General Question

seazen_'s avatar

Transgenders: in some places tolerated, in others revered - how about in your society?

Asked by seazen_ (4801points) April 22nd, 2011

Nepal’s transgender community has sent blessings to Prince William and Kate Middleton ahead of their wedding and offered to send someone to the ceremony.

Transgender people in Nepal, mostly men living as women who are known as “hijras” or eunuchs, are considered auspicious at weddings in South Asia, where they are often paid to sing, dance and give blessings to the couple.

Now over 70% of you are American, statistically – especially now with the whole google/twitter/facebook thing for each question. Americans: how do you feel about transgenders?

World: How are transgenders accepted in your society? How do you feel about them?

Do you distinguish between men/women transgenders – is one more acceptable to you?

Do you think of all cross-dressers as just transgenders sans operation – or perhaps you give it little thought?

For the bold: it’s late at night, a few drinks in the pub – you go home with someone who turnes out to be transgendered. Your reaction is?

I am asking a variety of questions here to help you answer – you may choose one or all. Thank you.

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73 Answers

math_nerd's avatar

I would rather drink a beer with a transgender person than a Republican. I would not sleep with either.

gmander's avatar

It’s not something that I give much thought to. I suppose I must pass by the occasional transgendered person without even noticing. Sometimes you do notice an obvious cross-dresser, it gives me a slight, niggling distain, similar to seeing a man wearing an obvious toupe or trousers that are slightly too short.

DesireeCassandra's avatar

I guess I don’t think about it too much. I know a couple and I guess I never really thought about the fact that they are. I just seem to see people and not genders.

But, I do know some people that would be weird about knowing someone who is transgender. LIke, a couple of people in my family.. the ones that are also weird about me being gay.

cookieman's avatar

Over the years, I’ve come into contact with quite a few transgender or cross-dressing folks (in art school, working in Boston, hanging in Harvard Square, etc.). It’s fairly common.

I interact with them as I would anyone else. I will say that I can’t tell the difference between transgender and cross-dressers most of the time. As I’ve only known them in passing or casually, I’m not about to ask either.

That being said, I do find it a bit odd. But I’d never be rude to them or, frankly, give it much thought.

lillycoyote's avatar

I live in the U.S. and I think it might just really depend on the circumstance of any particular group or area. I worked for a practically ancient, stodgy in many ways, Fortune 500 company, they celebrated their bicentennial while I was working for them, 200 years in business but they were committed to diversity. I don’t know what their benefit package was, for domestic partnerships and the like, that is where push comes to shove, but they did have and open GLBT employee group. That was in the supposedly more sophisticated Northeast.

I also worked for a smaller company in Texas, they ran a nursing home and about 10 group homes for the developmentally disabled and had a fair number of transgendered emplyoyees. The company was owned by two guys, one of whom was gay, for what it’s worth so he had some understanding of such things and one day, apparently, he threw a total hissy fit, sorry, but really, this story is so funny. He apparently had had just about enough of his employees changing genders during their shifts. I’m not sure if the issue was that he thought it confused the residents or changing genders at work took up time that was supposed to be spent working or it just annoyed him but one day he just threw a fit and laid down the law: “You come to work as a man you leave work as a man, you come to work as a woman, you leave work as a woman!” It was hilarious, really.

gmander's avatar

@lillycoyote – I really must get that added to our employee handbook!

jlelandg's avatar

In China, they think that Thai “lady boys” are the coolest things ever. When you tell them you’re going to thailand they want to know if you saw the “monster people” as they are known in Chinese.

JLeslie's avatar

In America I think it depends where you live. I Have worked with a lot of transgender people in the cosmetic industry, and most women seem to have no problem at all letting a guy dressed as a woman, or at minium wearing a lot of make-up, apply their make up or cut their hair.

