Transgender Resources

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A crowd participates in a Rally Against Hate, organized by members of New York's Lesbian-Gay-Transgender-Bisexual community, on May 20, 2013 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty)

With Hedwig on Broadway and Laverne Cox on the cover of Time, Laura Erickson-Schroth, a psychiatry resident at NYU Medical Center, board member of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, and the editor of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Aiden Key, director of Gender Diversity and a contributor to Trans Bodies, Trans Selves talk about the growing acceptance of the transgender community & the new anthology of medical, legal and personal information and advice for transgendered people and their families.


Laura Erickson-Schroth and Aiden Key

Comments [21]

Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ GenderID is not SexualAttraction from nyc:

First of all, I don't think I used the word "normal" at all in my post.

Secondly, if you haven't heard of Darwin's Evolution of the Species, now is the time to read it. Species that can't reproduce die out. Homo sapiens reproduce through heterosexual reproduction and any change, i.e., transgender, means that those persons will not reproduce. There are other animals on the planet that exhibit homosexual preference, but those particular animals will not reproduce and those genes will die out.

Third, I am a Biology major and have studied Psychology extensively, so my interest is scientific. I do not consider myself any kind of police of anything, but I do deal in reality. Your reality is that you are plenty defensive enough to make me believe you are transgender, and whether you want to admit it or not, this is not "normal." In fact, transgender or gender dysphoria occurs in a very small minority of the population, just as allergies and certain other genetic traits do. For the most part, at least historically, homo sapiens with certain genetic conditions either died in utero, shortly after birth, or once they achieved sexual maturity, were unable to reproduce and therefore none of these traits was passed on. It is only in the advanced state of scientific and medical technology that such a thing as gender transition is possible, and those who undergo such transition will not reproduce and pass on these traits. Once people are transgendered, they should be treated with the same respect as they were before their transition, but I feel that this is a deeply personal issue and need not be either a topic of general discussion nor a way to draw attention to oneself in the absence of any other positive contribution to humankind.

Finally, here is the last paragraph from my previous post, which, apparently, you ignored the first time: "It is my firm impression that there is a LOT more study to be done about this issue before we willy-nilly accept all these increased claims about gender identity issues. It is a physical, physiological and psychological matter that cannot be debated solely by the LGBT community, but by the scientific, medical and psychological communities, not to mention bioethicists."

Jun. 27 2014 09:28 AM
Jackie from Brooklyn

I'm a little troubled by the way Schroth and Key seem to be conflating "transgender" with "gender nonconforming," as though by being trans you're inherently challenging societal preconceptions of gender. When someone looks at a trans woman who wears women's clothing and has traditionally feminine interests and calls her "gender nonconforming," how do they draw that conclusion? She's not conforming to her birth sex, yes, but that doesn't make her gender non-conforming. Sex =/= gender.

As for the growth in people identifying as trans in recent years, I think there are a couple of reasons for it. As mentioned in the interview, it's certainly easier to come out now than it was twenty or even ten years ago.

But even moreso than that, I think the main reason is that the trans umbrella is a lot wider than it used to be. I'm reminded this year's Eurovision. Ten years ago, Conchita Wurst would be labelled a drag persona, and that would be the end of that. Ten years ago, no one would have called her trans. But the media kept pegging her as "trans*" or "genderqueer" or "genderf***" or literally anything other than a drag queen. (I don't mean to imply she's not an LGBT icon, but there's a difference between being embraced by the trans community and actually being trans yourself. Not to mention that she's explicitly said she is not transgender.)

The Internet definitely has a lot to do with it as well; people find online support groups to help them with their transition, or find employers that won't discriminate, or trade gendered clothing with people of the opposite gender. Of course, you also have online communities of twelve-year-olds who use lots of swear words and identify as dogs, but the web has definitely been more beneficial for trans folk than not.

Jun. 19 2014 07:49 PM
whawha from NYCNYC

So let's just for argument's sake [because we really really don't know one way or the other] that it is something in the environment that's causing a "spike" in Trans pregnancies/people- what then?
Where does that leave this conversation regarding Trans people facing discrimination, violence and mockery?

