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Understanding Sexuality: Being TQ

Last updated on April 26, 2016

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief, and Mackenzie Border, Layout Manager

Trans is the broadest of the umbrella terms used in the LGBTQIA acronym. Trans covers most of the gender identities, with the exception of the queer and intersex identities.

Queer is the umbrella term that covers any identity outside of the gender normative. This can include gender queer, gender neutral, gender fluid, and others.

These three communities of people face constant scrutiny by medical professionals, politicians and the public.

For example, during the Caitlin Jenner transition, many people spoke on opposing sides about their feelings. Some supported Jenner and respected her, while others were thoroughly against it.

The TQ community is more likely to face “physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violence than those who are cisgender [identify as their born sex],” stated Jamie Fuston, Instructor of Sociology.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the majority of hate crimes in 2013 (72 percent) were transgender, and 67 percent of them were trans women (male to female) of color.

“Transgender women are 1.8 times more likely to experience sexual violence and transgender people in general are 3.7 times as likely to experience police violence and seven times more likely to face physical violence when interacting with police as those who are cisgender,” said Fuston.

Fuston also said that this has not improved, as 2015 has seen more transgender homicide victims than in any other recorded year.

Many states also do not provide laws to protect trans individuals from discrimination, including Tennessee, added Fuston.

TQ individuals experience high suicide rates for a number of reasons, including “mental health factors and experiences of harassment, discrimination, violence, and rejection,” said Fuston.

Fuston added that research shows individuals who are “out” as a TQ individual are more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not.

This often ties in with gender dysphoria, a term used to describe distress or confusion over one’s biological sex and gender identity.

“Sociologically, the notion of gender dysphoria itself is socially constructed to label those who do not agree or feel comfortable with their assigned gender or assigned sex at birth,” said Fuston.

Multiple circumstances can affect gender identity, including hormonal composition, chromosome type and environment.

In addition to this, non-cisgender individuals experience higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, physical and verbal abuse, and self-harming behavior, added Fuston.

The lack of social acceptance and anxiety experienced in the TQ community leads to a negative influence on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

Outside of the U.S., however, the transgender community can see a range of different reactions.

Keith Bell, Associate Professor of Geography, stated that in some Asian countries, such as Thailand, views on gender are different from the U.S.

The Thai have a term referring to either transgender woman or an effeminate gay man, Kathoey, which literally means “lady boy,” added Bell.

“Thailand’s traditional definition of ‘male’ or ‘female’ is far looser than here in the West.

“A man or woman’s gender is much less a matter of chromosomes and more about personal choice,” said Bell.

India also has a transgender community known as the hijras, a 4,000 year-old group who has built their community around religious practices.

While members of the group were once seen as spiritual figures representing fertility, there has been a growth of discrimination within the country over the past few decades.





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