The essay titled “Transgender Discrimination” includes such parts as the expanded introduction, the main body and the conclusion. The general points of the essay are the following: the overview of the notion ‘transgender’; its characteristic features which can be reflected in several categories of transgender group; the explanation of such notions as ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’; transgender discrimination issues; and psychological state of transgenders. The introduction reveals the notion ‘transgender’ and the peculiar features of transgender categories. The main body presents the information about transgender discrimination. Antidiscrimination laws, in the majority of states and cities of the USA, do not protect transgenders from discriminations on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. As a result, in a lot of states and cities, transgenders meet discrimination practically in all life spheres. Transgenders can also have the additional identities, which may influence types of discrimination. The collision with the discrimination can provoke the strong psychological stress, which makes transgenders think about reasons of such discrimination – their gender expression and gender identity. The conclusion introduces the fact that it is rather important to understand that transgenders are the part of the society and have to be treated as all other representatives of the same society. Transgenders are members of different sociocultural groups and there exists no universal image of them: they can look and behave differently, have different opinions and values.
Key words: transgender, sex, gender identity.
Transgender is the common notion for those people, whose behavior or self-expression does not correspond with their sex at birth (Clarke et al., 2010). Gender characteristic of a person belongs to inner feeling of whether he/she is man, woman or someone else; gender expression can be described as the method by which a human being displays his/her gender identity with the aid of style in clothes, behavior, voice, body peculiar features or haircut. Although, the notion ‘transgender’ is the common one, not all people, whose behavior or appearance do not conform to their sex, are transgenders (Currah et al., 2000). Conceptions, about transgender people, in academic and scientific circles, and in popular culture, are constantly changing in view of the increase of knowledge and the accessibility of information about life of transgender persons (Tompkins et al., 2015). The existence of transgenders was registered in a great variety of aboriginal nations in western and eastern cultures and communities since antiquity till nowadays. Nevertheless, the meaning of gender disparity, in different cultures, can vary.
Many determinations come under the notion ‘transgender’. The notion ‘transsexual’ is intended for people, whose gender identity differs from their biological sex. Often, transsexuals want to change or change their bodies by means of hormones, surgeries or any other methods to approach the type, which corresponds to their sex characteristic. The above-mentioned process of change, with the aid of medical intervention, is called the change of sex or gender and, for some time past, it is called the sex confirmation (Mizock & Mueser, 2014). There are, also, who wear clothes, which are thought out to be clothes of the opposite sex in their culture. Wearing clothes of the opposite sex is the form of gender expression: it is not necessarily connected with erotic activity and does not testify to the sexual orientation (Nadal et al., 2014). Genderqueer is the notion denoting sex, which is neither male nor female: it is something medium without pronounced boundaries. Such people often ask not to be addressed with male and female forms; instead of this, they prefer the alternative forms of address. Some genderqueers do not think about themselves as about transgenders (Balsam et al., 2011). The other categories of transgenders include the following notions as ‘androgyne’, ‘third gender’, ‘multigender’, ‘two souls people’ and ‘dissociable gender’. The exact determination of these notions depends on a person; in the course of time, it can be changed, but often it embraces the mixture or interlace of sexes. A certain amount of people, who use these notions to describe themselves, considers that the traditional notion of sex is quite limitative (Tompkins et al., 2015).
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different notions. Sexual orientation belongs to romantic, emotional or physical inclination of one person to another one; while gender identity is the inner feeling, which gives the possibility for people to feel as man, woman or someone else. Transgenders, as the majority of people, can have the traditional sexual orientation or to be lesbians, gays, bisexuals or asexual. Usually, transgenders define their sexual orientation using gender identity. For instance, transgender woman, a person born as a man, who has inclination for other women, will identify herself as lesbian or homosexual woman (Currah et al., 2006).
Antidiscrimination laws, in the majority of states and cities of the USA, do not protect transgenders from discriminations on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. As a result, in a lot of states and cities, transgenders meet discrimination practically in all life spheres (Reading & Rubin, 2011). The year of 2011 witnessed the report “Injustice at Every Step”, by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, which confirms tough and widely distributed discrimination among transgenders (Currah et al., 2006). This report shows, that transgenders collide with the high level of discrimination in such spheres of everyday life as job placement, public health services, housing, legal system, own families and education issues.
Transgenders can also have the additional identities, which may influence types of discrimination. Groups with such additional identities include transgenders among representatives of ethnical, religious or racial minorities; transgenders among seniors or youth; transgenders among lower social-economic society levels; transgenders with limited possibilities etc. The collision with the discrimination can provoke the strong psychological stress, which makes transgenders think about reasons of such discrimination – their gender expression, gender identity or perhaps, all together (Mizock & Mueser, 2014).
According to the results of research, the common influence, of biased attitude toward transgenders and racism, has especially serious consequences. People, with the other color of skin, experience more difficulties in the comparison with white-skinned transgenders. A lot of transgenders become victims of crimes on the basis of hatred; they, at the same time, are victims of the hidden discrimination, which embraces such factors as sidelong glances, flashes of disapproval or discomfort from aggressive questions about intimate body parts (Nadal et al., 2014).
The psychological state of transgender is thought out to be the mental disorder only in the case, when it is the reason of suffering or disability (Reading & Rubin, 2011). Many transgenders do not feel discomfort from their gender; it means that the identification of such people is not the mental disorder. The considerable problem for this category of persons is the search for available resources, such as hormonal treatment, consultation and social support, necessary for free expression of gender identity and discrimination minimization. Many other obstacles can lead to suffering, including the rejection by society, unconcealed or disguised expressions of discrimination or open attacks. These facts lead to the point that transgenders suffer from depression, anxiety and other disorders more often than people, who do not belong to transgender group (Balsam et al., 2011).
It is rather important to understand that transgenders are the part of the society and have to be treated as all other representatives of the same society. It is worthy to learn problems of transgenders by reading corresponding books or, maybe, consulting with experts. Transgenders are members of different sociocultural groups and there exists no universal image of them: they can look and behave differently, have different opinions and values.
Transgenders feel their gender identity in various ways and can understand their transgender nature at any age. Some people can trace early signs of their gender characteristic right up to the earliest memories (Clarke et al., 2010). They are able to have the feeling of own disparity to people of their biological sex or, they can have the specific wish to be a person of the opposite sex. Others may learn about their gender characteristic while being teenagers or later. Some people take their identity; at the same time, others suffer from shame and confusion. Those, who decided to change the gender role in more senior age, had tried all this time to correspond to their biological sex and, as a result, were not satisfied with life in general. Some transgenders, especially transsexuals, feel strong dissatisfaction with own biological sex, physical sex characteristic features or gender role, connected with this sex. Such people, often, are targeted to make sex correction (Nadal et al., 2014).
Every transgender stands the process of gender change differently. In this connection, a lot of factors can define the way of a person’s life style and his/her wish to express gender identity. The first important step here is to find the qualified specialist in the sphere of mental health to get help while identifying own transgender nature. The qualified specialist can give orders or direct to other specialists. At the same time, it can be useful to have connection with other transgenders by means of groups of mutual aid and public transgender organizations. Transgender discrimination is the daily problem, which needs to be accepted by society and successfully solved.
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