Trans woman

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A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a male-to-female (MTF) transgender person with a female gender identity. The label of transgender woman is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual woman, although the two labels are often used in this way. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people (including transsexual people).

Overview

See also: Transsexualism
A trans woman at a Gay Pride Parade in São Paulo

Assigned sex refers to the assigning or naming of the sex of a baby, usually based upon the appearance of external genitalia.

Gender identity refers to a person's private sense of, and subjective experience of, their own gender. This may be different from the sex that the person was assigned at birth.

"Transition" refers to the process of adopting a social and personal identity that corresponds to one's own sense of the gendered self, and may or may not include medical intervention (hormone treatment, surgery, etc.), changes in legal documents (name and/or sex indicated on identification, birth certificate, etc.), and personal expression (clothing, accessories, voice, body language).

Both transsexual and transgender women may experience gender dysphoria, a (sometimes) severe pain and discomfort brought upon by the discrepancy between their gender identity and the sex that was assigned to them at birth (and the associated gender role and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics).[1]

Both transsexual and transgender women may transition, though only transsexual women would medically transition. A major component of medical transition for trans women is estrogen hormone replacement therapy, which causes the development of female secondary sexual characteristics (breasts, redistribution of body fat, lower waist to hip ratio, etc.). This, along with sex reassignment surgery can bring immense relief, and in most cases, rids the person of gender dysphoria.

In the same manner, a trans man is someone who was assigned female at birth, but whose gender identity is that of a man.

Terminology

Some trans women who feel that their gender transition is complete prefer to be called simply "women," considering "trans woman" or "male-to-female transsexual" to be terms that should only be used for people who are not fully transitioned. Likewise, many may not want to be seen as a "trans woman," owing to society's tendency to "other" individuals who do not fit into the sex/gender binary, or have personal reasons beyond that not to wish to identify as transgender post-transition. For this reason, many see it as an important and appropriate distinction to include a space in the term, as in trans woman, thus using trans as merely an adjective describing a particular type of woman; this is in contrast to the usage of transwoman as one word, implying a "third gender".[2]

Sexual orientation

The stereotype of the effeminate boy who grows up to live as a woman has a very long history.[3] It is a common misconception and stereotype that all transgender and transsexual women are heterosexual (attracted to males). However, research on the sexual orientation of trans women in the past has been dubious at best. Many studies on this issue have suffered from reporting bias, since many transsexual people feel they must give the "correct" answers to such questions to increase their chances of obtaining hormone replacement therapy. Patrick Califia, author of Sex Changes and Public Sex, has indicated that this group has a clear awareness of what answers to give to survey questions to be considered eligible for hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery:

"None of the gender scientists seem to realize that they, themselves, are responsible for creating a situation where transsexual people must describe a fixed set of symptoms and recite a history that has been edited in clearly prescribed ways to get a doctor's approval for what should be their inalienable right."[4]

A survey of roughly 3000 trans women showed that only 23% of them identified as heterosexual, with 31% as bisexual, 29% as lesbian, 7% as asexual, 7% as queer and 2% as "other".[5]

Libido

In a 2008 study, trans women had a higher incidence of decreased libido (34%) than cisgender females (23%), but the difference was not statistically significant and may have been due to chance.[6] As in males, female libido is thought to correlate with serum testosterone levels[7][8][9][10] (with some controversy[11]) but the 2008 study found no such correlation in trans women.[6][12]

Discrimination

Trans women, like all gender variant people, face a vast amount of discrimination and transphobia. A survey of roughly 3000 trans women living in the United States, as summarized in the report "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey", found that trans women reported that:[5]

  • 36% have lost their job due to their gender.
  • 55% have been discriminated against whilst being hired.
  • 29% have been denied a promotion.
  • 25% have been refused medical care.
  • 60% of the trans women that have visited a homeless shelter reported incidents of harassment there.
  • When displaying identity documents incongruent with their gender identity/expression, 33% have been harassed and 3% have been physically assaulted.
  • 20% reported harassment by police, with 6% reporting physical assaulted and 3% reporting sexual assault by an officer. 25% have been treated generally with disrespect by police officers.
  • Among jailed trans women, 40% have been harassed by inmates and 38% have been harassed by staff. 21% have been physically assaulted and 20% sexually assaulted.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' report of 2010 anti-LGBTQ violence found that of the 27 people who were murdered because of their LGBTQ identity, 44% were trans women.[13]

