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Some basic questions

Equal rights & protections for
transgender persons & transsexuals.

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Basic questions re: equal rights & protections for transgender persons & transsexuals:

"What is the nature of gender identity?" All humans have a genetic gender: Every cell in their body has a DNA strand containing one or more X and perhaps one or more Y sex chromosomes. They define the individual as either a genetic male or female.

With very few exceptions, humans are also very much aware of their gender identity -- whether they are male or female -- and are quite aware that it is fixed. Apparently therapists have had zero success rate at changing adults' gender identity.

For the vast majority of persons, their genetic gender and gender identity match. However for transgender adults -- who have been variously estimated at from one in a thousand to one in thirty thousand -- a mismatch occurs. They often describe their feelings as being a female trapped in a male body, or vice-versa. This often produces such severe anxiety and depression that the suicide rate among untreated transgender persons has been estimated as high as 50% by age 30. Since there is no effective method by which gender identity can be changed, many transgender adults enter gender reassignment process to make their body more closely match their gender identity. This involves hormone treatments and sometimes surgical procedures. If proper protocols are observed, this process has a success rate exceeding 90%.

A male-to-female (MTF) transgender individual has a male genetic gender and a perceived female gender identity. A female-to male (FTM) is the reverse. Although precise definitions vary, the term "transsexual" is normally reserved for transgender persons who are undergoing or have undergone a gender reassignment process.

Opinions differ about gender identity:

  • Many religious and social conservatives regard transgender persons as suffering from gender confusion and believe that religiously-based counseling will enable them to align their gender identity with their genetic gender. They regard a MTF individual to be male and a FTM person to be female. They often refer to gender reassignment procedures as an abomination, and actively oppose legislation that would allow transgender persons and transsexuals to dress and behave in accordance with their sexual identity, without discrimination and oppression.

  • Many lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals (LGBTs), religious liberals, secularists, therapists, etc. reject the belief that transgender persons are confused about their gender; rather, the vast majority are absolutely certain what their gender is. The former believe that religiously based or secular therapy aimed at changing a person's gender identity is useless and doomed to failure. They regard a MTF individual as female and a FTM person as male. They generally regard gender reassignment procedures as the appropriate path to lessen or eliminate anxiety and depression. They actively support legislation that would allow transgender persons and transsexuals to dress and behave in accordance with their sexual identity.

Again, a sincere effort involving secularists, individuals from a broad range of religious groups, and LGBT persons might be able to conduct studies and reach a consensus on beliefs concerning gender identity. There is the potential that they might agree on a path forward for appropriate civil rights legislation.

More information.

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on 2010-AUG-22
Latest update on: 2010-AUG-22
Compiled by B.A. Robinson

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