Nearly 500,000 adults in India identify as transgender. And yet, most people know nothing about them. FSOG will confront some of the most common myths about trans people, and change our ways of thinking about them.
Myth: Transgenders are mentally ill
It’s true that many transgender people suffer from mental illness. But it’s not because of their gender identity. It is because of the mental distress that they go through. It is because in a patriarchal society, being a gender variant causes distress. All they need is respect and acceptance. If we treat as humans, there will be no mental distress.
Myth: Transgender people are gay
No. They’re not all gays. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two completely separate things. One is what gender we see ourselves as being. The other is what gender and sex we are physically and romantically attracted to. Don’t think that if you know one’s gender identity, you know their sexual orientation too. Trans people can be lesbian, gay, bisexual or of course, straight!
Myth: Trans people are confused
Just because a person is different, doesn’t mean they don’t know who they are. They are females, males, and intersex. Trans people have a gender. They are men, women, queer, and other genders. They know their sex and they know their gender. This can be confusing to us who inhabit more traditional gender roles, but to the transgender person, it is not confusing. It is just who they are.
Myth: Being a transgender is a choice
Again, no. Trans people can no more choose to be trans than we can choose how tall we are.
Trans people have been scientifically proven to be born the way they are, with physical conditions at birth contributing towards the error between gender identity and physical sex. Some trans people will say that they were born trans and then chose to transition, while others will say they had no choice in either and that transition was the only way they could survive. Neither of these is wrong, it really does just depend on the person, however this still doesn’t mean that people choose to be trans.
Myth: You only get trans women, you don’t get trans men
That could be further from the truth. There are lots of trans men but currently, trans women have received more media attention.
Myth: Trans people are just "extra gay" — so gay that they "go over the edge" into the other gender
No, not really. The majority of gay people are quite comfortable with the genders in which they live, the genders assigned to them at birth. They may present as more feminine than the average man, or more masculine than the average woman — but, by and large, they are content cisgender people who simply happen to be attracted to the same sex.
Trans people, on the other hand, have gender identities that definitely vary from the labels that were given to them as babies.
Besides, plenty of trans women are lesbian-identified, and trans men gay-identified. Those lesbian women aren't guys who "were so attracted to other guys that they decided to become female" — they're lesbians!
Myth: Transgender people aren’t “real” men or women
This is probably the most hurtful myth of all. It tells us that transgender people are somehow less human because of their gender identification. It is proof that they do not have a place in proper society. It is hateful and unacceptable. Everyone should have the right to be who they want to be.
There are many ways to be human.