Kenya Baker | Staff Writer
For many people, the first time seeing a transgendered person was on an episode of Jerry Springer. While portrayed dramatically on TV, the larger transgender community is gaining more attention as everyday Americans try to understand this controversial group.
Brooke Hull, a freshman biology major from Durham, North Carolina defines a transgender person as “somebody physically born in one gender but emotionally or mentally another gender.”
Her friend Jatori Washington a freshman Psychology major from Bowling Green, Virginia added that the word transgender is used in labeling “someone that identifies as a different gender.”
According to GLAAD.org, the word transgender describes people whose gender differ from the one they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or woman or someone outside of that gender binary.
Due to one’s physical gender not matching the gender they identify with it may cause problems such as depression or body dysmorphic disorder. However, there are certain hormones one can take to help halt and reverse physical gender development. There are also reassignment surgeries to have male or female body parts removed and remolded
The cost of a reassignment surgery, a very serious step in the transition period that many individuals never reach, ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. In addition, just the cost of hormones alone can be pricey because many health care insurance agencies do not cover the costs of the medications needed to reverse gender differentiation..
Aside from healthcare discriminations, trans men and trans women are four times as likely to experience poverty, twice as likely to experience unemployment and four times as likely for unemployment for those that are of color.
Transgender citizens are also more likely to be victims of assault whether it be physical or sexual, a large majority of the victims being of African American descent. In particular, Trans women of color experience higher rates of murder, homelessness, and incarceration.
During her acceptance speech at the Espy Awards, Caitlyn Jenner highlighted the fact that 41% of transgender people have attempted committing suicide. Of that percentage 45% percent of those people either belong to the Black or Latino community.
Kaneidra Lee, a senior liberal studies major from Pine Bluff, AR believes that these high suicide rates in the at-risk community is due in part to the communities societal perception.
“I feel that because they feel bad about how people perceive them, but also the conflict within themselves, the way they see themselves doesn’t match their minds. We’re doing a disservice by forcing them to look one way instead of accepting their minds too.”
Within the past couple of years social media and television has introduced us to many trans women and transmen. Some of them include Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner), actress Laverne Cox, model Amiyah Scott, YouTube star Gi Gi Gorgeous, and TV host and author Janet Mock.
Through these strong trailblazing women the transgender community has gained more societal acceptance than ever before. This growth can continue so long as society gives this community a chance.
The more accepting and open the Unites States is to trans women and men, the less lives of young transgender youth will be lost and the more unity will be found nationwide.