No, My Personal Preference Does Not Make Me Transphobic

No, My Personal Preference Does Not Make Me Transphobic

Cis-gendered people should not be accused of hating transgender persons because they do not want to pursue a romantic, physical or emotional relationship with them.

This Article is in response to No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

The debate of transgender people’s rights and their integration into society has been present for years through numerous media platforms. In 2014, news outlets reported that a U.S Marine murdered a transgender woman, Jennifer Laude, for engaging in sex without disclosing that she was a transgender person. The debate surrounding transgender bathrooms laws within the past couple of years provoked a huge out cry from the LBGTQ community through social media. Very recently, President Donald Trump used twitter to state his position that the US would not allow any transgender persons to serve in the U.S. military.

I recently came across an article on the Odyssey discussing transgender peoples position in sexual and emotional relationships with cis-gender people, as well as their roles and acceptance into society. The article argued many unsettling and invalid points revealing a question of education and objectivity on the matter.

Firstly, I would like to give a brief tutoring on the proper terminologies of this subject. Most of my research came from GLAAD, a media platform which provides education on LGBTQ communities and promotes acceptance for these communities. (This is a very informative and reliable source for any readers looking to explore and learn about this community and many more).

GLAAD defines Transgender as “a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.” Gender identity is “a person's internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or boy or girl.)” To simplify, a transgender person is someone whose sexual identity does not match their birth sex. In addition, many do not see their sexuality as aligning within male or female, but see it as a spectrum or outside the gender binary. Cis gender people are defined as “persons whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex” by Merriam- Webster Dictionary.

Transphobia is prevalent in today’s society. However, we must acknowledge the magnitude of what this word means and be sure to use it only in appropriate circumstances. Transphobia, which, again, by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is defined as an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender or transsexual people.”

The article first tackles the debate of whether a transgender person should have to reveal their state of transition to a non- transgender person. This discussion stemmed from the previously mentioned murder of Jennifer Laude in 2014 by a US marine officer. The article makes the profound statement that transgender- people do not have to reveal their transition, further arguing that it is not a lie to repress this information.

First off, the idea of withholding such principal information is lying. I believe a person’s transition is essential to their emotional and sexual being. It would be deceitful to keep this information from someone a person intends on being intimate with.

Secondly, the motive of Ms. Laude’s murder was based upon the fact that her state of transition was not disclosed. What is important to distinguish is that the act of murdering a transgender person because he/she did not reveal her transition state is transphobic. What is not transphobic is the feeling of deception after discovering an intimate partner is a transgender person without one’s knowledge.

Thirdly, the article argues that not being attracted to a trans person is transphobic. This statement is inaccurate on many levels. The notion that cis-gender people are transphobic for not being attracted to transgender people is the equivalent of saying females are homophobic for not being attracted to lesbian women or gay men.

Transphobia, again, means to have an irrational fear or discriminatory attitude against transgender people. Someone who is not attracted to trans people is not fearful or discriminatory of them; Attraction is a preference.

Also what is lost in this debate is that transphobia implies that a right is being threatened or withheld. Sex isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. To argue that a person who does not want to have a sexual relationship with a trans person is transphobic is completely wrong.

Cis-gendered people should not be accused of hating transgender persons because they do not want to pursue a romantic, physical or emotional relationship with them. For many, just as myself, I support all groups in the LGBTQ community. I think every person is unique and should have the right to express their sexual identity and orientation in however way they please. However, although I feel this way, this does not mean I personally would be open to becoming romantically involved with a transgender person. As I said before: it is all preference.

What is difficult about this subject is two things; One, there is no precedent. The New York Times printed an article recalling the history of transgender milestones. The first person to have a sex change took place in 1952. There have been just 65 years of transgender people coming into American society, and it wasn’t until the early 2000’s through media and advocacy groups did transgender people begin to have their presence known to America.

The transgender community is still relatively new to society naturally creating difficulties in approaching this topic. Politicians, public figures and law makers are still trying to find ways to include transgender people as equal, respected and protected citizens. Unfortunately, there are still many who find moral and religious conflict with the transgender community. There is no rule or protocol for making laws for this community and with transgender people still facing opposition, finding a compromise is tough.

The second adversity is that there is a lack of education among society about trans people. Many make claims which stem from no knowledge or ethics allowing ignorance to spread like wild fire. Education on this subject needs to be pervasive among the new and old generation. As more and more learn about the LGBTQ community, a sense of unity and understanding will allow this community to properly and formally merge into society.

In time I see the LGBTQ community becoming one with society and hope that day comes very soon. Although there are many people with many different beliefs, no matter what you practice, a human is still a human, and every human deserves respect, dignity, and rights.
Cover Image Credit: tn8

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Female.. Male.. Non-Binary?

What does it feel like to not associate with your assigned sex?

Remember the Toy Story doll that was a baby head missing an eye with a metallic crab-like body that you couldn't keep your eyes off of because it just wasn't right? Imagine waking up every day and looking in the mirror just to feel like that. To feel like you weren't made right and it's just not supposed to be.

