Who am I?
Who am I? A question maybe easily answered, or, on reflection, often a little more difficult.
It shouldn’t be confused with sex, as that usually identifies someone according to their physical attributes and what reproductive organs they have.
So, what is your gender?
When talking about gender, people are describing what they identify with. A combination of what they feel more connected to, including their sex, gender role (male or female) and sexuality.
It also involves how they express themselves, or wish to express themselves in relation to all this.
Not so simple
Maybe you’re completely comfortable in whatever sex you were born with. Or, maybe you feel you’re actually the opposite, which is more common than many people think.
Perhaps you’re unsure of your gender, which is OK too.
What’s in a name?
There are many different ways people describe their sex or gender and not everyone will identify with the same terms.
Transgender (or trans) is a general word used to describe a range of non-traditional gender identities or behaviours.
Though words, in theory, shouldn’t harm us, how the world perceives and treats someone can have a huge impact on their lives.
I’m all alone…
Actually, you don’t have to be. If there’s anything you’re unsure of regarding your (or a friend’s) gender identity, there is support out there.
TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) offer support and advice for anyone affected with these issues. They also seek to improve conditions and rights for trans people.
A little can go a long way
Having compassion for somebody who doesn’t easily fit the so-called norm could make a big difference how they feel.
Bullying or violence of any sort is of course never acceptable. We can never know what someone is struggling with, or how long they’ve been affected by something.
Not just a phase
Many trans people recognise they’re different to the world’s perception of them, from when they’re very young.
This fact, along with what can be done to support trans people and their families is sensitively examined in a series of recent Irish Times articles.
So, who are you?
Who is anybody? Whatever we perceive ourselves or others to be, we’re all human.
If society spent more time focusing on the things we have in common, rather than judging differences, the world would indeed be a better place.