how to properly talk about gender transitions?

Transidentity and gender transition are realities that are now more visible in French society. What changes in the rights of trans people? What does it mean to be trans? Is it the same as being “born in the wrong body”? What does this have to do with sexual orientation? Talking about transidentity can be learned …

Trans people have always existed through times and cultures and are now beginning to be more visible in our Western societies, which have long made them invisible. They were and remain victims of many serious misunderstandings and discrimination. What is transidentity? It’s a gender identity that isn’t just about sex, as cisgender people (as opposed to transgender people) too often believe.

Legislation that initiates recognition of gender identity is emerging in the 21st century. In 2019, the World Health Organization is withdrawing what was called at the time transsexualism and “early gender identity disorders” from the list of psychiatric conditions in the international classification of diseases. France, for its part, took the treatment protocol out of the psychiatric field in 2010. But there is still a long way to go for a respectful consideration of the rights of trans people in society. How do you have the right words to talk about and with trans people?

Read also: Transgender people talk about their representation on the screen

Does the term trans mean to be born in the wrong body?

Across our continent, the Transgender Europe association, founded in 2005, fights for the rights of trans people, particularly in terms of civil status changes. In France, the visibility of trans people owes a lot to the psychiatrist Tom Reucher, founder of the Existrans march, but above all, to the strong commitment of trans people themselves. But there is still a lot to do, including understanding the basics.

What does being trans mean? Being a trans man or woman has nothing to do with their sexual orientation. This means feeling that the gender assigned at birth (the famous mention “woman” or “man” on the identity card) is not the one in which we express ourselves, we live. Trans people are, for some, prone to gender dysphoria, that is to say a suffering sometimes expressed by people whose gender identity, gender identity, does not correspond to the gender assigned by society. , based solely on their genitals. This incongruence between sex, gender expression and official civil status can be very violent. Please note, not all trans people suffer from gender dysphoria.

Difficulties in accessing rights for trans people

In some countries, it is possible to take a course to be able to change gender and have it officially recognized by the civil registry. In France, the Defender of Rights published in 2020 recommendations relating to respect for the gender identity of these people. The change of civil status is possible in order to have social and administrative recognition of his transidentity. He sometimes remains conditioned for sex reassignment surgery. Elsewhere, as in Portugal for example, the change is possible without any requirement of medical interventions, in accordance with the recommendation of the European Court of Human Rights.

Advances in rights are tedious, and in some states these rights of trans people are receding. In the United States, Texas, Georgia or Kentucky, policies want to ban sex reassignment surgeries for minors or the prescribing of hormones that block puberty. However, they allow them to avoid heavy medical and aesthetic interventions, but also expensive, in adulthood (such as laser sessions to remove the beard used by some trans women, for example). Moreover, in France, trans people still do not have access to assisted reproduction.

Read also: Stop talking about trans women without trans women: how XY Media wants to change the situation

A change in perceptions of gender

Lexie, a young trans woman who explains on the networks what transidentity is, reminded aufeminin that there is“a lot of hope for future generations, infinitely more sensitive and attentive to these realities which until then were very invisible”. Indeed, trans identities have always existed and are starting to gain media attention in society.

How to talk about it well? You never ask a trans person what sex they have between their legs (you wouldn’t think of doing it with a cis person) or even what name they were given at birth (which is called also the deadname), in relation to the use of his usual first name: that does not concern you and does not teach you anything about this person. To know the questions not to ask, we recommend this video of YouTuber Lyanna Queen, who came to talk about it at aufeminin.

Another important point: the term “transsexualism” is also avoided. Indeed, this term, originally medical, pathologizes trans people, while transidentity has been withdrawn from the international classification of mental illnesses made by the APA, American association of psychiatry. To learn more about these questions, you can also go to the work of researchers like Arnaud Alessandrin and his book Sociology of transidentities, or Karine Espineira. In 2021, in Paris, a media was also created to talk about trans people: XY Media.

Missions: Mathilde is an expert in subjects related to women’s rights and health. Addicted to Instagram and Twitter, never stingy with a good …

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