Discrimination is particularly severe towards trans women of color, who experience the intersection of racism and transphobia. Multiracial, Latina, Black and American Indian trans women are twice to more than three times as likely as White trans women to be sexually assaulted in prison.[14]

In her book Whipping Girl, Julia Serano refers to the unique discrimination trans women experience as 'transmisogyny'.[15]

Notable trans women

American activist trans women Andrea James and Calpernia Addams

See also

References

  1. ^ "Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People (version 7)". The World Professional Association for Transgender Health. p. 98. 
  2. ^ Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl: a transsexual woman on sexism and the scapegoating of femininity. Emeryville, California: Seal Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 1-58005-154-5. 
  3. ^ Julia, Dudek (April 20, 2003), Playing with Barbies:The Role of Female Stereotypes in the Male-to-Female Transition, Transgender Tapestry, retrieved January 2008 
  4. ^ From Donald to Deirdre - Donald N. McCloskey sex change to Deirdre N. McCloskey
  5. ^ a b "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey". National Center for Transgender Equality & National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. p. 29. 
  6. ^ a b Elaut E; De Cuypere G; De Sutter P; Gijs L; Van Trotsenburg M; Heylens G; Kaufman JM; Rubens R; T'sjoen G (Mar 2008). "Hypoactive sexual desire in transsexual women: prevalence and association with testosterone levels". European Journal of Endocrinology 158 (3): 393–9. doi:10.1530/EJE-07-0511. PMID 18299474. 
  7. ^ Turna B, Apaydin E, Semerci B, Altay B, Cikili N, & Nazli O (2005). "Women with low libido: correlation of decreased androgen levels with female sexual function index". International Journal of Impotence Research 17 (2): 148–153. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901294. PMID 15592425. 
  8. ^ Santoro N, Torrens J, Crawford S, Allsworth JE, Finkelstein JS, Gold EB, Korenman S, Lasley WL, Luborsky JL, McConnell D, Sowers MF, & Weiss G (2005). "Correlates of circulating androgens in mid-life women: the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 90: 4836–4845. doi:10.1210/jc.2004-2063. PMID 15840738. 
  9. ^ Sherwin BB, Gelfand MM, Brender W (1985). "Androgen enhances sexual motivation in females: a prospective, crossover study of sex steroid administration in the surgical menopause". Psychosomatic Medicine 47 (4): 339–351. doi:10.1097/00006842-198507000-00004. PMID 4023162. 
  10. ^ Sherwin, B (1985). "Changes in sexual behavior as a function of plasma sex steroid levels in post-menopausal women". Maturitas 7 (3): 225–233. doi:10.1016/0378-5122(85)90044-1. PMID 4079822. 
  11. ^ Davis SR, Davison SL, Donath S, Bell RJ (2005). "Circulating androgen levels and self-reported sexual function in women". Journal of the American Medical Association 294: 91–96. doi:10.1001/jama.294.1.91. PMID 15998895. 
  12. ^ DeCuypere G, T’Sjoen G, Beerten R, Selvaggi G, DeSutter P, Hoebeke P, Monstrey S, Vansteenwegen A, Rubens R (2005). "Sexual and physical health after sex reassignment surgery". Archives of Sexual Behavior 34: 679–690. doi:10.1007/s10508-005-7926-5. PMID 16362252. 
  13. ^ http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/07/70_percent_of_anti-lgbt_murder_victims_are_people_of_color.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ http://endtransdiscrimination.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Barker-Plummer, Bernadette. Fixing Gwen. doi:10.1080/14680777.2012.679289. 
  16. ^ "Transgender Woman 1st to Win Office in Cuba". ABC News, November 16, 2012.