Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Very Short Introduction To Central Transgender/Gender-Fluid/Queer Identity

I've got a dirty not-so-secret everybody! I choose to be identified as a transgender woman. I've never really had a problem with being told that if you wanted to make a radical change to your body it must involve an element of earthly choice and that some people may never agree with it. I'm a Lutheran Christian but I believe God gave me freedom of choice; he created trans people, he created feminists. As an outspoken feminist I've always advocated that women and men have a right to change their bodies provided those changes fall under current British Law (no racist tats please!) So many people I have spoken to in the past have misconceptions about what a definition of transgenderism should entail:
  • Are trans people only trans when they exist pre and during gender reassignment surgery and then revert to single gender binary status afterwards?
  • Are trans people considered trans if they only opt for hormone therapies?
  • Can people self-define as trans even if they choose not to go through with surgical or hormonal options?
All I can say with any confidence (based on my own experience) is that trans people generally feel they were born with the wrong sexual organs and bodily parts and have been unable to express themselves in either a male or female way until they have been openly honest with themselves that they wish to identify in the opposite gender. However if you thought the concept of transgender was difficult to grasp, what happens if someone you love dearly blurts out during the precious ceremony aka Sunday Roast dinner that they identify as neither a man or woman in terms of their gender and they wish to appear this way to friends, family and strangers, even if they still happen to possess sexual organs that biologically denote them as man or woman? The key to understanding and accepting their view is if you accept gender and sex are inherently separate constructs and not always rigidly linked with one another, you can accept that a person perceived as a "man" can wear a dress, put on make up and earrings and call themselves Martha, even if they have full blown penis and testicles. We should have the freedom of choice to dress and act how we want free from societal discrimination and punishment provided our actions fall within the confines of the law. So next time you meet a "guy" in a maxi glitter dress round the back of buzzy Home Nightclub, act with the respect, dignity and compassion that you'd show to any other person. Don't wish them harm, don't wish that they'd be raped on their way home from that nightclub by a bigoted religious zealot determined to impose his will on you (as I have experienced being orally raped on my way home from a nightclub during my time at the University of York in December 2009). Just let them live their lives how they wish to live it. This level of basic acceptance is, in reality all  trans, gender-fluid, queer, non-binary people are asking for.  It is not politically or culturally left or right to grant them this level of freedom.