We didn’t choose this, plus four other things I wish the world understood about being a transgender person

Hana Mohan
Jun 25, 2018 · 5 min read
Image courtesy — https://goo.gl/zQz8j1

I have been transitioning for two years, and it still amazes me that more than eight out of ten times, I am the first transgender person people I meet have talked to. A lot of the times they have questions, and I am happy to answer them. I am probably not going to see a lot of these people again but there is a good chance they will see another transgender person sometime, and I hope that my answers will help them have a more productive and kind conversation with the next one. Here are five things I wish more people knew about the trans existence

We didn’t choose this

It isn’t about our genitals

Countries like India need to stop forcing people to have surgery to change their legal identities. It encourages everyone to focus on our genitals and gives them a license to ask us these questions and mistreat us. Not everyone wants or can afford to have surgery.

We are not half man/half woman

I understand that many minorities have to go through this and if there is a silver lining to this experience, it’s this understanding and empathy. Please don’t call us he/she or worse, it. If you are unsure, please use the gender-neutral pronoun them or even better, ask us. I use she/her by the way.

Trans women were always women, and trans men were always men

I sometimes walk and will ask people walking their pet what he is called. I am immediately corrected that her name is Poo. If you find it strange to have your pet misgendered, please imagine what it must feel like for us to be misgendered. We are here to stay, and you will see more and more of us around. It would benefit everyone if you spent some time learning the basics of interacting with transgender people.

Transitioning is a luxury most people cannot afford

I often have friends talk about other transgender women and tell me I look so much better than them. How they look like a man. Please don’t do this. It is not a contest. If anything, it’s more like a lottery. You could be born privileged enough to transition early, privileged enough to afford transition, privileged enough to live in a country where you can transition. No woman wants to hear that she looks like a man. We are no different. When you ridicule one of us, you are ridiculing all of us.

These biases and misunderstandings need to go away. They lead to discrimination and mistreatment of transgender people. If we have to educate one person at a time, it is still worth it. Please take the time to learn a little more and correct others you know when they act from a place of misinformation or prejudice. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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