Ever since I first realised that I was a part of the transgender community it has seemed incongruous to me that our group should be included under the LGBT (LGBTQI+) umbrella. That is not to say that there aren’t valid reasons for those of us who don’t conform to societal binary “norms” to be grouped together in recognition of our shared struggle, indeed we all gain strength from our unity. But as you will see I find it leads to a lot of misrepresentation about us, our needs and our our desires.
Before I begin in earnest I’d like you to read this article as I will be referring to it during my little tirade here.
The above article is a classic example of where “transgender” is automatically, and erroneously, included in discussions about sexuality without the author giving it a second thought. Just pause a moment to look at the heading area of the article.
The article is purely discussing sexuality and yet the picture selected to head the article shows symbols for heterosexual, lesbian, gay and transgender. Nowhere, and correctly, in the article is transgender mentioned as a sexual preference, so why include the symbol?
This may seem to be nit-picking over a choice of image, but the relevance goes deeper into the way we are misrepresented and misunderstood in society.
I say again, being transgender has NOTHING to do with sexuality!
sexualitysɛkʃʊˈaləti/nouncapacity for sexual feelings.
- “she began to understand the power of her sexuality”synonyms: sensuality, sexiness, seductiveness, desirability …
- a person’s sexual orientation or preference.plural noun: sexualities“people with proscribed sexualities”synonyms: sexual orientation, orientation, sexual preference, leaning, persuasion …
- sexual activity.“sexuality within holy matrimony was only justified as a necessary part of reproduction”
As long as the transgender community is primarily identified as falling within the LGBT banner this misconception is likely to prevail.
Whilst I don’t think we should entirely disassociate ourselves from our comrades-in-arms in the LGBT+ community, I do feel it is time for us to stand more on our own two feet in order to break down this misunderstanding and spread the word more concisely.
Gender Identity is a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex. Nothing more, nothing less.
The “sexuality”, “sexual preferences”, etc. of the individual concerned are of no relevance, and while the general public fail to understand this primary difference our progress toward greater acceptance in the community at large will forever be impaired.
The increase in general Pride events over the past few years is great to see, but within the context of this discussion it is wonderful to see events such as TransPrideScotland taking place at the end of this month, where we can stand as an independent group in our own right to further try to enhance public awareness of our unique place in society.