There was a well published case of a woman who lived as a man, (he might be considered transexual actually?) and was married to a woman. The man gave birth to a baby (he kept his lady parts knowing he might want children some day). A lot of people though it was wrong, many thought it was fine, just depends who you talk to. Insurance was in question, because same gender marriage is not legal in their state, and it was argued they are not married if he can birth a baby. All sorts of mess.

marinelife's avatar

In my personal society, they are accepted and welcomed.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I have lived in the South all my life, and honestly it can be a little dangerous being transgendered. There are many who are accepting, but there are some really hateful, ignorant people out there. I now live in a relatively liberal area- New Orleans. My dad and her transgendered friends often travel in a group- for safety as well as for friendship. I feel much better with her living in the city than I did when she lived in rural Louisiana.

lillycoyote's avatar

@gmander LOL. I consider myself a relatively open minded person but on the other hand I don’t think it was an entirely unreasonable request. But that being said, the guy was really, all things considered, a total dick. It was rather an incestuous relationship, several of us, in my circle of friends worked for the company part time. Everybody hated him and my friend Mary Jo almost got fired when she got so angry at him that she threw a magazine at his head. HIt him too. Well, I guess he wasn’t so big a dick that an employee could hit him in the head with a magazine and it wasn’t an automatic fire. Then he died of a heart attack at 46 and we all really felt bad. We hated him and wished him dead in our heart of hearts but when he did die we all felt like shit. As though somehow our wishing him dead had actually caused his death.

seazen_'s avatar

@KhiaKarma You wrote my dad and her friends – meaning you have a transgender father?

filmfann's avatar

I recently made a remark about a former jelly being something like a right wing incontinent transexual pedophile.
After having my laugh, I looked at it again, and thought that, really, the only objectionable accusation there is the latter.
Though I get more upset when people call me Right Wing.

seazen_'s avatar

I’m trying to think of what I get offended by? I wonder if I would be offended to be called a transexual or transgender – if I were one. It would be like calling me a Jew – as I am one.

I am not one – so it wouldn’t offend me – like calling me fat – if I am thin.

But one should beware of how they say things.

JLeslie's avatar

@seazen_ It does matter how or why it is said. If someone says I am a Jew, just pointing it out, no problem. If someone calls me a Jew as a way to sum up some sort of hateful stereotype it is different, isn’t it? I see your point though, if someone calls a goy a Jew it is different still, because then there is no truth at all in the word, and only used as a derogatory comment.

seazen_'s avatar

I am not easily insulted by mere words.

bkcunningham's avatar

I am just reading the responses. Giving the question some thought. The thing that I can’t get out of my head is this. I thought there was a difference between cross dressers and transgendered people.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Maybe you are confusing transgender and transexual?

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie I thought a cross dresser wore clothes (and other outward decorations et al.) perceived by society to be for the opposite sex. I thought a transgender was born looking like one sex (male or female) but whose biological sex reflected the opposite.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I think transgender is a fairly broad term that includes what you describe and people who dress or live as the opposite sex. Actually, what you describe, basically a congenital or genetic comdition (I hate to use the word condition, but for lack of a better word) is a unique circumstance, because who is to say if the genetic or the outward appearance is more important, or more indicative of what gender that particular individual is? I think of transgender as being biologically one sex in every way, but identifying or wanting to live as the other sex. But, again, I think the situation you describe does fall under the umbrella term transgender.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Here is a wikipedia page I found, curious myself if I am using the terms correctly. It talks about trangender vs transexual partway down.

everephebe's avatar

They can sing, dance and give blessings at my wedding and I’ll pay what I can! Of course I am now only thinking of what it would be like to have Antony Haggerty sing at my wedding… That would be awesome! I’ve seen Anthony live once, I was really close to the stage. That vibrato… kills me, Antony has an incredible voice.

seazen_'s avatar

So is Dana from Israel

Won the 98 Eurovision contest and is going this year again.

bkcunningham's avatar

@seazen_ just the facts, ma’am.

syz's avatar

I live in the deep south, where bigotry still thrives (or does it still thrive everywhere?). I fear for anyone different in this part of the world.

