Uh, You Don't Get To Chose If Your Kid Is Transgender

Uh, You Don't Get To Chose If Your Kid Is Transgender

Your child's gender isn't really your choice to make.
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When I saw the title "My Child Will Not Be Allowed To Be Transgender" on my Facebook newsfeed you could see my facial expression change from happy to plain disgust. I literally had just shared a video of a transgender girl telling a story about how she was getting bullied.

Before I clicked on the article my mind was all over the place. How are you going to have children if you can't even support them? Or why don't you support transgender people for being who they are? Then I clicked on the article and I realized that this is why I don't read controversial articles that have a different view from mine, because I get so heated.

The first thing I want to say is, you don't allow people to be who they are, it's their own identity. A boy isn't going to just come home one day and be like "I want to be a girl because it's a trend". Trans girls/boys don't choose to be who they are. They feel like they're trapped in a body that doesn't belong to them and nothing's wrong with that. Saying you're not going to allow your child to be transgender is like your parents telling you that you're not allowed to be in the military because you might die.

The fact that someone can write an article about not letting their child be transgender and say at the beginning of their article that "this article is in NO way saying that I hate transgender/homosexual people. I love and respect them as humans (and friends!), I just simply don't support their decision." Is a little unsettling to me because saying that you don't hate transgender people but you don't support their "decision" is going against you not hating them. You must have a little hatred, I'm not saying you have a whole lot but you can't respect people if you don't respect who they are as a person, and being transgender is who they are; they didn't decide to be transgender.

You might not encourage your boy to wear pink or your girl from using the boy's bathroom until they're out of your "authority", but what is going to happen when they do get out your authority? That's if they make it out of your authority. You can't wait to have kids of your own but if your child doesn't feel like they can be who they are around the person that is supposed to support them the most, what will happen then? They will most likely be depressed and suicidal, because they have to hide who they are. But when your child does get out of your house and out of your authority, what is going to happen? Are you still not going to encourage them to be who they truly are or are you going to be there supporter?

Being who you are is not a mental illness. BEING TRANSGENDER IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS! According to the World Health Organization, a mental illness is "distress and dysfunction" and while transgender people do have distress, being transgender is not a factor of being distressed. The distress that transgenders have is from the social rejection they experience. It is not a scientific fact that being transgender is a mental illness, but it is a fact that being transgender is not a mental illness. Therefore, there is no need to look for “symptoms” and to look for therapists, counselors, and physicians because they can not help you; you will be spending thousands of dollars on something that does not need to and cannot be”fixed.”

There is nothing wrong with being gay or transgender, and I hope that before anyone that has the same perspective as you has children, that you find a way to encourage your children to be whoever they want to be, including being transgender.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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Respect And Celebrate Different Identities

Just because you don't think it's "normal" doesn't mean you can disrespect it.

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I've always believed "respect is earned, not given" to be utter BS, but that's even more true when it comes to how people identify. June is LGBT+ Pride Month, which means you're going to be hearing about a lot of different identities (gender- and orientation-wise) that you've probably never heard of.

Please, for the sake of everyone involved, don't be an ass if you don't understand what they identify as. At one point, everyone has questioned an identity that they came across (and if you say you haven't, I'm going to say you're lying). Do that in your head, but be respectful to the person.

I've been online for years, and I'm guilty of bashing people's identities because I thought they were "weird" and didn't fully understand them. Guess what? I recognize that as being a horrible thing to do and have since matured.

It costs you nothing to be respectful.

When I see an identity I don't fully understand, I either ask the person about it (respectfully) or shrug it off because it's none of my business. The most it affects me is when it comes to their preferred name and pronouns, but even that isn't a big deal. It won't end my life if I call someone by a set of pronouns I don't understand.

Now, I'm not saying to not ask questions out of fear of being disrespectful; I'm saying to not be a total jerk when asking.

When in doubt, ask them about it. "Hey, can you explain what ____ means?" is a very different way to start a conversation than "I've never heard of ____ and think it's gross/wrong, so it doesn't exist."

The worst possible thing you can do is tell someone their identity doesn't exist. That pretty much tells the person that they don't exist, which is really just a dick move.

Because, again, what does it cost you to be respectful?

That's right, nothing.

Their identity doesn't hurt you in any way. Them being gay or trans or somewhere in the middle or both literally does you no harm. Respecting them does you no harm.

You may not understand if someone identifies as a "non-binary pansexual they/them," but they know full well what it means. That's all that matters. All you have to do is respect them and call them what they want to be called rather than what you think they should be called.

Nobody knows someone better than they know themselves.

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