Having difficulty understanding transgendered people? I'll try to help.

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime

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Honestly a lot of people don't understand transgendered people for what ever reasons. So I'd like to offer some help on the subject. I'll answer questions as I can, and as best I can. I also hope other transgender escapists will share their insight on the subject. The objective of this thread is to help everyone understand that as transgender people, we're still people, we're not really different from other people, and we're all individuals. By individuals I mean everyone is an individual and we're all different, that's okay. But as a class of people we are really misunderstood.

Before I, or any other trans person on these forums answers any questions there are are some things I'd like address.

Why not just be normal?
It's not that easy. Ask any gay man, lesbian woman, or pan/bisexual person you'll get a similar answer. Weather, or not we're born this way , it's not something we actively choose either. It's a part of our identity we can't control. Simply put you are yourself, and if someone asked, for example, you to not like video games, you couldn't do that. The same mechanic applies to transgendered people. You can't ask us to identify differently than what is natural to us.

Gender is a social construct.
Sort of. Gender roles are a social construct, but they also have a natural role. You can't expect a male lion to suckle the young, they don't produce milk. Similar can be applied to male humans. Human males can use formula to feed babies, but that's a technological ability. We can make formula. Gender roles are both natural and social. As humans we have more social gender roles. But they developed over our evolution. But identity is more than just roles. Gender identity is part of how we express ourselves and not everyone fits in the same categories. Not even all men and all women fit their birth gender roles, but for transgendered individuals we identify as the opposite sex.

Gender is genetic.
Genetics plays a huge role in the sex development of people. That said not everyone is born with physical parts their genes suggest. For example I have "XX Male Syndrome" which means I am genetically female, but I was born male physically. Some women have XY chromosomes, more surprising is some people have more chromosomes for sex than others. Chromosome. But that doesn't define how we identify. We're all humans, but some people identify as non-human animals, or objects, for example. While physical birth sex is often genetic, it doesn't control identity, or sexual preference for that matter.(Edit: Reference removed post research, thanks for correcting me peeps, but I did need to do my own research first. Best explanation I've seen on the subject in this thread. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.875085-Having-difficulty-understanding-transgendered-people-Ill-try-to-help?page=7#22007822]]

You're trans so you must be gay(by either subjective definition.)
Not true. Having a gender identity doesn't directly affect sexual preference. Many trans people are attracted to the gender opposite their identity, but many are attracted to those who are the same as their gender identity. Some like myself are attracted to both, but put more value on the personality of any potential love interest. It's complicated for everyone, not black and white, we all have our personal preferences, sex based. or not.

How about terminology?
This is a complicated subject. Some see everyone with different gender identity than their birth sex as transsexual, others don't. For some people transsexual can be a dirty word, or it can apply exclusively to people who want gender reassignment surgery. Transgender is often considered the most acceptable term, trans is generally seen as fine as well. Some terms are absolutely not okay. For example; Tranny, Shemale, New Half, Trap, Dickgirl, and Cuntboy are generally considered unacceptable. One reason is those tend to be pornography terms, but they're also unflattering, and have negative stereotypes applied to them. Some people do own them, or find them acceptable, but generally they should be avoided. Aside from that there are lots of terms to identify how someone is transgender. If you're unsure how someone identifies them self as transgender it's usually smart to ask them. Just remember that each trans person might define them self, or like terms that are generally considered bad. They also might hate terms that are usually considered safe. So when in doubt, ask. Finally as a term transgender can be broad, including drag queens/kings, and part time cross dressers, but not everyone thinks as it as inclusive. So don't walk on eggshells, but try to be polite.

I don't believe that transgenderism is a real thing.
That's perfectly fine. At the same time; respect who people are, how they present themselves, and how they identify. If I tell you I like being refereed to as female, despite being born male, then respect my wishes. Doing otherwise isn't right, it's rude and insulting. Basically don't be an asshole about it. I'm not telling you that your identity is wrong, don't tell me mine is.

