Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How do you treat transgender people?

English: From the female and male symbols. Int...
English: From the female and male symbols. Intersexual or transgender. ⚥ Unicode U+26A5 Male and female sign; hermaphrodite Русский: Композиция из женского и мужского символов. Символ транссекусализма. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being female has always felt right to me. I am comfortable with the gender I was born into. Not everyone can say that. How are you supposed to act around people who don't feel right living the gender they were born into?

I heard about the recent incident on Cake Boss where Carmen Carrera, a former contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, was promised to be called "she" out of respect for her transition into female life. That's not what happened, and she came away from the show feeling disrespected. This is very important to her because she wishes to be a role model for those like her.  There has been an apology, but not before a tweet referring to Carmen as "it." (Cake Boss’ Star Apologizes To Carmen Carrera) I say "her" and "she" when referring to guinea pigs as does my friend when referring to her hens. A human being deserves at least that much respect. (To clarify, whatever a person's biological gender, it is most appropriate to refer to the gender the person is expressing.)

On Earth, I see so much disrespect for people who don't conform to gender norms. I'm really at a loss to understand the obsession with maintaining such rigid gender norms. Gender is not a black and white concept (if anything really is.) If you truly believe that humans were created that way, consider that a small, but significant, number of babies are born with the physical characteristics of both genders. (Most doctors believe in immediate surgical alteration in such cases, but such decisions should probably be left with the person who will ultimately be living a lifetime with the consequences.)

People here on Earth tend to feel very uncomfortable with the idea of a transgender person flirting with them. Men in particular don't like the idea of being "tricked." First, it's always a bad idea to worry about what's in the pants (or under the skirt) when you first meet someone. Second, everyone (regardless of gender or sexual orientation) has had someone they are totally incompatible with or just not interested in flirt with them. There's no reason to take anything like that so seriously.

On my home world, people almost never feel the need to surgically alter themselves or take high doses of synthetic hormones in order to be the gender where they feel they belong. Gender identity is not entirely based on physical characteristics so it is very possible to be a gender other than the one you were born into without permanently changing your body. Everyone simply accepts people being who they are. Not every world makes it so easy on people who don't physically "pass" as the gender they are living.

On other worlds, people go through very dramatic alterations to change genders, sometimes more than once in a lifetime. (But most people do ultimately feel drawn to one gender.) I do feel strongly that everyone should be able to look into a mirror and love what they see, but it always has to start within.

Anyway, diversity is beautiful and nobody deserves disrespect. You have a saying that goes "Don't judge a book by its cover." It's way past time to live it.

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