There are many myths and rumours you hear about the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve taken the time to debunk some myths that we have found to be common in the transgender community.
To help us fully bust these myths, the Unite community has helped us along the way, ensuring that after you’ve finished reading this, you will know the truth about these myths.
“All drag queens/kings are transgender”
Not only is this a ridiculous statement, it’s untrue. Drag queens/kings are people who dress like the opposite gender for the purpose of entertainment, it does not mean they are transgender but a lot of people fail to see the distinction between the two.
Tyler: Drag queens and a transgendered person are two separate things. Being transgender is when your gender is different to the sex you were assigned at birth. A drag queen/king is a person who just dresses up as the opposite gender. Both are part of the LGBTQ+ community but they are different things.
Zachary: The term ’Drag Queen’ should be seen more as a performance art, an acting role that can be performed by anyone, regardless of gender identity. You can be trans and be a Drag Queen and you can be a Drag Queen and be trans but not all Drag Queens are transgender and it is all about someone’s personal identity. It is like saying all train drivers are gay or all shop assistants are lesbian, it’s simply a title of a job.
Trans Baby’s: Drag is used in performance. It isn’t feeling like a boy or girl. It’s like a comedy performance as the opposite gender and it’s REALLY fun. Usually playing on gender roles ie. drag queens are really feminine girls and drag kings super macho guys.
Noel: I don’t think drag queens are transgender, not all of them. Drag is an art form to express gender in a visually compelling way and a lot of times gender is exaggerated or it is even absent. Drag queens can be transgender though, and dressing in drag can be an escape from reality and dysphoria as I’ve been told and can imagine.
2. ”Trans individuals choose to be transgender”
When looking at transgender individuals, some may ask did they choose to be trans. The answer is no. Transsexual people have a gender identity that does not match their assigned sex, this is something that can’t be avoided or helped.
Trevor: Often times people say that we (trans people) choose to be trans. But why exactly would someone choose to be made fun of, murdered, kicked out of our homes, abused, forgotten and so many other awful things. We are born this way. We do not choose to be who we are, we are who we are. Did you choose to be cisgender? No, just like how we don’t choose to be transgender.
Phoenix: People don’t choose to be trans. Being labelled as trans is a curse and a blessing. But I fought with myself for a long time before I became okay with who I am. Trans people suffer from severe depression, anxiety, sexual assault and physical assault. More than 50% of trans people who are not supported by family commit suicide. Of trans people that are accepted, 4% of them try to commit suicide. Being trans isn’t a choice.
Zachary: Nobody chooses to be transgender like nobody chooses to be cisgender, it is something that the person is born as. This myth most likely stems from the fact that people come as trans at different stages of their life, as though they are choosing to be trans at that moment. What is the more likely is that that person went through a lot of inner turmoil and did research on how they were feeling and why they were feeling that way. People don’t choose to be transgender, they choose to be themselves.
Trans Baby’s: They cannot choose if they feel like the opposite gender but they can choose to transition or come out. Transitioning is the choice of a trans person to fix their mental health. WANTING to transition (being trans) isn’t a choice.
Noel: Trans people don’t choose to be transgender the same way that gay men and women (and bi and pan and the ones I’m missing) don’t choose to be that way. But trans people can choose whether they want to have surgery or take hormones or not. It’s what they feel is best for them to present in a society where we’re constantly reminded that we don’t belong – which is far from the truth.
Jayden: Is being transgender a choice? The quick answer is NO! Why would someone CHOOSE to have a hard life? Why would someone choose to possibly give up their family and friends?
Answer me this: How did you figure out your favourite colour? How old were you when you knew it was your favourite colour? …YOU SIMPLY JUST KNEW.
3. ”All trans people get surgery”
When looking at getting surgery, it is a choice of the individual if they want or need that surgery. This isn’t something that will define you, it’s a matter of personal choice. Not getting surgery will not make you not trans.
Jaydn: I see this floating around a lot and it’s an assumption that a lot of people make, but I think that most people fail to consider all of the reasons that trans people who have had having surgery feel that they want to do that.
Everyone’s experiences and transitions are different. A big reason that trans people have surgery is to alleviate dysphoria that they experience as a result of certain bodily characteristics and it’s important to understand that all trans people are individual and therefore have different levels and severity of dysphoria. For some people, it’s crippling and it’s there everyday, it’s a constant negative thought that goes through their head and affects their everyday life. For others, it’s more of an inconvenience that comes and goes pretty quickly and can cope with it a lot better.
Tyler: Not all transgender people get surgery. In fact, not all trans people want surgery. That’s a personal choice as well. Some trans people get full surgery, some only get one. It’s down to how comfortable each person is with their body and what they want to do.
Zachary: For some, this might not be an option (financially or physically) and for others it could just not be something that they want to do. Gender dysphoria affects people in different ways and while one trans man might have dysphoria about his chest, another might not. While one trans woman might want lower surgery, another might not. Surgery is subjective to the person and shouldn’t be the ‘thing’ that makes someone trans.
Trans Baby’s: People transition to the point of comfort. All transgender people are different and not all choose to have surgery or hormones. You don’t have to get any sort of surgery, you can bind/pack etc. for your whole life if you don’t want surgery. For some people, getting surgery can help feel less dysphoria, but not all people want it or can afford it.
