Why are we so afraid of our transgendered sisters and brothers? I think it’s because we live in a society that has refused to acknowledge them. We have kept them cloistered and far away from our world. We have tried to ignore them; refused to educate ourselves about them; and confused them with cross-dressers, drag queens and other assorted gender-benders. If we ignore them, they don’t exist.
It seems the media only reports on transgendered people when they are prostitutes who end up in the press for cavorting with well-known actors, like Hugh Grant and Eddie Murphy, or when they are famous like Chaz Bono and Renee Richards. Some of us think they are mentally ill. Most of us don’t really know what they are all about, and don’t want to know.
This week’s news that Miss Universe Canada, Jenna Talackova, was removed from the Donald Trump Miss Universe pageant, brings home all the issues we are afraid to talk about.
Are men and women who transition to the opposite sex, gay or lesbian? What does sexual orientation have to do with gender identity? Are people really “born in the wrong body” or is their perception skewed by childhood sexual abuse or other traumatic events?
First of all, not all people who identify internally as the opposite gender transition to a new identity, however, the ones that do are called transsexuals. Transgendered people are just like the rest of us: they can be heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian. Their sexual orientation is not linked to their internal genetic identity.
While the American Psychological Association refers to a condition called “gender identity disorder”, not all transgendered people have this disorder, only those who are psychologically impacted by their situation resulting in severe stress, anxiety, depression or other anti-social behaviors.
Medical researchers posit various theories on why some people are transgendered. We know that our gender is based on chromosomes: XX for women and YY for men. We also know that some people are born with both male and female genitalia.
Other medical experts opine that fluctuating hormones during pregnancy may affect gender; others link gender identity to brain structure. No one in the medical community believes that transgenderism is a chosen behavior.
Jenna Talackov is a beautiful woman who began her gender journey at the age of four, when she realized she was a girl. At fourteen she began hormonal treatments and had surgery five years later. She competed with 65 other women and won Miss Canada. That she fits the Trump beauty queen mold is unquestionable.
Like other genetic anomalies, such as Downs syndrome, education is the key to understanding. Can you imagine a pageant contestant with Downs syndrome being ushered out the door? Never. We must look discrimination in the face and affirm it has no place in our lives.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang