What does it mean to be Transgender? While this is a personal question it does apply to at least 3% of the population. The LGBTQ population is estimated to be around 10% so let us take a closer look to see the relevancy of the “T”.
First off the term transgender is fairly new being coined in the Sixties and meaning simply a person appearing to or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, such as a transsexual or habitual crossdresser. It is an umbrella term often used to include the entire community of individuals who cross gender boundaries on a consistent basis. This brings us to a terminological issue. There are many terms being used these days with new ones popping up frequently. Just to name a few, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Gender Queer, Gender Variant, Gender Bender, and Misogynist. (see TransTerminology for definitions) The point is we each have a different view point on identity, so take this blog as my view and adapt it to yours, … or not.
Gender Identity is an innate trait expressed with terms and understandings available to the individual at the time. So, those who haven’t the education on such things have no way to express in words how they feel. They can of course dress and present how they want given the social fortitude to do so. Which is precisely the point most meaningful to all of us, Are you comfortable in how you present to the world? Do you present your comfort to the world or do you conform to social pressures?
Understand there is a big difference between conformity and comfort. Authenticity is another level of expression often over looked. I think the process often runs the gamut from conformity when young and first dealing with society, comfort when alone or in a safe space, and then extending out as the “safe space” extends. The end goal is comfortable authenticity at all times which is no small task to a person who perceives themself as different. While this is painfully true with Transgender individuals it is often a “rite of passage” for everyone to some degree, shape or form. The awkwardness of adolescence is only compounded by a variant gender identity, often without the individuals even realizing it. This is something peers and family usually bring to issue.
Authenticity is expressing your true self in a comfortable and honest fashion. It requires a complete acceptance of who you are and total honesty with both yourself and others. On one level you do not concern yourself with others, while at the same time you pay attention to how you are treated because you know this is a valuable clue to how you feel about yourself.
The meaning of being Transgender undergoes an evolution then from simply being different and separate …to total acceptance of being just one of an infinite array of unique individuals unified as a whole of mankind. It is important to understand that everyone is unique and offer wonderful gifts of their own, just as you do. There is no shame in celebrating these gifts with all the world, in fact the shame is in not doing so! Be easy with yourself and get help along the path. Reaching this point sometimes takes a lifetime or more.