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What is your perception of people with gender identity issues (transgendered), and has it changed in the last 5 years?

Where did you get your perception about transgendered people from, and did it change over the last five years? Have you ever met someone with a gender identity issue, or has your opinion been formed by what you have seen in the news and on popular television?

My aim is to get a rough idea of whether people base their opinions on transgendered people through TV and social media, or through actual interactions with transgendered individuals.

I would also like to hear what your thoughts are about people with gender identity issues?

  • Nov 29 2012: This is for Luke. I am trying to get people talking about a subject that is a bit taboo. You have expressed unease and concern about this issue. I am sure others feel the same way, and I will try to provide some insight from my own experiences.

    I am transgendered (Male to Female). I think the general perception of gender variant people is they have "chosen" their path, kind of like someone choosing to be gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual. The truth is gender identity is rooted into the very heart of who we are as a person. If we can't express the gender we feel is true to us, we become compromised persons.

    I spent years trying to live as a man. I had to pretend to be someone I was not, so I could get a decent job. I led a very compartmented life, with some people knowing one thing about me, and some another. Very few got to know who I really was. If I made a new friend, I would wonder if the new friendship was based on the person seeing the real me, or just the mask I had to wear to be safe.

    Some people question whether we are "safe" to be around. To the best of my knowledge, I have never met anyone who was dealing with a gender identity issue who launched an attack on someone else. I am sure it is possible, but it is certainly not typical. Unfortunately, the reverse cannot be said about people with traditional gender expressions attacking people with gender issues (although this is not typical either).

    Choosing to live life in the opposite gender is not something people do lightly. We move from being unhappy but accepted members of society with a normal level of risk to being a visible minority which faces discrimination when seeking a job, finding a place to live, or even to access proper health care. We even risk death! If I met someone who was wavering about his or her gender issue, I would say DON'T DO IT. But if the person was steadfast in his or her goal of changing genders, I would say give it a few years, but if you still feel the same way to GO FOR IT
  • Nov 28 2012: Five years ago I thought that trans people must have pretty rigid gender stereotypes if they couldn't expand their concept of 'male' or 'female' to encompass themselves. Now I realize that I, in fact, had a pretty rigid concept of what ultimately defines maleness or femaleness (ie genitals). It turns out gender is far more complicated than I ever imagined, and each person is ultimately the expert on where they fit on the spectrum of gender possibilities.

    The reason my thinking and perceptions changed about this? I am generally an ally of marginalized groups, and it bothered me that this didn't extend to trans people. So I decided to seek out some trans people and talk to them about it. As a result of these conversations, I learned a great deal and my thinking changed completely (and very, very easily).
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    Nov 28 2012: I'm a girl and last year I dated a girl who didn't really identifiy as trans but it was pretty obvious she had some sort of issue with her gender identity. She looked like a boy, I think she actually tried really hard to look like one, people would be confused about her gender. I didn't really mind at first. When I started to know her more it was kind of weird because I discovered she not only dressed like a boy but actually acted a lot like a boy... It was hard because she didn't like talking about it, I didn't really care that much about it, I really wanted to help her but she just would not talk about it. Not even to deny it.
    Everything that happened with her really helped me to identify myself as someone who does not identify with any label, ha. I usually just say I'm gay but honestly I think it's much more complex than that, or maybe it's just way too simple to explain it. I think "trans" has become too much of a deal, like maybe if it just wasn't so talked about it just wouldn't really matter that much.

    I remember my ex-gf telling me this story. She went on a trip to visit a school in another providence. Kids there were poor and got really happy when they arrived. So my ex-gf was like playing with them and one kid asked her whether she was a boy or a girl. She just told him that she was female, and the kid didn't really care, they just kept playing. I remember her telling me how good it felt, like this boy saw through her enough as to ignore her gender.
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    Nov 27 2012: I never had an issue with what is currently called transgendered. I learned many many years ago in school that gender was chromosomally biologically based. But gender identity was on a continuum and where people identified themselves varied. I never assigned good or bad to any of it. It simply is.
  • Nov 28 2012: I now a number of people who are dealing with gender identity issues. In fact, I am one of them. While not everyone can agree on why some people are uncomfortable with their biological gender, it has been proven time and again that allowing the person to live in his or her gender of choice is the best solution.

    I salute everyone who has the strength and courage to address their gender issues. That is not to suggest that anyone with a gender identity issue should move forward into SRS surgery. But the binary of male or female does not cover all of us, and we need to be true to ourselves.

