This election is arguably the nastiest in modern history. 2016 in general has been an interesting year in terms of humanitarian progress and setbacks. This particular post is going to cover a lot of ground in a rapid fire approach.
I had the opportunity to conduct a Q & A with 2 transgendered people that I know personally. I asked questions that I was personally curious to know the answers from their perspectives. Alexander Genrich and Rey Ursery both kindly obliged to answer my questions.
Q: When did you know that you were transgender rather than gay?
Alex: I knew around age 14-15 because I did more research into what it meant , but I didn’t want to come out because I was afraid of what my family would say/think.
Rey: Since Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are separate parts of the human experience I will address them separately. I realized that I was transgender in December of 2012 (meaning simply that the way I felt about my body did not align with what my biological assignment was). My sexual orientation or “gayness” to simplify it, was in no way impacted by my choice to verbalize my trans identity.
Q: What is your stance on the bathroom issue?
Alex: personally, I should be able to go into the bathroom that I identify as , just like any other human being . I think it is ridiculous that people would think that I would do something to harm them. When I go into a bathroom, it’s to use the bathroom. Not to peep.
Rey: My stance on “the bathroom issue” brought to light by Pat McCrory’s NC HB2 is simple. People of trans experience regardless of progress within their transition have the right to use the bathroom in which they identify with. Personally, I got harassed much more when I attempted to use women’s restrooms rather than men’s. Including having security called on me.
I agree with both of these young men on this issue. The most common argument I hear in protest to transgendered people using the bathroom in correlation with the gender they identify with is that “we have to protect our children”. Since when has a door labeled “Men” or “Women” stopped a sexual predator from a sexual crime? Never. If that were the case, most, if not every door in America would have a sign saying, “No Sexual Predators”.
Q: What is your opinion on transgendered people competing in athletics? For example, someone who identifies as a woman, but is still biologically a man competing among women and vice versa.
Alex: If they identify as a woman, they should be treated just as equally as any other female.
Rey: I believe there should be some sort of tier system when it comes to trans athletes depends on what caliber of competition they are in. In middle and high schools, there should be no restrictions. In levels that could lead to possible contract signing and monetary reward, I believe the athlete should be actively pursuing hormone therapy toward the gender category they are competing in. This idea applies only to those who are professionals or who could become professionals as a direct effect of said competition. This opinion also does not apply to intersex athletes.
As someone who was the only female playing on an all male football team growing up, this subject was particularly interesting to me. I’ve seen female baseball players as opposed to them playing on an all female softball team as well as female wrestlers in a predominantly male sport. Outside of cheer leading/gymnastics, I feel like there is a double standard when it comes to youth sports in that makes are not as accepted into female sports as the other way around. However, in terms of professional athletes, I agree wholeheartedly with Rey. Depending on when hormone therapy has taken place, specifically before or after puberty, should determine the qualifications of competition. Most notably of this circumstance being the MMA fighter Fallon Fox, a transgendered woman, who gave her opponent Tamikka Brents a broken eye socket and concussion just 2:17 of the first round. Fox received a sex change at 30 and began hormones well after puberty.
Q: Was your experience in the military in reference to your sexual identification a pleasant or unpleasant experience?
Rey: My experience in the military was not effected by my gender identity because it was kept secret due to “Gender Identity Disorder” (currently known as Gender Dysphoria by the DSM-5) being seen as a disqualifying mental illness at the time.
Q: How do you feel about the election tomorrow?
Alex: Very nervous.
Rey: This election season is coming to an end and for that I am happy. I have done my part. And will just wait and see what happens along with everyone else.
“Nervous” I’m sure is an understatement. It is difficult to imagine all of the progress of and for the LGBT community being potentially killed as a result of the outcome of this election.
Q: How do you feel Trump or Clinton would directly effect you and your community?
Alex: I feel like Trump will ruin everything for the LGBT community and i really don’t want that. We have come so far . He will make us back track and go back into all of the hate that we have finally started to overcome.
Please have empathy in that voting booth tomorrow.