Who is a transgender or, what we call in our local language, a Khawaja Sira?

While explaining the aim of iMatter to the common people, we got to identify the harrowing reality that the majority of our population has no idea about what is the actual significance of the controversial albeit humane term.

Upon asking many of them to explain the idea of transgender that they have harbored in their mind, we got to know that most actually confused the term ‘transgender’ with the term ‘intersex’. The seed of confusion is sown in our minds at a very young age – usually when our parents define it for us; for example in this case them telling the general up that transgender are the ones who are born with a gender that is in-between a male and a female (referred to as intersex in actuality) i.e. their anatomy is neither male nor female.

Usually when a child is born, the gender label is given to the baby on the the basis of their biological identity. But that is not always the correct approach – since studies show that a person’s own sense of gender comes from their mental pathology and thought-process, which doesn’t always match their biological gender.

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Trans is a general term that is used to describe people with a gender identification different to the sex assigned to them at birth. They feel like they have been born into a wrong body and they identify themselves as male or female, or sometimes, they feel that neither of the labels suit them. It is also used to incorporate many identities that are outside of a cisgender community (Cisgender is a term used to identify people whose gender identity is the same as their birth gender).

Some transgender people who are brave enough to express how they feel towards their gender may choose transition from the gender they were given at birth. They may change their names, dressing style and even choose the path of medical transition with the help of medical specialists, undergoing hormonal replacement therapy and/or a surgery. However, many transgender people choose not to undergo any of the changes mentioned above because of many reasons. Some choose not to as they know how strong the opposition will be. Likewise, some transgender people may want to undergo many of these changes but are unable to because they cannot afford it or due to safety reasons.

The label of humanity is bigger than any of the human defined labels of gender and just like us, trans people also want to be called normal people and they deserve this basic right – one that we are too quick to snatch and judge them for. Their community is diverse and complex and they come from every racial and ethnic background, making them our brothers in arms in terms of genetics. Our community needs to understand to be empathetic, broad-minded and kind towards them and how to not bully them and make their life miserable by our actions.

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