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Old 01-24-2013, 11:49 PM   #1
nighttimer
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Thumbs up A Transgender Girl's Letter to the President.

President Obama made history when he referenced Gay Americans in his second inaugural speech.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” Obama said.

11-year-old Sadie liked what she heard, but thought the president hadn't gone far enough and had excluded people like her, a transgender girl struggling for acceptance.

She decided to write the president a letter:

Quote:
Sadie's Dream for the World.

"The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

Transgender kids like me are not allowed to go to most schools because the teachers think we are different from everyone else. The schools get afraid of how they will talk with the other kids' parents, and transgender kids are kept secret or told not to come there anymore. Kids are told not to be friends with transgender kids, which makes us very lonely and sad.

When they grow up, transgender adults have a hard time getting a job because the boss thinks the customers will be scared away. Doctors are afraid of treating transgender patients because they don't know how to take care of them, and some doctors don't really want to help them. Transgender patients like me travel to other states to see a good doctor.

It would be a better world if everyone knew that transgender people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and want to go to school. Transgender people want to get good jobs and go to doctors like they are exactly the same. It really isn't that hard to like transgender people because we are like everyone else."
I admit I largely uninformed and unfamiliar with the problems of growing up transgender. This may be an assumption on my part and if it is, please pardon my ignorance, but often it simply seems to be the "T" in LGBT is an afterthought and the specific issues of the trangender community is lumped in with gays, lesbians and bisexuals, but are not always addressed or given sufficient attention.

If I'm wrong in that presumption, please feel free to correct me.

Both Sadie and another young lady, Jazz, who was profiled by Barbara Walters on 20/20 are doing their part to challenge misconceptions about who they are. Sometimes it's good to realize how much you don't know about people and how much more you need to learn (and unlearn) about them.

I am awed and impressed by the courage of these young women as they attempt the simple dignity of living their lives.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:51 PM   #2
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"...as they attempt the simple dignity of living their lives." Just had to applaud that turn of phrase.

Should never be too much to ask. But of course it often is.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:21 AM   #3
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This is a pretty awesome story, and that's an awesome little girl. And for the record, the Obama administration has done a few helpful things for transgender people, but it'd be nice to have more direct mention. (I have the correct gender on my passport because of Hilary Clinton's change in policy, for instance.)

And yes, we do tend to be forgotten a lot. Many people simply don't realize that "transgender" isn't a sexual orientation, or that laws to protect gay people routinely don't help transgender people, or that trans people are still banned from the military and DADT didn't help that. So they just assume "gay" includes us. (Of course, for some of us, it does--trans people can have any sexual orientation, like anyone else.)

It's also good that so many trans kids are brave enough to talk about it. I'd say the majority of mental trauma and physical deformity that trans people suffer from being unintentionally abused comes before adulthood, and people need to understand that early treatment is usually the best way to help trans people live mentally and physically healthy lives. But kids who talk about it have to be brave, because there's always some ignorant armchair doctors who babble about "how can someone that young know?' and "I bet the parents forced this on them by not being strict on gender" and other crap like that. Heck, just about every version of this article I've read had some of those people in the comments section. It's hard enough to come out as a trans kid without having adults cheer for child abuse and suggest that you should be mutilated and mentally abused because they're too ignorant to read a book or two.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:09 AM   #4
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Transwomen, in particular, get it from all sides. The far right, obviously. But also from the LGBT and second wave feminists. Most radfem communities I've seen don't allow transwomen because the argument (which is becoming rather obsolete) is that they have lived most of their lives with male privilege and therefore regardless of how they identify, are male agents of the patriarchy.

Gay men often distance themselves from the 'T' in LGBT because of the already pervasive stereotype of gay men as men who simply wish to be women. I can somewhat understand the mix up, as I've met a lot of people who simply identified as gay or lesbian because they weren't aware of trans as an option. They'd use the terms, but never feel quite comfortable with them. But that's less common than it was as well.

I think gay rights is the "easier" issue for sure. It's much easier to convince Americans that two adults they don't know should be allowed to marry than it is to convince them a trans(wo)man should be allowed in the bathroom with them, especially when so many don't even know what transgender means.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:13 AM   #5
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I think to some extent, trans people get overlooked because there are more LGB people, and the concerns they face are not always the same as the concerns that trans people face. I think there are a lot of people who want to be inclusive and feel like they are, but they end up focusing only on the issues that they, personally, can relate to (or that their friends can relate to). I don't think it's always intentional, or malicious. While trans people share some concerns with LGB people, there are also issues that are fairly distinct, such as access to public bathrooms and the ability to make decisions regarding transitioning.

However, I think there's also a lot of intentional sweeping aside of trans people. In the past, especially, there could be a lot of hostility toward trans people who tried to be a part of gay and lesbian movements. And radical feminists have, traditionally, not been welcoming to trans women. These days, "LGBT" is taken for granted a lot of the time. But thirty years ago, I don't think inclusion of trans people was as acceptable as it is now.

These days, I think a lot of the big lobbying groups shy away from endorsing trans rights because it's seen as risky. I think there's a perception, which may be right, that legislation that focuses only on LGB people has an easier time of passing than legislation that includes trans people.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:26 AM   #6
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I've heard A LOT of complaints from trans* folks about LGB 'throwing them under the bus'. I don't assume bad faith on anyone's part, just pragmatism, but then, I'm not living it and I'm far from an expert on the subject.

Popular acceptance for trans* folk seems to be gaining a lot of traction these days--with gay rights basically decided (it's hard to imagine the current social trends not continuing), I think folks have started moving on to the next big social justice thing. So that's heartening. But unfortunately, the parents in America are by and large a conservative lot. (If breeding habits are any indication, liberals are an endangered species.) I don't know what this will do long-term to the country's political climate, but as far as trans-kids are concerned, their parents are unlikely to be sympathetic. And that's tragic.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:31 AM   #7
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I wonder whatever happened to the concept of freedom of choice. I'm no expert on transgender individuals, but it's their life and no one else's. Everyone should have the right to choose what's best for them. This young lady got my respect for her letter and I applaud her for it.
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