This post is part of a series on Debunking the 10 (+1) Lies About Trans People.
Myth #1: Transgender people live crazy lives
Hollywood always loves a good thrill, and what’s more thrilling than sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll?
The unfortunate thing about being transgender (ha! well, one of the many) is that it automatically places you outside the little box that is “normal” society. Normal guys look, act, and feel like dudes. Normal girls look, act, and feel like chicks. Anything else is weird, right? So inevitably in the public’s mind we must be creatures of Where the Weird Things Are: in a world of crazy sex, endless drugs, clownish acting out, and over-the-top burlesque.
The aura surrounding transsexualism is one of mystery and vice. It is assumed that since a transsexual is crossing one social barrier – that of straightforward gender binaries – s/he must be a rebel to ALL social norms.
The first thing I want to say is that there is a kernel of truth to this myth. As I like to accuse: society throws transgender people outside the city gates and then acts surprised when we are eaten by wolves. The kernel of truth is that oftentimes transgender people are thrown out of their homes, denied jobs, and treated as if they were sexual perverts. Reduced to such a low place in society, many transgender people in the past have resorted to sex work or succumbed to drug abuse.
However, as society moves toward being more accepting of trans folk, the situation of transgender people has improved drastically. More and more real trans people have visibility, which is great since society can begin to see that we are normal, good, big-hearted human beings (most of us).
Transgender people are people. We have feelings. We have hobbies. We have families, jobs, friends, living arrangements (if all is well), hopes, aspirations, religious affiliations, life philosophies, likes and dislikes! We have hearts that ache for love! We have minds that seek truth. Most of us want to make the world a better place.
The disconnect between how society imagines transgender people and how we actually are is drastic. Take the Hollywood version of transsexuals:
Compare that with the real deal:
I’m not saying that every single transwoman is a beautiful sweetheart that just wants to love everyone up, but… on the other hand, so far that’s the only kind of trans person I’ve encountered. There’s not a lot of inherent craziness in the transgender heart; most of the craziness comes from society’s expectations and assumptions.
So next time you hear the word “transgender,” don’t think “shemales on heroin” or “drag queen party.” Next time, think about someone like me or Emma B. or Devon the homecoming queen. Think about someone who loves dogs, gardening, and espresso. Think about someone who grew up watching Disney movies (despite her Mom’s best efforts), and is a sucker for rom coms and psychological thrillers. Think about a person not much different from you.
- Myth #1: Transgender people live crazy lives.
- Myth #2: Transgender people are confused.
- Myth #3: Transgender people are mentally disturbed.
- Myth #4: Transgender people are gay.
- Myth #5: Transgender people are radical liberals with crazy ideas.
- Myth #6: Transgender people hate their bodies.
- Myth #7: Transgender people perform in drag shows.
- Myth #8: You can tell someone is transgender just by looking at them.
- Myth #9: Transgender people aren’t “real” men or women.
- Myth #10: Transgender people are weird.
- Myth #11: Sex and gender are straightforward.