Who are they?
Transgender people are individuals who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned to at birth. The transgender community are made up a diverse group of people who choose to identify in many ways. In an article, Understanding the Transgender Community, by the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that fights for civil rights for people in the LGBTQ+ community, explains various aspects of what it means to be transgender. Although some may disapprove of labels, many people who are openly transgender identify as many nouns. Stated in the Human Rights Campaign article, Understanding the Transgender Community, “Some transgender people identify as male or female, and some identify as genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, or somewhere else on or outside of the spectrum of what we understand gender to be. Some of us take hormones and have surgery as part of our transition, and some don’t. Some choose to openly identify as transgender, while others simply identify as men or women”(Human Rights Campaign). There are many ways one can identify as and many nouns can reflect a person who is transgender, but it is unique to every individual who identifies as transgender.
What Identity Issues they Face in Society?
With being transgender, there comes a plethora of issues or obstacles that one may encounter. As stated in the same Human Rights Campaign article, Understanding the Transgender Community, they can face lack of legal protection, poverty, harassment and stigmas, anti-transgender violence, barriers to healthcare and identity documents. These are just a few of the many problems one can face if they identify as transgender. Elaborating on these ideas, people who are transgender lack legal protection as there are not many laws that can protect transgender people from discrimination. Additionally there are many stigmas or stereotypes that are formed about transgender people from popular culture that can negatively affect a person who is trans. These stereotypes also put people at risk because people who may have different beliefs may not agree with transgender people and act upon it physically. Lastly, many people of the transgender community lack inclusiveness in documents that force one to choose between options of male and female. All in all, these are just a few of the many problems a person who is transgender may encounter and it varies from person to person.
How do they thrive in the community?
Thanks to women like Marsha P. Johnson, transgender people were able to fight for their rights and be proud of it. Johnson was an LGBTQ+ activist who was an instigator at Stonewall and role model for transgender youth in the past and today. She fought and lived a difficult but rewarding life, to make the United States a more accepting place for LGBTQ+ people.
Many TV shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Pose, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The L Word, and more have represented trans people in a new and inspiring light. These shows have attempted to show that transgender people are just like everyone else and should have those same rights that we constantly take for granted.
An example of a figure in the transgender community that has thrived is Caitlyn Jenner. She struggled with being seen as a figure of masculine with feelings of being in the wrong body. She went through a few phases in the late 1900s where she did try to transition by taking hormones. At some points in her transition, she had lost facial hair and had breast growth but ultimately stopped due to pressure from society and the thought of what her kids might feel if she were to transition. After many years of contemplation, Caitlyn Jenner would take those steps to restart her transition and go through with it. She would then proudly talk about her experience and become a figure for transgender rights. She is still rather successful despite the calls for her to be shamed. She has even appeared in what is now seen as a brave and great accomplishment where she posed for the cover of vanity fair.