Being a gay man I have always identified as part of the LGBTQ community. However, until recently I didn’t understand what certain aspects of LGBTQ really were until I started a course at UMass called "Sexuality & Society."
I took this course because I felt that if I wanted to identify as part of the LGBTQ community I should be better informed on the other groups of people who belong to it. Those who identified as being transgendered were the ones who really piqued my interest because they are the minority of this community and are also the ones who are misunderstood the most. They face incredible amounts of discrimination as a result of this.
Transgendered are people whose gender and sex do not match up. A common misconception about the transgendered is that they are gay. This of course is sometimes true and sometimes not. Sexuality does not factor into someone being transgendered at all. It is about how they identify in their mind. Do they identify as a woman or a man? If people understood this maybe things would start to change for them. Maybe views would shift over time to where these gender norms that we created wouldn’t have a place in determining our identities.
It is not easy for these brave people to step outside in clothing that is considered inappropriate for their sex. Again sex and gender are not the same and a majority of people have a difficult time separating the two. A man wearing women’s clothing or a woman in men’s clothing is, for the most part, easy to spot. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that a huge amount of transgendered people who live their lives as trans in the public probably are aware that you can tell that their gender and sex are at war.
It is difficult enough for them as it is without people staring, pointing, laughing, or making cruel comments about them to friends. Instead why not educate yourself and your friends on these people and their struggles? These are strong people who deserve our support and acceptance into our communities. And it’s time they got it.
I urge you all to help make positive change in the world by becoming involved in your local LGBTQ communities, or at the very least take the time to educate yourself on these amazing people who make up such a wonderful and diverse community.