‘Not Trans Enough’ Is Not A Thing, And Insinuating Otherwise Is Dangerous

‘Not Trans Enough’ Is Not A Thing, And Insinuating Otherwise Is Dangerous

Important factors to consider before issuing this invalidating statement to an already marginalized and at-risk group.
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As a member of the transgender community, I hear the phrase “not trans enough” tossed around by transgender and cisgender (people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth) alike.

Whether it has to do with someone’s age, wardrobe or medical transition status, there seems to be an unspoken guidebook of what qualifies someone as being “actually transgender.”

The definition of transgender is a simple one: someone whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth. This includes people that identify both within and outside of the gender binary of male and female.

The statement I just made, however, is often denied when it comes to gatekeeping. That’s right; as a non-binary person who experiences gender dysphoria (distress at the lack of alignment between my body and gender identity as well as disregard of my preferred pronouns), I am apparently not trans.

The idea of the term transgender applying only to those born male who identify as female and vice versa is often perpetuated by the media. Transgender celebrities such as Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono are the faces of the transgender community, and are often the standards by which someone is judged as being “actually trans.”

These celebs also perpetuate transgender rulebook lesson number two: if someone hasn’t medically transitioned, they’re obviously faking it.

Although many transgender people do decide to medically transition, whether through hormone replacement treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery, there’s another portion of the transgender community who either can’t or don’t want to transition. Whether due to financial difficulties, medical complications, age, inability to come out or simply lack of desire to change their body, lack of medical transition offen bars transgender individuals from receiving the validation and acceptance they deserve.

This emphasis on passing (the ability to be seen by strangers as a cisgender member of the gender one identifies with) is yet another issue, both within and outside of the trans community. Often, one’s ability to pass is based on their body type and wardrobe. I am biologically female, meaning I have curves that don’t lend themselves to clothing from the men’s section. It also means that I don’t always look androgynous. It doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly cisgender or “faking it.”

There are also many instances in which passing can be unsafe, as according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 55 percent of all reported LGBT homicide victims were transgender women, and predominantly transgender women of color.

Younger members of the transgender community also experience increased violence and discrimination from peers, with 78 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming students from kindergarten to grade 12 experiencing harassment. In addition to mistreatment from other students, young transgender people are often invalidated by adults, including those who are also trans. Just as younger members of the LGBT community are told that it’s “just a phase,” transgender kids are often labeled as confused and attention-seeking. Yes, gender and sexuality can be fluid-- but that doesn’t make the identity and associated emotions of young transgender people any less real or valid than those of adults.

There is no such thing as being “trans enough,” and insinuating otherwise can be incredibly damaging.

Transgender people already have a suicide rate that is 25 times higher than that of the general population; do we really want to further contribute to that statistic?

All members of the transgender community deserve respect, regardless of the specific aspects and status of their identity. Accepting transgender individuals as who they are (that is, as actual transgender individuals) regardless of whether they meet a set of made-up, irrelevant standards is crucial, especially in the current political climate.

You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer that their disease isn’t legitimate enough to be taken seriously; telling someone that they aren’t “trans enough” is a sickness in and of itself.

And unfortunately, that sickness can be just as deadly.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Edelman

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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What Transgender Really Is And Why You Should Care

With Trump’s most recent attack on the transgender community, it’s more important than ever to educate people on what being transgender really means.

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Now, first things first. Trump's plan to define sex in a binary way is an attack on the transgender community, but also an attack on the intersex community. I will try to touch on that, but as I am not intersex, I want to avoid spreading misinformation. I fully support intersex people and believe this is just as much an attack on them as it is on transgender people.

Let's start with a definition for transgender. Transgender is an adjective, not a noun. Someone is transgender, not "a transgender." A lot of people also confuse sex and gender, but they're not interchangeable. To put it simply, sex is what's in your pants, and gender is what's in your head.

Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. People who are cisgender identify with the sex that they were assigned at birth and their gender coincides with their sex.

Sex refers to your genitalia.

A lot of us (including myself) grew up on the belief that there is male genitalia and female genitalia. This is not correct. First of all, equating genitals with gender (male parts/female parts) can be correct for certain people, but not for all. Secondly, sex isn't binary. That's where the term "intersex" comes in.

If someone is intersex, that means that their genitals do not fit into the aforementioned binary. For example, people may be born with a mix of male and female genitals such as a large clitoris, no vaginal opening, or a scrotum that is divided so it is more like labia.

Some people who fit the criteria of "intersex" don't identify as intersex. This is their own decision to make, and they should not be forced to identify as intersex if they don't choose to on their own.

Transgender people also have the choice of identification. Some trans people identify themselves with the terms AFAB (assigned female at birth) or AMAB (assigned male at birth). Personally, I despise being defined as AFAB because I feel as though the term puts too much focused on what I was labelled when I was born when it should put focus on who I am now. Some trans people also choose to identify themselves as transsexual. This is an outdated term and is considered offensive. It should not be used by cisgender people, but transgender people can identify themselves as transsexual if they so choose.

Going back to the problem of binary genitalia, calling genitals "male" or "female" is problematic to transgender people. For a pre-op trans male, having his genitals be referred to as female is traumatizing and triggering. It also perpetuates the myth that you have to fit into a specific label.

Let's break down another myth. Transgender people all identify with the gender that matches the sex they believe they should have, right? Wrong.

Not all transgender people seek surgery, and not all transgender people follow the same path. Some people change their legal name first, some people start testosterone or estrogen first, and some go straight for surgery. Some trans people don't want to do any of the above. All forms of transgender people are valid.

If a transgender person wants surgery to be the "opposite sex," that does not automatically mean that their gender matches that sex. There are many different kinds of genders, and none of them auto correspond with a specific sex. You can be AMAB, have surgery to have a vagina, but identify as agender (not identifying with any gender). There's no chart to follow. You can be whatever gender you want to be regardless of what your sex is. This also applies for cisgender people.

Now that you know the basics of what being transgender means, let's talk about why what Trump is saying is problematic.

Defining gender as "a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth" is extremely problematic and dangerous.

If this change is made in law, transgender people will be at very high risk of discrimination. In the U.S. Transgender Survey, 16% of transgender people who responded lost at least one job because of their identity, 30% who had a job in 2015 were fired or harassed in the workplace, 27% were fired or not hired, 15% were verbally/physically/sexually assaulted, 23% experienced forms of mistreatment such as being asked to stay in the closet or being outed, and 77% either stayed in the closet or quit to avoid possible mistreatment.

Thanks to the Obama administration, we currently have protections in the workplace for transgender people. If Trump changes the definition of gender, those protections are out the window. The rates of discrimination and assault against transgender people are going to skyrocket. People are going to lose jobs, lose their housing, face violent assault, and even be at risk of murder.

It is more important than ever to exercise your right to vote. Help conserve the rights of transgender people because we need all the help we can get.

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