I think what the woman in the interview, who identifies as lesbian, was trying to say is that people ARE.
Accept them, regardless of how they got to BE what they ARE.

BTW: Accounts of TRANS people existed centuries ago in various tribes and cultures throughout time. Trans people are a tiny % of the population. There may be a sense of a "great many hoards indoctrinated" to be Trans [which is completely false] because for once the media is shining a spot light on these people.
But really, Trans people are a tiny minority. We need to respect their right to live their lives as they see fit. It doesn't hurt me one bit if someone transitions to be their true self.

Jun. 19 2014 03:42 PM

This conversation is consistently derailed by semantics; LBGT is a most unfortunate acronym as Lesbian, Bi, Gay are NOT endocrine disorders but sexual preferences (in other words, whom one prefers to boink, which no sensible person gives a whit about)! The question of whether or not the spiking stats on [Trans]gender identity issues for which individuals have been seeking medical intervention is an indicator of endocrine disruption caused by the vast spectrum of environmental pollution MUST BE ASKED, however incredibly upsetting it is. The fundamental issue here is that we are well aware of the endocrinological impact on gender that pollution is having across the animal kingdom and the evidence continues to burgeon. This has to be looked at; do the studies and if causalty is not a factor, then we no longer have to consider it. And yes in the meanwhile, people who are experiencing gender issues need all the protection, support, and attention to their situations that can be given; no one in their right mind would say otherwise.

Jun. 19 2014 02:16 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Wow, lotta Ignorance & Ugliness on this page. We have ways to go yet.

Jun. 19 2014 01:53 PM
John Doe

I'm a 36 year old transman - transitioned legally around the age of 22 although I've almost always appeared male - and now live a stealth professional life.

I knew at a very young age that I was male, there was never any question otherwise. My family knew something was off and beyond the typical toyboy behavior. Many fights over haircuts, toys and clothes happened throughout childhood and my teens. They did compromise to a point - and just tried to write it off as a phase.

Back then there was very little known information - there was no sense or any hope that being "normal" and feeling right in my own skin was possible. The only reason I didn't kill myself was because of parents that did support me in all other areas, although I hated them for trying so hard to get me to conform.

It was only after transitioning and as more information became available (thank you internet!) that everything clicked for my family and made complete sense. It should be mentioned that my family background is fairly conservative but they completely "get it". They now hold guilt on themselves for not taking steps toward making my childhood less painful. My only response is "no one even had the vocabulary back then. No one even had a name for it..."

People have no idea how much pain a trans kid goes through and how horrifying adolescence is.

To simply dismiss a child as being too young to know their own gender is foolish. And letting your child try on the opposite gender isn't going to mess them up for life. Making your kid conform because you simply don't think they know themselves is dangerous.

Jun. 19 2014 12:44 PM
GenderID is not SexualAttraction from nyc

@ Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn
Once people start throwing around "normal" and "not natural" I start to worry. Segments like this are intended to get people to start thinking differently, in a more enlightened way.

Who died and made you the "normal/natural" police? After all, people are naturally born a certain way.
No one made them LGBTQ. These things go back centuries and cannot be indoctrinated in any way!

You sound deeply uneducated on the matter of (LGB)Trans issues - but thanks for chipping in your two cents on what is "normal/natural" to you personally.

Jun. 19 2014 12:21 PM

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental illness. i would be willing to pay any and all medical expenses also long as this population is willing to admit or the people who enable this population are willing to admit that. LGB i get Cross dressing i get never gotten why its so essential for the politically correct to accept DID as "normal"

Jun. 19 2014 12:10 PM
Mike Sacks from Oakland Gardens

As a student studying medicine at the Hofstra university PA program I can tell you that a great deal of effort is put into educating us on caring for and advocating for patients within LGBTQ communities. I don't know if that is standard or we are a progressive program, but every year 50 well trained clinicians graduate with an interest and ability in providing quality patient centered care to every patient we have the opportunity to work with.

Jun. 19 2014 12:06 PM
GenderID is not SexualAttraction from nyc

@ Coogan from NYC
The environment and climate change need to be a key election issue - every election, big/small...local, general.