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Facade's avatar

To answer most of your questions, I’m not sure what my “society” would be, but I’m fine with transgendered people. I wouldn’t be in a sexual relationship with a transgendered person, but I have no ill feelings toward them at all. Male to female or vice versa makes no difference to me, and I don’t know much about how cross dressers are different from transgendered people. And about the last scenario, I’d just be very surprised. If I actually liked the person I met at the club for more than just what I thought was an attractive person, but then found out they were transgendered, I’d probably invite them to stay for a platonic evening (or leave, their choice).

gmander's avatar

Were I not married I’d be with @Facade However, last time I looked, I was fairly certain that my wife was a woman. Will go on the working assumption that she still is, until tonight when I get the opportunity to recheck. Not expecting any surprises.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I live in New York and consider myself part of the trans community. I do not think there is a single kind of trans people out there, in general, but people who have no clue always think of a man cross-dressing as a woman (cross-dressers, @bkcunningham,are not automatically considered trans unless they identify as such and therefore are not the same thing as trans people, in all instances) or someone getting genital surgery. As @marinelife said, obviously, trans people are welcome and accepted in my own community being that most of my friends are queer or trans or both. The example of hijras that you bring up isn’t that simple. Sure, they’re often wanted at weddings but they’re fetishized and exoticized and aren’t respected in real life, they live in poverty and in poor health. Here, in the U.S., trans people are routinely discriminated against by institutions (hospitals, the police, universities) and of course by ignorant people who are so threatened by notions of a gender not static that they get violent. I don’t think trans people are accepted anywhere in the world at all, on a systemic level. But, I have to tell you, being within the trans/gnc community here in NYC is incredible – it’s the way my world should be.

seazen_'s avatar

True and sad.

More awareness and tolerance is desperately required.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir that is what I thought. In my feeble understanding, people may “cross dress” and it has nothing to do with their sexuality. From my also limited reallife understanding and experience, the transgendered in India (the word hijras is considered disrespectful to me) are not revered.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham I never spoke to anyone who identified themselves as part of that particular trans community in India so I do not know if it’s an offensive term to them or to others. I will try to look into it.

seazen_'s avatar

I lifted it shamelessly from a news item from yahoo.

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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The Hawaiian word for a transgender male to female is mahu. Mahus are traditionally revered, but in modern society as with most of the rest of the USA, they are the subject of ridicule and often discriminated against. A mahu can be pre- or post-operative. The word, I believe, is used exclusively for male to female transgender people. I am unaware of any specific Hawaiian word for female to male transgenders.

Importantly, our state legislature is taking steps this year to include language which would make it illegal to discriminate against a transgender person in such things as employment, housing, etc. It’s a wonderful leap forward.

Personally, I have many transgender friends. I can think of 6 off the top of my head. I love them and accept them. 5 of those friends are male to female and 1 is female to male.

The drag queen community in Hawaii openly includes mahus. It’s different on the mainland. In order to participate in drag pageants on the mainland, a person must have male genitalia and perform as a woman.

I am a drag queen, but I’m also an actor. I do it for the performance. I’m just speaking for myself. I do not cross dress at any other time. I consider myself a gay man, and I have no desire to change that. Performing as a woman is simply another way for me to practice my art of acting.

[Edited to add: Why so little lurve for this GQ?]

MacBean's avatar

@bkcunningham said ”[...] people may “cross dress” and it has nothing to do with their sexuality.”
That’s true, but I just wanted to toss something else out there about this. Being trans doesn’t really have anything to do with sexuality, either. There are MTFs who like men or women or both or neither or those with fluid gender identities. There are FTMs who like men or women or both or neither or those with fluid gender identities.

seazen_'s avatar

@MacBean I hear fluid identity a lot here – but what is it really?

MacBean's avatar

@seazen_ It means you don’t always identify the same way. Presumably you always feel like you’re the gender you were born—most people do. But some people feel different depending on the day. It makes the pronoun game especially difficult.

seazen_'s avatar

@MacBean Oy. You mean, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t?

