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.
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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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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Had To Tell My Mom Her Only Daughter Would Now Be Her Son

No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.

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It was three years ago on March 27 when I did the scariest thing I've ever experienced in all of my (almost) 22 years of living; I told my mom I was transgender.

The first time I had ever told anyone the secret that had been eating me alive was two days prior when I came out to my best friend, Cali. I knew she was going to accept me and nothing would change but it still overwhelmed me with anxiety trying to find the words to say. It took a solid 20 minutes trying to type out the perfect text to explain what I was feeling, and even after those 20 minutes I don't think I ever got it right, but my shaky hands hit send anyway. For the first time, it was out in the open. I wasn't the only one alive who knew I was living a lie. As frightening and nerve-wracking as it was, it felt so good to get out in the open.

The 27th was Easter Sunday, I only remember this because I remember having the thought "well, way to ruin Easter Sunday for your mom, asshole." We had a family breakfast that morning, I didn't know it at the time, but that was the last family event where I was looked at as the daughter/granddaughter, thank God. Had I known, I probably would've made a scene to celebrate. Anyway, my mom was bartending that night at our local VFW and I was about to pop in to say goodbye like I always did before I made the 4 hour journey back to school at Edinboro University where I was wrapping up the last of my freshman year. I sat in my car outside the main entrance and stared blankly at my steering wheel for what felt like hours. I didn't want to tell her, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I needed to. I couldn't take living in secret from the most important person in my life anymore, she needed to know.

I thought about what was about to happen and my brain immediately played the worst case scenario over and over in my head. "She's going to hate me, she's going to disown me, and she's going to kick me out. I'll be alone and on my own." My dizzy and overwhelmed head fell into my shaky palms and I sat hunched over trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. I knew all of these things were a possibility, but I also knew that the happiness that would come from transitioning would outweigh any of the negative situations I would face coming out. My happiness and my freedom was my first priority. I knew that I accepted myself, so it didn't matter if anyone else did, my mother included. I couldn't keep myself in the dark anymore, I didn't think I would survive it. I was prepared to walk out of there in 10 minutes on my own, myself against the world.

Finally, somehow, I worked up the courage to head inside. I walked right up to the bar (I was only 19 but nobody had a problem with it because nobody dared to give my mom any issues) and plopped myself next to my mom's, at the time, boyfriend, Joe. He was a good guy, he was always looking out for me, so it was no surprise that he instantly caught the anxious vibe radiating off of me. He was captivated by the football game until I sat down and instantly he turned to me and asked what was up. Not the ice breaking, small talk making "what's up?" but the kind of "what's up?" that reads "I know somethings off, spill your beans." "Nothing" I insisted. After a few minutes of painfully awkward small talk, he grabbed me by the shoulder and walked me out near the entrance doors.

"Let's hear it kid."

He just knew something was really wrong, crazy how people can pick up on that kind of thing. I told him I had to tell my mom something but I was scared to because she'd hate me. He asked what it was but I couldn't find the words. I felt like I was going to vomit. I tried to talk but nothing came out.

"Is it about you?" I nodded. "Are you okay? Did something happen to your car?" I was notorious for flat tires and stupid little accidents so it was no surprise that was his first thought.

"No, I'm fine, or I will be, but she's going to hate me and kick me out and disown me…" I kept rambling, listing off all the terrible things I thought was about to happen.

He stopped me, and again, he must have just known, "Do you feel like you're not…you? Do you feel like you need to change yourself?"

I stared at him in disbelief, how in the world did he know?

Tears fell from my eyes instantaneously and he wrapped me in a hug. He calmed me down and assured me my mom was still going to love me endlessly and nothing would change. He told me how they've talked about what would happen if this exact situation were to happen. I felt better.

Just then, the doors swung open and my mom bolted in looking like she had just seen a ghost. She immediately started asking a million questions a minute.

"What's wrong? Who's hurt? Are you okay? Logann, (my name before I had it legally changed, yes I just dropped the second N when I did. A drastic change, I know.) what's going on?"

Again, I was at a loss for words. I couldn't speak no matter how hard I tried. And I did try, nothing escaped my mouth, not even a sound. I couldn't breathe, and felt an anxiety attack just about to take place. I started to hyperventilate, my vision growing black. I couldn't get enough air into my lungs and it felt like I was breathing through a straw just after sprinting a marathon.

Joe must have sensed that because he took over and said, "remember that conversation we had about our kids? What we would do if they wanted…more? They weren't themselves?"

I saw it fall into place and click in her head, she turned to me and asked if that were true. I don't remember what I said or did, I think I worked myself up so much that I blacked out. The next thing I knew my mom had embraced me in the biggest bear hug I've ever received in my life. Her arms almost squeezing the life out of me, I could feel her start to cry as her chest began to shake against mine. She kept repeating that she loved me and nothing could ever change that. She finally pulled away but held me at an arm's length and made sure I knew that she still loved me. She was only upset that I felt I couldn't talk to her about this sooner.

"You're my kid no matter what body you have. I don't know the first thing about any of this but I promise we'll get you the help you need ASAP. Nothing's wrong with you. It'll be okay, I promise it will be okay. I'll make sure of it."

The wave of relief that washed over me sent me to cloud nine. I felt invincible and like I could conquer the world. I still feel that today, just thinking about it. Not many people who want to begin transitioning have the same wonderful experience I had with a mother so accepting, which breaks my heart. Since day one, my mom has been my biggest fan and my biggest supporter. She's bent over backwards to get me the help and resources I needed. It is because of her that just 3 short months later I was able to start hormone replacement therapy. It is because of her that the November that followed, I was able to get my top surgery and she was the greatest nurse during my recovery. It is because of her that I was able to get my name legally changed. I owe all the major and beautiful milestones in my transition to her. She truly is my rock and I wouldn't be the man I am today without her. I hope I'm making her proud.

I got extremely lucky with how my mom reacted to the thought of her only daughter becoming her son. I feel blessed every single day. It made and still makes my transition sail so much smoother. There will never be enough thank you's. However, in the moments leading up to telling her, I accepted the possibilities that she would not approve. That is something everyone who wants to transition needs to understand. Not everyone will accept you or welcome this "new you" with open arms. Just because someone is your family doesn't mean their obligated to accept you, I learned that the hard way. All that matters is that you accept yourself. No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.

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