How much do you know about the transgender community? Most people think they know everything about it, going simply by what they see on TV, but there is so much information out there that you will not come across unless you deliberately search for it. To start with, a transgender individual is someone who believes themselves to be of a gender that is different from what is written on his or her birth certificate.
This definition of a transgender person includes people who fall into categories such as genderqueer people, transwomen, transmen, drag queens/kings, and cross-dressers. Therefore, anyone who acts or behaves in a way that does not fall within what his or her biological gender dictates, belongs to the transgender community.
The transgender people belong to a larger and more vocal community popularly referred to as the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) which emphasizes sexual diversity and the inclusion of communities with diverse gender identities. Until a few years back, belonging to the LGBTQ was to some extent illegal, since the relationships and the gender identities that this community was promoting were not acceptable. However, since the United States legalized same-sex unions and started fighting against all forms of discrimination, this community has grown both in size and in influence throughout the world.
The sad thing about most of the information here is that so little about it is good, since belonging to the transgender community is more of a challenge than not being part of it. Which of these facts is most shocking?
15. They Are More Likely To Serve In The Military
Although transgender men and women face numerous challenges in almost every environment, they still heed their call to serve the country in the military. The number of transgender adults in the United States, according to 2016 federal and state estimation is roughly 1.4 million, and those in the military are approximately 15,500. This shows that slightly over 10% of the transgender community has served in the military or are retired, which is a much larger percentage when you compare that to the non-transgender community. However, this is the case because the transgender community only accounts for roughly 0.3% of the whole American population, and as the number continues to grow, the percentage of transsexuals in the military will definitely change. Today, the transgender community can serve openly without the fear of discrimination since the government is interested in having brave men and women to serve in the military, not their gender transitions or otherwise.
14. The Youngest Individual To Go Through Sex Reassignment Procedures
Although sex reassignment surgeries are common in most countries in the world, most governments prevent minors (anyone under the age of 18 years) to change their genders. The reason for setting up this age limit is to make sure that they get to make the decision as adults, because minors do not get to decide much, including who becomes president. For a long time, people have believed Kim Petras, a German singer, to be the youngest person to go through a sex reassignment procedure, since she claimed to have completed her procedure by 16 years of age. However, in 2016 Australian officials confirmed claims that a four-year-old had gone through sex reassignment procedures, actions that went contrary to warnings by the American College of Pediatrics. It is important to understand that even the less surgical treatments can result in sterility and other health and psychological problems when conducted too early, meaning that the doctors in this and many other cases were likely doing more harm than good.
13. 78% Are More Comfortable After Transitioning
According to some research conducted in the United States by 2015, 78% of the transgender community interviewed was more comfortable with their lives after transitioning compared to the period before the procedures. It is important to understand that changing or repressing someone’s gender is painful and can cause emotional and mental complications, but taking no action at all does not guarantee happiness and freedom from complications. Therefore, those who go through the procedures and those who do not should be in a position to understand their experiences and make decisions that make them safe and feel comfortable with their lives. Taking the steps towards gender transitioning should be a result of deep and lengthy reflection, because the decision to go ahead with the procedure will sure attract some form of mistreatment. However, if the 78% of those people interviewed felt more comfortable after transitioning and more at ease at the workplace, then their decision worked in their favor.
12. When Was The First Sex Reassignment Surgery?
A sex reassignment surgery is a procedure that involves reshaping an individual’s genitals into the appearance and, as much as possible, the function of the other gender’s genitals. This was a very tricky and complicated procedure, but advancement in technology has made it less complicated and has improved its success rate. People who do not want to go through the surgery for whatever reason settle for HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Other surgeries associated with the reassignment surgery include breast augmentation, facial feminization or masculinization surgery, and several other procedures. In the United States, the Johns Hopkins University performed its first sex reassignment surgery in 1966, but that was not the first in the world. In 1930, Lili Elbe, a German national, went through a sex reassignment surgery that changed her into a woman. She was the first ever-recorded individual to go through the procedure; she died three months after her last surgery.
