By Sophearith Dareth
In Cambodia, as well as around the world, the topic of transgender is not always included in conversations. There is a lack of representation and basic understanding of transgender people and undeniably, is also a lot of discrimination towards people in this group.
In the United States, there have been “33 hate-violence-related homicides of LGBT people, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ count”, as stated in an article by Buzzfeed in August 2017, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
People in the transgender community face numerous challenges throughout their lives.
According to an article by the Human Rights Campaign, those challenges include “lack of legal protection” that can also leads to unemployment and poverty. They also face discrimination, harassment and stigma as well. Furthermore, there is widespread inaccuracy in terms of documentation that causes transgender people to have difficulties when they travel, apply for jobs, and enroll into schools.
At this point, some questions may arise from some of you:
What does transgender mean?
Or what does it mean to be a transgender person?
Why are they facing challenges?
Are there solutions?
Well, I hope that this blog will help you answer these questions.
What does transgender mean?
Stated in an article by the American Psychological Association, “transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth”.
To put this simply, transgender people are those who identify as a different gender than the one they were born with.
What are some day to day challenges transgender people face? And what are the solutions?
Day to day challenges:
According to Advocates for Youth, people can deliberately use incorrect or disrespectful names or pronouns. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally. Transgender people also have difficulty accessing appropriate restroom facilities, due to assaults. They can also be forced by others to use the restroom that does not conform to their own gender identity.
Confidentiality of their names given at birth, their sexual orientation, and other private information can be impolitely questioned.
Misrepresentation and the lack of role models in the society nowaday can sometimes cause many transgender people, particularly youths, to feel alone.
The Advocates For Youth article also helps us figure out what some of the solutions are to the challenges faced by transgender people.
Firstly, you should use the correct pronouns or names to address transgender men and women . If unsure, you can directly ask the person what would be the correct way to do so. People should remember that it is each person’s right and dignity to addressed correctly or by their own names.
Second, education in gender identity is fundamental for the understanding of the transgender community. You should have in mind that transgender people deserve the right to use the restrooms that conform to their gender identity.
Third, you should avoid asking personal questions about their names given at birth, or requesting to see what the person used to look like before transition, or attack them with questions about their genitals.
Finally, there should be support groups for transgender people that can provide a safe space for them to be themselves and encourage them to do so elsewhere. Moreover, and most importantly, the media should be more educated about the transgender community, understand and finally avoid presenting misconceptions and untruthful facts about them through the media.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy being who we truly are. That goes the same for transgender people. It saddens me to know that people have such hatred for a person who just wants to be themselves, who wants to conform to the gender identity that they feel like they belong to.
It upsets me even more that transgender people get harassed, discriminated against, deprived of the basic rights for healthcare or even the ability go to the restroom.
However, what upsets me the most is the fact that many transgender people get killed and commit suicide.
We can all avoid such trauma if we try to understand each other more.
I believe we all want to find happiness. Let’s take that as a common ground so we can relate to one another and hopefully one day, transgender people won’t have to go through the challenges they are facing now. Hopefully, the future generation can be better one.
It starts with all of us now.
See you in the next post. ❤
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.