- They are confused souls
Absolutely not! Transgender is a broad term for people who realise their gender identity is different from what they were assigned at birth. They’re not confused. The gender they feel inside is just not the same as their body on the outside. They can be men, women or inter-sex.
Just because we have fixed notions of being men and women doesn’t mean that people can’t feel differently. Being transgender is not an ‘either/or’ situation. They have a gender and they know very well which gender they belong to. It’s not transgender people who are confused, but people around them who are only used to mainstream gender identities.
- All of them are gay
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two completely different things. Gender is what a person feels he/she belongs to. Sexual orientation depends on which gender a person is attracted to. It is not necessary that a transgender person has to be gay. Also, one cannot say that just by looking at them.
- They are mentally unstable
Being transgender isn’t a mental illness, it’s just your identity inside. The male dominated world can make transgender people feel ashamed of who they are, and that can be very traumatic. That means they often need emotional assistance and counselling. But in no way are they mentally unstable or psychiatric cases.
- Only drag queens and crossdressers are transgender
Drag queens are usually gay men who like to dress up as women and make it a part of their performance or for the purpose of entertainment. Crossdressers on the other hand can be discreet or open about the fact that they like to wear clothes of the other gender.
Mostly this term in India is used for men who like to dress up as women and are attracted to men only. But that doesn’t mean that their genders are different from what was assigned during their birth. Transgender people have their permanent identity and it doesn’t change with their clothes.
- Being transgender is a choice
Like sexual orientation, gender identity isn’t a choice. It’s the way you feel inside. Just like it’s predetermined for any other gender or sexual preferences. You don’t choose to be a man or a woman, right? Or whether you’re attracted to men or women? It’s just who you are.
- All transgender people need to undergo surgery
Undergoing surgery is a personal choice. Not every transgender person feels the need to do it. Some might feel more comfortable staying the way they are. And for others, the most important thing is to take hormones. If you take either male or female hormones your body will develop either masculine or feminine characteristics. For some people, that’s enough. Other people find it important to transform their bodies more completely, so they want to go ahead with surgery.
This article was first published on 3rd June, 2016.