Transgendered Youth, Ya'll - Let's Get Educated
Okay, again today, I am straying from the basic gist of this blog; things such as ladygasms, masturbation, Orgasm Equality, the movie Science Sex and the Ladies (Wanna See it!!!), or indie movies in general. Instead I'm going to write about the T in LGBT.
I heard the news today of a 17 year old transgendered child who possibly committed suicide by walking in front of a truck at 2:30 in the morning. The kid, born Joshua Alcorn, left a suicide note on her Tumbler. You can read it HERE.
I'm a straight cis-gendered person who has always been supportive of LGBT activism and being bi or gay made sense to me. I just have to think how my feelings emerged about the opposite sex and think it's just that but with the same sex or both sexes. It's not hard to get, but honestly, I didn't know much about trans people. I actually didn't know any personally, and I don't think the whole thing would have made much sense to me if I sat and thought about, but I didn't ever really think much about it because I didn't really have to. Being trans is hard to comprehend though, I think. I mean, I can't tell you what is it in me that makes me feel like I'm a girl. I have never questioned it. It just is and has always been, so it's hard to imagine what part of someone feels wrong when they don't feel the same gender as the sex they were born with. Plus, I think I maybe had this feeling like being transgendered wouldn't be a "thing" if our culture didn't have such strong gender barriers. Like if a boy wanted to hang with girls and do girl things, he could - no biggie.
I have had to think about it more recently though. I have an acquaintance who came out as trans, so I started reading about it and talking about it. What I've learned is that I still don't know what it is that makes a transgendered person feel different than their cis-gendered peers, but I know it is real, and deep, and it is with a person for pretty much as long as they can remember. Even if they don't come out until they are 65, or if they didn't have words to describe what they felt, or if as kids they tried to act upon their feelings or not, trans people begin feeling it when they are very young - 3 or 4 - the same time everyone of us begins to identify our gender. I also learned that it's not about just doing stuff or wearing stuff the other gender does. It's more about being part of that other gender - feeling like that gender accepts you as your in-group. There is a MtoF trans MMA fighter. She fights in the octagon - it's not exactly culturally a "girl" thing to do, but that's not what matters. It's that she is a girl. Anyway, my point is I don't need to completely understand it to know that it is incredibly important to the very nature of a person. And that brings me to the other part.
Suicide rates are way too high among transgendered people. The T in LGTB is still decades behind the other letters when it comes to cultural acceptance and knowledge. Plus, given that it is about gender and not sexual orientation, trans people can be trans little kids, which is something that doesn't affect the other letters quite so much. This complicates things, but it also means, with thoughtful, brave parents and health care providers, pre-pubescent trans kids can move smoothly into the adult form they need to become. Trans boys can grow into women and trans girls can grow into men. I know it seems crazy to think that a child can know what they are so clearly at 11 or 12, I know that using medical intervention seems too permanent at such a young age. I know that it's not common practice yet in the medical community, but I think it should be. The acquaintance of mine that came out was actually an 11 year old, and I've been thinking and talking about it a lot with the parents, the loving brave parent of this smart brave child - and although I was skeptical at first about this type of thing, I see now how amazing this therapy is for a trans child. It is so fantastic that this opportunity exists now, and that children are beginning to come out now instead of carrying that heavy burden for way too many years, and that parents are listening and helping now. I see such a bright future for trans people, and I hope that this kind of suicide ceases to exist in the years to come.
Please, please watch this TED talk from a very thoughtful endocrinologist - even if you don't know anyone personally going through this. I think our whole society needs to be more informed about this so we can support and understand where all the courageous trans kids and their parents (that you will hopefully be seeing more of in the news) are coming from.