out to their friends or community members, known as transitioning. Others will take medication, which can include hormone therapy and multiple surgeries, to change their body image to match the gender they perceive. Even after changing medicine, few people hide their gender from the people they meet – sometimes it seems like they have made a new start, to avoid to discrimination, or for their personal privacy.
“I use that word – travel – because it conflicts with a specific time stamp,” he told me. “It’s not easy for a lot of people.”
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Keissling and Ziegler explain that not all trans people seek treatment to change their body image, because they are uncomfortable with their bodies, don’t want to work on it and can’t afford it. very difficult medical procedure. Hormone therapy and surgery are included.
However, changing medicine is a medical necessity. Some – but not all – trans people experience severe gender dysphoria, a state of emotional distress caused by conflict with their body or their gender identity. given to them. Dysphoria can lead to severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. But this is a short-term disease that can be treated by allowing people to change their lifestyle and health from the way it affects them.
Transitioning can be very difficult due to persistent misconceptions, including the belief that trans people belong to a third gender. Emily Prince, a trans woman in Virginia, first struggled with this when signing up for a treatment program. “The first line of the document asked for sexual intercourse with three options: male, female and transgender,” he said. “Here, we’ve got a problem. I’m a woman. I’m not a third gender. There are non-binary people who don’t fit either male or female, but you don’t define all trans people. . So.”
Another big misunderstanding is that trans people are cross-dressers, drag queens and drag kings. The LGBTQ organization GLAAD helped explain this in its reference guide to trans issues: “Transgender Women
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