Sex and Gender

Over the last few years, the Transgender community has stepped into the spotlight. And it’s about time! The Transgender community has been left in the shadows for so long. And for so long, so many of us have been fully aware of them. They are among our family and friends. And we embrace them and appreciate them and respect them because we know they deserve nothing less. Unfortunately not everyone feels this way. And I hope it’s just a matter of confusion. So I’ve gathered up as much information as I could find to share with you. In hopes, that you might understand a little better and hopefully share what you didn’t know.

Very recently, Bruce Jenner announced his transition in the very popular Diane Sawyer interview. Bruce has transitioned into a woman named Caitlyn Jenner. She debuted her new name and new look on the cover of Vaity Fair this week.

For most this can be difficult to understand. How do you properly address a transgender person? Is this person heterosexual or homosexual? There are many things we may be unsure of. And of course, the last thing anyone wants is to offend. So here are some key things to remember:

  • Transgender means a person was born with a male sex organ but feels they are female and not male. Just the same, a person born with a female sex organ can feel they are male and not a female.
  • A persons sex is determined by their sexual organ. A penis or a vagina.
  • A persons gender is not the same as their sex. Gender is determined by the brain. This is why some men feel they are female or some women feel they are male. But it is not limited to just those two identities. Between them there are so many other identities that a person may naturally feel.
  • When you address a transgender person, always use a pronoun they identify with. It is important a person define his or herself. If you are unsure, it may be best to use they’re name until you are certain. In some cases, until the individual is certain.
  • A transgender person is not automatically gay or lesbian. Some men will transition into a woman and still be sexually attracted to women. Or they may be attracted to men. A woman transitioning into a man, may be attracted to men or women. This factor is completely separate from a persons gender identity.
  • It is NEVER acceptable to ask about a persons genitals. No matter who the person is. If and when a transgender person decides to have any kind of surgery, it is their business and no one else. Every person is different. It’s best not to make any assumptions.

Transgender people have been and will continue to be strong contributing players in society. Despite the difficulties they face from a culture that’s too quick to reject rather than embrace differences. And it’s important to ask questions as well. Here are some more resources that can help with any other questions you may have.

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