I am sick and tired of the bathroom bill debate, I don’t debate anymore, I lay out the facts, and walk away. Trans is a gender, and we shouldn’t ever discriminate against genders, period.
We don’t even know how many people are transgender. Sure we have poor estimates, but the fact is that our numbers are not accurate, at all. That hasn’t stopped the rash of unconstitutional, punitive, and discriminatory “bathroom bills” from popping up across the US, from Arizona to North Carolina, like nasty warts.
Transgendered people have long been baselessly maligned as deviants, predators, frightening disgusting individuals because of what we now know is a difference, not in their genitals, but where it truly counts — in their brains.
From the abstract of “Structural Connectivity Networks of Transgender People” (emphasis mine):
Although previous investigations of [transgender] people have focused on regional brain alterations, evaluations on a network level, especially those structural in nature, are largely missing. Therefore, we investigated the structural connectome of 23 female-to-male (FtM) and 21 male-to-female (MtF) transgender patients before hormone therapy as compared with 25 female and 25 male healthy controls. …
Specifically, our data suggest that network parameters may reflect unique characteristics of transgender patients, whereas local physiological aspects have been shown to represent the transition from the biological sex to the actual gender identity.
Not in some trans people studied, in all of them, and not in the cisgendered (non-trans) people at all. And their brain scans were predictive of physiological aspects which are gender specific, that is pretty big. That means that the things we know to be gender specific, like the sense of smell, were that of the Trans person’s stated gender regardless of the genitals they are born with. Simply, Gender is dependent on your brain, not your naughty bits (so stop obsessing about what is in their pants already).
Transgender people aren’t non-conforming males and females, they are, in fact, conforming to an identity we can see if we look below their skin. They are also able to tell us, clearly, what that identity is, many from the time they are very young, and knowing this it is our job to accept it. This isn’t about feelings, it is about facts. This isn’t about mental defect either, just difference.
According to Scientific American:
Trans people have brains that are different from males and females, a unique kind of brain. It is simplistic to say that a female-to-male transgender person is a female trapped in a male body. It’s not because they have a male brain but a transsexual brain.
Feelings are the reason that we are currently facing bill after bill demonizing and restricting the rights of trans individuals. We are literally demonizing a naturally occurring difference in humans, not a disease, not an auto-immune disorder, just their gender.
This isn’t about gender dysphoria — as it was coined by psychology BEFORE the brain research was done — these people aren’t simply unhappy, they are different and perfectly imperfect as they are.
As it was put by Nat Paul, a Transgender Survivor’s Advocate:
Intersex children are born with both sets of working gender organs…(archaic was hermaphrodite) to accept a child can be born with both working gendered organs…..one MUST also be able to accept as in nature there are all variants of those from male to female and everything in between up to and including intersex. Since we know there are 3 biological spots on that spectrum….why is it a struggle to accept there are variances of those others?
There are no cases of assault or abuse by trans people in public bathrooms to prompt such laws, though there are such types of cases against republican lawmakers. Yet, we are curtailing people’s rights based on feelings, arbitrary religion, and lack of education. We are not educating people on facts, thus allowing ignorance, bad and misleading assumptions of binary sexuality and gender, and religious dogma to control the discussion and it is breeding rampant transphobia right into our actual laws. This is probably not going to be easy to change, but it must change.
Such problems will only change painfully and over time, however once we are aware of it, we are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. I choose to be part of the solution, that is, spreading the correct information and putting people’s preconceived ideas to the test, teaching and standing up for Trans people.
In school, everywhere, many kids are being treated like emotional freaks and disgusting human beings (violent, scary, predatory…). This is exacerbated by the fact that such laws exist, curtailing normal freedoms that we all have because Trans people might lose control and start flashing their junk everywhere or get rapey. Which has NEVER happened.
On a personal note: the privacy issue is bunk too because I have yet to see another woman’s vagina in an American bathroom. There are risks to entering a public restroom, and statistically, the people we should fear are overwhelmingly straight, cisgendered people.
Those are the same people that Trans people have to fear also, and at much higher rates, trans people are sexually assaulted at a rate of 1 in 2 , around 50%. For comparison, a cisgendered woman’s odds of rape are 2.1 in 1000.
I will get off my soapbox, but this is a real thing and a lot of people trivialize it, misname and misgender trans people, belittle and fear what they don’t understand, and that is why so many kill themselves. 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide, (compared to 4.6 percent cisgendered) due to the societal pressures, bullying, and hatred they are exposed to throughout their lives.
We already have a firm scientific grasp on the fact that there just may be a third, transitionary, type of gender, that of people born with a transgendered brain (or having developed those characteristics through environment or nurture), it is time to become part of the solution: education about what gender really is.
Feature image via Flickr