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IMPORTANT: This is a series of posts for an assignment for UNIB3004 at the University of Melbourne
From a young age, we are taught there are two genders: male and female. Case closed. As we grow up, we are told and taught what gender we are and for many, this works out fine. However, for a larger-than-you-think portion of people, this so called black-and-white case is their biggest struggle. In sex education in secondary school, I learned nothing about individuals identifying as anything other than a man or a woman. News flash! There’s a spectrum! People who fall somewhere on the spectrum may identify as gender nonconforming or Trans*. In this case, these words (along with others) mean anyone who experiences an incongruence between the sex they were given at birth and the sex they feel they belong to and/or societal expectations of their sex . You may be asking, “okay so what?”, well here I’ll give you that answer. Why knowing more about the trans* individuals and how this identity affects them is important. And how you can change the world for better.
In Australia, it is estimated 11% of the total population identify in a diverse range of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. While gender identity and sexual orientation are different, this number accounts for 2.5 million people. That’s a lot of people possibly identifying as something other that male or female. And that doesn’t even account for any numbers outside of Australia. The fact that there are so many individuals identifying on the spectrum is in and of itself the reason why being educated on the subject is vital to changing how the future views gender.
Lets focus in on that population. I can’t tell you everything there is to know about the trans* experience because I’m first of a cisgendered person and second off, it would take a novel to talk about. However, I can help give you a glimpse into the life of a trans* individual. The three trans* experiences that I want to focus on include discrimination, mental health, and positive reinforcement.
I spoke with Beck and Montana, both of a non-conforming gender identity and asked about their experiences of self discovery.