What about transphobia?
Well you don't need to be afraid of me, I like to think I'm a fairly nice person. Being trans doesn't mean I'm going to attack you by default. Some trans people have chips on their shoulders, but at the same time that doesn't mean that we're going to assault you. You don't have to be afraid of us. Also the more you learn the less threatening we seem. We just want to live our lives too, so lets all be neighborly. Now if someone tells you they found something transphobic and offensive, try to understand our position. You don't need to fix it, and if it was something you said we can discuss it. But writing it off is insulting and dismissive. We want to be as normal to you as you are to us. If you said something hurtful then apologize and if you don't understand why it's hurtful, ask about it. Learning to get along is our best asset, even amongst non-trans groups. We can disagree, still lets be respectful about it. Transphobia is using ignorance and fear against trans people, lets avoid that and be open minded. Alright?

I'm uncomfortable with trans people.
That's perfectly okay. I'm uncomfortable with some types of people too. All I ask is that you try to get past it, same as I try to get past the discomfort I have with other groups I'm uncomfortable with.

I think(for whatever reason) Cisgender is a bad/offensive term.
Simply put it's not. It's a way us trans people use to define people with a gender identity that matches their birth sex. I am not going to other myself by counting you as "normal" for being born and feeling one way, so don't do that to me. As for people who use the term as an insult? Well they're jerks, just like people who use the term "normal" to insult others. Don't be a jerk either way is all I ask.

So anything else on your mind? I'll do my best to help.
 

lechat

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I was just thinking what these forums need is another transgender thread.
 

MeatMachine

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May 31, 2011
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KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime said:
I'm uncomfortable with trans people.
That's perfectly okay. I'm uncomfortable with some types of people too. All I ask is that you try to get past it, same as I try to get past the discomfort I have with other groups I'm uncomfortable with.
To be honest, the only reason why I'm even -potentially- uncomfortable around transgendered people is entirely because of the constant shitstorm of exaggerated self-righteousness, aggressiveness, and confrontational attitudes I'm exposed to from [alleged, because many might simply be trolls] transgendered people overreacting to something on the internet, be it a statement, cartoon, or video. Really, it's no different than being around a stereotypical hypersensitive black man that always pulls the race card on something taken entirely, maybe even intentionally, out of context.

I'm aware that this is not how most transgendered people are in real life, and that plenty of people on the internet will be absolutely malevolent and retarded regardless of their gender/race/orientation/nationality/whatever, but I think the internet is where most cisgendered people get the majority of their perception and exposure to transgenders in the first place... which is bad for everyone, of course.

I know two transgendered individuals personally, and they're just as likable as anyone else I've met.
 

MeatMachine

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lechat said:
I was just thinking what these forums need is another transgender thread.
Don't have an interesting, unique topic to introduce? Guess the next best thing is to go into threats and point out how other people are just like me. It's just as unproductive, but at least I get to flaunt my smug sense of self-awareness to strangers. That'll show 'em.
 

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime

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Jan 12, 2010
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MeatMachine said:
KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime said:
I'm uncomfortable with trans people.
That's perfectly okay. I'm uncomfortable with some types of people too. All I ask is that you try to get past it, same as I try to get past the discomfort I have with other groups I'm uncomfortable with.
To be honest, the only reason why I'm even -potentially- uncomfortable around transgendered people is entirely because of the constant shitstorm of exaggerated self-righteousness, aggressiveness, and confrontational attitudes I'm exposed to from [alleged, because many might simply be trolls] transgendered people overreacting to something on the internet, be it a statement, cartoon, or video. Really, it's no different than being around a stereotypical hypersensitive black man that always pulls the race card on something taken entirely, maybe even intentionally, out of context.

I'm aware that this is not how most transgendered people are in real life, and that plenty of people on the internet will be absolutely malevolent and retarded regardless of their gender/race/orientation/nationality/whatever, but I think the internet is where most cisgendered people get the majority of their perception and exposure to transgenders in the first place... which is bad for everyone, of course.

