The Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday, by stating that bans on same-sex marriages were unconstitutional, is said to have been a huge stepping stone for the LGBT community… but for transgender men and women, they are being left out of the equation.
Looking at the media, I can clearly see that we are still nowhere near accepting that we have been treating transgender like a disease that you can simply get over if you ignore it. Even with Caitlyn Jenner bravely taking the spotlight and TV shows putting transgender actresses on the screen, there are plenty of other transgender women and men being ignored and mistreated.
We still aren’t willing to accept that we need transgender equality, and that we need to change our attitudes to gender identity. Why? Why can we accept that a man and a man can marry, but then struggle to understand that a transwoman is a woman who was identified as a man at birth?
Lack of understanding
To put it simply, for many people out there they simply don’t understand what it means to be transgender. They either haven’t the information about it or they simply don’t want to know and this ignorance, as we all know, breeds stigma and prejudice.
The problem is that the media don’t know how to address transgender issues. Sure, we have TV shows like Transparent and Orange Is The New Black to give us a little insight into it, but then you have interviews on TV with transgender models, actors, and spokespeople who are treated appallingly, because they aren’t aware of the appropriate questions to ask.
John Oliver is a comedian and television host who decided totalk about the transgender community. He said what a big year it had been for them with Caitlyn Jenner revealing herself to the world for the first time since the newspapers began to gossip, and that the first waxwork of an openly transgender person at Madame Tussauds in San Francisco was a huge leap forward for them. However, he then addressed the “host of obstacles” that the transgender community face, discussing the “dumb mistakes” that news reporter will make when speaking to transgender men and women.
The main question that transgender women and men face when they go to speak to news reporters is about their genitals. They want to know if they still have a dick, or if they have gone through the full transition.
As Oliver points out in the video below, those kind of questions are not okay to ask. Yes, you might be ignorant and curious, but it is rude to ask those things. You wouldn’t ask anyone else about their sexual organs, so why would you ask this community those questions?
Later in his show he takes the time to explain exactly what transgender means, and that it is when their “gender identity differs from the one they were assigned at birth”. He then takes it further, explaining that “some transgender people do undergo hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery as part of their transition, some do not, and interesting, their decision on this matter is, medically speaking, none of your fucking business”.
Can we give this guy a medal for pointing out what should be the obvious to the ignorant people out there?
Transgender rights in Norway
Like many of the countries in Europe, Norway is considered to be very liberal when it comes to the rights of the LGBT community. However, that also includes the fact that the transgender community is often forgotten and so receive not only less attention in the media, but also less protection.
It was only in April of this year that John Jeanette, an activist for transgender rights, managed to convince the Minister of Health in Norway that change was needed. As a result, “the Minister promised to propose a new law soon that will allow transgender people to get legal recognition of their gender by making a simple declaration”.
It might not sound like a huge step, but previously the transgender people of Norway would “be forced to trade invasive treatment for having their gender legally recognized”, which is absolutely not okay. Now they don’t have to do that – they can simply declare their gender and be done with it!
The country last week made another huge step, as it was announced that the government believe “the children as young as seven should be allowed to change their legal gender with parental support”. This age is “among the lowest ages in the world for transgender rights”, and so Norway are definitely taking a step in the right direction. As the Health Minister Bent Hoie said: “today’s rules in this area are unacceptable and have been unchanged for almost 60 years.”
Basically, it is about time we started changing the way we think about transgender. It isn’t a disease you can catch, it is simply that the transgender person identifies as a gender different to the one they were given at birth. That is it. It is not some hugely complicated thing where you need to know if they have a penis or a pussy.
The trans-community in Norway, and around the world, still has a long way to go. Yes, the media might be getting better with those in the spotlight, but there are plenty behind the scenes not getting the treatment that they deserve. Hopefully the laws in Norway will continue to change for the better for transgender people, so that they can enjoy the same rights as the rest of the country.
What do you think about this? Is transgender equality still a huge issue, or do you think we are moving in the right direction? What else could be done to show the world what being transgender means? You can let us know by visiting the Escort Norway forum, or you could leave a comment in the blog below. Get involved in the discussion about transgender rights and tell us how you think we should be moving forward.
Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.
In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.