What does the T stand for? ~ Chris Cox: Outside the Margins

Join us as Chris Cox goes Outside the Margins.

Chris-Cox-OtMWhat does the T stand for?

In LGBT, what does the T stand for?  Yeah, we know it’s a letter that represents Transgender, but what does it really mean?

Transgender.  Unlike the L’s, G’s and B’s, the T’s take a different twist.  With  T’s, it’s not who you go to bed with, it’s who you go to bed AS.  (And who you get up in the morning and get through your life as, too. More on that in a bit.)

Here’s the thing, allies and advocates.  Transgender is getting  a lot of pop media lately.   Think Laverne Cox from ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Transparency’ with all its awards and an ex-Olympian with a possible reality show and an under-aged celebrity’s kid surrounded by speculation.  It seems that transgender sells.

As an ally, that makes your job easier and harder.  Because, some of that selling of transgender is selling snickers and laughs.  And, as allies—as decent human beings—we don’t laugh at people, and we don’t put up with others laughing at people, either. Right?  That’s what I thought you’d say!

I’m thinking, there are a couple of ways to handle being an ally for transgender people.  The first is education.  Not for the masses, but for yourself.  Solely based on personal empirical evidence, I’ve found that lack of knowledge knows no boundaries.  My gay friends have an equally hard time wrapping their heads around being transgender as do straight friends.  So, education.

I’ll throw you a few links, but here’s the biggie.  Transgender covers a lot.  From cross-dressing to non-binary gender fluidity to transsexualism.  One size does NOT fit all.  (BTW, let’s start practicing our advocacy right now.  Say it after me, please.  “EVERYONE, no matter who they are or how they dress, act, talk, present, etc., deserves respect.”)

So education.  https://lizdaybyday.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/one-stop-trans-brain-research-list/  This, site, as is most documentation, is a bit heavy in the MTF explanations. To even things up, but sure to check out this link, too. It’s a bit medically jargon-y, but worth wading through, I think.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562024  And here is one that’s a bit simplistic, but with decent information: http://transascity.org/the-transgender-brain/

But I think the youtube videos say it best: Here are a couple to start with:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ElectricDade https://www.youtube.com/user/princessjoules

Oh, and to debunk a popular myth, not all transgender people knew from an early age.  That’s getting a lot of press recently, but those of a certain age grew up repressed and tried to contort themselves, either consciously, or subconsciously for sanity’s and survival’s sake.  The proof that it IS getting better is that you’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of those folks as you make the world a safer place for them.

And empathy.  This one might be hard to wrap your head  around. Let’s see…. Okay.  Remember that one time when you were ‘on your best behavior’, which meant you kept as much of the real you compressed until you became a nonentity. Think back to your childhood when some adult just plain old didn’t like who you were so you became someone else, someone less, to escape the disapproval. You might have done this for a couple of hours or maybe a long weekend.  Remember how exhausted and how irritated and how belittled you felt because being yourself wasn’t good enough and that’s why you had to pretend.  Oh, and to make it even worse, you had to pretend to be someone else’s version of reasonably content on top of this so no one would be upset that you were unhappy.  Okay, multiply that by every second of every day of your lifetime.  That’s one version of what hiding being transgender feels like.

Want to know what make’s being transgender feel worse?  Listen to the snide remarks and the digs that are so common in our society (especially the ones about being boys acting like {lesser than} girls). Sometimes, the Ts have to dig deep for that LGBT pride. :Cue cheerleaders here—uh, that’s you!:

How can you MAKE someone respect someone else?  You can’t.

How can you keep your own self-respect by being an ally for anyone who is being disrespected because of who they are?

I’ve got a few ideas:

  • The stoney stare. Use it any time anyone cracks a joke, or makes an unkind remark about someone else.  Here’s your chance to let lose all that attitude you’ve kept bottled up since your teen years.  Go ahead.  Glare! You’ll be glad you did.
  • Some people are more verbal than others. Say, ‘I don’t want to hear that. It’s rude and disrespectful and ignorant.’  Then, walk away.  It’s hard to spread hate if there’s no one to spread it to.
  • Sadly, you may only get to use this one rarely as it requires a willingness on the part of the person who needs education.  And there goes my prejudice showing! I’ve GOT to start giving people more credit for wanting to know more and share the love.  (Yes, we all have prejudices.  But we can all learn better, right? I’m trying. Really, I am.) So, back to Educate.  You’ve got a few links and a couple of youtube videos. There is plenty of information out there to explore more.


And now it’s your turn.  What are you going to do  next time someone brings up the latest television tidbit? Got your game plan?  As long as that game plan is based on respect, it’s a game we all win.

~ Chris Cox

About Chris Cox

Chris Cox’s Bayou Boys series is about deep relationships, about finding yourself as well as your soul mate, and about learning to feel right in your own skin.

Sexy and complex, Chris’ writing delivers the stories that touch readers’ hearts. Born and raised in Louisiana, Chris worked as an electrical engineer before climbing off the corporate ladder and becoming a full-time writer. Chris resides in Louisiana, where the gumbo is hot…but the men are hotter. You can check out more about Chris Cox by visiting www.chriscoxwrites.com, on Facebook at www.facebook/chriscoxwrites.com and on Twitter: @ChrisCoxWrites.

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10 thoughts on “What does the T stand for? ~ Chris Cox: Outside the Margins

  1. Thank ypyouu for the wonderful post and the links to sites. I loved the section on empathy, everything you said there is true and something we can all relate to. I think that we definitely all could use some more information…knowledge is power.

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