Americans have been obsessed with the details of Jenners life for one reason: Jenner might be transgender. I dont want to speculate on Jenners life, or what Jenner will discuss in an interview with Diane Sawyer tonight. I do, however, think there are some things you should know about transgender people no matter what Jenner announces.
Put simply, the word “transgender” describes a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a transgender person can be a child whom doctors designated a “boy” at birth, but as the child grew up, they realized they were another gender other than what they were assigned.
It is important to mention that the term “transgender” does not stop after MTF (male-to-female) and FTM (female-to-male). In fact, the transgender community also includes people who believe they have no gender, multiple genders, genders that vary by day and are “fluid,” and the list goes on.
It is a beautiful day when a transgender person decides to begin transitioning. This can include name transition, social transition and/or medical transition. Nevertheless, transitioning signifies that a person is finally comfortable with who they are and is ready to live in their authentic self.
Because gender identity is often hard won for many transgender people, it can be hurtful when you call them by the wrong pronouns. When I am called by the pronouns “he/him/his” when I prefer “she/her/hers,” I automatically begin to close up and feel as if I am no longer in a safe space. It invalidates everything I worked for in loving my gender, and can set back my emotional progress.
Understanding this is important in order to understand the transgender community and the battle we are currently up against. Being an ally is more than claiming the label, but also acting in support of transgender individuals.
These seven things only make up a portion of what you need to understand if you choose to be an ally to the transgender community. If you want to celebrate and support our diversity, I urge you to look away from the media spectacle and speculation, and instead look at what we share in common: a desire to live healthy, happy and authentic lives. Read more…