Things you should know about transsexualism

4 Jan

Transsexualism is a condition which is greatly misunderstood by people everywhere, it isn’t just one country or region of the earth, but a universal phenomena. Transsexualism is defined as one of two things in most mainstream dictionaries which is either: A person that has undergone a sex change, or a person that wishes to be considered a member of the opposite sex. On the surface that seems very easy to understand and leaves little if any room for ambiguity, however the truth is that doesn’t begin to explain what transsexualism is. To truly understand it, you either have to be a transsexual or be willing to spend plenty of time doing research and more importantly listening to people who are transsexual. Transsexuals like anyone else are individuals so therefore cannot simply be defined or understood with only a few words. What follows will hopefully help educate people on the things they should know about transsexualism so that they may be more aware of the facts and people behind the definition.

The first misconception that must always be dealt with is that transsexuals are mentally ill. While it is true that for a period of time they were classified as such, further research proved this to be false. A transsexual person does suffer from a condition commonly know as GID or Gender Identity Disorder. GID in no way implies a person is psychotic, schizo-effective, or unable to mentally function in any manner. It simply means that their brain and body do not match each other.

For many years Dutch scientists have conducted in depth studies of the organic causes of transsexualism. The first thing that was evident is that in living self identified transsexuals brain scans showed that their brain actually did mirror that of the gender they identified to and not what their genitalia would predict. The second wave of testing was conducted on transsexuals who had either self identified but never had GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery) or who did undergo GRS and something fascinating was found, they did in fact have different brains from their birth sex. The BSTC region and hypothalamus both clearly reflected the gender they identified to rather than that which they were born into. Medication can’t create that change, nor could surgery as the BSTC region is an inoperable area of the brain. Clearly the demonstrated this is an organic matter, not psychological.

This is further backed up by research which indicates that transsexualism is in fact a condition caused by the hormonal wash a fetus receives. All human life begins in the female form. The second wave of hormones or “wash” determines whether a male or female will develop. In some cases the proportion of hormones is not in keeping what is considered the norm. There is a gray area in which enough testosterone may be delivered to form an anatomical male but not enough to complete the process in the brain as that is the last area to receive the effects of the hormone wash. As such a male body with a female brain is formed or vise versa. This is where we also see the development of the many variations of the inter-sexed community including xxyy and xxy chromosomal persons just to name a pair.

Transsexuals are not fetishists, they do not undergo a myriad of social and emotional issues for sheer sexual gratification. While it is now popular to lump transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens and kings, gender questioning persons, and anyone displaying gender variance all together as one, transsexuals stand apart from the field. The groups cited have different motivations for displaying gender variance, in some cases it is a fetish, or for the purpose of performing as in drag kings and queens, and in others it is a case of simply embracing a dual gender system or trying to transcend gender all together. In any case their motivations are not organically based in a birth condition but rather socially developed by choice.

Transsexuals come in many forms. One need not undergo GRS in order to be considered a transsexual, they need only identify as one. Transsexualism or GID is the only condition listed in the DSMIV which is self diagnosed, or simply put, only the person with the condition knows what they truly identify as. Therapists and counselors can help sort things out and confirm the patients diagnosis. Like wise there are transsexuals who for a variety of reasons only undergo portions of treatment to find a level of comfort with their GID. For some hormonal treatment is enough, others may undergo partial physical modification with or without hormonal treatment. The reason for this can be tied to finances, health problems, or that they simply don’t need GRS to feel comfortable enough to be happy with how they view them self.In the U.S. about 1 in 10,800 women began life as a male and are classified as an MTF or male to female transsexual. Likewise this can be said of men where about 1 in 32,000 began life as a female. This just demonstrates there are quite a few transsexuals and most go unnoticed.

Being transsexual carries a stigma with it in much of the world although this was not always the case. In Africa transsexual persons were considered valuable members of the community and often called “aunty uncles.” They took part in the tasks assigned to women rather than hunting and fighting. In fat they were considered especially valuable to add to a family when their brothers or sisters married into a new tribe. In Nations like Thailand the transsexual community is huge and although there is still some legal marginalization they have become some of the most popular entertainers and athletes in the nation with nearly full social acceptance.

In countries like the U.S. and many Latin American nations being transsexual is dangerous. Crimes against the transsexual community ranging from the low end of verbal harassment all the way up to murder are disproportionate to almost every other measured demographic. The reasons for this vary greatly, in some cases it is a faith based issue, in others transsexuals are seen as a threat to masculinity as some fear being attracted to them means they them self are gay, but most commonly it is an issue of ignorance.

While some transsexuals are gay, not all are, and defining what is gay for a transsexual person depends largely on where they are in the process physically as well as a large does of individual perspective. Transsexual people are generally categorized as having a fairly high level of intelligence and creativity which can be evidenced most easily in seeing the many transsexual success stories being featured in every form of media outlet available to the public. Why transsexual persons seem to skew towards higher IQ scores is still unknown but it is believed it has something to do with the difference in the brain map from non-transsexual persons.

Outside of a few nations, transsexuals are among the most discriminated groups of people that can be found from both the legal and social standpoint. In many countries transsexuals cannot marry, and if they do there are often conditions which can make the process so difficult it is unreasonable. Even when it comes to employment, insurance, housing, and basic medical care, transsexual people find themselves lagging behind the rest of society in basic protections of equality. Where government has failed to progress in many countries, business and industry has made provisions to protect their rights and provide for equitable treatment as much as possible. Not surprisingly Microsoft is one of the best in regards to this, and on the surprising side the seemingly starched white shirts of IBM may be the global leader in transsexual hiring and benefits provisions. On the whole though it isn’t a bright picture.

Furthermore transsexuals face a special set of problems socially. For many transsexuals means losing family and friends just as with gay people, however fewer seem to come to grips with these people over time. As such the suicide attempt and success rate among transsexuals is alarmingly high with better than 40% making an attempt. In teens this is an even higher number on both fronts. Transsexuals that are detained by the police will often times find them self placed in a holding cell or prison whic is contradictory to their gender presentation and at times anatomical sex in states wich will not allow gender changes on birth certificates and photo identification. What often results are continued rapes and eventual murder or suicide.

When it comes to interacting with a transsexual person treat them no differently than you would anyone else. If they present them self as a woman then use female pronouns in reference to them. Do not use their male name. The same goes for transmen. if you are in doubt then just ask what they wish to be called, they will be pleased you cared enough to do so. Don’t announce that they are transsexual to people, it is not your place to do so unless they specifically ask you to or grant that permission. You can touch them, transsexualism is not infectious, contact will not turn you gay or transsexual. Do not refer to them by slang like terms like tranny, shemale, shim, he/she, or worst of all it. They are people and should be afforded a level of decency and dignity.

While this is far from everything you should know about transsexuals, it is a good beginning. The most important things to realize is that being transsexual is not a choice. The only choice a transsexual person has in the matter is to embrace or deny their identity. These are people that face a difficult life often times and understanding them and how to interact with them goes a long way to improving the quality of life they have. Transsexuals are not confused, they are not ill, they don’t pose a threat to anyone. Transsexuals are people that were just born a little different than most.

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