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Old 06-30-2011
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Default Transgender 101 - Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

The following appeared in yesterday's edition of Bay Windows, a Boston-based newspaper for the LGBT community. I post it because it answers a lot of the questions that are frequently posted here on the site.

Transgender 101

by Courtesy of The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
www.masstpc.org

Wednesday Jun 29, 2011

Frequently asked questions, important definitions, and more from the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC). For more information, please visit www.mtpc.org.

Definitions

In the Boston ordinance and the proposed statewide legislation, "gender identity or expression" is defined as "a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual?s assigned sex at birth." This is consistent with Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination?s (MCAD) past decisions and existing laws.

A person?s Gender Identity is how someone identifies his/her own gender -- a person?s inner sense of "being" male or female. Most people, but not all, have a gender identity of "man" or "woman" which is also consistent with their assigned sex at birth. There are some people who feel their assigned sex at birth is not consistent with their own gender identity.

A person?s Gender Expression refers to how a person expresses their gender identity, or the cues people use to identify another person?s gender. This can include clothing, mannerisms, makeup, behavior, speech patterns, and more. There are some in society whose gender expression does not conform to traditional gender stereotypes what men or women should look or act.

Transgender is an umbrella term for people who transition from one gender to another and/or people who defy social expectations of how they should look, act, or identify based on their birth sex. This can include a range of people including: male-to-female (MTF) or female-to-male (FTM) transsexual people and, more generally, anyone whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional expectations of masculinity or femininity. Some transgender people experience their gender identity as incongruent with anatomical sex at birth.

Traditional Gender Stereotypes: Culturally defined code of acceptable behavior for men and women. Men/boys are to exhibit masculine gender presentation, behaviors, and social roles and women/girls are to exhibit feminine gender presentation, behaviors, and social roles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are transgender people the same as gay/lesbian people?

No. Transgender is about gender identity and gender expression whereas gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual/ straight is about sexual orientation, which is emotional and physical attraction to others. While transgender people are sometimes assumed to be gay or lesbian based on stereotypes about gay men and lesbians, the terms are not interchangeable. Transgender people also have a sexual orientation, just as everyone else in society, which can be heterosexual (straight), bisexual, or gay or lesbian.

Can I tell if someone is transgender?

Not always. Some transgender people "pass" as the gender they identify with and live as; there are many transgender people whom no one would know they are transgender or where assigned a different sex at birth, and who choose to keep their personal histories confidential. Others "pass" only occasionally or not at all due to a number of factors, such as access to transgender specific medical treatment. Sometimes transgender people are discriminated against or harassed because others suspect them to be transgender or gender variant. In other situations, transgender people are discriminated against or harassed because someone shares a transgender person?s history inappropriately with others, turning private medical information into gossip.

A transgender person does not have to disclose that they are transgender, just as others have the right to privacy about their identity, their medical status, or other information that is not pertinent in a given situation.

What is gender transition?

Gender transition is a personal process in which a transgender/ transsexual person goes through when they begin to live and identify as the gender they see themselves as. This process includes a social transition, which a person changing their gender expression, such as clothes and hairstyle; pronoun; and possibly their first name, to be reflective of the gender they are transitioning to. This process may also include support from therapist and a medical transition, which can be hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery.

For some transgender people, they may not access medical transition due to the prohibitive cost, access to providers, physical health issues, lack of health insurance coverage, and/or personal choice. The reality is that many transgender people live, present, and are accepted as the gender they see themselves as without medical transition, hormones, and/or sex re-assignment surgery.

Why do transgender people need legal protections?

Transgender people in Massachusetts face high levels of discrimination and violence because of widespread prejudice and the assumption that transgender people are "outside" of the law?s protections. The Transgender Equal Rights Bill amends both non-discrimination laws and hates crime laws in order to comprehensively make clear that transgender individuals have equal protection under the law.

The baseline rates of discrimination against transgender people are consistently high. A review of six studies conducted between 1996 and 2006, in cities and regions on both coasts and the Midwest, showed the following ranges for experiences of discrimination based on gender identity*:

13% - 56% of transgender people had been fired
13% - 47% had been denied employment
22% - 31% had been harassed, either verbally or physically, in the workplace.

*Badgett, M.V., Lau, Sears, and Ho. Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. Los
Angeles: The Williams Institute. June 2007.

For more information, please visit www.mtpc.org <http://www.mtpc. org./>
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Old 06-30-2011
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Thank you for article, it makes a lot of things more clear. Is this legal protection and equality under the law now part of state laws or it still need to go through in state parliament? If not yet, I hope it will be accepted.
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Originally Posted by sosed View Post
Thank you for article, it makes a lot of things more clear. Is this legal protection and equality under the law now part of state laws or it still need to go through in state parliament? If not yet, I hope it will be accepted.
There is a bill before the Massachusetts State Legislature -- "An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights" -- that is up for a vote this year. The City of Boston has already enacted a local ordinance along the same lines.

The bill makes the protection of transgender people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public. It adds gender identity and expression to the Massachusetts non-discrimination statute and amends existing hate crime laws to protect transgender people explicitly when they are targeted for violence and harassment.
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