It’s Easy Not To Be Transphobic


Kaitlin Lee, Staff Writer

If you are reading this, I am going to guess you are some sort of cisgender person (i.e. a person whose own sense of gender identity goes with the sex you were born with). Or, maybe you are actually a transgender person yourself! Even if you are, keep reading.

Now, if you have decided to approach this figurative can of worms and are now beginning to wade in, I am going to guess that you are curious about what I have to say about transgender people and their rights. Indeed, America (and the rest of the world) has been rather hostile to transgender people recently.

In America, there have been several state laws passed blocking transgender people from using their preferred restrooms as well as serving as a transitioned person in the war. In fact, according to the New York Times, “troops and recruits… must use the uniforms, pronouns, and sleeping and bathroom facilities for their biological sex. They will not be allowed to serve if they have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a disorder in which a person’s gender identity does not match their physical gender at birth.” So, really, the U.S. Army is rather determined to keep transgender people out as it prevents them from fully feeling comfortable.

Why this prejudice? Why this discrimination? And don’t come after me, saying that being transgender is a mental illness when major medical companies like the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have stated that it is not a mental illness. And don’t come after me, saying that letting transgender people into locker rooms or bathrooms of their own preference is “dangerous” when there have been no cases of harassment or assault from a transgender individual that has been recorded after nondiscrimination laws have been passed. And don’t come after me, saying that transgender people are a relatively new thing when many cultures, such as Pan-Native American, Filipino, Indian, and even Egyptian cultures, have a third gender to identify by. And do not come after me, saying that transgender people are confused when studies conducted by Boston University School of Medicine found that transgender people have a biological link to their preferred gender, suggesting that they’re not confused.

If I sound angry or frustrated in this, it is because I am. If we are truly the Land of the Free, why do we ignore the rights of transgender people? We block them from living out their true lives, we treat them as if they are predators, and why do we treat them without respect? I’m frustrated because some of my closest friends are transgender, and I’m worried, and I’m angry because it seems as if our country doesn’t care about them.

So, finally, if you’re wondering how to not be transphobic yourself, I’d recommend several things: one, keep all of the facts I previously stated in mind, and two, just be there for your friend or family member or co-worker or whoever has come out or just is transgender. Treat them as you would treat any other human being. If they ask you to use certain pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them, xe/xir, etc.), use those pronouns. And even if you think it’s weird, you’ll soon realize how amazing and great a person they can be outside of being transgender. After all, they’re human beings. And isn’t it easy not to hate another human being?

Photo courtesy of SIMBI.COM