To parents, from a transgender person: Let’s clear up some anti-trans misconceptions.
Written by Hana Khalyleh
Transgender Day of Visibility is centered around acknowledging the transgender people around us and making the world safer for the trans people in our community, our workplace and our families.
This year’s TDOV feels a bit more somber, as it comes during a year full of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and just weeks after the murder of trans 16-year-old Brianna Ghey and the forced detransition and suicide of trans woman Eden Knight.
I am getting so tired of being visible. It is lonely, it is terrifying, and it feels like there is a target on my back and the backs of my loved ones.
Currently, it feels like a wide-spreading narrative is that transgender people are malicious. And, of course, we’re apparently coming for your children. Won’t someone think of the children?
Amongst the cries to “protect the children” are several bills across the country that bar trans children from accessing gender-affirming health care, including a reintroduced bill in Ohio and a bill that just this month passed in Kentucky. Protect the children, indeed.
As the country debates my existence (and whether I’m, apparently, a threat to society) misconceptions about trans people pop up regularly on the Twitter feeds of concerned parents.
Let’s clear up some of those misconceptions.
Transgender identities are not a new trend, even if you’ve only just heard of them
The terminology of “transgender” is new. But the experience isn't.
Trans people have always existed. Going as far back as ancient Greece, there are documented accounts of people living their lives occupying a different gender role than the one they were assigned at birth.
These don’t just include well-known trans activists in the 1980s like Marsha P. Johnson but also figures like Albert Cashier, a trans man who served in the Union Army in the Civil War and Victorian-era writer Jennie June. (Not to mention, any number of pre-colonial cultures that had existing “third genders” or nonbinary genders, including the Samoan faʻafafine or the Bugis, a South Sulawesi Indonesian people whose society includes five genders).
Some may think that being transgender is a trend, a sudden wave of indoctrination. But it’s just as possible that trans people are simply coming out in greater numbers because they feel safe.
It's similar to that chart depicting how many people said they were left-handed, over time. The number skyrocketed in the 1920s when left-handedness stopped being treated like a stigmatized disorder. That doesn't mean left-handedness was a trend.
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