JK. Sorry.

People feel a different gender on different days.

I can grok that.

Very futuristic. Very snail.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Transgender people in Nepal, mostly men living as women who are known as “hijras” or eunuchs, are considered auspicious at weddings in South Asia, where they are often paid to sing, dance and give blessings to the couple. In England, it is considered ‘lucky’ to see a chimney sweep on the day of their wedding, so sometimes one is invited to attend the ceremony. My Christian brother married a Jewish woman, and he stomped on a glass at their wedding. Traditions are interesting.

Now over 70% of you are American, statistically – especially now with the whole google/twitter/facebook thing for each question. Americans: how do you feel about transgenders?
One American here. I wish more people felt comfortable to live openly by the gender that they know is right for them. I suppose that really means that I wish that more people would be accepting of someone else’s choice, whether they understand it or not.

Do you distinguish between men/women transgenders – is one more acceptable to you? It matters naught.

Do you think of all cross-dressers as just transgenders sans operation – or perhaps you give it little thought? Nah, someone’s outfit/appearance is the cover on the book. It is not necessarily a reflection of what is inside.

For the bold: it’s late at night, a few drinks in the pub – you go home with someone who turnes out to be transgendered. Your reaction is? I’ve never gone home with someone I just met at a pub and doubt that I ever will, so this is a bit tougher to answer. Hypothetically, if this were to happen, it would have to be with a partner who once had the body of a female and now has the body of a male. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure that I would leave. As much as I hate to admit that, it comes down to the lack of physical attraction to the female body. It is as simple as that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Trans folks are cool by me. In my rewilding work, which aims to create new holistic and sustainable culture(s), I hope to make a space that’s safe for trans and other oppressed folks.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I grew up in a small town and there was a young boy who would dress like a woman. My brother and his friends would throw rocks at him, and my mom never discouraged the behavior. One time he flashed a small pocket knife at my brother and friends and from then on my mother would tell us how “angry” and “dangerous” he was. Forget the fact that my brother cast the first stone.

I grew up with so many stereotypes regarding race and gender because of my parents religious and societal beliefs. I am thankful there is life after childhood where we can make our own assumptions and build up our own belief system. I think about that boy sometimes. He was angry because no one accepted him, and the other boys in the neighborhood threw rocks at him. It had nothing to do with his gender. People relate gender to closely with sexuality, and some Christians (like my parents) tend to view anything that is different in regards to sexual preference as evil.

We all deserve to be happy. And we all should strive for authenticity. Just for having the guts to be themselves in the midst of so much adversity, I think the transgendered are some of the bravest people there are.

dialectical1's avatar

Due to lack of visibility, I think its easy for people to assume that, if they don’t hear anything, trans folk are perfectly accepted.

However, I think they’re among the most marginalized groups & people in our society. A reliable source reports that 55% have been attacked in school (or at least by classmates), 74% have been sexually harassed in school, 78% have been verbally harassed, & 48% have been assaulted (including with a weapon or sexual assault). This clearly indicates a hostile environment, even in places that should be safe.

But there’s many more ways our culture/society is hostile to trans folk. They’re at high risk for poverty yet aren’t likely to have access to the services they need due to discrimination (for which there really isn’t even legal protection against), for rape and for intimate partner violence. Source & further reading

There’s many more harmful results of the hostile environment we have in this culture, but they’re more subjective… and perhaps more personal. Much has to do with an integral part of one’s identity not being recognized or understood by close friends & family, or even being outright rejected by them, and coping with a culture in which the default & hegemonic viewpoint is one that excludes transfolks realities & identities. I really can’t speak for them, & while their voices have been discouraged, many have a lot to say about the subject… if a trans person trusts you enough to share anything, I’d recommend listening to them [but read this trans etiquette 101 for non-trans people first!]

incendiary_dan's avatar

Today I saw a form to sign up for a website (I think for some brand of yogurt) which had Gender as a category at the top, with only two choices. It was a required field, too. I cringed.

bkcunningham's avatar

Stupid question. Do transgenders usually select a sex? I mean it may sound silly, but if someone is born to look or feel like one sex and they feel or look like another, do they migrate between the two or sway toward the one where they feel they belong? Is it something altogether different than I’m imagining?