11. Transgender People Have Been Around For A Very Long Time
It is possible for someone to believe that transgender people are a “new phenomenon” since a few decades back such talk was not even entertained. Since the legalization of same-sex unions and the formation of human rights organizations that push their agenda, the whole LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community has been quite vocal especially in the media. However, the truth is that the transgender community has been in existence for a very long time, it is just that they could not speak out for fear of what would have happened to them at the time. Some historical sources claim that ancient Asian civilizations had transgender people, but there was no way that such would have gone through sex reassignment surgeries or hormone replacement therapy. Transgender and homosexual cult prostitutes in ancient Assyria were part of the singing and dancing in public processions, where the men would wear women clothing and even pretend to give birth.
10. People Think They Are A Threat In The Bathroom
Which bathroom should a transgender use? Some legislators claim that they should use the bathrooms that fit their biological make-up, while others claim that they should use the ones that they are transitioning to. This huge debate has led to conflict among the diehard proponents of either side. The people who do not want transgender people to use the bathrooms that conflict with their biological makeup claim that, for example, male sexual predators might use this as an excuse to get into ladies bathrooms and violate their privacy or even do worse things. On the other hand, the people fighting against such thoughts claim that the transgender people only want to use the bathrooms for what everyone else uses them for. There is no denying that both these groups have legitimate concerns. Although different cities and states have different laws concerning bathroom use, we need to come up with a solution that favors both groups.
9. The Sex Reassignment Surgery Is Damn Expensive
The fact that so many transgender people have gone for a sex reassignment surgery may mislead someone into thinking that it is affordable. However, this surgery is very expensive, not to mention the costs someone will incur before and after the procedure. Although it will vary depending on location and the professionals that someone will choose to work with, here is a breakdown of what to expect. Before the surgery, an individual will need to go for a number of counseling sessions, where he or she can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $5000. The cost of the hormone therapy an individual will go through will also depend on the doctor’s prescription, which might be anywhere between $300 and $2,400. The cost of operating on the genitals alone will fall anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000, and the cost for the chest might be anywhere around $50,000, including other facial procedures. A patient will need to have a budget for the hormone treatments they will need for the rest of their lives and any other recommended doctor’s visits.
8. Transgender People Are Not Gay
Most people who do not understand much about the transgender community think that all of them are gay. First, there is no direct relationship between the transgender community and the gay and lesbian community, despite the fact that a number of transgender people are indeed gay or lesbian. A transgender person is one who believes that his or her gender is different from what the doctor indicated on the birth certificate and feels that his or her personal being and internal identity is different from what his or her body is showing. On the other hand, gays and lesbians are people who are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex, and they do not necessarily feel as if there is a conflict between their physical and internal gender assignments. Researchers claim that trying to change a person’s gender identity is as pointless as trying to change his or her sexual orientation.
7. Education Outcomes Do Not Favour Transgender People
Education in all stages of life is very important, although many young people who do not do so well in school feel as if it is a punishment. Therefore, it is important for an individual to work hard and get the best grades as well as the most knowledge and experience out of school. However, according to the CDC and School Governance, the transgender students perform relatively poorly compared to other students. The reason for their poor performance can be due to their exclusion and bullying by other students. Schools do not have the support mechanism required to help the LGBTQ students, with emphasis on the transgender students, to cope with the day-to-day challenges and go through the learning environment like their counterparts. According to statistics by the AHRC, 80% of the bullying that transgender students experience happen at school, which adversely affects their school attendance, their wellbeing, and eventually their grades.
6. Have Higher Chances For Poverty And Unemployment
Despite protection by the authorities and the existence of laws protecting the minorities from discrimination, the transgender community has much higher chances of unemployment and ending up in poverty when you compare them to the non-transgender people. The Human Rights Campaign once issued a report that revealed that transgender people were four times more likely to earn less than $10,000 a year when you compare them to other people. This statistic gets grimmer for the African American Community, Latinos, and Asian Americans, where the transgender people from these communities are at least six times more likely to end up in poverty. Although all communities in the United States struggle with unemployment, the transgender people are twice as likely to be unemployed when you compare them to other people, and those that are employed are 44% more likely to be underemployed. Although we continue to see transgender people on TV apparently becoming more famous and popular, the public needs to know this information as well.
