Today is a day of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community! Today is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). TDOV is celebrated on March 31st every year and was created by Rachel Crandall in 2010. This day is about not only bringing visibility to trans individuals, but also a day for people to show their support for the trans community! It’s main goal is to bring attention to many of the accomplishments of trans people, while also fighting transphobia and cissexism by spreading knowledge about the trans community. This is a day of empowerment and recognition for trans people around the globe!
For a lot of transgender individuals, transitioning can be life or death for them. Living in a body that is not your own or does not correctly reflect who you are can take a tremendous toll on someone’s mental health. This short article provides a short outline of issues that arise for transgender individuals.
Here’s a video I found of someone who is FtM (female-to-male) who documented his transition of his first year on hormones, which is testosterone in his case. What I especially like about this video is not only does it provide some education on the physical changes that come with transitioning, he also talks about the mental changes. It’s evident in the pictures that he shows and the videos that he is much happier now than he was precious to him transitioning. There is some nudity in this video around minutes 3:20 and 4:09, so if you are uncomfortable with that you don’t have to watch or can skip over those parts!
Unfortunately, within the past day the Trump administration has withdrawn federal protection for transgender students. This protection, put in place by the Obama administration, allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and facilities that corresponded with their gender identity. Trump believes that the decisions should be left to the states, which can be a concerning issue for students who live in more conservative states. One student, Gavin Grimm, is a 17 year old transgender student in Virginia that is fighting to use the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity. This case is supposed to go to the Supreme Court, but now with this new ruling it may be taken back down to the lower level courts, giving Gavin Grimm little advantage.
This kind of ruling can have a very negative effect on transgender students. Not being able to use the bathroom that goes along with their gender identity can make them feel even more isolated and cause gender dysphoria, taking a toll on their mental health.
Not only that, but it can also be very dangerous for them. While I myself am not transgender, I dress in a particularly “masculine” way and even though I identify as female people will often mistake me as male. This happens a lot in restrooms and is extremely uncomfortable and unnerving. I have been told countless times that I am in the “wrong restroom” and women have given me nasty looks and hurried out of restrooms when I use it. All I want to do is be able to use the restroom, but because of what I experience on a daily I have come to try to avoid using the bathroom unless I am with female companions. What I experience is no way comparable to what transgender students feel, but I feel as though I can sympathize with them on a certain level compared to other people.
One big argument against transgender students, or people, using the bathroom is that they will harass the individuals in it, particularly women. However, all transgender people want to do is just use the bathroom, just like you and me! They want to be able to do their business and leave, just like the rest of us. What may come as a surprise to many is that you’ve already used the same restroom as a transgender person, probably at the same time! What transgender people want is nothing special. They just want to pee in peace like everybody else. Hopefully one day they will be able to use the restroom they wish without anybody throwing a hissy fit about it.
While Buzzfeed may not be the most reliable new source, I thought they did a nice job of summarizing a study that they reported on on the mental health benefits of binding for trans people. The actual study is cited in the article if anybody would like to learn more about it. Binding is the flattening of the chest to try and create a more “masculine” look. There are many different methods to achieving this look, however many of them are unsafe. For trans people who do not have the money to afford binders they can use unsafe methods of binding like duct tape and ace bandages. The use of ace bandages is a common misconception that tends to be portrayed by the media, but is not something that should be replicated. There are now several companies that are run by trans people that produce binders that safely will bind an individuals chest.
Here’s a video that sheds some of the positive affects of parents accepting their trans children. In the video it states that the rate of suicide of trans kids that are rejected by their families is 58%, whereas if they are accepted by their families it drops down to 4%. Definitely a nice video to end the week with!