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TONI THORNE: The era of transgendering


TONI THORNE

TONI THORNE: The era of transgendering

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THE PATRIARCH of the famed Kardashian family sat down with Diane Sawyer to announce to the world on Friday night that he was transgendering to a female.

Within the last year, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sparked the term “transkid” when they allowed their daughter to forfeit being referred to as her birth name Shiloh and be now known as John whilst dressing as a boy.

Most recently, Time magazine published an article entitled The Transgender Tipping Point and has cited that this movement is the next to gain serious ground in the human rights arena.

Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity or gender expression not matching one’s assigned sex. Simply put, it occurs when a person feels as though he or she has been born in the wrong body. It is independent of sexual orientation as gender and sexual orientation are mutually exclusive.

Gender is who someone identifies as, whereas sexual orientation is to whom someone is attracted. Therefore, transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

For example, although former Olympian Bruce Jenner will be transitioning to a woman, he has said he will always be attracted to women and not men. The gender and sexual orientation issue is very complicated.

Possibly, this is one of the reasons why this subculture of society has not been highlighted although it has been stated that between 0.1-5 per cent of the global population is transgender.

Upon the publishing of the article, many asked why Time would state that we are in the era of the transgender tipping point. The truth is that we are in a world where hormonal drugs are readily available to persons who wish to commence the transgender process; persons can legally attain a change in their gender status after a year of living as their preferred gender; and who once attaining the change in their gender status they can readily undergo a sex change. There are now also more activists for the movement and support groups globally.

From biblical times men have always dressed as women and vice versa. My parents have told me of stories of persons openly doing so in the early 1960s and 1970s.

However, here in the Caribbean, young men are wearing make-up publicly and female clothing without apology or fear of public scrutiny. The same with females who wear male clothing and identify as men.

Although it is a source of discomfort for many, as I peruse social networking sites of many males and females who dress as transgenders, the comments under their statuses are supportive and very complimentary.

After Jenner’s interview, one friend tweeted that this “new world” was not for him and that we as a society are making everything “OK”.

What is this “new world”? Persons have always been transgendered. The reason that The Bible speaks against it in Deuteronomy is evidence that it was occurring since that era.

Whilst I do agree that duration does not negate whether something is right, this “new world” that we speak of should not be seen as a world where all of these personalities, traits and trends are now existing. They always did. This “new world” as is one that is more accepting of people of difference.

Perhaps we should all live a life where we are able to truly be ourselves, especially if it brings little to no harm to other members of our society.

Would I personally be upset if my son approached me and said that he wanted to be a girl? Yes, I would be. Most importantly, knowing that “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” (Deuteronomy 22:5), I would be concerned about my child living in constant sin.

However, we all do and no sin is greater than the other. This world is still very harsh and judgemental and the initial maternal reaction would be one of wanting to protect my child from societal judgement. The more selfish reaction would be one of disappointment at the fact that my chances of having grandchildren would be less of a possibility.

Whether we accept what’s happening as an obvious reality is another issue. It is my hope that as we reach this “tipping point” we are more aware of the movement and are better able to cope with people of difference everywhere.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email [email protected]

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