Presented to you as I presented them to my students in Introduction to Queer Studies.
- Cis (i.e., cisgender) refers to people who identify with their assigned sex and gender at birth. If you’re not trans, you are usually cis and have cis privilege.
- Someone who is a trans man, for example, is usually best seen as someone who was always a man. (But sex/gender is also fluid for some.) This would be someone who a doctor or nurse announced as “it’s a girl” upon birth (AFAB).
- Just as sex and gender are separate from each other and separate from sexual orientation, being cis or trans is totally separate from sexual orientation. A trans woman is a woman and can be asexual, bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual, pansexual, etc. Additionally, a hetero cis woman dating/etc. a trans man is still a hetero cis woman.
- Estimates suggest that 1-2 percent of the population is trans (me talking here: it’s probably MUCH higher, when the full spectrum is acknowledged).
- Trans identities fall on spectrums; “trans” is an umbrella term. Trans people are those who are often (but not always remember “this is a love story between a woman and her body”) uncomfortable with their (birth-)assigned sex and/or (birth-)assigned gender. Trans people are queer people by definition, at least academically speaking.
- Drag performances/performers are separate from trans and/or cis.
- Regardless of being cis or trans, an individual’s biological sex changes over time and according to one’s activities, surroundings, and environment. e.g., Men who take care of children will be biologically more “female.” Women in the Army will be biologically more “male.”
- Biological sex is defined by over a dozen different factors that all exist on a spectrum. So-called “men” and “women” and others have far more in common than not.
- Trans identities can include people who are “transgender” — androgynous (male and female gender presentations), genderqueer (neither male or female presentations and/or identities and/or rejects binaries of gender), etc. ANDinclude people who are “transsexual” — people who do not identify with their assigned sex, who feel they are in the wrong body, and typically seek medical treatment. People who are intersex (both more distinctly male and female biological parts) are also part of the trans spectrum.
- For some trans people elements of social mores are sometimes, partly, involved in their identity – society doesn’t allow for “easy” movement around the gender binary. For instance, there would be less trans people, per se, if people could simply live and dress, etc., as they wanted to without fear of violence and death. Additionally, just as people are not “born” gay, people are not “born” trans. But, it’s ALWAYS about much more than clothes.
- Some trans(sexual) people have surgery, some don’t. There are many different types of surgery a trans person may want to have: “top” and “bottom” being most common. There are many different medications available to trans people, especially estrogen and testosterone. Some trans people don’t want either.
- Comments about any person’s ability to “pass” or “look like” any given sex/gender are usually inappropriate. Transitioning, if desired by the person in question, is an on-going process.
- Even if not realized, everyone has meet and seen trans people. There is no way to tellif someone is trans. Also, if a person identifies as trans, they “look like a” trans person, per se.
- More than other people, trans (and genderqueer) people tend to have conflicted relationships with pronouns (“he,” “she,” as well as “they,” “ze,” etc.) and with their “birth name(s),” “dead name(s),” and/or “chosen name(s).”
- Many, but not all, trans people and allies find the term “transgendered” to be offensive – a few say it is more accurate. Some people find “transsexual” to also be offensive.
- Just as aspects of the early women’s movement excluded lesbian women, such as the Radicalesbians, trans women were also excluded. Adrienne Rich, an important queer theorist, was transphobic. She thought that transwomen appropriated the identity and body of “real women.” TERFs continue to “hate against” trans people.
- Trans people frequently have at least some internalized transphobia, just as non-heterosexual people have some internalized homophobia. Such might be feelings of not “looking” “masculine” or “feminine” “enough” or “in the right way,” for example.
- Trans people, according to the DSM, are considered to have a “mental disorder” – “gender dysphoria” specifically. Although, the DSM now provides ways to help trans people seek desired medical treatments. And trans people are not mentally ill.
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda
Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives