Reducing the Stigma of Being Transgender
Will my trans kid have a normal life?
Will anyone want to date them or will they be alone forever?
Is the fact that they are transgender going to be the first and only thing people see in them?
These are all common and valid questions and concerns!
First, just a reminder that people don’t have a hard time because they are transgender; they have a hard time because society decided that being transgender is a bad thing. Being transgender is not inherently a negative thing. Furthermore, being transgender does not automatically doom a person to a hard life. More on that here.
I know many transgender people in happy, healthy relationships of all kinds, many of them married in fact. They have a wide variety of jobs just like everyone else – one is a minister who preaches inclusivity, bridging the gap between religion and the LGBTQ+ world. Another is engaged and teaches computer science to at-risk youth. Yet another leads a trans rights organization and he and his wife have dedicated their lives to advocating for equal rights and protecting the vulnerable. A woman I know is going to school for social work and bravely does public speaking on a regular basis. Trans people are doctors, activists, writers, politicians, movie stars, mothers, fathers, best friends and you have probably met some them without ever knowing it.
Much of the time one would not be able to tell the difference between a trans person and a cis person (a person who identifies with the sex/gender that they were assigned at birth). In these cases, trans people just walk through the world like everyone else – enjoying friendships, dating, going to work, traveling, running errands, living. While some gender-diverse people make the perfectly valid decision to not transition, other gender-diverse people decide to transition and legally change their name and gender marker on birth certificates, passports, licenses and credit cards and they are frequently indistinguishable from cis people. Yes, transgender people can look indistinguishable from cis people contrary to a common myth that “You can always spot a trans person”.
The exception to this would be dating situations where it would be impossible to hide the fact that one is trans in intimate situations. Some people claim to not be attracted to trans people or gender non-conforming people. Others say they have a very strong preference towards particular genitalia.
Most importantly, many people are very open minded and do not like labels or fitting into a certain label; they see people as people and are attracted to humans. Many people embrace the transgender body like any other body and are also attracted to a person’s intellect, their heart and mind.
I have a partner of ten years who is in love with me and attracted to me as a person. It was not my genitalia that she fell in love with. Love and attraction are both very complicated feelings and people are surprisingly diverse.
Don’t limit love and sex to a body part!
The key to being able to live a normal life is support. What kind of support are you going to give gender diverse people? Accept, support, affirm, believe and love are crucial!
Let’s try to reduce the stigma of being trans by celebrating the diversity and success of trans people!