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.