Author Topic: All Aboard The Transgender Express  (Read 602 times)

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Offline Johnni Gyrl

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All Aboard The Transgender Express
« on: September 25, 2018, 12:08:19 pm »
This is a train many of us didn’t even realize we were aboard, but it seems to have already left the station and is quickly gathering speed. We may choose to ignore it, though the world around us is changing so rapidly, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all…

It’s been increasingly obvious that some kind of  ‘transgender revolution’ has begun and burying our heads in the sand and hoping it will all just go away, could be the worst possible reaction. People are coming out as gender fluid, two spirit, non-binary, third-gender, androgynous and transgender by the day, to name but a few relevant terms.

Since the legalization of gay marriage, doors to further progress by humanity have been blown wide open. What was previously mainly underground is rising to the surface. The ‘trans revolution’ might be in a state of slow-burning, but there’s no denying that it’s happening all the same. Thirty years ago, the fact that two people of the same sex might get married would have been unthinkable. Now that milestone has been passed, the transgender community is searching for the same recognition and complete equal rights. Not only is it seeking mere tolerance, but full acceptance as a valid community of individuals within society.

Success Stories:

Recently, Tamara Adrian of Venezuela, presented herself as the first ever trans candidate for her country’s Congress and Green Party candidate Ellen Murray was the first transgender person to stand for election in Northern Ireland [and indeed the whole island of Ireland] in May, 2016.

Nepal issued its first ‘Third Gender’ passport, in 2015. Other countries either doing the same or issuing ‘non-binary citizen cards’ include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany, New Zealand and Australia.

In 2012, Argentina celebrated the passage of the most progressive gender identity laws in modern history. The laws gave self-identified trans people access to critical services without the need for medical intervention.

There’s no shortage of transitioning success stories in the media either; including newly made celebs such as Andreja Pejić [former male who became a female supermodel], Janet Mock [Redefining Realness] Laverne Cox [Orange Is The New Black], Lana and Lilly Wachowski (formerly Laurence & Andrew Wachowski, co-directors of ‘The Matrix’ – 1999 ] and former Bond Girl Caroline Cassey, who was outed as a transgender by the now defunct ‘News Of The World,’ after starring in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ in 1981.

Not forgetting former Olympic athlete Caitlin Jenner, [formally known as ‘Bruce’] whose transitioning journey was followed on her own TV show called ‘I am Cait,’ which has trended on social media.

Shadow World Of Fear:

However, behind the glitz and glamour of magazine publications like TG Life, FTM, Original Plumbing, Brianna Austin, Transgender Tapestry, Chrysalis, Transsexual News Telegraph, The Femme Mirror, The Sweetheart’s Connection, Transformation Magazine, TSG, and Frock Magazine [most of which to their credit are free online sources] and the success stories photographed by Magnus Hastings amongst others; there’s a dark side to the real experiences of the ordinary mortals who are in transition.

It’s not all as rosy in the garden for those involved as we would like to think, here in the west. Life expectancies for transgender individuals are half the national average in some Latin American countries, unemployment and poverty rates far higher and public health services are routinely denied for trans people.

At least part of the problem globally has to be due to social stigmas; such as transgender MTF’s [males to females] being considered as effeminate and ‘sissy.’  Yet, for a man to go out dressed as a woman in public would take a certain amount of guts and bravery. It’s hardly something a weak minded person would consider.

On the flip side, it doesn’t help their own cause when some members of the community wish to be viewed as walking Barbie dolls, brainless bimbos or mere sex slaves. [None of which promotes transgender equality or women’s rights in general.]

No Proven Link Between <transgender> and Mental Disorder:

Also, there’s the accusation from more transphobic quarters that transgender people must have a ‘mental disorder.’ This particular slur has echoes of the past. Isn’t that the same thing that used to be said about gay people only a generation ago?

Up until 1973, the psychiatric disorder guidebook - ‘the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ [DSM], used to include homosexuality as a mental illness. The diagnosis was then updated to "sexual orientation disturbance," but it was removed completely by 1987.

Just as with homosexuality, there is no proven direct link between <transgender> and mental disorder:

“A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder.”

-   American Psychological Association

Yet transgender people are still subject to harassment, threatening behaviour, physical violence and sexual assaults. All of these are included in a massive 170 per cent rise in transphobic hate crimes in the last five years. According to  Charlie Craggs, 24, from West London:

“There’s different levels of transphobia, so you get like stares, then you get laughs, then you get comments about you, comments at you, and then you get attacked and then you get murdered or sexually assaulted. I’ve had everything bar the murder. Often it was an everyday occurrence..."

[ Charlie has set up the anti-hate crime group – ‘Nail Transphobia.’  See more at : nailtransphobia.com ]

Trans Murder Monitoring Project:

Meanwhile, the ‘Trans Murder Monitoring Project’ has been collecting data on an international scale, since 2009. While the numbers of victims has increased, the age of victims has declined. An eight-year-old trans girl living in Rio de Janeiro was beaten to death by her father, in 2014. Globally, the suicide rates for trans people are thought to be up to fifty times higher than the average.

Putting the ‘T’ in LGBTi Rights:

Society as a whole needs to realize that we’re already  on-board a moving train which is eventually going to arrive at stations of further future change. Supporting transgender rights shouldn’t be ignored, if we’re going to get behind the whole spectrum of LGBTi [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex] rights, in general.

Hardline critics might cynically argue that “the nanny state has led to the <transgender person> state,” but we probably need more than just a re-think on these issues. It’s looking more like a complete mind reset will be required. Of course, it’s up to all of us as individuals to decide how much we might lend support, but I hope the majority of people would lean towards the progressive and tolerant Argentinian model, rather than staying stuck in a transphobic time bubble.

Doesn’t it seem a far more enlightened approach to be accepting of change, rather than to resist it because it means an upheaval of some kind? Should we leave just transgender people living in that  shadow world of fear and ourselves in the darkness of transphobia? Or should we face the issue head on?

In deciding which side of the fence to land on, my own personal mantra is to simply ‘follow the light’ …

S.G. McC [Johnni ]