Whilst scrolling through my Facebook feed a few weeks back, I saw a post about an article in The Independent that left me fuming. It focused on a blog which claimed that being transgender has become the latest way to be “cool”, especially amongst teenagers. WHAT. THE. FUCK??? Even before a person decides on hormones, surgery or any other way to deal/cope with gender dysphoria, they live a life of struggle and torment. Whether they’re in their teens or as adults, it’s all relative. It’s not a choice. Nobody chooses constant internal conflicts, feelings of humiliation, shame or frustration, which usually leads to mental health related issues, including self harm, depression and even suicide. Being trans is not a fucking trend.
The blog in question (link within the Independent article above) claims that a gender expert has come forward to say teens were “trying out being transgender” because it was the “in” thing to do. This expert was a doctor who worked at a gender clinic…but the blog failed to mention the rest of what the doctor said about children he’d seen at his clinic. They failed to mention what the doctor went on to explain: the sheer desperation and lengths that some will go to because of it, including self mutilation. Children. Mutilating themselves. Trying to remove or change their own genitals. Still think that’s a trend?? By taking what he said out of context, they’ve created a story which essentially cheapens the difficult and painful journey that faces anyone who identifies as having gender dysphoria. For what reason? Did they run out of factual stories that day??!
The doctor also claims that of approx 180 children, only a handful would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder. If this is true then it raises other questions about how we deal with the issue, namely ones concerning the individual going through it. Yes they’re children but does that mean they’re not capable of knowing how they feel? Gender dysphoria in children has always attracted fierce debate. Whilst some allow the children to decide for themselves and fully support them for it, others (probably in denial or fuelled by shame…either way, it’s only about themselves) insist their child is too young to know any better. But does anyone actually “know”?? The same applies to adults to. Yes, we are born with a specific set of chromosomes which dictate our body parts but as I realised recently, that’s just on the outside. We are more than our exterior. What’s inside us matters too. In fact, what’s inside of us matters more. We can’t judge or base everything simply on what we see. If somebody chooses to drive an old beat up car, does it mean they’re a bad or poor person? Does somebody driving a BMW automatically become a better person? No. You only have to look outside to know that a lot of BMW drivers are twats who think they own the road or that the Highway Code doesn’t apply to them because they’re important enough to drive a high value car. We need to see beyond the exterior and realise that our bodies are just vehicles too, with our brains doing the driving.
Sadly though in society, everything is based on what we see. When born, we’re labelled and assigned to a group: male or female. Our entire lives are then based upon that. But what if if a male identifies as female? Why should they be forced to be brought up because of what others decide? Should they not be allowed to decide for themselves? Young children may not always know wrong from right but if there’s anything they do knowing, it’s gender. Children know the difference between male and female…or boy and girl, however you want to label it. If you know the difference between the 2 and you know which one you are biologically, then you should know if you fit that or not. I can tell you right now that when I about 4, I did start to realise that things weren’t right. From then I always knew, deep down. Yeh I was too young and scared to be able to communicate them, but that didn’t mean I was wrong. And yeh, over the years I ignored it, hid from it, denied it…but that’s a different issue. The fact is, I knew regardless of my age…and look at me me now: clearly it wasn’t a phase back then!! It shouldn’t be down to a doctor of anybody outside of your brain to tell you who or what gender you are. I recently stumbled across a great post by a writer called LJ, who also writes for the Huffington Post. In it, they discuss this issue also – although in a much better way than I can!! Male or female is simply a label, just like our names are, as I explored in my post entitled What’s In A Name? a while ago. We didn’t come up with these labels for ourselves, but we certainly have the power to change them. So what right does anybody have to say that we can’t change our labels, or are wrong for doing so – especially when the labels were wrong to begin with?
As much as the media can be good for raising awareness, it can also have a negative impact, if not handled correctly. In fact, those with gender dysphoria can often be grouped with cross dressers, fetishists etc and portrayed as something to laugh at or be ashamed of. Instead, why not use the opportunity to create more awareness? Like having a trans woman play a trans woman in a TV show or film? But wait. Fuck it, why stop there?? What about having a trans woman playing a woman? They’re still women!! As LJ correctly points out in their post:
“A transgender person’s sense of their gender identity is just as innate and real as anybody else’s…The experience of a woman in the UK is different to that of a woman in India, or China. The experience of a white woman is different to that of a black woman. You would never say that they are not real women, so why say that about a trans women simply because her experience differs from yours?”
Again, people focus on the outside. The tangible things.Gender identity isn’t tangible, nor is it visible, which is why it’s such a mystery to people. Next time you see somebody who says they’re female but don’t look it, don’t question it. After all, it’s not your place to decide if they are or not. With people now being more aware of gender identity issues, there’s bound to be a surge in people coming forward. Surely we should be welcoming them and taking them seriously, with the respect that any person deserves – not writing off their struggle as a fashionable trend when they eventually find the strength to come forward?
Featured image: via Google