In the early eighteenth century many Native Americans believed in third-gender roles, some tribes even identified four genders – masculine man, feminine woman, feminine man and masculine woman. As of now, it is estimated that there are around 0.3 percent or 700, 000 people in the United States that identify as transgender. Throughout history the stance on transgenders has slowly evolved for the better and they are gradually gaining their deserved recognition not only in the LGBT community but also in society.
The twenty-first century has been a breakthrough for transgenders in many ways. In the last few years, celebrities such as Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner have been opening up about their journey to becoming who they truly are. Social media sites such as Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube have been also very trans positive. Young people who are unsure of their identity or body are usually supported on social media, making them feel understood and less alone.
In the past, many trans individuals have dealt with identity crisis and understanding who they are/who they want to become, many have also struggled with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Furthermore, it is very hard for them to create a “bureaucratically”coherent legal identities. Sadly, the feelings and reassurance of being loved, included and accepted are not always something they receive from family and friends.
Research has shown that around 60 percent of transgender teenagers have struggled with depression and 32 percent have attempted suicide. Usually legal jurisdiction only identifies two gender identities, man and woman, and only allow change from one gender to another if sexual reassignment surgery has been done. An alarming 19 percent of transgender people have experienced violence or abuse from a family member or friend.
There are some people who believe that being transgender is unnatural and attention seeking but it is scientifically proven to be a true fact; it is called gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder.
To help the transgender community gain even more social awareness they should gain exposure and representation on social media and in pop culture. Influential celebrities should promote transgender support within LGBT and society. Lastly, the stigma of transgender people being labeled as a sexual minority should stop and they should be seen as equally important human beings.