Thursday, January 19, 2017

Getting To Know Us

Many LGB people do not know anything about us. Some don’t want to learn, some don’t care to learn about us, some know about us and some want to learn more about us.

I know of many lesbian and gays do want to learn more about us and they support us, case in point…
What I learned writing my transgender book
An Irish social worker’s journey of understanding and the testimony of a trans man: ‘The hardest bit at first was saying it out loud’
What I learned writing my transgender book in Irish social worker’s journey of understanding and the testimony of a trans man: ‘The hardest bit at first was saying it out loud’
Irish Times
By Declan Henry
January 19, 2017

As a gay man, I became interested in transgender issues for two reasons. The first was that before I started researching the subject I did not know any trans person and the second was that I wanted to discover the real reasons why people are dissatisfied with their gender and seek to change it. I wanted to speak with people who were transgender and hear their stories. I wanted to demystify the wrongful image that the media have portrayed of people having “sex change” operations on a whim.

Writing this book took me on an extraordinary journey. I contacted LGBT support groups who put me in touch with trans people and organisations before I travelled all over Britain and Ireland interviewing trans people and listening to their life experiences first-hand. I utilised my social worker skills to help me find out why there were women and men who felt uncomfortable with their gender and sought to change it. I discovered the prevailing reason prompting trans people to change is because of incongruence between their brain and physical body. After deciding to transition they often discarded years of emotional agony and unhappiness.
There is no doubt about it, transgender people are becoming more visible in society because more and more people are coming out and transitioning earlier in life than in previous decades. It is estimated that in10 years’ time, most people will know a transgender person, just like everyone currently knows somebody who is gay, lesbian or bisexual. By that time, much of the current curiosity and fascination surrounding trans people will have waned because it will have become the norm for people to say they have trans relatives, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

I take great pride in knowing that I have written a book that will help bring about greater understanding of trans people and clear up senseless misconceptions and discrimination – for those connected to the LGBT community and those who are not.
I remember being asked to take part in a discussion with lesbians who wanted to be allies with the trans community and I thought “Wow! This is going to be a good step forward.” It was a good discussion and then the host had to burst the bubble. She said all the positive things about struggling for our rights together and working for inclusion of the trans community into the LGBT community, then she said…

“But I don’t think that I could ever love a trans woman.”

When I asked her why she said because trans women are not women.

And I thought,  just another women who doesn’t get it.

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