TRANSforming our views

The topic of Transgender is one which has been getting more and more publicity in the media over the last few years. For an issue which some may say has “come out of nowhere” is actually something that has just never been given the coverage it deserves. After watching a documentary last week on BBC one I decided to write a column on an issue which unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable talking about, and why?

What does transgender mean? The Oxford English Dictionary definition is: “Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.” I think this is simple to understand even if you, yourself have never identified with this. Some people identify with a gender which is not the same as the one they had at birth.

Many people struggle to understand this concept and I was confused as to why. Surely, if people are happy this is all that matters? Why would people go out of their way to disagree with something that does not affect them in any way? The person that these issues affect the most is the person who is going through the process of identifying as transgender. I think we can all agree that these people do not need society putting more pressure on them when it is not needed.

After speaking to a few local residents about why there is still so little understanding on the issue there were a few key points that became apparent. The lack of education needs to be tackled in the future, so that children that grow up and experience these issues are not made to feel ashamed. Education for the whole nation would have a positive impact on people and their ability to respect others even if they are different to themselves. This has already started with documentaries airing on mainstream television.

Secondly the gender stereotypes that are engrained into society do not help those who are struggling with their gender identity. It’s hard to break away from these, hundreds of years of books and stories and recently movies showing how men and women should act. I guess nobody is asking anyone to not play up to or think about how gender should be portrayed in society, I just hope that people can be mindful of others even if they don’t understand. I have spoken previously in columns about feminism and how it actually means equality for everyone, regardless of gender. This stands true, especially in a time where society is taking a positive step forward and opportunities are improving and equality is more prominent.

Many of my columns seem to end in a similar way. Normally concluding with me saying to take a step back and see the bigger picture and respect others for their own personal choices which harm no others. If you wonder why I have written a column on this topic, it’s because I see people suffering these issues everyday due to the lack of education and knowledge. So, why shouldn’t I do my bit?