MacBean's avatar

@incendiary_dan I hate that. Often when sex/gender is a required field and there are only two choices, I don’t register. On actual forms I leave it blank anyway. But if it’s for a website and it won’t let you move on to the next step without selecting, the website loses me.
@bkcunningham It depends, I suppose. My friend Jessica is an MTF. She was born with boy parts but knew from a very young age that that was wrong. She’s always felt like a girl and as soon as she could, she started going through the process of transitioning physically.

On the other hand, my friend Toby was born female-bodied. Sometimes that feels okay and ze isn’t bothered by feminine pronouns and likes wearing girl clothes. Other times it feels wrong and ze binds hir breasts, wears suits and ties, &c. And sometimes ze doesn’t identify with either gender at all, and doesn’t care what people call hir or what gender they read hir as. (That’s when ze’s happiest, I think.) Since hir gender identity fluctuates so much, ze has no plans for physical transition. Ze just sticks to maintaining as androgynous an appearance as possible, and adjusting hir wardrobe to get people to read hir as the gender ze’s trying to present as on any given day.

I think Jess’s situation is probably the more common one and transfolk usually feel that they’re male or female. But that could just be because we live in a society with a binary gender system. I wonder if there would be more people like Toby if the idea of being both genders or neither gender or a third (or fourth or fifth) gender wasn’t even more alien then the idea of being the sex that you weren’t assigned at birth.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t think it is because of society that Jess feels like that @MacBean. Maybe it’s just because we are boys or girls or a combination of both like your friend ze. It is what it is. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how I see it anyway. I may be wrong. Somedays, I feel like a nut. Somedays I don’t.

ETpro's avatar

@seazen_ What an interesting question. This calls for some thought. Since the question wasn’t identified as NSFW, it also calls for more than a bit of discretion in providing a SFW answerl.

First, for those that don’t already know, I am in Boston, Massachusetts, which we still claim is in the USA; although many on the American right claim we are not the “real” America. We were the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Granted it came from the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, which said that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was discriminatory and forbidden by the Massachusetts Constitution. But right wingers got the issue onto the ballot through a signature campaign, and the voters soundly rejected their attempt to reinstate the discrimination. So my area of the US is out ahead of the curve in the battle for tolerance versus intolerance. Our state and local governments have been quick to defend the rights of the transgendered to live peacefully and to not face discrimination at work or in social organizations.

Personally, I am fully libertarian on the issue of gender identity. Human beings come in a full spectrum of gender characteristics from the extremely masculine to the extremely feminine. They also come in an equally full spectrum of gender identity—what they feel they are on the inside. And that’s just fine with me. I feel no need to make anyone behave in sync with their sex chromosomes.

I don’t agree with Nepal that the transgendered have magical powers. But I do think many of them have a deeper appreciation for all that a simple thing like XX or XY chromosomes does to affect how others relate to us. In that respect, they can be a true blessing in leading us toward a more tolerant world, and in opening our eyes to the depth and breadth of our sexual prejudices.

Do you think of all cross-dressers as just transgenders sans operation – or perhaps you give it little thought? I like gender benders of all kinds. So over the years I have known a bunch. I don’t think many people who haven’t personally explored the gender bender community have any conception of how diverse it is. There are a huge list of categories, and lines between each blur into the others.

There are the transgendered. Some are preoperative and some postop. There are shemales and butch lesbians. Shemales are homosexual males who dress up as women to attract male sex partners. The term has gotten stretched to mean all transgendered men, but this is not how it is understood by the gay community. Shemales have no intention of altering their genitals. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to find them wearing ordinary male underpants under an alluring feminine outer garment; something the transgendered would find appalling. Just as butch lesbians, no matter how convincingly like the other gender the wrapping may be, what’s on the inside is birth gender all the way.