I know two transgendered individuals personally, and they're just as likable as anyone else I've met.
To be honest, as a group we come off as over sensitive. But part of that is due to being shoved aside by other political groups. We're getting uncharacteristically vocal due to being looked over. I mean we still get abused openly, other groups not so much, so we actually have a reason to be vocal. Unfortunately that means people who think they understand can be vocal for us too. While having allies is a good thing, having reactionary political groups who are not trans is not.

We can be hypersensitive, but that's because every thing we get is based in stupidity. Like needing GRS to get a gender different ID in Australia. So some of us get swept under the rug for the part who wants surgery.

So I guess as an answer, we have poor representation, get treated unfairly, and that makes us vocal.
 

Thaluikhain

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Hmmm...been wondering, what's the better way of saying something like "born a boy, but is now a girl"?
 

elvor0

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thaluikhain said:
Hmmm...been wondering, what's the better way of saying something like "born a boy, but is now a girl"?
I /personally/ use the term Transgender for people that feel a different sex to that of their biological one, which I believe is the most correct and "scientific" term. Transexual would be for those who are post op. I always get confused with "TransMan" and "TransWoman" online because I don't have a visual element to the text. Is TransMan now a guy, or was she a guy before?
KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime said:
To be honest, as a group we come off as over sensitive. But part of that is due to being shoved aside by other political groups. We're getting uncharacteristically vocal due to being looked over. I mean we still get abused openly, other groups not so much, so we actually have a reason to be vocal. Unfortunately that means people who think they understand can be vocal for us too. While having allies is a good thing, having reactionary political groups who are not trans is not.
And by christ can the vocal ones by nutty. The royal baby that was just born is a good example, loads of people who identify as transgender and not, jumping on the "don't call it a girl! let it decide!" bandwagon. Okay fine, little extreme, it's still biologically female and you can't just call it...it. But then you have people that are under the assumption that calling it a "she" is wrong and cisgendering it is forcing labels, but you should /instead/ assume it is trans. If you call these people out on that hillarious double standard you get called a bigot. Fucking fuck off. I know having a royal figurehead that was trans would be great for relations, but sheesh people like that make my blood boil.
 

Thaluikhain

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elvor0 said:
thaluikhain said:
Hmmm...been wondering, what's the better way of saying something like "born a boy, but is now a girl"?
I /personally/ use the term Transgender for people that feel a different sex to that of their biological one, which I believe is the most correct and "scientific" term. Transexual would be for those who are post op. I always get confused with "TransMan" and "TransWoman" online because I don't have a visual element to the text. Is TransMan now a guy, or was she a guy before?
A trans man (I'm told this should be two words, though), is a man now. Transexual is a term I believe is no longer used.

However, my question was because, well, they were a man (EDIT: still a woman) before, weren't they, just nobody knew or admitted it or something?
 

elvor0

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thaluikhain said:
elvor0 said:
thaluikhain said:
Hmmm...been wondering, what's the better way of saying something like "born a boy, but is now a girl"?
I /personally/ use the term Transgender for people that feel a different sex to that of their biological one, which I believe is the most correct and "scientific" term. Transexual would be for those who are post op. I always get confused with "TransMan" and "TransWoman" online because I don't have a visual element to the text. Is TransMan now a guy, or was she a guy before?
A trans man (I'm told this should be two words, though), is a man now. Transexual is a term I believe is no longer used.

However, my question was because, well, they were a man before, weren't they, just nobody knew or admitted it or something?
Oh okay cheers, I'll keep that in mind. Don't know why Transexual wouldn't be used though, if we really want to get into specific descriptive words, All Transexuals are Transgendered, but not all Transgendered people are Transexuals.

I don't get the question, wouldn't that just be a Transexual or Trans Woman?
 

Thaluikhain

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elvor0 said:
Oh okay cheers, I'll keep that in mind. Don't know why Transexual wouldn't be used though, if we really want to get into specific descriptive words, All Transexuals are Transgendered, but not all Transgendered people are Transexuals.
Well, gender isn't the same as sexuality, and details of what surgeries people have had is a controversial issue.

elvor0 said:
I don't get the question, wouldn't that just be a Transexual or Trans Woman?
Sure, she would. But, well, if someone didn't know what "trans woman" meant, how would you explain it? Many ways this is done is considered offensive, wondering what the right way was.
 

