Transgender or more commonly Trans is an umbrella term broadly defined as anyone who does not conform to or fit themselves into the binary stereotype established purely based on the sex at childbirth (the physiological aspect of sex). There are people who like to explore into their feminine or masculine traits/outlook (crossdressers); a few who face agony with their physical body so much that they like to modify their body to the desired Gender by exogenously taking hormones( pre-op transsexuals or just pre-op); a few who go beyond the hormones and get a reassignment surgery done (post-op) ; a few who are born with ambiguous genitals (Intersex); and a few who do not feel like they really fit the binariness (GenderQueer). Though these are the broad categories, one should understand that these are mere labels and boxing people into one or the other inhibits the free thinking, inclusion and acceptance of diversity.
‘Gender’ is what one feels internally – in their heart, in their mind, in their soul (psychological aspect of sex). ‘Sex’ is the organ, the genitalia (the physiological aspect). A lot of people believe that past this there is also a third dimension of sex – behavioral sex.
Less often I have been told by my cis friends that they accept and support me but they don’t quite get what being trans really means. But only later did I find out that the Queer community is by itself pretty ignorant. I am not saying the community has not been accepting but rather ignorant. While not trying to be divisive here, no wonder from the initial ENDA struggle to several other issues, there has always been a talk in the community of a LGB ‘and a farther T’. The Michigan Womyn’s fest, a hallmark for woman’s liberation and feminist movement, continues to have a rather veiled approach to the inclusion of transwomen. Though these are very few instances, it still leaves me to wonder what causes a casteist approach to struggles. Aren’t we in this all together? So in my effort to spread knowledge, let me try to present a rather dramatic picture here hoping it will help and not further confuse :). I will explain it from a woman’s perspective but men please let your mind wonder …
Imagine one fine morning, you bring your palms up to your face, like you always do. You stumble across tiny beard stubs across your cheeks. Your breasts have flattened out. You wonder if it is all a dream. You turn around and see your girlfriend in pristine condition, her beautiful self. You don’t remember past that moment last night – Because you drank too much and passed out 😉 !! You move your hands down under and you feel a ridge. How the Fuck do you feel? Is it funny enough? Are you in despair and confused? How would you feel if you realise this when you are 7 years old? Ok, may be not waking up with your Girlfriend.
Ok it doesn’t end there…
You now realise that there is no way out and we know it is not in your control. Yet, now wake up and convince your mom, dad, siblings, friends, partners, coworkers, employer, insurance/healthcare professionals(who continue to discriminate without any conscience) and every damn person in this world about a choice you did not even make.
Its been a couple years and you have realised this is not going to change…
Now get ready to spend thousands of dollars and vast amounts of time losing everything that you had a day earlier, and start undergoing therapy for the emotional scars (perpetrated by others). Start preparing for those procedures and along the way be prepared to be stared and mocked at by everyone, and be addressed as a sissy, a fifty-fifty, a freak and a thousand and odd other pejoratives. If you are famous enough you will also be blessed with a lot of media attention and there will be documentaries and news articles about you titled, “A woman who was a man”, “Her name was Steven”, and if you are stupid enough that you end up with Larry King, he will probably amuse you with the dumbest questions ever.
And now, put on that smile (‘happily ever after’ smile) and go live your life with a hope that you will get what you want eventually.
postscript: PFLAG has a great resource in their website [Link]