Transgender: A Sexual Paradox
Everyone has a gender; it is a thing affects everything in our lives. It affects how we act like and look like every day. However, have you ever thought about what is gender? Gender is the thing that describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine (Nobelius). Today, most of the countries define gender base on the physical and genetic sexuality at birth. There is at least one transgender person, whose self-gender identity is different from the assigned gender sex at birth, in each 100 people (NCTE). Under the rules of our society, there are at least 70 million people living in the world without their identity. Lost of identity also comes with life-threatening discriminations and inequities to them. To solve this serious problem and to improve the harmony of the society, gender’s definition should be redefined to include transgender and not only base on the physical sexuality at birth.
Before everything else, the most important question is; what is transgender? From the definition of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, transgender is the state of one's self gender identity not matching one's assigned sex which based on physical sexuality at birth (GLAAD). To be easier to imagine, I would use a simple example. Imagine that your name is Tom. One day, while you are sleeping, someone assigns “Peter” as your name. After that, everyone starts calling you “Peter” while you can never remove the label of which has been assigned to you. That is a case similar to transgender people. However, you will just be called a wrong name in this case; the transgender people would face discrimination, inequalities and different serious problems every day that harm them physically and mentally.
Transgender people are facing many problems. From the research on transgender youth and life-threatening behaviors, transgender youth would have a 4-times higher risk in attempting life-threatening behaviors (Grossman). It is mainly because of the experiences of past parental verbal and physical abuse. As many families still have the traditional idea of binary sex catalog, seeking parental consent could put the youth at risk for exposing their gender identity or lead to harm. Most of the discussions between the transgender youth and their parents have also transformed into verbal fights and arguments. Moreover, because of the unacceptable and traditional thinking sharped from the media, transgender youth would experience victimization from their peers, and negative parental reactions to their gender nonconforming expression. Besides, transgender people are not equally protected from the law:
While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or its amendments do not provide protection from discrimination for individuals based on sexual orientation, transgender, or transvestites, there are a growing number of state, cities, and counties with transgender explicit nondiscrimination laws (Trotter 55).
Therefore, they are not actually enjoying the same basic rights as others, like health cares and discrimination protection in schools and workplaces. Furthermore, as there are only male and female identities on the ID cards, and there are only male and female’s washrooms, many transgender people have faced serious insults and discriminations in the public. These serious insults happen almost every day in their life and it has caused severe mental stress on them, which would lead them to have emotional disorders and depressions. In the interview with Angelique Davis, a professor of law and gender in Seattle University, she mentioned that it is important for us as a society to examine why we need to have gender designated in so many areas of our lives. She said,
For example, why not have non-gendered bathrooms? Do we really need…