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Transgender Individuals.docx

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Western University
History 2185
Monda Helpern

March, 25, 2013 Transgender Individuals -Gender stereotypes are very entrenched in out society and men are seen as rational, strong, aggressive, and even violent and even in terms of preferences we attribute different things to them like guns, sports, etc -Women were deemed emotional, weak, passive, and sensitive and these can all be good or bad and they too have likes and dislikes attached to them like shopping, dolls, makeup, etc -The problem is that society had understood these as polar opposites and masculine things and feminine are seen as worlds apart and this is usually a problem for women (if men are strong women are by default weak) -We need to see more sharing of characteristics and we have to examine what happens when a female or male has gender stereotypes of the opposite sex -Masculine and feminine are results of nature and nurture and there is still much debate over which has more influence over gender identity so the existence of transgender people fuels this question and raises interesting questions about what the criteria we use is to determine an individual’s sex -Sex is whether someone is a man or a woman and this is based in biology and sex is whether someone is masculine or feminine and this deals with one’s identity and problems arise because sex doesn’t account for gender identity which can not match up -Transgender people are born to one biological sex but in every other way they feel they belong to the opposite gender and this affects one in 100 to one in 30,000 but it is hard to monitor because some won’t speak out -Studies on this group are very rare and historically speaking this “condition” was seen as an abnormality and some people regard the idea of it as a physiological problem where something went wrong with the physical aspects of the brain and some aspect of it didn’t develop normally equalling sex misaligning with gender -Others see this issue as a psychological disorder where someone was born normal but something psychological happened to cause the misalignment like a childhood trauma or something in the subconscious mind and as a result historically it had been seen as a mental illness but this only recently has changed -Now it is seen as a condition and not a problem and one name for it is gender dysmorphia and gender identity disorder but these terms imply disordered thinking but many times these people are very clear on their identity -There is a third opinion on the cause that labels it a social problem because of our rigid gender roles so when someone doesn’t fit into the category of masculine and feminine they are seen as very odd -People are conditioned to label in this way that people feel they have to fit into one group without any ambiguity and most transgender people live for years adopting traits and identities of the other sex since childhood -Many lived with the condition and tried to add up to the expectations of the other sex but they may also feel they were both genders at different periods and some identify with no gender at all (there are really four forms of it) -Children who don’t identify with the body they were born with are often teased mercilessly so we have to see how to “cure” this because historically that’s what people wanted to do from the 50’s-70’s -They were encouraged by doctors to correct their misalignment and this often happened through gender behaviour modification therapy and they had to act like a man in they were physically and man and visa versa -They chose this method because they felt at the time gender could be moulded and shaped because the physical and biological sex couldn’t be changed but there was a problem with this because although gender is flexible to some extent it is for the most part resistant to change (don’t know if this is biological or societal) -What ended up happening was that the transgender people would try so hard to fit the gender mould only to have it not work and many felt trapped in the wrong body and that is was not their gender that needed fixing but their physiology that needed altering -With medical advancements and new understandings that paradigm has changed dramatically and now they offer the option of changing one’s body to match one’s gender because it was medically easier to change physiology -Many say their gender is their authentic self and their body was what was flawed and as adults many are content to live with no medical intervention and they don’t necessarily want to pursue permanent body changes but there are others who think it’s a life affirming pursuit to have their gender and sex match and they need it to function -This last group go after a range of cosmetic treatments and hormone therapies as well as surgeries to make things match up they way they feel they should be -Cosmetically a man may get permanent makeup or hair removal and take hormones to prevent hair growth and to make their voice higher and some get their genitals removed and some replace it with a vagina and get breasts -Females take hormones to encourage facial hair and deep voice and they remove their breasts and get a penis March, 25, 2013 -“She” and “he” are loaded pronouns and often only go off the physical but that doesn’t address how they feel inside and not all transgender people get all procedures and many pick and choose what to get (depends on money, their own preferences and they have to take in their ability to deal with the pain and healing of surgery) -It is a long, gradual, and painful process and there is a long period of time when they are living on the brink of both genders and this was very physically and emotionally painful and they don’t feel accepted as either gender -One of the first and most celebrated historical cases of a complete sex reassignment was that
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