Cross dressers or “transvestites: can be either gay or straight. What sets them apart from the maddening crowd is that they cross dress because they get a sexual thrill from doing so. Some make no effort to truly look like the opposite sex. Among this type are people who only play dress-up at home, generally leading to a fulfilling mast[redacted] session. Others get a thrill out of the shock and outrage they create when they go out in public quite obviously being a male in female clothing or vice versa. And then there are those whose thrill comes from being as convincing as possible. These adopt the mannerisms, voice, dress and tastes of the opposite gender when dressing up for an evening out. But unlike the transgendered, they have zero interest in rearranging the plumbing “down there.” Of course, it’s more difficult to spot a female transvestite because our misogynistic culture loves tomboys while it looks down its nose at sissies. So many female transvestites are able to operate completely below the gaydar.

Then finally there are the truly epicene. They are the true gender blenders who love to get second and third looks from more traditional believers in the sex stereotypes. “Is that a he or a she?” they want people to ask.And the honest answer is often, “Yes, no and maybe so.”

For the bold: it’s late at night, a few drinks in the pub – you go home with someone who turnes [sic] out to be transgendered. Your reaction is? I’m married, so I don;t go out looking for someone to hook up with and on the rare occasion when someone seems intent on hooking up with me, I tell them I am extremely flattered they would find me attractive, but that I am spoken for. But if I were free, I would count myself fabulously fortunate should any gender bender set their sights on me. With the diversity in that crowd, and with the powerful forces required to drive someone to risk being so outside the easy-to-follow current of the mainstream, there is always something to learn from a rel;relationship with a gender bender.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro People in the trans community don’t generally accept the term ‘shemale’ as affirming, nor are they automatically homosexual. Butch lesbians (unless they identify as such) aren’t trans people.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My definitions are likely dated. I have been married and out of circulation since 1977. My answer was accurate for the 70s. :-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro Dude, you do know that’s like 40 years ago, right? Just saying.

Buttonstc's avatar

There is a little ray of sunshine in the midst of all the hostility and lack of acceptance of differences.

I saw a pretty unique interview on a talk show a few days ago. There was a family with a four year old boy (as well as a slightly older boy as well).

The mother recounted how her youngest son from around 2–3 yrs old wanted to wear girls clothing, loved pink and sparkly things etc. Her initial response was to continue to deflect with “soft” redirecting figuring it was a phase and not wanting to shame him or make a big deal out of it.

But his preference in taste was continuous and consistent. I believe it was on one Halloween when he kept on asking for a princess costume and she kept trying to persuade him to other choices but he was clearly pining for his heart’s choice.

What really caught her attention was when the older brother asked “Mom, why can’t you just let him be happy?”

And from that point on she stopped trying to frustrate his desire.

It was such a beautiful example of love and acceptance. She’s also written a book illustrated with his pictures and she hopes to promote greater acceptance of differences in our too rigid society.

There are several video clips of her and her son on the website she created. It’s such a beautiful example of what this world could be if there were more parents like this.


OpryLeigh's avatar

In England I believe the younger generations tend to be quite accepting and, although we still have our fair share of intolerance and prejudice, from my experience, there are worse countries to live, as a transgendered person, than England.

As far as my own views are concerned. I see a transgendered person as just another human being living how they feel is right for them. If no one is getting hurt by another persons actions/life choices then I see absolutely no reason for intolerance.

seazen_'s avatar

Guys: I was just beginning to feel a bit down about fluther – the newbs just weren’t the same, the vets no longer came out much to play. Lots of oldies left – and I’m talking about people I’ve known here for years. Airow and ABers came in droves, which was great and many stayed on – but alas, the place hasn’t felt the same for me – especially with Andrew and Ben aways most of the time – and where’s Richard and Tim?

