Unfortunately, it seems we live in a very dysfunctional society with a flawed and scary sense of morality based on outdated religious beliefs that cherry-pick much of the original writings to promote control by fear. These are purely my musings melding with life experiences and some research - I do not have the answers but feel like giving my perspective may be a gateway for others to also use critical thought around some of these matters.
It's important to note that people don't "decide" to become transgender. Rather, individuals who are transgender have a gender identity that differs from the sex assigned to them at birth, and may experience gender dysphoria, a feeling of discomfort or distress that can occur when a person's gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth.
There is no one specific “cause” of transgender identity, and it is likely the result
of a complex interplay of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Though some research suggests that transgender individuals may have differences in brain structure and function compared to cisgender individuals. It's important to note that being transgender is not a mental disorder, and the World Health Organization removed "gender identity disorder" from its list of mental health disorders in 2018.
Personally, I have experienced both body and gender dysmorphia at various stages of my life. Do I fully understand the experiences I have had with them? No. Am I saying that my experience is the norm and everyone is the same? No. Everyone’s experience and depth of understanding, they have for their own experiences vary greatly. Personally, my own body and gender dysmorphia are the result of trauma. Can I pinpoint all of the trauma and the source? NO but I also understand that it is that traumas can range over multiple reincarnations of a soul. I have worked very hard to embrace my own personal journey, heal what I can, and find balance between my feminine and masculine side - because in my opinion we are both, not one or the other.
I often hear that queer/trans identity and well… even ADHD/Autism spectrum are a modern plague. However, these behavioral traits are nothing new and may have been around forever. As languages change, evolve, and at times re-emerge, terminology for these traits morph with the evolution of language and documentation is destroyed to perpetuate an often, very one-sided view-point to promote one group of people rising to power and being able to assert control over others. As an example let’s look at the term “two-spirits” associated with trans indigenous peoples of North America. “Two-spirits” is actually a fairly modern term. It was popularized in 1990 to replace the term berdache which was a derogatory term developed by the colonizers and perpetuated by anthropologists to define indigenous sexual and gender practices that did not match their Western viewpoint. Dating further back, there are many more terms that can be found across indigenous languages referring to those of mixed-genders and queer identity. In other words, there is nothing new or modern about being queer, trans, or being on the ADHD/Autism spectrum (I’ll be discussing this in greater depth in a future post). Has there been an increase? Maybe and that’s a totally different topic that I could spiral off on - but the main thing to focus on is we are gaining clarity around all of these topics and there's a need to promote equality.
Regardless of your beliefs or understanding of these topics, it’s important to support and affirm individuals who are queer and transgender of all ages and ethnicities, because it is time to recognize - EVERYONE has the right to live as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and stigma.
There are so many charged topics around the trans community being able to participate in society equally and access the proper healthcare to make their lives more authentic, happier, and fulfilling - and here are my hot-takes - again these are purely my observations and musings on the topics to open dialog and increase understanding - not stating facts or saying these are the best solutions.
I’ll start with BATHROOMS - If you travel abroad gender neutral bathrooms are quite common and there’s nothing weird about it all - and as a person that has often worked in male dominated environments - and also had a intense need to go the restroom but someone had either locked the door, completely trashed the space, or is taking FOREVER - I’ve went to the “wrong” gender restroom more times than I can count.
It is an understandable concern for those with female reproductive systems to be concerned for their safety in restroom and fitting rooms - but that has nothing to do with a person's gender orientation or what is under their clothes - it has more to do with a person (not just those with male reproductive systems) being able to control our most animalistic behaviors and take responsibility for our actions - this must be taught at a young age. Unfortunately, we live in a society that negates personal responsibility.
Absolutely no one regardless of age or gender should be made to feel uncomfortable in these or any space - and once we learn that it’s about self-control and accountability rather than what’s in our underwear the better off we will be.
On a similar topic - what about transgender athletes? Our current gendered system of separating athletes is failing and no wonder - there’s many factors at play here. Under the current system it is easy to take advantage of having higher physical performance and ability simply by changing gender orientation. Are all trans athletes playing the system? No, I do not believe that is what is taking place but it is truly a valid concern by those who are affected. Is there an easy solution? No - but it’s something that needs to be reconsidered, dismantled, and rebuilt. One solution may be to base competition trials and tryouts on body size, physical ability, and past performance rather than gender.
Healthcare in general is one of the areas we truly lack support and understanding on the matters of reproductive health and gender identity - across the board. For those of trans identity - the healthcare system has become a warzone. Testosterone and Estrogen treatments are being restricted heavily and this is not just affecting the mental and physical health of the trans community but it is also causing those with medical conditions to not be able to gain much needed access to the medications they need. And this leads into one of the biggest topics of conversation - should children/teenagers be allowed to undergo these treatments or physically altering surgeries? I believe that should be left to the parent and child to decide the level of maturity and address underlying issues that may be leading wanting to make these changes. Why? Because adolescence is a very tumultuous time for a young person and the decisions we make at that age are purely based on immediate need, often not accounting for long term repercussions and issues that might appear further down the road. But ultimately I think it’s best to provide support and unbiased guidance on these topics when you have anyone traversing gender identity and exploring the process of body alteration.
And as far as public banning events featuring the queer & trans communities as well as making it illegal to dress as the “wrong” gender - pleaseeeeeeeeeeee!!!! (don’t even get me started on the reason I often wear “men’s” clothes - uhm quality and durability to do the tasks I need to do - are we really repeating history right now?!?!?!) It is honestly completely laughable and reveals the ongoing issue that is really at play -
people are uncomfortable with their own sexual identity and are hiding behind outdated beliefs that perpetuate misogyny, racism, and a myriad of other issues. What we actually need to be addressing are the issues created when we repress our sexuality and authenticity also while removing all personal responsibility.
If you’ve made it this far - I applaud you - these are some tough and triggering topics for many, I get that. Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts - I've wanting to get some of these thoughts out and onto paper for a while - and I appreciate it if you have something to add to this conversation from personal experience with your own journey or in an educational manner please do.
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Gender dysphoria. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gender-dysphoria/symptoms-causes/syc-20475255 ↩
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 ↩
Scientific American. (2017). Why are some people transgender? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-are-some-people-transgender/ ↩
European Society of Endocrinology. (2017). Transgender brains are more like their desired gender from an early age. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/eso-tba051717.php ↩