A Woman In a Man’s World: A Trans Journey
Women in the 21st century are still fighting an ongoing struggle against a male-dominated society, despite successes within the past fifty-plus years against the forces of prejudice, misogyny and psychological servitude. Just this year topics have come up in our nation regarding issues such as abortion rights and equal pay in salaried job positions. Although women have existed for as long as the race of men, somehow they still fail to see equal billing in the matters of life. Mothers, caretakers, wives, employers and service providers: the stacked resume of today’s modern woman pales in comparison to society’s ideals and traditions, which imply women have a certain place and standing. A cold concrete box from which a woman cannot flee, although she may possess the tools for freedom, simply because others hold the mortar and bricks.
Women’s rights are imperative to the LGBT community, especially for trans-women worldwide. For how can a world, which refuses to equally accept that essential group who have supported the spread of humanity, open its arms to populations that historically have been outcast by the mainstream? Women continue to be judged on a harsher level than their counterparts: on their style of clothing, presentation, sexual exploits (or lack thereof) and level of intelligence in leadership atmospheres. Body modification in the form of plastic surgery, diets and form-changing outfits are predominantly performed by women, belying the notion that women are generally regarded as people who require drastic change to fit into modern society. For years, women’s rights organizations have battled to overcome the homogeneous insecurity that threatens to overtake their gender, even internally.
A revealing study I recently read gave staff two identical resumes, with the only variable being the gender of the applicants. Across the board, the female was given lower scores than the male applicant, from both women and men reviewing the application. Even women themselves can at times judge themselves and others upon the same skewed parameters that confine and stunt them. Mid-century heroines realized this self-crippling trait, and sought to empower their brethren to realize and support universal acceptance. Shining a light upon ‘sensitive’ issues, and undaunted at the prospect of facing their fathers, colleagues, brothers and sons, they refused the mold of the submissive and complementary sex.
Trans-women are in terrible need of that light, and yearn for a revelation that would force a movement toward human equality. Women fought against a world of men; trans-individuals fight within the confines of their own body and against the preconceptions of gender and sex that affects our race negatively. From an early age, I both learned and was told what is expected from a person, depending on what you had between your legs. A boy/man had certain expectations and limitations that differed from a girl/woman. No matter that my instinct and heart pulled me in opposing ways: the matter was laid with that concrete, seemingly immobile, box. I despaired at my ‘imperfections’ and prayed that somehow they would fix themselves with time. The years went by and the situation became worse; I spiralled into depression and self-hate that threatened to remove me on more than one occasion.
The same box that told a woman what she was supposed to be prevented me from discovering and being myself for an eternity, in my mind. Gender inequality led me to a path of self-hate and confusion, and even further towards a time of mental instability. Many youth today suffer from the same ailments, and not wholly because of the government’s or society’s views on LGBT individuals; it was mostly derived from the outside world’s view on what a woman and/or man is supposed to look and act like. Looking at the situation through scientific lenses lead us to see that the difference between sexes is biological: a woman is made to carry a child, and a man to help in the process of creating life. Somewhere down the line, those two defining factors became muddled with others: through religion, government, and environments run historically and exclusively by men.
I have a firm belief that the fight for women’s rights should be the battlefield for all, especially all members of the fragmented and forgotten LGBT community. Traditional marriage still carries the decree that a man is ‘head of the household’, with the ‘supportive’ gender taking second place. The husband is always ‘pronounced’ before the wife, with the bride being given away by one male figure to another. Only together, as united peoples looking for equal rights, can we create a world where people are people, and a person can simply be themselves without the need to conform to a preconceived mold that traps them within a box, a prison with no windows.