    I know this much: it takes a great deal of courage to move forward and become a visual minority that is misunderstood and at risk of physical injury because the perceptions of who we are has gotten skewed in the popular media.

    At the end of the day, most of us want the same things as the majority: a loving relationship, a good job, and the right to live life as we are as long as this doesn't harm anyone else.
  • Nov 28 2012: "What is your perception of people with gender identity issues (transgendered)"

    How other people choose to live is non of my f-cking business, that's basically my perception.

    "and has it changed in the last 5 years?"

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    Nov 29 2012: My understanding of 'gender identity issues' is that one happen to be of another gender than ones wishes to be. As we have no influence on that at our beginning, this then causes the 'issue'. To me this is a natural process and due to our 'societies' it can become quite difficult in terms of acceptance at times. I have no personal interactions with transgendered people as far as I know of but I would not mind to have them. I don't 'fear' them ... :o)

    To me there is no difference in genders, sexual orientation (besides pedophilia) or transgendered identities as they are all respectable people to me as long they behave that way. Over the last 5 years changed quite a bit in my country in terms of acceptance of the 'abnormal' and the process is still going on in the right direction of 'equality'. We have 2012 and it is about time I think ... :o)
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    Nov 27 2012: Hopefully I won't get criticized for being honest BUT although I have never had a social problem with the transgendered (and I sometimes frequent such clubs because they're an often less uptight bunch than your average "normal" person on a fun night out), I can't help but feel some sort of, i don't know, like some internal unease. I haven't worked out why yet but I am geared to thinking it's a base lack of trust in that if a person is going through such extremes (to me it's extreme) to "change their sex", then what else are they capable of? Would it be easy for them to launch at me, attack me etc? Would that person be more easily offended at something I say than the average Joe Blog? Don't really know yet...
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      Nov 29 2012: The unease is something that I feel you wouldn't or shouldn't receive criticism for, in fact, I think that I somewhat understand where you're coming from and I'm gay btw. You' might be surprised to find that most transgendered folks are really normal and not extreme at all, they just identify themselves as the opposite sex bec. that's how they see their innerselves. What I would recommend is that it might make you feel more comfortable if you try to engage a trans or maybe read up on the subject... It's all about gaining more insight I think.

      Btw, being a transgender may or may not involve actually doing a sex change... Some of my friends do ID themselves as trans but when asked if they'll ever take a biological leap, a lot of them are just comfortable as is. :)
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      Nov 29 2012: Luke,
      I suggest your "unease" is fear of the unknown. You are wondering what they may be capable of? Attacking you? I suggest that most people who are in prison for assault are straight. Are you afraid, or experiencing "unease" with all the straight men you encounter? What might THEY be capable of?

      I agree with up on the topic....engage someone you think may be trans...actually, you probably already have had interactions with people who have different sexual preferences, and you don't even know it because they are people....just like all of us....many of the same feelings, emotions, needs, interests, likes and dislikes as most of us. Many of my friends are gay, bi, and a couple who are trans. I agree with Jou....that biological leap is very traumatic, and a difficult decision to make for some people.

      Nothing has changed personally, because I've had friends with different sexual orientations for many years. For society, I believe it is a good thing that we are now talking about it and exploring something that was kept quiet for too long. I think most people would be surprised to discover how many people they interact with on a daily basis have different sexual orientations.
    • Nov 29 2012: Luke, it doesn't matter that you feel unease, you can't do anything about that because it's probably a result of your upbringing and life experiences. What matters is that you are willing to admit it and choose not to act on it. You choose to vote for the rights of transgender people because your brain knows that the unease your heart feels is irrational and you choose to not pass your unease on to your children, that's all that can be expected from someone in your situation.
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        Dec 2 2012: John,
        I agree that issues with unease are probably a result of what we may have been taught in the life experience from parents, peers, society, etc.

        I also agree that it matters a LOT when a person is willing to talk about their unease and insecurity with an issue, and not pass it on to someone else, like their children.

        I don't agree that there is nothing a person can do about their unease. Don't you think that having more information sometimes helps people feel more at ease with any issue? Knowledge is power? Luke has expressed a fear that "they" may attack him, or be more easily offended at something he says for example.

        If he understands that "they" are real people, sharing the same feelings and emotions as we all are, do you think/feel it might lessen his discomfort?

        I suggest that it is the "head" where the unease resides, because of what he has been taught as you insightfully acknowledge. The mind/brain/thoughts retain the information that has been given to us. In my humble experience, the information coming from the heart/intuition/instinct is generally loving, accepting and not prejudice.....yes? no? maybe?