Many people feel like this, including YouTube singer, Sade Bolger, from the day puberty hits or even before. Sade experienced an "overwhelming amount of dysphoria" feeling "a lot of discomfort, hate, self consciousness" about his body. He hid his then female body in any way possible until discovering top surgery, the removal of breasts. He discussed this possibility with his parents and they welcome the idea with open arms and began the process.

Though he was extremely anxious, the idea of finally being comfortable in his own body had overcome any negative thoughts very easily. This was a comfort he never thought he'd be able to have; it was what he needed most.

I had the opportunity to Skype with Sade through this process when his whole world was changing for the better. He said that he finally felt normal and had nothing to hide, especially on stage or in front of the camera where he feels most natural. When I had asked him to rate the life change on a scale of one to ten, he did not hesitate to say "infinite". Months after the top surgery, Sade decided it was time to take a leap of faith by starting testosterone, which was concerning due to his passion for singing; he didn't know how it would affect his voice exactly. Now nine months on T, he's still singing and playing his instruments, but has also found a newborn passion.

Taking on the role of a model in the LGBTQ+ community, Sade has made some vlogs and films about the transition, gender, sexuality, etc. Sade says that this is his chance to not only teach people about the LGBTQ+ community, but also to help inspire others to be themselves and take all necessary steps to become comfortable in their own skin. In our interview, his main message to all was, "Be yourself; openly, happily, contently, and completely unapologetically. Don't feel bad for being gay or trans. Don't feel like you have to hide it. Don't feel scared. Know that there are millions of people in the world that are just exactly like you."

Sade wants this message to reach those in need, those in the closet, those who weren't accepted for who they are, and he wants to make a difference in their lives. Furthering his career in music, he is studying music education and social justice pathways at the University of Vermont. After seeing a plethora of positive comments on his videos saying that his voice made everything seem okay, Sade said his main goal is to create therapeutic effects with his music for anyone that will listen, whether they support his decision to transition or not.

Listen to his story here, or on his YouTube channel,

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Gender Is A Fuck For The Person Who Just Doesn't Fit

My experiences being a non-binary individual.
"Who taught you how to hate your self?
Who forced you to confide in spell?" - The Hotelier, Life In Drag.

It's a subject I've touched on quite a bit on my twitter, it's a core part of my identity, and yet I've never written a long-form post about it. Perhaps it was fear of what people would say, how they'd look at me differently, the sneers of attention seeker I can see a few people making. Perhaps it was just not knowing what to say, the exact expression, the exact terminology is still something I'm trying to work out.

All I have are a set of pronouns, they/them.

The default when gender is unknown. An umbrella identity: nonbinary. Neither male nor female, but an other. I have occasional bursts of extreme facial hair because some people tell me I can pull it off, marking me as mask. I lack the delicate features and high voice one might attribute to their idea of what androgyny is. I have makeup as a signifier, the black nails, black lipstick and extravagant eye makeup drawing the lines between the New Romantics and the early 00's metalcore scene in Orange County. All I really have is that niggling sensation that I just, don't fit, any of the traditional models of expression.

I came out first to two of my best friends in late January of 2016, gradually to other people here and there, pronouns in the bio, mentioning it in person when I felt safe enough to. It's been an interesting journey, put mildly. Some people have been really chill and accepting of it. Some people were curious but otherwise quite calm about it. Some people have been otherwise grand but repeatedly misgendered me, n sometimes I've bothered correcting them but it almost feels worse, like the way I feel most at ease is an inconvenience.

Existing in the wider world hasn't been a whole lot easier either, here comes the milking of pain for views, bleeding out for clicks. The deluge of transphobia I see on a daily basis, the attack helicopter jokes, the organised lobbying in the United Kingdom trying to drive my community into our graves, pages closer to home posting hate speech dressed as memes, tacitly approved with likes and haha reacts from people I know would never look me in the eyes and say it.

There have been so many times I've been out and about I've genuinely worried for my safety, would I have to fight, would anyone jump in for me or was I an acceptable casualty should that happen for not fitting the role assigned to me. It never stops, and it takes a toll, and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had taken the "easier" path of just being cis. Why add something else wrong with me in addition to everything else, a repeated thought that often crossed my mind. Yet at the same time, I'm here, I'm doing something I wish I did a long time ago. My name is Mal. My pronouns are they/them. I'm here, and I am valid. There's a set of lyrics i find it fit to close this piece off with,

"For years I hated myself for not feeling adequate, for not feeling like the man I was told to be. I hung on to these notions of masculinity until the shame of not belonging cut holes through my skin.

Take these trembling hands and tell me it’s not all broken, that it’s not all lost. I want to burn as bright as a million stars, free from all the guidelines of how I should feel. I want to burn as bright as a million stars. Fleeting as it may be, steady as our hearts. " - Respire, Anthem For Falling Stars,

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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