Most people don’t have to think about which bathroom to use. They use the one labeled men’s or the one labeled women’s, for their whole lives it’s been a simple decision. For transgender individuals, however, it is not that easy. With the transgender rights movement gaining a lot of attention in recent years it has also brought up many issues and questions. One of the most known issues that has popped up is which bathroom transgender people should use.
Some think that people should only use the bathroom of the sex that they were assigned at birth while others feel they should be able to use the one that corresponds with the gender they know they are and choose to perform as. Forcing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their biological sex may seem like a good solution to this problem. One of the biggest concerns when it comes to transgender bathroom use is violence and harassment. Facts such as that members of the transgender community are more prone to violence mixed with concerns of violence cause many transgender people to be scared of using the bathroom. Whichever bathroom they use they will likely face judgement and even violence, but it is often in the bathroom of their biological sex that it will be the worst. But to fully understand the transgender community, what it means to be transgender, and the amount of discrimination they face, one must first learn the terms and definitions associated with, and used by, the community.
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The most important being the difference between a person’s gender and a person’s sex, since the two are not interchangeable. Gender is the social expectations, attributes, roles, and behaviors traditionally given to a person by the society they live in. Sex is the biological identification of a person based on their anatomy; such as their reproductive organs, their chromosomes, and the type of hormones their body produces and in what amounts. Gender is typically associated with the words boy and girl; whereas, sex is associated with the terms male and female. This makes it possible for a person to be born with male reproductive organs and given the gender identity of a boy by those around them, but still identify and want to live as a woman.
Many transgender students face discrimination as they transition into their new identity. They face many challenges as they try to fit in with their peers and grow and develop as a human being. They face challenges in schools and administrators need to be aware of the struggles they face as they require support and resources. Transgender students should be treated the same as other students in schools for a healthy youth development and prevention of bullying, violence, and suicide. Transgender is a term used to describe a person who self-identifies as a sex other than their birth sex. This can be a child born as a male and self identifies as a female or a female who self- identifies as a male. As a child tries to explore their new identify, this can create issues, especially among their peers. Not only is the child who is exploring their identity facing challenges of where to fit in, their peers are adjusting to this new person’s identity and can create many awkward feelings, sometimes violence, harassment, and bullying.
Transgender youth are struggling with how their bodies are developing when they want to look a different way and what others will think of them. Transgender individuals are also learning how to deal with name changing as their appearance changes and deciding how they should now dress. Playing sports is a part of developing physically and mentally. Transgender student should fit in with other students to prevent a feeling of segregation and isolation. To completely understanding the transgender community can be difficult if one is not part of, or know someone within, the community. Today’s society and mainstream media has very little to no accurate representation of the transgender community for those unaware of its existence. This oversight is mainly due to years of systemic discrimination, and oppression by society. Although there has been a dramatic upswing in support for the transgender community and a call for more education on the matter in recent years, there are still many instances of discrimination people within the community face that prevent them from being completely equal to those outside of the community.
Many television shows have transgender characters portrayed offensively, which clearly demonstrates a widespread problem. Transgender characters are being portrayed as victims, cast as killers, and working as sex workers. The first thing that writers in the media think of when using a transgender character is prostitution. This is the immediate preconception because in reality sometimes the only job a trans person can get is in sex work. There are many shows that contain anti-transgender lingo and negative categorizations. A few examples of some of the cruel portrayals include: Rebecca Romijn played the first recurring trans character on Ugly Betty in 2007 on ABC. She was a scheming, lying and conniving woman. She went from behind-the-scenes villain to a more complicated role as a ruthless magazine publisher (Kane, 2013). We watched and discussed Boys Don’t Cry the story of Brandon Teena and how he was played by a well known hetero female actress instead of a well qualified transgender actor. This makes it seem like transgenders can’t be successful actors or actresses. Who could play someone in this circumstances than a human being who is actually experiencing this life. I hope that the portrayal of transgender people and characters on television can evolve even more so, and depict the transgender community in an inspiring and positive light.
According, to Human Rights Campaign transgender is an umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity differs from what was assigned to them at birth it is about their gender identity. Transgender deals with gender identity; being born female or male at birth, but identifying with the opposite gender assigned at birth. Our society is so ignorant when it comes to the topic of sexuality and gender. However, it is critical that society is informed and shows acceptance to the various gender identities and expressions in order to be a progressive society. It is crucial that trans people become visible in society. The more visible, they become the more society will learn to accept and embrace them. Trans women in particularly face misogyny and transphobia by men. They face multiple oppressions. Gender is not biological if it was there would be no transgender. Transgender people do not traditionally behave the way as society expects of their biological sex due to some aspect of their personality.
Our society is bitter compelling us to act like our sex. Not everyone in this society gives acceptance, however, for there is still unnecessary sex and racial discrimination especially by the transgender community. Transgender and gender nonconforming citizens are faced with more bias and discrimination than the rest of the general population. Rights and legal legislation is needed to protect transgender and gender nonconforming people from social injustices. Learning about transgender issues and concerns allows someone to progress in a developing relationship with people who are transgender or don’t conform to society’s gender normatives. We go back to intersectionality, the interconnection of social categorization like race, class and gender as they apply to individual groups, this creates an overlapping system of discrimination. Even though members of the transgender community are facing a lot of the same battles, there is still different levels of struggle whether they are lower class, or someone of color. Remember that there is no universal way to look or be transgender, and that many transgender people have membership with different identity groups, such as race, social class, religion, age, and disability. Keeping an open mind to everyone.
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