I am a parent of a transgender women, who came out to us at the age of 17. This catapulted my husband and I into a whole new world that I had previously given very little thought to. For 18 months now, we have read articles, talked to others whose lives have been touched by trans issues.
I have never heard any transgender person or family member say they are so happy to discover they or those they love are transgender. I have heard relief expressed and I think we had some of that. We knew for years that there was something simmering inside her but until she was ready she didn't feel she could say anything.
This week I have seen two news articles that have really moved me. The first one is about a young lady who could not cope with the reality of being gay. She was brought up in a Christian family and felt that her sexual orientation was not accepted. It so happens that I have a friend whose children were at this girls school and the sadness has been reverberating for them. The most heart warming part of this article is this:
"Since then her church, St James in Didsbury, Manchester, and its sister church Emmanuel, has formally become an inclusive church - embracing everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability or sexuality.
Lizzie's parents believe embracing inclusion could help save the lives of other teenagers."
It is just so sad that it took a tragedy for those in this young girls church to choose to inform themselves with the reality of how it feels to have issues with your gender and/or sexuality. There are so many people who have written or talked about their LGBTQ+ issues. There is so much information out there for those that might be in influential relationships with young people that there really isn't a good excuse for anyone to be ill-informed.
This week there has been a news article about a new girl guiding policy which two members (who were leaders) could not accept and therefore they have been excluded from the organisation. I had originally read that the two had left of their own accord but I cannot find that source. Which ever it was I am so proud of the Girl Guiding Organisation for the new policy of inclusivity that they have endorsed.
One of the biggest myths that I keep hearing from peoples mouths and in articles like the girl guiding one is that of the safety of women with regards to using toilets. This myth is so prevalent it is the epitome of so called "fake news". There have been no recordings of any abuse being dealt by a transgender woman (one who is transitioning from assigned birth gender male to female) in a bathroom environment.
So think about this for a moment. You are taking hormones, breast are beginning to show, your dressed as a female and are absolutely terrified that you are not passable as female. Now imagine yourself having to walk into male toilets. What sort of emotions and feelings do you think you might have?
Unisex toilets are one great option, a disabled toilet is also an option (though you will have those with issues that are visible, looking at you as if you are stealing 'their toilet' and I know this having a disability that isn't always obvious).
However the two suggestions above are not always available. Sometimes those with disabilities have their needs met in binary gendered toilets (male/female) which means you are stuck.
There are some good transgender myth busting in this article here.
I'm sorry this sounds a bit ranty but my experience of watching the pain and angst that my dear daughter has had to endure with both the issues that I have mentioned are making me so passionate. Even if you have no desire to learn anything about the experience of transgender people please try not to form opinions based on myths or fake news.