Transgender people come from every walks of life. They are a diverse community, representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds. But still, they are misunderstood and ill-treated.
We all understand the basic definition of Transgender, but we hardly realise who 'actually' they are and how their life is. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes every person whose gender identity is opposite to its assigned one. In other words, transgender people are those whose gender identity is different from the gender they labelled to be at birth.
A transgender woman lives as a woman today but labelled as a male when born, and the same for a transgender man.
Transgender means different things to different people. Many people believe that there is nothing like being transgender; it is all about a misconception about the self 'natural' body. However, if you want to understand how it feels to be a transgender person, go and talk with transgender people and listen to their stories.
Think for a while, About Your Own Gender: How does it feel like when you woke up one morning with a body part that is associated with opposite gender? Or how will you feel when your doctor, friends and your family says that you are a man and expects you to behave like a man, but you feels yourself a women, even after knowing you're a man, physically! Imagine what it would be when your friends says that your appearance, likings and behaviour does not match with your gender's choice?
How does someone know that they are transgender?
The realisation about self-being transgender can happen at any stage of life. Some trace their awareness from their early memories, whereas some may need more time to realise that they are transgender. There have been several scenarios where people do not understand why they do not fit in their 'labelled' gender. This confusion happens when people try to avoid thinking or talking about their gender because of shame, fear or confusion.
Here, trying to repress or forcefully changing one's gender identity will not work. Instead, it can be painful and emotionally damaging for a person's mental health. Many transgender people believe that their loved ones may not accept them if they come forward with their actual gender identity. Being open about self gender identity and living a genuinely authentic life can be life-affirming and even a life-saving decision.
What is the difference between Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity?
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are two separate things. However, mistakenly it has been used interchangeably by many non-transgender people. Gender Identity refers to your inner knowledge of your gender, whereas, Sexual Orientation has to do with whom you are attracted to.
Like non-transgender people, transgender people can have sexual orientation too. A transgender man (living as a man today but labelled as female at birth) can be primarily attracted to women (and identified as a straight man) or can have a sexual orientation towards men (being recognised as a gay man).
Why don't transgender people get counselling to accept the gender they have from birth?
Counselling to change one's gender identity is called conversion therapy. This conversion therapy is illegal in some countries because it indicates that it is illusory or wrong to know their core existence. And forcing them to change can lead to substance abuse, depression, self-loathing and even suicide.
However, positive therapy can help transgender people to come out of the stigma, fear and isolation. This therapy can help them decide when to tell the world about their gender identity and deal with the repercussions and stigma.
Why is transgender equality important?
Transgender people should get the same respect and dignity as others get. Being a transgender person is not a crime or a social issue associated with discrimination or mistreatment. But transgender people face discrimination and rejection at their workplace, school, and in their families.
Transgender people usually -
fired or denied from the job.
Face harassment and bullying from school mates.
Get denied from critical medical health care.
Face abuse and violence.
Not accepted as a part of the family.
Transgender people are a part of our society. They deserve a life without fear, discrimination and violence. A supported, healthy and safe environment is something that every person deserves regardless of their gender identity.
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