I’ve been Transgender my entire life. I’m finally living the way I’ve always felt inside and I’m learning a lot about what other people think it means to be trans. I’ll be using this space to talk a bit about my trans journey and what being transgender means to me.
Transgender is defined as denoting or relating to a person who does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. Due to colonialism, the gender binary we know today, Male or Female, dictates several laws, processes and policies. Harm caused by this binary can be seen throughout history.
At least since the 1950’s, doctors performed harmful “gender normalizing” surgeries on intersex infants to make their bodies appear more “female” or “male.” Psychologists defined both gay and trans identities as mental disorders but couldn’t agree on the nature or cause of disorder for decades, finally de-pathologizing homosexuality in 1973. Only as recently as 2018 did WHO de-classify being transgender as a mental illness.
People know exactly who they are and telling them that they don’t in any form is harmful.
There are a lot of people, including people who are trans themselves, who still believe in the gender binary. The gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system, cultural belief, or both simultaneously.
There are a lot of people who believe even if you are trans you must choose and take part in the binary in order to identify as trans. They believe people who refuse to choose should not be allowed to identify as trans until they do. There are also people who believe you should not be able to identify as trans unless you partake in Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) and Gender Affirming Surgery.
We have existed before the binary and will exist after.
I am Black and Sāmoan. Sāmoa is the oldest of the Polynesian cultures with its settlers’ estimated arrival being around 2900–3500 years before the present (1500-900 BCE). Sāmoan is believed to be among the oldest of the Polynesian tongues and is closely related to the Maori, Tahitian, Hawaiian, and Tongan languages. The Sāmoan language has several words for trans people, with the most prominent being Fa’afafine and Fa’atama.
The belief that trans people and the language to describe our experiences are new could not be further from the truth. It brings me so much joy to have the language needed to describe myself and to know that it’s available longer than I’ve been alive and will be available when I’m no longer here.
If you “saw” yourself in this piece, please know:
-You are are worthy of love AND respect
-There is nothing wrong with you
-You deserve to be happy
-Your word is out there
-You are trans enough
If you saw someone you know in this, send this their way and remind them they are not alone. It takes a lot to live authentically and I hope one day we all can. If you took anything from this, please support the mission. 💜