Twintix

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elvor0 said:
"don't call it a girl! let it decide!"
This attitude, I feel, will only do more harm than it will do good.

Here in Sweden, a few years back, there was a couple who gave birth to a child, named it Storm and refused to tell anybody what gender the baby was with the movitation: "He/she sould be able to decide on hir own when the time comes".
That's...not how it's going to work, I think. Isn't it easier to decide if you're the "wrong gender" if you know what gender you are from the start?

This is not going to help the child, it'll just confuse it. You can't just pretend that biological gender doesn't exist, that's not how it works. Storm should be school-age about now, what about changing rooms? How will he/she know where to change clothes, or do the parents mean that he/she should use whichever changing room he/she feels like using at the moment? And even then, he/she will probably see the other kids without clothes and see if there are...certain parts missing from hir body.
Or what, do the parents want hir to change in the bathroom or something? That'll only isolate hir, I think.
(I am speaking about this child, by the way. If you're transgendered, of course you should use the changing room that is meant for the gender you identify as. But here, I think it'll just lead to confusion.)

As good-natured as it may be, this just feels like an attempt at forcing the child into transgenderism, actually. Then again, it has been, like, 6 years, so I don't know if it worked out in the end.

Don't take this the wrong way, anyone. I have absolutely nothing against transgenderism, and feeling like you're the "wrong gender" can come at a very young age. But this is not how you do it.

Btw, OP, there's a webcomic called Rain that is about a MtF transsexual based on the author's own experiences. Perhaps you'd like to check it out and see if you like its portrayal of transgenderism?
 

elvor0

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thaluikhain said:
elvor0 said:
Oh okay cheers, I'll keep that in mind. Don't know why Transexual wouldn't be used though, if we really want to get into specific descriptive words, All Transexuals are Transgendered, but not all Transgendered people are Transexuals.
Well, gender isn't the same as sexuality, and details of what surgeries people have had is a controversial issue.
Sex, not sexuality, that's different again :p But given gender and sex are different, that's why I don't see an issue with Transexual as a purely descriptive word, I of course wouldn't start quizzing someone on their sexuality unless they decided to bring it up and wanted to discuss it.
thaluikhain said:
elvor0 said:
I don't get the question, wouldn't that just be a Transexual or Trans Woman?
Sure, she would. But, well, if someone didn't know what "trans woman" meant, how would you explain it? Many ways this is done is considered offensive, wondering what the right way was.
Oh right I see. Well I guess it would depend on who you're talking to, an adult, I wouldn't see a problem or difficulty in just saying they used to be a boy but after having surgery they are now a woman. If they can't get their head round that in 2015....then I'd just move on.

A child might be more complex, I suppose you could say they were really unhappy as a boy and didn't feel very good about it, so they had surgery to change into a girl after much consideration. I suppose you could also describe it as some sort of illness and this was the "cure", but that has some...awkward connotations you'll have to correct later down the line (even though at the most basic factual level, transgenderism is technically a /mental/ (and physical depending on who you to talk to) illness).
 

TranshumanistG

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What I find hard to wrap my head around is how transgenderism(I'm probably misusing the term, but what I mean is identifying one's gender as opposite of the assigned gender but don't wish to do any reassignment surgeries) fits in with feminism, particularly, the rejection of gender roles and not letting the gender define how one should act and live. For instance, if you conflate identifying as a female with 'feminine' behaviour, doesn't it support a gender role stereotype? Or is this completely different from how transgender people put their self-identification into practice?
 

