GLBT National Help Center Blog

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Archive for the ‘T’ Category

THE POLITICS OF PASSING

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Here at the GLBT National Help Center, we’ve seen a fairly dramatic increase in the number of people who are contacting us to discuss gender identity issues. In 2013, 1 out of 6 of our conversations had to do with that. It’s wonderful that so many more people are reaching out to discuss this.

At the same time, we have seen an increase in an attempt at positive trans visibility within the mainstream media (which basically means from virtually zero visibility to something a little more than that). But within this visibility, we are seeing a trend developing, particularly in the depiction of trans women. Ads for Marriott have featured a glamorous trans woman, the District of Columbia city government has run ads showing two beautiful women, and the cover of Time Magazine did the same.

And while visibility is good, what’s not so good is that we are getting a very one-dimensional view of what a trans person is. In effect, according to these depictions, a trans person to be held up as a role model, and imitated, is one who can absolutely, positively, pass.

And that simply isn’t the reality for many trans people. At least not based on the definition of what passing means to the media.   According to this, in fact, you might not even really be transgender until you look unmistakably like the gender you feel. And of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

We’ve seen this same separation happen within other parts of our community before. For lesbians, an “acceptable” person to the mainstream media was a lipstick lesbian. For gay men, it was someone who wasn’t too effeminate, and if you were a gym rat, even better.   Outside of our community, the African American community has had to deal with those with “light skin and straight hair” being viewed in a higher social status than those without those traits. This has helped none of us.

So let’s hope that as the transgender community finally is given the visibility it deserves, that we don’t allow others to define us, and determine for us what is considered trans. It diminishes us all.

Written by glbtnhc

October 29, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Posted in T

He’s Roscoe!

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Please read this great article from Matthew Carnahan, the creator, executive producer, and writer of “House of Lies” about creating the young character of Roscoe who is “based loosely on several children I’ve met over the years whose gender identities have come differently from those of the majority of their peers.”

It’s an interesting read about how best to think about children who might identify as transgender (as themselves).  It also speaks to the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.  In its most simple form, gender identity is the gender that you identity as, and sexual orientation is the gender of who you are attracted to.

Check it out here.

Do you have questions about what it means to be transgendered?  Please call or start a chat.

Written by glbtnhc

March 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

Posted in Media, T

Chaz Bono

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By now most of America has heard that Chaz Bono, the son of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, is on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”  This has been deemed a controversial move for the show as Chaz has transitioned so that the outside of his body reflects the gender that he knew he was on the inside.  Click here for a definition of transgender or transsexual.

Sadly, and somewhat incredibly, there has been quite a bit of backlash about this casting choice.  Some Americans have expressed disapproval of Chaz, simply because he is transgendered.  Here at the Help Center, transgendered callers tell us that they hear many of the same criticisms in their day-to-day lives that Chaz is experiencing on a national scale.  And although we are barely into the season, Chaz is handling the pressure with strength and dignity.

We at the Help Center applaud Chaz’s willingness to be public, and know that he is helping other trans youth and adults learn that they too can live their lives in a way that is healthy and honest for them.  And oh yeah, we also admire his dance moves.  Chaz is certainly his mother’s son!

If you are transgendered and want to discuss other’s reactions to your gender identity, call us, email us, or chat with us.

Written by glbtnhc

September 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Media, T

The “T” in GLBT

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The biggest trend in calls that we’ve seen in the last couple of years is the increasing number of calls from those who identify as transsexual or transgendered.  Later entries will deal with some of the issues these callers are facing, but first some terms should be established.

“Transsexual” and “transgender” are often used interchangeably as terms to describe a person who does not identify with the gender of the body he/she was born with.  The terms change with the times, so it can be confusing for callers who are looking for a term to match their personal situation.

Currently, “transgender” is more of an umbrella term to describe all of those whose gender identities are at odds with traditional gender roles (feminine/masculine), including but not limited to those who cross-dress or identify as genderqueer.  “Transsexual” describes specifically those who identify as members of the gender opposite to that assigned at birth.  A person who identifies as transsexual often lives as and is accepted as the gender he/she feels is right for him/her.

There is also confusion around gender versus sexual orientation.  A feminine man is not necessarily homosexual.  Nor, of course, is he necessarily transsexual, but the ideas of homosexuality being associated with men who behave in traditionally feminine ways or women who behave in traditionally masculine ways confuse the issue.  It is often revelatory to callers that just because they might feel feminine or masculine, that has nothing to do with their sexual attractions.

Written by glbtnhc

July 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

Posted in Definitions, T