Becoming Transgender

In the Transgender subreddit on Reddit, I found this picture posted as the third post from the top for the month.  It is from about a week ago, humorously titled “Why I Hate People”:

The picture shows a screencap of a stream of facebook comments with names whited out (we’ve all seen these before).  The focus of the picture is a poster who has a red equal-sign gay rights profile picture and some opinions on trans issues that really give truth to the idea of gay and trans rights not always being fully compatible because some people who feel they are deeply involved in the entire LGBT community are not as involved in the “T” part as they think.  This poster in particular, misunderstands a couple of major things about trans rights that sadly many people also commonly misunderstand.

One of the biggest problems with her post is her first line – “That’s a very sweet child, but no 6 year old is psychologically ready to become transgender.”  Become transgender – there is so much error in this idea, but sadly it is not too uncommon.  So often being trans* is spoken of in terms of a change which occurs within a specified amount of time, rather than being talked about as the complex thing that it is.  As Susan Stryker has talked about, it sometimes is a lifetime of change and discovery, just as many people’s journeys with other things are.  If more people could hear narratives like this, perhaps they would be able to understand being trans a little bit better.

The woman in the screencap then states a general rule which she believes should apply to everyone, “I believe no one under the age of 18 should become transgender.”  Her reasoning for this general rule is her own personal insight into the situation, which is actually sheds a lot of light onto her entire post, “I have a 6 year old that likes to pretend he’s a girl.  I am nowhere near ready to even consider it.  He’s 6!  He’s pretending.  It’s part of being a kid! . . . No way my kid is going to be a transgender while in elementary school.  I think that’s ridiculous.”  She can admit her own denial and personal issue, but she continues to project her own feelings both on her own child and on others, gaining many thumbs up and praise from fellow posters.  Saying that “no way” her child is going to be transgender in elementary school is pretty presumptuous of her.  He might already be trans* – it’s not really in her control.

Everyone has their own issues with denial, whether they are about themselves or their children, but they shouldn’t spread their misinformed opinions justified as personal experience around.  If people could work to include trans topics of conversation, maybe people could learn and understand better.  Misinformation is spreading just as accurate information is.

-Chrissy Goss