Passing As Cisgender Can Sometimes Mean Life Or Death

If we don't challenge the way people think about gender trans people will keep dying.

It’s February 26th, 2017 and already there are 5 reported killings of transgender women. All of these trans women were trans women of color. What’s sad is that there are probably even more murders that are unreported. It’s dangerous to be transgender in our society but it’s even more dangerous if you are a trans woman and even more dangerous if you are a trans woman of color. That’s why passing as the gender that you are is so important in so many places.

I recently wrote an article about why passing doesn’t matter much to me. I’m one of the lucky ones. It doesn’t matter much to me because I live in a city where being transgender is mostly accepted. I live among people that accept my transgender identity. Most of my family accepts my transgender identity. The people that I date are okay with me being transgender and even embrace it with no shame. I’m also a trans man and have white skin which lowers the odds of being murdered for being trans. I come from a place of privilege. For a lot of transgender people that isn’t the case. They are living in fear because they are in a place where being transgender isn’t accepted. Not passing as the gender that they are could cost them their lives.

It’s sad to mention that there are also suicides in the transgender community. According to the William’s Institute transgender survey, transgender suicide rates are at an all time high. Suicide attempts among trans men are at 46 percent and for trans women are 42 percent. Some of these suicide statistics come from having family members that don’t support you, having a partner that doesn’t support you, living in a place where being transgender isn’t accepted, among other things. It can even be the discomfort of not passing as the gender that you are. However, if you are trans, this isn’t your fault. This is a problem within society. Society sees everything as male or female. Society views everyone as having to fit within the gender binary. We need to challenge the way people think about gender so that we will be more accepted if we don’t fit in the gender binary. This starts with educating the public.

If you’re trans, it’s technically not your job to educate people but if you want society to progress towards understanding the transgender community you make it your job to educate other people. You do whatever you can to make the world a more accepting place of your trans siblings. This doesn’t just fall on trans people though. We also need cis people to rise up and help us educate. If you hear discrimination, stand up and say something. This could change the way that the person discriminating thinks. This could potentially save the life of a trans person. Do whatever you can to help out so we can stop the murders and suicides of transgender people.

Bobbee Trans Mooremon, a transgender woman:

We must make surgeries available and affordable to all trans people especially women. We need more free clinics and programs that offer hormones at low or no cost. We need organization and political figures who will not bend on trans issues and will demand protections for trans people and education. We need trans representation in all forms of government, more representation in Hollywood by actual trans people and not cis people in trans-face. We need to nor worry, focus on, or promote the gender binary. And we need are LGBT cis friends to educate themselves and truly stand and fight with us.

CONVERSATIONS