But Auggie keeps it together, and my regulars are still here – and then I asked this question and a couple more – spent the last two days in the chatroom – yes it’s still there – and hey – this place is fucking rocking again!

I lurve you guys – I lurve this thread – and I thank you for being my jellies.

JLeslie's avatar

Just read this article.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My old aching body? Yeah, I am well aware that was 40 years ago. The slang for different members of the LGBT community may change over time, but the human motications of each stay pretty constant.

@seazen_ Thanks,

@JLeslie There is still way too much hate out there.

dialectical1's avatar

@ETpro In recent decades, there’s been much groundbreaking progress in how people understand & conceptualize gender, at least among certain communities & those who study gender. People have not changed particularly in their natural propensities towards expression that is perceived as somehow gendered.

However, partly in conjunction with significant improvements in ways to perceive genders that fall outside the gender binary, there’s been more space for those natural tendencies to be expressed the way they come, & our gender expressions are quite interrelated to our social & cultural surroundings. This is as opposed to projecting conventional conceptions of gender on everyone, especially those who fall outside the gender binary, which leads to absurd amounts of unnecessary confusion. Oddly, those who have no familiarity with any modern gender studies concepts don’t seem to understand how heavily their conventional conceptions of things obscure their attempts to understand.

The insights don’t just pertain to those who in any time period or cultural climate would naturally struggle against their assigned gender role. It also applies to folks like me, who otherwise might normally go along with socially expected gender expressions. After doing some exploration of how gender could be, I incidentally realized how many valuable traits I could use or want to express aren’t as encouraged as ones that are, for some reason, considered feminine. This lead to some personal growth, though there’s far more potential from this that I’ve yet realized. Yet it hasn’t just affected how I view myself, but greatly deepened my understanding of our society, culture and some behaviors within it. The insights hard-earned through the experiences & explorations of those outside the gender binary pertain far more to everyone in our society than most people begin to realize.

Not everyone is transgender, but the whole subject of their equality requires more than just better understanding of “unconventional” gender expression. It requires a deeper understanding of ourselves, in ways we might not’ve been able to achieve without wisdom from human experiences which differ from our own.

ETpro's avatar

@dialectical1 As great as the paucity of information on the subject was in the 1970s, I came to some very similar realizations. Thanks for stating that so clearly.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not a big deal in Germany anymore. Plenty of documentaries on tv educating the public.

dialectical1's avatar

@mattbrowne I believe Germany might have a tradition of that… I may well be wrong, but I think the first sexual reassignment surgeries occurred there in the 1930s. This could have been a reflection of, and also influenced, their culture in regards to acceptance… yet I’d also withhold judgment about assuming its free of transphobia until I’ve heard enough opinions of trans folk stating the same. Education doesn’t necessarily result in universal decent treatment, unfortunately.

Just like it’s not up to white people to declare that racism no longer exists, it’s not up to cisgendered people to assume – based on our own experiences, which tend to have very little exposure to transphobia – that we no longer have a moral obligation to support acceptance.

mattbrowne's avatar

@dialectical1 – In the 30s, you sure? I can’t imagine Nazis supporting such these kind of surgeries. But a German Wikipedia article mentions the 20s and a doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld:

dialectical1's avatar

Oh, sorry, it was definitely Weimar era. [My brain read 1930 a long time ago & upon recall told me “1930s”.]

Here’s the article about the first patient of the then-experiemental surgery. Btw, even today, with many many decades to improve techniques, this type of surgery tends to impair sensitivity in the organ it affects, which is understandably a major reason behind some people’s decision to opt out of having it.

mattbrowne's avatar

I wasn’t aware of this long history, your comment made me learn something! I thought it was a relatively new thing before I googled it.

And thanks for the link! Very interesting.

ETpro's avatar

@dialectical1 Thanks for a fascinating link. Like @mattbrowne I had no idea sex reassignment surgery had been practiced so long.

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