Understanding The Transgender Society
What does being transgender mean? The public has to be educated on the variety within the transgender community and the right, courteous methods to communicate about it. You might already know the answer to the question, or you might believe you do. However, with the knowledge of the transgender experience growing.
With his latest film, “Just Gender,” activist and filmmaker George Zuber takes on that problem head-on. The film explores the various dimensions of the transgender experience and the day-to-day realities of transgender people. This month, in honor of LGBT Pride Month, the movie is being screened all throughout the country.
“Just Gender” dispels a number of common myths, including the following: gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same; cross-dressers are included in the transgender spectrum; the transition is not a one-size-fits-all procedure; and it need not include surgery.
After serving as a diversity leader and being active in local and national LGBT groups, Zuber says, “I realized that I knew nothing about the transgender community beyond probably the same stereotypes and misconceptions that most people held.” Zuber realized that what he didn’t know had significant implications.
“I reasoned that if I can know so little after serving in various jobs, think about how little most people undoubtedly know.”
Here, Zuber addresses genderqueer, explains why focusing on whether transgender people have had surgical transition is hurtful, and reveals what transgender people most want others to understand.
They are striving to develop their own language, which is probably typical of what happens to communities when they emerge and become more noticeable to the rest of the world. Therefore, not every transgender person accepts the terminology we employ in the movie in its entirety. Having said that, I believe the term “transgender” and the way we use it to describe the wide variety of persons who have these experiences are probably the more popular approaches.
In the movie, we define Transgender Society as those who have an intrinsic urge to express their internal gender identity in a way that deviates from social standards for the gender to which they were biologically assigned based on physical characteristics.
Others need to express themselves more regularly, while some only occasionally or in the seclusion of their own houses. Cross-dressers are often persons who simply express themselves by donning clothing from the opposite sex, donning makeup, or doing other similar activities. People who feel they have a fundamental urge to achieve congruence between their internal sense of gender identity and their exterior body are referred to as transsexuals and are at the opposite extreme of the scale. And I might add that for many people, even in that category, transitioning is a multi-step process rather than a one-step one.
They are not abnormal. We must acknowledge that the phrase “gender identity disorder” was just recently dropped as a “disorder”; I’m talking about less than a year ago. Before that time, even within the professional medical community, such word implied that it was more of an ailment that needed to be treated.
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