Why would you want to trade in your breasts for a beard?
How long have you known you weren’t a girl?
LGBT: We all know the acronym, and we all probably know someone who is under the umbrella. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual matters are all covered in the news we see every day, from gay rights to marriage to adoption.
But what about the other letter? T: Transgender. This topic is vastly under-talked about and vastly under-supported. People who identify as transgender are very much misunderstood and are not as shown in the media.
In fact, it seems the only time that people even think about transgender people is when something big happens, i.e., Caitlyn Jenner. She received major backlash from people when she transitioned. For some reason, people find that this spectrum is harder to understand.
So, here are some handy dandy statistics! (Thank you, Cosmopolitan and the ACLU!)
- Percentage of the population that identified as transgender in 2011: .03% (~700,000)
- How much gender reassignment surgery costs: $15,500
- Number of companies with healthcare that works with transgenders: 207
- Percentage of transgender people who have attempted suicide: 41%
- Percentage of transgender people who deal with abuse from a family member: 19% *Please remember this could also mean emotional abuse!*
- Number of states that have laws protecting transgender people: 18
- MOST IMPORTANT: The percentage of people who felt better after their transition: 78%
As you can see, people who identify as transgender are in the minority, even in the LGBT world. So many people do not understand that what they say (such as the questions at the beginning of this article) is hurtful.
People who want to live as the gender they identify with should be allowed. Why is there so much controversy over what people do in their homes? Who are we to judge?
Questions that should be asked:
How are you feeling today? (This can be asked at any time! This is a huge thing for people, and a lot of times, they don’t understand themselves.)
You look great! (Confidence is a major key in this. They need to know that people are behind them.)
Respect their pronouns. A lot of times, people will change their pronouns without reassignment surgery (as you saw from how expensive it was). They might wear different clothes and do their best to look like who they want to be. If they want to be called “he”, respect that. If they want to be called “she”, respect that. If they want to be called “they” or “xe”, respect that.
The main thing that people who are trying to figure this out should have is a group of people who will understand them, be able to go to them when they feel dysphoric about their body (body dysmorphia, hating your body to a psychological level, is huge in this community).
Don’t question their sexuality. Especially stay away from “If you’re a boy and you like girls, why do you want to be a girl?” That is a completely different subject, and it has nothing to do with gender reassignment.
Most of all, treat them normally. Be their friend. Don’t make the fact that they’re going through something the only thing you talk about. Stability is key.
By Molly Tracy