In our society we have a knee jerk reaction against anything that is different from the established norms. The first thought that crosses our mind is that we are “superior” and they are “different”, “wrong”, “unnatural”. It’s the five second journey from ‘what is that?’ to ‘eeewwww’ that happens because the unexpected is so different.
This article entitled ‘Transphobia runs deep‘ raises an interesting point – perhaps it is the mere unfamiliarity that is the stumbling block for people. Today you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know what it means to be a homosexual. Homosexuality has taken the leap from ‘eeewwww’ to ‘I know what that is and my opinion is <insert opinion that has been thought about for more than five seconds>’. While people may strongly disagree with homosexuality for many reasons, they are not experiencing surprised disgust.
I don’t think we’ve reached this threshold yet with the transgendered. People still struggle with what it means to be transgendered, and some of the most common question asked of crossdressers is ‘Are you gay?’ But
Transphobia can be beaten
And it starts with familiarity. It starts with letting transgender become part of the societal psyche – with transgendered people being seen as people and not Jerry Springer freak shows. The wonderful thing about Thomas, the pregnant man is that he embeds the concept of transgender in our psyche. He may not be the “perfect representative for the transgender community”, but just by being open about who he is Thomas has done us a great service.
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