Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ch 8: The Sliding Scale of Gender - We all just want to be ourselves



   Once again I say hello to my avid readers, though you are few now I hope that this blog provides ongoing help to current and future generations of transgender individuals,

     So, tonight I would like to talk about the state of gender dysphoria in the United States, I recently came across a lot of statistics that shocked and appalled me.  I'll start by letting you know I was looking up my workplace rights and came across a site that explains the change and what we as gender dysphoric individuals go through.  It is meant as an employment guide, but I found it very informative in other areas and as a social guide as well as a workplace policies type of guide.

       "Within a year, as I read more, and spoke with others within the LGBT community and health professionals, I realized that the initial words that I had been provided simply did not fit who I am, or my medical reality.  Those words made me seem like two distinct people, transitioning from one to the other.  Words that described me first and foremost as a psychiatric problem, a person with a mental disorder.

   What I quickly learned is that I am the same person I have always been.  I did not have a psychiatric condition; I had a correctable physical condition.  Looking back, after a period of time to reflect, these stark findings ring true even more so today," (http://www.acc.com/accdocket/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=1287371).  The original ideas of being considered transsexual leads people to believe and are often confused as the term has many different meanings but the root of the word in the second part involves sexual, and is often lumped with homosexuality.  When in reality being trans-gender or trans-sexual merely means in the process of moving from one gender to another and has no connotation in terms of sexual preference or any true link to homosexuality.

    Now, just before I met my wife in my alone state with my fantasy games I was going through these questions myself.  I took a Human Sexuality course that I found very informative and helpful, and was beginning to wonder if I was indeed gay or a homosexual?  However, the feelings inside were different than others and I was able to recognize this, I've always been able to make friends easier with women and I often wondered why, but this in and of itself did not really mean anything.  But these innate feelings within myself had me wondering and I wrote an entire paper on the basis of exploring the possibility of being gay and was offered information to reach out to the LGBT community in that area.  However, at that time, I shortly met my wife to be after this and once again put things on hold, because I loved this woman and if I loved her then how could I be gay or anything to do with LGBT?  I was confused, but tabled my ideas as I had found something I believed was more important than myself, the love of another.

    The following is a chart showing how everyone in the world could be considered to have some male and female within them.  We all have different levels of testosterone and estrogen and gender needs to stop being viewed as one or the other but are more on a sliding continuum:

Physical Sex (Biological Anatomy)
Male ------------------ Intersex ------------------ Female
Gender Identity (Psychological Sense of Self)
Man ---------------------- Two Spirits ---------------------- Woman
Gender Expression (External Presentation)
Masculine ---------------- Androgynous ---------------- Feminine
Sexual Orientation (Romantic/Erotic Response)

Toward Men -------- Toward Both/Neither -------- Toward Women
(http://www.acc.com/accdocket/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=1287371). 

    The more I read about our condition and the more I learn about 'my' people meaning common transgender individuals the more I feel like we as a people being transgendered are ripe for the next social movement for equal rights.  And here is why:  "Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn: in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors' offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers," (http://www.transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf).

     Below are just the findings for economic insecurity mostly to do with employment and discrimination.  However I refer you to the website listed as the source to read further on the other statistics found out of the approximately 6,500 respondents the survey sampled.  Now keep in mind this is just based on those who were able to be contacted, I have to believe the numbers may even be higher for cases that have gone unreported, statistics on suicides and successful attempts that no one knows the cause for or that go unreported in official record.  And then the vast majority of us who have hid for so long and tried to 'fit' in with normal society that no one recognizes us as anything different than what we appear to be. Again the website I'm referring to is: http://www.transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf .

"ECONOMIC INSECURITY 
            • Double the rate of unemployment: Survey respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population at the time of the survey,5 with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.

              • Widespread mistreatment at work: Ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.

              • Forty-seven percent (47%) said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

               • Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming and 50% were harassed.

               • Large majorities attempted to avoid discrimination by hiding their gender or gender transition (71%) or delaying their gender transition (57%).

               • The vast majority (78%) of those who transitioned from one gender to the other reported that they felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved, despite high levels of mistreatment.

                • Overall, 16% said they had been compelled to work in the underground economy for income (such as doing sex work or selling drugs).

                • Respondents who were currently unemployed experienced debilitating negative outcomes, including nearly double the rate of working in the underground economy (such as doing sex work or selling drugs), twice the homelessness, 85% more incarceration, and more negative health outcomes, such as more than double the HIV infection rate and nearly double the rate of current drinking or drug misuse to cope with mistreatment, compared to those who were employed.

                • Respondents who had lost a job due to bias also experienced ruinous consequences such as four times the rate of homelessness, 70% more current drinking or misuse of drugs to cope with mistreatment, 85% more incarceration, more than double the rate working in the underground economy, and more than double the HIV infection rate, compared to those who did not lose a job due to bias," (http://www.transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf).


to be continued...



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