Finding ones identity comes with many challenges. From our childhood days, high school and college experiences, to our adult years and beyond, we consistently strive to better understand who we are. Gender identity is no different. As Transgender people, we face those same challenges and more.  Those challenges and struggles make us stronger and lead us closer to expressing our true gender identity.

There is a lot of focus on health risks, psychopathologies and negative life experiences of identifying as a Transgender person with little to no mention of the positive side. While it is important to express concerns about the negative effects, it is equally important for people to know that there are positive experiences ahead.

I stumbled upon a research study about the positive aspects of a Transgender identity[1]. This research resulted in seven positive characteristics. I can go on with the percentage and numbers but I would rather simply list them and my thoughts, in hopes that I can share more positivity to our community and allies.

CONGRUENCY

Congruency between inner feelings and outer appearance can lead to a positive aspect of claiming our gender identity. A Transgender identity can allow us to express ‘honesty’, ‘truth’ and ‘unity within ourselves’.

“Since allowing myself to be the person I am, my suicidal depression has completely vanished. I am more self-confident.” [Age 40, ‘Transgender FTM’]

PERSONAL GROWTH AND RESILIENCE

Every obstacle one faces through their Transition makes them ‘stronger’ ‘self-confident’ and ‘self-aware’.

“I am stronger and wiser because of my struggles as a Transgender individual.” [Age 22, ‘Transgender MTF’]

EMPATHY

Our Transgender identity allows us to experience empathy for others and be more accepting of others.

“Being Trans has helped me understand and empathize with other people’s struggles in a way I could not otherwise. It makes me think about my world in a way that not being Trans could never do.” [Age 29, ‘trans, queer’]

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

When family and friends accept your sex or gender expression it can lead to a growth of relationships.

“The act of self-disclosure, when done with sensitivity toward the person you are sharing with, is a liberating experience, and while potentially scary because you risk rejection, it’s probably the single most important thing you can do towards mental, emotional and physical health.” [Age 39, ‘Transsexual’]

UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE/INSIGHT

Being perceived as both male and female or experiencing hormonal changes make us more perceptive to both sexes, allowing more insight on the complexities of gender identities.

“I have had the experience of going through puberty two times, once as a female and once as a male. …PMS is terrible for women. I‘m one of the few men in the world who really understands what they go through. Also, I understand menopause because I’ve technically gone through that as well.” [Age 59, ‘Transman, FTM’]

ACTIVISM 

Being a role model and helping to educate others helps make the Transgender community ‘visible’.

“It’s important to me to be an advocate and educate audiences about misconceptions and stereotypes. It’s even better when I am able to educate them through my own experiences as a Transgender individual and my identity as a gay man.” [Age 27, ‘transman, FTM’]

A PART OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Support and inclusion of the LGBTQ community leads to increases in self-acceptance and under-standing.

“It’s nice to have a supportive community of those who know what it is you are going through.” [Age 23, ‘Trans, Queer, Male’]

 

 

[1] “The Positive Aspects of a Transgender Self-Identification” in Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 2(2):147-158 · April 2011

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