5. Likely To Be Evicted And Discriminated Upon When Looking For A Home
Have you ever gone through the hassle of looking for a house? The desire for most Americans to avoid part of the hassle involved in looking for a house is to hire realtors, which is one of the reasons this industry keeps growing. Now imagine that if you were a transgender person, the hassle would be far much more. According to the National Center For Transgender Equality, 20% of the transgender people have faced discrimination when they out looking for a home. Furthermore, this same research reveals that at least 10% of all transgender people interviewed have faced eviction owing to their gender identity. This continues to be the case despite the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issuing a warning that such discrimination and evictions are illegal according to the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The government and all the relevant agencies need to make sure that no one, including a transgender person, will face discrimination under any circumstances.
4. They Struggle Accessing Health Care
Just in case you thought that issues of limited access to healthcare are just a third world problem, welcome to the transgender community. According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, getting proper medical attention for the millions of transgender people across the world is a huge challenge, despite being a community susceptible to multiple health issues. The struggle in almost every area of their life and the stigma that results is one of the reasons that the transgender people fall into despair and into risky behaviors including substance abuse and unsafe sex. The research continues to explain that a transgender individual is 50 times more likely to acquire HIV/AIDS in comparison to a non-transgender individual, a shocking statistic to say the least. Now imagine an individual in a far greater chance of developing health issues not having access to healthcare. It is bad enough that the treatment they have to go through is expensive and at times does not bring out the desired outcome, that even basic healthcare is a problem.
3. Many Transgender People Suffer From Mental Illness
Most people assume that the mental illnesses that very many transgender people suffer from are purely related to their gender identity, which is a misinformed conclusion. In the society we live in, it is hard to have a normal life especially if you are different, a situation that leads to a lot of distress which more often than not, leads to a mental disorder. Most people suffer mental illnesses owing to the pain and hurt they go through, an indication that the transgender community is going through mental and emotional stress. According to some researchers, at least 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide, a mind-blowing statistic that should force people and the authorities to act. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey revealed that out of some 6,450 transgender people, 2,644 (41%) claimed to have attempted to commit suicide, with the main reasons for this being physical assault, harassment in institutions, and joblessness.
2. Transgender People Are Still Subject To Violence
It is easy to think that since we are living in the 21st century, transgender people would not suffer and be killed for nothing. The sad news is that the more the world knows about transgender people, the more they are being killed. For example, according to sources that record the deaths of minorities and marginalized groups, the following are the known killings of transgender people (that do not include accidents or suicide) that happened over the last three years. In 2014 at least 20 people, in 2015 at least 23 people, in 2016 at least 42 people, and by the fourth month of 2017 already nine had been killed. Most of these people were killed violently by friends, strangers, or even partners. Globally, over 2,115 transgender people have been killed since 2008, and the number keeps rising with every year. These killings are evidence that numerous transgender people around the world are facing violence on a regular basis, and it is likely that most of them are not reporting to the authorities.
1. The Transgender Regret Is High
If you have been listening to the media, then you have the idea that the sex reassignment surgeries performed in the United States are at least 98% successful. However, not all transgender people end up loving their lives after making the change, with a huge number, regretting making that choice. People hardly regret the first few weeks where almost everyone is celebrating them, the reality of the transformation will usually hit them after a year or so when all the hype has died down. The accuracy of the rates of success or regret can be put to question because such research needs to be conducted over a long period. It is hard to track down the percentage of transgender people who found it impossible to keep up with the treatment, those who found that nothing in their life had changed for the better, or those that went ahead and committed suicide. The fact is, there are some regrets, and they are more than what the media and the transgender community are telling us.