Module 6: Transgender
Definition: Transgender is an umbrella term to refer to anyone whose gender identity does not necessarily match the one assigned at birth. The term trans* is often used as a synonym to transgender, as it is a more encompassing and less constraining term for anyone who transgresses gender.
Definitions of groups within the transgender umbrella:
- Androgynes identify as neither male nor female or as a synthesized combination of both.
- Cross-dressers are people who wear clothing often associated with the opposite sex. This can be done for a variety of reasons including personal comfort or entertainment.
- Drag Kings and Queens dress and act as the opposite sex for purposes of public performance and entertainment.
- Genderqueers characterize themselves as neither male nor female, as both, or as somewhere in between; they often challenge the binary construction of gender and may also identify as any of the other transgender identities.
- Transsexuals are people who live as the sex opposite to what they were assigned at birth. They may use medical treatments and procedures to help them live as their identified gender.
Statistics and Facts:
- Transgender individuals have existed throughout history and across cultures.
- Only 13 states, including Iowa, have gender identity protected under hate crime laws.
- In 2009 in the US alone, 300 transgender people were killed due to hate crimes and/or discrimination.
- Studies conducted between 1996 and 2006 by Williams Institute regarding workplaces:
- 20% to 57% of transgender respondents reported having experienced employment discrimination at some point in their life.
- 13% to 56% were fired.
- 13% to 47% were denied employment.
- 22% to 31% were harassed.
- 19% were denied a promotion based on their gender identity.
- According to the 2007 School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN across the US and Washington DC area:
- 38.4% of students feel unsafe at school due to their gender expression.
- 8.7% felt unsafe because of their gender.
- 66.5% were verbally harassed at school.
- three in ten students (30.4%) reported being physically harassed.
- 14.2% reported being physically assaulted because of their gender expression.
- 31.3% of the students that did report these incidents to their school's staff say that their school did nothing in response.
Issues affecting transgender people:
- Transgender people often face discrimination and violence because of their gender presentation.
- Often official documentation does not reflect their identified gender or preferred name.
- Transgender people often have trouble finding employment because of discrimination and/or a lack of matching identification.
- In rigidly gendered places such as locker rooms, public showers, and bathrooms, transgender people often face harassment and/or violence because they do not fit in with society's standard definition of male or female.
- Transgender people face unique medical issues such as surgery or hormone replacement therapy that are rarely covered by insurance.
- Many medical practitioners are unwilling to treat them for either trans specific issues or general medical issues such as injuries or cancer.
Important information for allies regarding transgender people:
- Do not make assumptions about a trans person's gender, sexuality, or lifestyle based on physical appearance.
- Be aware of how each individual identifies and respect that identity. This includes using appropriate gender pronouns.
- Refrain from asking overly personal questions regarding trans people's bodies and sexuality.
- Do not ask a transgender person anything that you would not ask a cisgendered person, which is to say any non-transgender person.
- Speak up when transphobic remarks are made.
- Provide a safe space for transgender people.
- Defend them when their identity is challenged by others.
- Never out transgender people to others without their permission.
Avoid using derogatory terms when referring to transgender people; these include tranny, she-male, 'it,' he-she, faggot, and dyke.