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What is Trans?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

By Jay Rivera

You might've seen transgender people when you go out and about, or you may even have friends that are transgender. According to a survey by the Williams Institute in June 2016, about 0.6% of adults identify as transgender, which totals up to 1.4 million people around the world that identify with a different gender than what they were born with. But some individuals don't fully understand what being transgender really means and get confused when someone says they are transgender. 

What does Transgender mean?

The first uses of the word were in 1965 by Psychiatrist John F. Oliven who said, “Where the compulsive urge reaches beyond female vestments and becomes an urge for a sex change, transvestism becomes transsexualism.”  The first definition of the word is misleading because it conflated the terms transgender and transexual. Since then the word, transexualism has become outdated, and the word transgender became popular in media and common knowledge.

Virginia Prince

In 1969 American transgender activist Virginia Prince used the word transgender and further popularized it by publishing the term in her magazine named Transvestia. The word was used as an umbrella term in the mid-1970s. By 1992 the word Transgender was defined as the unification of all forms of gender nonconformity. Unfortunately, this made the term synonymous with the word Queer, which was a slur at the time.

But what does transgender mean exactly? Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “relating to, or being a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.” This means that sometimes people’s gender doesn't match up with their biological sex.

Transgender Issues in Current Times

This being said, transgender individuals like most of the LGBTQ+ community are subject to discrimination and mistreatment. In 2018 alone there was a total of 29 deaths, a majority of them being trans women of color. Since January first of this year, there has already been 16 transgender individuals that have been killed. One of them, Brooklyn Lindsey, was killed on June 25, 2018, and found dead on an abandoned porch in Kansas City, Missouri. Another woman, Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, was found dead in a car parked in a driveway in Allendale County, South Carolina on August 4, 2018. These deaths were only a couple of many that have happened because of the deep-rooted misogyny and discrimination that trans folks have undergone.

With more trans people dying each year, it is even more difficult to fo places without being terrified, for example, the public bathroom. In January of this year, two women sexually harassed a woman in North Carolina, having the police be involved and ending with the charges of sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping. The said victim was also raped the year prior, making this situation more jarring. To add the icing to the cake lawmakers were trying to dispute the charges made against the attackers by citing the “bathroom bill” which forces people to go to the bathroom according to the sex on their birth certificates.


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