The significance of acknowledging transgender identities has always been apparent to some, but an article published via MedicalXpress highlights its significance even further.
The New York Times published a story in October titled “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.” Depicting efforts from the Department of Health and Human Services, the story addressed a new legal definition of sex, under Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law, forbidding gender discrimination in educational programs that receive government payments.
The MedicalXpress article, originating from The Conversation, is by Bethany Grace Howe, and she describes the new definition as a move that would “define sex as determined solely by the genitals that a person has at birth, strictly male or female, and unchangeable.”
Howe observes and studies how media influences transgender identity across the U.S., with her travels being funded by the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation.
“From my prior research, I knew The New York Times story would produce negative emotions among transgender people. So, I conducted an online survey of more than 100 transgender people in the 72 hours following the story, to ask how negatively the story affected them on a 7-point scale. This was followed by a question about how painful those emotions were,” Howe states in the article.
Over three-quarters of survey participants said they felt as though their identity was “under increased threat,” Howe writes in the article.
Howe had an open-response question in her survey, asking what sort of emotional impact transgender people experienced after reading the story in The Times. Shock, horror, and a sense of uncontrollable doom are a few of the answers Howe received.
“Ten days after the story ran, Trans Lifeline, a national grassroots organization, reported that calls to their suicide hotline had increased 400 percent,” Howe said.
Having minored in Women and Gender Studies during my time in university, I have come to recognize how profoundly transgender people struggle, and continue to struggle, in contemporary society. They face challenges many of us will never know, yet they face adversary, prejudice, hate and exclusion on a daily basis.
Who are we to judge? So long as someone is content with their identity, why should it bother anyone else?
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