Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gender identity

While in Scotland recently, I caught an excellent BBC Scotland documentary, called "Transsexual stories", following five trans women.  This link is to the stories of three of them - the programme itself is still on the iPlayer, but only for ten more days.  There was a lot in the programme that I had never thought about, and I was very glad I had caught it.  One of the five was a bus driver, who had been in the Army, and had attended reunions.  Her former regimental colleagues were very supportive of her, as were her transport colleagues.   Another was 17.  Some of the other residents of her town (unnamed) were less than supportive and less than helpful, but her parents were truly on her side and as supportive as you hope parents would be.  Another was working with college students and had taken part in a stand up comedy evening, to raise awareness and to try to put an end to the prejudice she had experienced when younger.

One of things I had not thought about was the process that people go through to change from the gender that biology has given them, to the gender that they feel they have.  Another was the idea that you would actually not feel at home in the gender assigned by biology, which was definitely something that was true for these five women - they all felt they were women, and not male.  Another was language, and I follow the BBC in referring to these five people as "she" and "trans women".  They had all been biologically male at birth, but felt they were women.  Some had completed the process, others not. 

More recently, there was a fascinating article in the Guardian about transgender children.  A girl who from an early age always wanted to be referred to as "he", and a boy, who as soon as she could talk, said she was a girl.  A fascinating and informative read, which makes reference to:

NHS Choices - Gender Dysphoria

Mermaids - a charity for children and teenagers with gender identity issues

Pace - the LGBT+ mental health charity

And there is also this gender identity information for young people, from Stonewall.

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