Transgender rights are at the forefront of the media and social conscious right now, thanks to Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympian and father to the Kardashians. In London, Johanna Londinium lit up the catwalk during London Fashion Week, taking the role of lead model, opening the F.U.S.E show.
Transgender celebrities and models are stepping into the international limelight. Even Facebook now allows users to choose from dozens of genders for their profiles. President Barack Obama became the first president to publicly use the word “transgender” in his State of Union address earlier this year. So what exactly is it? Is it simply a person born as one sex who realises they are the opposite sex and so embark on a journey of change? This is the simplified explanation. This week we are going to attempt to demystify the term for you, in the name of education. The sooner people are able to discuss it confidently and freely, the better it will be for society as a whole.
Since the 1980s, the term, ‘Transgender’ has been used to describe gender-non-conforming individuals. The challenges and decisions transgender people face are immense – gender dysphoria is the term used to describe the anxiety individuals experience when they feel their gender identity is at odds with their biological sex. This can be at any age but more commonly these days can be identified in children. Over the years, treatments for transgender children have involved trying to help them to feel more comfortable with the sex they were born into, but these days more professionals are now advising caregivers to allow children to live in the gender of their choosing. Some even advise delaying puberty so the child has time to decide.