TwiZtah

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TranshumanistG said:
What I find hard to wrap my head around is how transgenderism(I'm probably misusing the term, but what I mean is identifying one's gender as opposite of the assigned gender but don't wish to do any reassignment surgeries) fits in with feminism, particularly, the rejection of gender roles and not letting the gender define how one should act and live. For instance, if you conflate identifying as a female with 'feminine' behaviour, doesn't it support a gender role stereotype? Or is this completely different from how transgender people put their self-identification into practice?
Feminism doesn't have shit to do with transgender, gay, otherkin or whatever you can come up with, that would be egalitarianism. The term feminist has lost all meaning and is now such a vague concept that it is useless. And then comes the third wave feminists, vying for attention, dragging down every kind of minority with an actual problem like the transgenders, gays, blacks etc.

Just for good measure, these people are who I'm talking about. http://i.imgur.com/jthfIix.jpg
 

Thaluikhain

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TranshumanistG said:
What I find hard to wrap my head around is how transgenderism(I'm probably misusing the term, but what I mean is identifying one's gender as opposite of the assigned gender but don't wish to do any reassignment surgeries) fits in with feminism, particularly, the rejection of gender roles and not letting the gender define how one should act and live. For instance, if you conflate identifying as a female with 'feminine' behaviour, doesn't it support a gender role stereotype? Or is this completely different from how transgender people put their self-identification into practice?
Feminism has an awkward relationship with trans issues (as it does with the problems of everyone who isn't a privileged middle class white cishet woman, TBH).

Like the rest of society, feminists view trans people in all sorts of ways. Some support their rights, some aren't interested, some are aggressively uninterested and some are just horrific. The latter most often seen amongst Radical Feminism, but not exclusively or all Radfems.
 

Notshauna

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TranshumanistG said:
Or is this completely different from how transgender people put their self-identification into practice?
Mostly correct, when people think of a woman or a man they're actually thinking of around 3 different things that in the vast majority of people line up as opposed to being crossed. These categories are Sex, Gender and Gender Expression/role. Sex is the one that everyone knows male, female and non-binary sexes (I'll describe everything outside the binary as non-binary due to the sheer size of the category otherwise), this is what you're born with. Then there is Gender or Gender Identity, which is what the transgender people are crossed with, it's the internal sense of who you are And much like inner ear balance and other ill remembered senses, it's not really something you can feel except when out of whack. This includes Man, Woman and the non-binary gender identities (including genderfluid, agender, bigender etc). And finally there is Gender Expression this is what people refer to as being a construct. It's how you express yourself and includes masculine and feminine in our culture (other cultures have more than two).
 

Notshauna

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thaluikhain said:
Like the rest of society, feminists view trans people in all sorts of ways. Some support their rights, some aren't interested, some are aggressively uninterested and some are just horrific. The latter most often seen amongst Radical Feminism, but not exclusively or all Radfems.
In particular the term TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Ironically though transpeople are often included in the SJW category we're (especially transwomen) likely to receive hatred from the radical feminists. The only connection between feminism and transpeople is the higher chance of being socially liberal as a member of either group and the usage of Tumblr. And Tumblr is rather feminine so it's just more likely to be there rather than say on reddit.
 

Areloch

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Can we stop making sex and gender be the exact same thing?

I think that only serves to over complicate things. Sex is the physical, biological aspect of what you are - male or female - while gender is the mental, psychological aspect. They tie together but aren't the same.

You can be the feminine gender all day as much as you want, but that'll never make you the female sex - in context of the lion suckling example provided in the OP.
 

ShyGuy

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I must admit that I have some difficulty understanding transgendered people, so I have some questions. Please do not take them the wrong way, I mean no offence and I would hate to cause any, since you seem really nice and reasonable. I always wondered, do you think it should be viewed as a psychological disorder? Do you think it could or should be cured (for lack of a better word)?

Also, this is somewhat unrelated, but you mentionned that there were people born with two Y chromosomes and no X. How functional are those people? I seem to recall that the Y chromosome is much shorter than the X chromosome, and therefore, such people would lack an important amount of genetic information.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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What happens if I self-identify as someone who doesn't believe you're trans-gendered?
Couldn't I say that you disagreeing with me is bigoted, maybe even prejudiced?