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Celia Capace - Transgenderism

Transgenderism has existed since the beginning of time and it’s about time we realised this.  From Native Indian to South Pacific island nations to Indigenous Australians many cultures have had expressions of transgenderism within their societies.  Today, transgenderism is a hot topic and yet still considerably misunderstood. Western society has defined genders of male and female rigidly for so long that to separate what we believe we know from what is reality is confusing to some.  Throughout my novel you will find varying examples of transgenderism and of my experiences being enlightened regarding the continuum of gender working with transsexuals in the adult sex industry. For the benefit of the uninformed, transgenderism is an umbrella term for all gender-diverse individuals while transsexuality is a subset of transgenderism which applies to those who commit to living full-time in the opposite gender role to their birth sex.

In Western society sex and gender have generally been considered one and the same when this is far from the truth. The problem is the general population in Western society can't seem to separate sex from gender.  Our genitalia is our sex biologically. We have no choice in the genitalia we are born with. We don't choose our gender either as gender is who we identify as. They are not the same and this is where most make the mistake understanding transgenderism.  Transgender individuals are not changing who they are in their gender transition but are revealing who they always were. Our gender is a big part of our personal identity and how we fit and relate in society. With some people, their bodies and brains just don't match.  

Our genitalia is not a confirmation of our gender. The gender spectrum from manly-man to girly-girl has many variations in between.  The gender identity of transsexuals is opposite to the sex they were born with. Transsexuals don't want more rights than others and they don't want special treatment.  They want equality and the respect that should come with that equality. What harm is done to give them both? What harm is done in referring to transgender individuals as the gender they ask to be identified as?  None. 

The world classifies transsexuals according to their genitalia, regardless if they have received gender reassignment surgery or not.  And yet it is mostly only with transsexuals where this overriding fascination and preoccupation causes others to overtly question what genitalia is in their underwear.  People are not their genitalia. Asking anyone about their genitalia is ridiculous! Transsexuals want you to ask how their lives are in general but not about their genitalia.  Unless you're in an intimate relationship with the person their genitalia is none of your, or anyone else's, business. 

I worked with transsexuals for five years and still associate with a few.  From my experiences working in a transsexual brothel, I’ve dedicated three chapters of my novel to what I have learnt about transgenderism and transsexuality. My life is more enriched for knowing transsexuals and I don't understand the anger and disrespect directed at them.  Transgenderism has existed since the beginning of time and it’s about time we realised this.