Noel: Not all people opt for surgery. I think top surgery for trans men is a big step towards being the man they’ve always envisioned – I know it will be for me! But I know there are a few instances where I’ve seen some guys opt out. I can only speak about my experiences with bottom surgery – although I can guess trans women look forward to this one more (hope I’m not speaking out of turn). I don’t feel very strongly about it because there are so many options out there to duplicate that body part.
4. ”Children are too young to know if they’re transgender”
There is no way to measure this myth, as there has not been enough research to form a conclusion, however, a child will know their true feelings, therefore no one can tell that child they are wrong. Only you know who you are, no matter your age.
Trevor: Why do parents say that their kid can know that they are cisgender but not transgender. Kids know who they are. I’ve known since I can remember that I was trans. Gender is decided by the age of 2-3 so if a child says that they are trans, believe them. And if by any chance it is a phase, then you showed them that you will love them no matter what. No one is too young to know who they are.
Tyler: I believe each person knows what they want at that time. I wouldn’t say children are too young but their feelings may change over time. Just because they feel like they’re in the wrong body when they’re younger doesn’t mean their feelings won’t change. It is possible, however, no matter the age, that person is the only one to know how they feel.
Zachary: Most children know their name, their favourite colour, who their best friend is and they most likely know if they’re a boy or a girl. Children should be given the right and opportunity to be allowed to live as their preferred gender, socially, and when they are old enough to know the risks of hormones then they can choose if they want to go further with it. It is allowing a child to be happy but safe.
Trans Baby’s: Children can realise they’re trans at a young age but mightn’t be able to comprehend it or explain it. Being trans isn’t something you choose so if you are trans then you were too as a kid. The main thing is realising it.
Noel: I believe at a certain age, possibly 5 or 6 or older, some children definitely know if they’re transgender. There is a period during early childhood possibly between 2 and 4 when sex and gender are practically non-existent in the thought process – a girl only knows she is a girl because people have told her so and vice versa. But they might not consider the thought of being the opposite gender until they’re more aware of who they are. Personally, I didn’t consider gender at all until I was in kindergarten and it was brought to my attention that me enjoying traditionally masculine things was weird. Even more so when I went through puberty and my body turned out different to my expectations. To me, I think children sometimes know things better than adults do.
5. ”All transgender people are alike”
This last myth is ridiculous, trans individuals are human. All humans are different & unique, just because you are transgender, doesn’t change anything.
Tyler: Transgender people have different feelings. They are all different people like any cisgender person. They are still people, they don’t change as soon as they come out as transgender. Everyone is different whether that’s a trans person, a cis person or anyone in between.
Zachary: If this were true then everyone’s treatment would be the same and it would mean accessing health care would be so much easier. Everyone is different, being trans doesn’t suddenly make you a carbon copy or another person. If that were true then there wouldn’t be trans men and trans women, meaning there wouldn’t be anyone who was trans. Meaning the world wouldn’t be as versed as it is in gender politics and understanding what makes boys and girls different and how sometimes the brain and the body don’t match. Basically, without trans people, the world would be very boring.
Trans Baby’s: Every trans person has their own individuality, not all have the same ideas and dreams. Just like nobody is alike, being trans doesn’t change that. Some trans people are assholes, some are nice, some are black, white, Asian and Mexican. Some are gay, straight and bi. They are all different.
Noel: All trans people certainly are not alike! Similar to not all men are alike, not all women are alike, not all nonbinary people are alike etc. Identifying as transgender doesn’t remove anyone’s individuality – even though a percentage of us are looking for similar things like hormones and surgery and things on that level. We’re all different people living different lives and that’s what makes the LGBTQ+ community so interesting.
Alex: Transgender people are regular too, everybody has different personalities and ways of showing who they are. I know personally I’m someone who dresses as I want. I wear bras and dresses yet still identify as a male. This confuses a lot of people but it’s simple. Every trans person has a way they want others to perceive them. For me that means dresses and looking feminine and for other trans males that means binding and dressing masculine.
Bobby: In our community of trans folk, there are different walks of life. Just as in any other communities, some people are different and some people are alike.
While being out as trans for the past few years, I’ve met and chatted with a bunch of different trans people. Some that have had surgery, some that haven’t. Some that are on hormones, some who chose to transition naturally. Some that have 9-5 jobs, some that are still in high school. Some black, some white, Asian, Hispanic, and my list goes on and on. My point is the trans community is as diverse as any other community. We are not all the same.
CJ: Trans people aren’t all alike. I see it from the point of view of a trans man because I don’t know a lot of Trans women. But someone people haven’t come out yet so they haven’t started physically/socially transitioning. I know trans men with long hair and that wear make up. I’ve seen trans women with short hair and a hairy chest. I’ve seen people in the trans community that believe this myth. It’s 2017, we can identify and wear whatever we want. Some people don’t have the choice to look the way they want. Some people aren’t out to their families. A person isn’t trans because they dress or act like the gender they identify with. They are trans because the way they feel inside does not match their body parts.
Hopefully, after reading this, you are more aware of the myths surrounding the trans community. At the end of the day, everyone is still human, no matter what you identify as. If you think about it, does it really matter? As long as you’re a kind, caring, loving human being, your sexuality/identity shouldn’t matter.
We hope we have opened your eyes & I want to take the time to thank all of our amazing participants, this is a movement & we are so humble you’ve all gotten involved.
Transgender lives matter.
The Unite Team