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GUEST COLUMN Fighting transphobia
by Kelsi Williams
2017-10-18

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A lot of people believe that being completely open with your significant other is an important part of any relationship, but to what extent does this statement stand? A popular debate today is whether or not someone should inform their partner that they identify as transgender. This raises the question: Are the people who think that knowing this information is important transphobic?

For those that do not know, a transgender person is someone who does not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth. It does not matter if the person undergoes surgery, they are still valid and no one really has the right to tell them otherwise.

Most answers to the debate of revealing trans identities end with people saying yes that they would want their partner to alert them if they identify as transgender. They believe that having this piece of information will determine whether or not they want to be in the relationship with that person. The ones who have those beliefs think that it is a simple preference and that it has nothing to do with anything being wrong with transgender people, they just prefer to not be in relationships with them.

Advocates for proper treatment of transgender individuals do not appreciate that side of the argument and consider the need to know about it transphobic overall. In the case of transgender people, some partners who have found out that they have transitioned, or identify as transgender, get very violent with them. In the most extreme cases, the transgender person gets killed because the partner feels betrayed or tricked. Whatever their reasoning is, they still end up harming a person that was trying to open up to them.

The whole idea of not dating a transgender person being a preference leads to those situations where trans people—especially women—are losing their lives. A preference is understandable, but what is the reasoning and the definition behind this specific preference? A lot of times there is no answer to the question so it is deemed as a transphobic response.

Whether they face physical or emotional abuse by these acts is irrelevant, the point is that real people are getting hurt for being who they are. This exact reason is why the whole situation is considered transphobic, not even just for the simple act of having the preference, but because of the actions that may or not follow once the person finds out their partner's gender identity.

When asked, several people, my age and even older, have admitted that if they were to find out that the person they were involved with identified as transgender they would no longer be in the relationship anymore. When hearing all of this, I was initially surprised because in 2017 everyone claims that they are evolved and that this generation is a very open one, but these responses were the complete opposite of exactly that. After my initial shock wore off I considered the fact that this is still a very controversial topic no matter how much the world has evolved and that these answers should still be expected.

Although mindsets are not expected to be completely changed, violent actions are. Things like abuse and killing are obviously not acceptable in the first place, but it is even more harmful to know that someone's life can be in danger due to something that is at their very core as a human being. For years to come this same debate will more than likely be in circulation, but as people trying to evolve and educate ourselves, everyone must remember that no matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, race, height, whatever it may be, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. So even if you would no longer date your trans partner do not treat them as less just for being who they are.

Kelsi Williams is a senior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy where she writes for their newspaper "The Talon".


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