Trans rights are always on the LGBTQI+ community’s agenda, not least because this demographic group is considered one of the most vulnerable among the general population. Not only do trans people experience disproportionate amounts of violence and discrimination, but recent statistics from Stonewall also revealed that 45% of trans young people have attempted suicide.
Much of this is due to unfounded myths and misconceptions about the trans community.
Misconception 1: There is a link between gender identity and sexual orientation
There are two separate spectrums for sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning that a trans person might identify as either gay or straight. What their gender identity is has just as little to do with their sexual orientation as it does for cisgender people (people who identify as the gender they were born with).
Misconception 2: Transitioning is simple
Transitioning from one gender to another is a process that takes years, whether a trans person decides to medically transition, or not. Many trans people lament how difficult it is to overcome their own ingrained transphobia, and how difficult it is to truly live authentically.
Misconception 3: All trans people go through a medical transition
Some trans people decide to undergo a medical transition – which may include hormonal treatment and surgery – but not all members of the trans community medically transition, for reasons ranging from lacking access to treatment, to deciding not to do so for medical reasons. Not having medically transitioned does not make a person any less male or female.
Misconception 4: Trans people suffer from mental illness
While there is certainly evidence that the trans community does face mental health difficulties due to the many challenges they may face in day-to-day life, gender dysphoria (feeling one’s biological sex is opposite to one’s emotional and physical identity as male or female) was reclassified as a medical condition, but not a disorder by the both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, along with various other global governments and organisations.
Misconception 5: Trans people are dangerous
Perhaps the most dangerous misconception about trans people is the one that labels transgender people themselves as dangerous. This issue comes up every time gender-neutral bathrooms are planned somewhere, but there is no evidence supporting the claims that trans people pose a threat to anyone. In fact, the statistics about violence against the trans community reflect the exact opposite.