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Top 5 Eye Opening Facts about Being Transgender

VO: Emily Brayton
It’s not easy being a transgender. But there are many things that people don't know about, including the struggles that many transgender individuals face. In this countdown, we hope to educate people more about this gender identity.

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Top 5 Eye-Opening Facts About Being Transgender

While transgender rights are more discussed in the mainstream than ever before, many individuals remain unfamiliar with trans people, who they are, or the struggles they face. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 5 Eye-Opening Facts About Being Transgender.
For this list, we are providing just a small glimpse into what it means to be transgender, as we explore some realities faced by members of this community.

#5: People Believe That “Being Transgender” is Relatively New

Individuals whose gender is different than the one designated at birth actually have a long history. A third gender, Hijra, referring to those assigned male at birth, but who are neither male nor female, can be traced back to ancient times in India. In Ancient Rome, believers in the goddess Cybele underwent ritual castration, after which they would wear women’s clothing. French figure Chevalier d'Éon is a well-documented example of someone coming out as transgender – although not by that term – in the 18th century. The famous American trans woman, Christine Jorgensen, became a public face of the trans community in the 1950s.

#4: Transitioning Doesn’t Only Involve Sex Reassignment Surgery

When a person makes the decision to transition, there is no standard procedure. While a wealthy individual might be able to afford cosmetic and sex reassignment surgery, the prohibitive cost of these procedures makes such an approach impossible for most trans people. Some opt for hormone replacement therapy, which helps to readjust voice pitch, or to help generate breast tissue. For others, transitioning may not involve any form of medical treatment. Ultimately, transitioning is about self-actualization. Unfortunately, this lengthy process also comes with various legal, social, professional and interpersonal obstacles and challenges.

#3: Transgender People Face Health Care & Workplace Discrimination

In 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality and National LGBTQ Task Force published a national survey about transgender people and the medical system in the United States. This report shed light on the various ways in which transgender individuals face discrimination within the system, including physical and verbal assault. Perhaps most shocking is the fact 19% revealed that they had been denied care as a result of being transgender. The survey also noted that 50% of all respondents had to explain “transgender care” to their healthcare professional. While there have been efforts to protect against workplace discrimination, the problem persists.

#2: The Transgender Community Faces a Higher Suicide Rate

A 2014 study conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute reported that 4.6% of Americans have attempted suicide. In the transgender population, that figure is a terrifying 41%. While unchecked gender dysphoria can lead to depression, self-harm, or even suicidal thoughts, not all transgender people experience it. Suicide attempts are much more likely when a transgender person is the victim of discrimination, abuse, violence, or rejection by family or peers. These are all common factors behind suicidal thoughts across all demographics — transgender people are simply exposed to them more intensely and with greater regularity.

#1: Transgender People Are the Most Likely Targets of Hate Crimes

According a 2015 FBI publication, people of the LGBTQ community are the most likely victims of hate crimes. Within that group, transgender people, specifically trans women of color, are the most likely to be targeted. As society grows more accepting and aware of the transgender community, those opposed seem to be growing more actively intolerant. The Human Rights Campaign stated more transgender people were killed in 2015 than any other year on record, but 2016 proved even more fatal for the transgender community.

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