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Understanding Transgenderism: — A short blog series by

TREAT Zimbabwe 16 38

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“Brick!” Shemale!” “He-she!” “Inbetweener!” “Imposter!”… These are some the hurtful and derogatory slurs that have been thrown at Trans and gender diverse people. In as much as these terms insinuate…


Gender and Identity

“Brick!” Shemale!” “He-she!” “Inbetweener!” “Imposter!”… These are some the hurtful and derogatory slurs that have been thrown at Trans and gender diverse people. In as much as these terms insinuate that people within the Trans community “do not belong”, the unavoidable truth is… these are people we have always lived with. This blog series seeks to unpack life within the Trans community and all things Trans education related for the masses

In school we had to learn the ABCs before learning and understanding about more complicated aspects. I mean you cannot understand what quadratic equations are without learning prior topics that have a symbiotic relationship with the latter. Likewise, for many learning and understanding about Trans related issues does not happen overnight. This first article in the series will delve into the basic Trans knowledge and information I believe everyone should know and be well aware of.

In essence, the term Transgender refers a person/people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were perceived to be where they were born. Now to understand this clearly, it is important that I clarify that gender is not determined by one’s genitilia (the biological attributes in humans and animals- sex). Genitilia is the external reproductive organs every human being is born with. In some cases this term can apply to the internal structures such as ovaries and prostate.

Now on the other hand, Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between femininity and masculinity.

When we talk about gender identity, this is more of the personal sense of one’s gender. With that being said, gender for one can correlate with their assigned sex (cisgender) or can differ from it (Transgender and Gender non-conforming persons)

Now, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to gender identity. These can range from genuinely not knowing to one’s own bias they have. Most people believe that one’s gender (particularly gender identity) inevitably determines their sexuality but in actual fact, that is untrue. These misconceptions generally lead to and promote gender inequality in regard to the parties being stereotyped -The Trans community in this context.

Sexuality on its own is a broad and diverse spectrum thus a Trans person can be attracted to whoever they like without having to be boxed to the notion of “Trans people are just extra gay people who want to dress up”. The reality is, majority of the gay community (lesbian Bisexual and Intersex included) is perfectly comfortable with the genders they identify and live with- those assigned at birth.

Another misconception that is quite common in regard to gender identity within the transgender community is “trans men are meant to be very masculine, trans women are supposed to be very feminine and genderqueer persons are confused inbetweeners”. The truth of the matter is Trans persons can be feminine or masculine just like any one can choose to. If one identifies as a man, that does not automatically mean that they are meant to act all “macho” and “manly” as what society deems a “man” should be- there is no manual in life to being a man or woman thus one’s identity should not be determined and controlled by the world’s confines.