Pride month is a time of community and celebration, and none have more reason to celebrate than the transsexual community. The past year has been an exceptionally exciting time for transsexual rights. Only a few weeks ago the Obama Administration lifted a ban on insurance coverage for sex-reassignment surgeries, as well as any transition related care for federal employees. Now, coverage for transitional care falls to independent carriers—who are now faced with the choice to cover transgendered individuals or be labeled a dick hole by this guy:
But Pride isn’t just about celebration. Pride is looking back on the fight and seeing how far we’ve come in the fight for equality. Pride is looking to the future and stoically embracing the leagues we have yet to go before reaching that shimmering rainbow on the horizon.
And honey, the trans-community has a long way to go.
Just last weekend,Trans Pride, L.A. was called to an abrupt end when a bomb threat was called in to the Renberg Theatre where a transgender film festival was taking place. The second bomb scare of the day, organizers decided to evacuate the building “out of abundance of caution and with input from the LAPD.” A few days later, activists in Turkey gathered for their annual Trans Pride in Istanbul amidst a host of protestors. Police kept opponents at bay as the gay community made their way to Tunel Square where they issued a statement: “We will keep on fighting until finally throwing a monkey wrench into your corrupt regime. We will resist and protect gay pride on the streets, in the parks and prisons.” Meanwhile, LGBT advocates are being denied visas to Uganda, where being gay or transgendered is punishable by imprisonment and death.
This is all proof of the ripples the trans-community have made in the social discourse, and the struggles our trans brothers and sisters across the globe still face on a daily basis.
For many people, gender is a black and white issue. For example, I was born male. A gay male, but a cock-bearing male nonetheless. I identify with the dick between my legs. Never have I looked at it thought, “That shouldn’t be there.” But according to the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria—described as distress over one’s assigned gender—often manifests itself during childhood. We see this in the story of Ryland Whittington who, at 6-years old, identifies as a boy rather than a girl. In response, little Ryland’s parents have allowed him to express his gender the way he likes. And to Ryland’s parents I say, “Cheers to you, folks!”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most transgendered individuals. Society assigns our gender according to that tiny, insignificant organ between our legs before we're even pulled from our mother’s body. And with that tiny little cock or vagina comes a shit load of responsibilities. But according to a recent article by Huffington Post, a transgendered person’s most validated sexual organ isn’t what’s between their legs—it’s their brain. As Leslie P. Henderson writes:
“Studies of males and male to female transgender subjects have shown significant differences in the size of specific brain regions, as well as in the numbers of neurons and the chemical signaling systems within those regions. How these differences arise and precisely how they relate to gender identity is not known, but there are differences in the brain that correlate with gender identity. And the brain biology.”
But our culture isn’t set up according to our neuro-biological functioning. Pussy and dick—that is all that matters—and one is more understood and socially accepted than the other. A binary sexual system that serves a singular purpose. And if you have one but identify with the other, society would have you labeled as an “other” yourself—something beyond the scope of understanding.
But we CAN understand it.
At least, we can try.
I’ll admit that I have no idea what it’s like to feel entrapped in the wrong gender. It sounds like a living hell—the scrutiny of family and co-workers; feeling the need to hide behind whatever socially acceptable facet it takes to successfully blend in and go unnoticed as I try to just…live my life. Even within the gay community, the trans-community has had to struggle for a place in the spectrum of pride. It wasn’t until 1994 the gay community even found a place for the T, and even then transgendered individuals found themselves shunned and misunderstood, their issues placed on the back burner in lieu of safer LGBT issues.
Well, today is your day trans-people. Stand up. Make your voices heard. In 1966, three years before Stonewall, a group of transsexuals stood up against oppression in a tiny café in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, California. Today, transgendered individuals are some of the most influential movers and shakers we have in the fight for equality. Don’t stop. Demand freedom and protection each and every step of the way, and force the rest of the world to see you--to really see you--as more than just a walking sex organ. And never stop celebrating yourselves.