A Personal Conversation with UNF Community Members Who Identify As Transgender
EOI spoke with Haiden Baier (transgender man) who serves as Program Assistant & Osprey PERCH Fellow in the LGBTQ Center and Jasmine Graham (transgender woman) who serves as a graduate assistant in the psychology department about their experiences at UNF. Both are alumni and were able to speak from both the student and employee perspective. Watch the interview here.
Sex: refers to one's biological status as either male or female, and is associated with physical attributes and external and internal anatomy.
Gender: refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that society considers appropriate for men and women.
Gender identity: refers to a person's internal knowledge of their personal sense of being a man or a woman, or someone outside of the gender binary.
Sexual orientation: describes a person's enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person.
Transgender: term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Transgender Woman: lives as a woman today, but was thought to be male at birth.
Transgender Man: lives as a man today, but was thought to be female at birth.
Intersex: people who have reproductive anatomy or genes that don't fit typically definitions of male or female.
Non-binary: people whose gender is not male or female.
Cisgender: people whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
Gender dysphoria: medical diagnosis for some who experience serious emotional distress that affects the health and everyday life of transgender people created by the difference of their gender identity and their birth gender.
Transgender is an adjective and should never be used as a noun. Never add an "ed" to the word transgender.
Being transgender is not an illness, but many transgender people need to deal with physical and mental health problems because of widespread discrimination and stigma from society. These experiences are not caused by the transgender identity but as a result of the intolerance many transgender people have to deal with from their communities.
When deciding what questions to ask transgender persons ask yourself these questions first:
- Do I need to know this information in order to treat them with respect?
- Would I be comfortable if this question was asked of me?
If the answer to either one is no, DO NOT ASK the question.
NEVER ask about their "real" name.
NEVER share photographs of them before they transitioned.
NEVER ask them what hormones they are or are not taking.
NEVER ask questions about surgeries they may or may not have had.
How many people identify as transgender?
According to the Center for Transgender Equality, there are approximately 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States.
What is transitioning?
This is the period of time during which a person begins to live according to their gender identity, rather than the gender they were thought to be at birth. This process looks different in each person. Possible steps in the gender transition process may include changing clothing, appearance, and name or pronouns used. Some people change their identification documents, i.e. driver's license, passport to reflect their current gender. Some people undergo hormone therapy or other medical procedures to change their physical characteristics and make their body reflect their beliefs about themselves.
How do I know what pronouns to use when speaking with transgender people?
ASK! You can start with informing others of your pronouns first and then asking them what pronouns they prefer. You can wait to see what pronouns are used by others in the conversation and then use the same ones.
What do I do if I make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun?
Apologize and move on.
How To Be An Ally
Educate yourself about transgender issues by reading and educating yourself and by consulting with transgender experts.
Speak out in support of transgender people and transgender rights.
Think about how you use gendered language and use gender neutral language whenever possible.
Push for support and inclusivity, not simply tolerance.
Use the names and pronouns the individual prefers.