Laverne Cox isn’t “confused”

Quit Saying Transgender People Are Confused

Given all the press various states are earning these days over their poorly thought-out and rashly legislated “bathroom laws,” many people are openly expressing their thoughts about transgender people online and they’re voicing their thoughts louder than ever before. Hopefully, we can take one particularly malicious slur against trans people off the table here quickly. You see the point being made all over social media right now that transgender people don’t need “special rights” just because they’re “confused” about their identities.

Transgender people aren’t confused. If they were confused they wouldn’t be able to figure out which gender they wanted to be from one day to the next. If you’ve spoken to any number of transgender people, you’ll know that they have something in common: Like most gay people you’ll speak to, transgender people typically began to realize who they are when they were children. As they continue to understand and accept that they are transgender, they simply become more confident in their belief. But there’s no confusion: A transgender woman, for example, simply appears male at birth but feels quite certain she’s female from a very young age.

If you’re still convinced that transgender people are “confused” or immoral people, who simply need to straighten up and fly right, you now have to ignore plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are a number of scientific studies, which begin to help us understand transgender people. This Scientific American article is as good a place as any to start researching the subject.

Causing further confusion for some is the fact that transgender people — like you and I — can be either gay or straight. Something else, they are usually intimately and decisively aware of. That’s difference between gender identity (“I’m male!) and sexual orientation (“I’m straight!”). It’s not something they’re typically confused about either. But they may not enjoy being asked about it for the same reason you might not enjoy being asked repeatedly if you were gay or straight. (GLAAD answers some additional questions about transgender people here.)

So transgender people aren’t confused. If you think they are, you may just be confused about what being transgender really means. Transgender people — like every other member of the LGBTQ community — are simply human beings representative of the wonderful diversity of existence. Here’s to the day when we approach that fact with curiosity and awe instead of fear and confusion.

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