Parents who may think they child is showing signs of GNC - Gender Non Conformity - take their child to a trained professional (child psychologist) who is the only person who diagnoses a young person as Trans/Cis...

It sounds like you are confusing gender identity with sexual attraction.
For example: A heterosexual man may feel Trans and make the transition to being female, but live as a woman attracted to other women - a lesbian. Yes, it happens to some men.
Trans doesn't foretell anything about sexual attraction.

Jun. 19 2014 12:01 PM
Coogan from NYC

One angle not discussed (understandable given lack of time) are the subtleties surrounding trans "rights". It's very concerning this obsession with trans men needing to be accepted everywhere, women's bathrooms/gyms/spaces, even lesbian only groups, it's ridiculous. If you want to be considered a man, live like one, but you cannot have both. You gave up your rights as a woman by changing your sex and living as man, sorry but whats how it goes.

Then there's the M-to-F transwomen who are pre-op and are very obviously physical manly- like being 6ft tall and bigger than most women, how can you possibly expect to not be considered a possible threat to many women in what is historically private, safe spaces? Some transmen (F-to-M) taunt and harass women in the most vicious ways, breaking up lesbian pride rallies, even threatening violence, all while claiming they're victims for wanting to be a man and that all feminists and lesbians are a cabal of penis hating freaks who discriminate against them- extremely bizarre, especially that its coming from (former) gay girls/women who used to loathe such women hating talk from straight homophobic 'bros' and 'dudes'... apparently joining them is better than beating them?

I have seen dozens of lesbians, young and very impressionable, full of self-loathing, with no ability to be patient and deal with adolescence, turn to the option of becoming a man/go through sex change and take hormones (which makes them very aggressive), bind their breasts etc,. They see it as somehow empowering, that becoming the 'enemy' is better than dealing with being gay, boyish looking, hating their own bodies and the ridicule they receive over it (or perceive they do). Interesting the image they often choose to mold their ideal male stereotype after is often outdated, the horrible backwards baseball cap, hanging chain from low slung jeans, scraggly chin hair, lame tattoos, just a caricature that's soothing enough to embrace. If you've ever seen a before and after you know what I mean. Very sad.

Ironically these trans-men often turn into gay men, and end up having relationships (sexual & otherwise) with other guys, which is so utterly nuts, a gay girl- who does NOT like men, turning into a man, and once on hormones and Testosterone injections, starts to feel like a "guy" and then wants sex only with men. Huh, Ok. Whatever.

Jun. 19 2014 11:58 AM
Coogan from NYC

Agreed entirely with the caller about the endocrine system influence- chemicals in the water are indeed changing our sex and body shapes, and causing myriad health issues and chromosomal damage and extreme changes. This is happening primarily in America, no surprise at all seeing how we've destroyed so much of our water, air and soil for 100 years. I've lived long enough to see this sex-blending (for lack of a better term) everywhere in the youth- this in-between sex look, where the features are not clearly defined. Very strange, the sudden (just last 10-20 years) inflow.

Also, we need to discuss the ethics and morality of parents would so quickly decide they have a trans child because their little toddler dislikes a certain color, toy or type of clothing? Kids have always been finicky about such things, its normal! They go through 100 fads a week, why focus not his all the sudden? Make it a life altering issue? Mindboggling.

It's disgusting, this need to define someones sexually for them, and worse, criminal for parents to make a permanent decision to change their identity (using a new name, telling others to call them a boy or girl- switched from original biology) and in some cases have them actually undergo sex reassignment surgery, despite the medical need to do so. Stunning, truly. This is irreversible and life altering in the extreme. This decision should be made by the child later in life after much soul searching and counseling. It's insanity to allow therapists medical doctors to make the diagnosis that a child is trans or not, and parents to accept this and be given carte blanche to act on this opinion.

Jun. 19 2014 11:47 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I agree with the two last callers.

1. It is FAR too early to permit youngsters under 18 to determine their "gender identity" and then to undergo "treatment" for this "condition." Any treatment toward transgender may wind up being a HUGE mistake if done too early, but a huge IRREVOCABLE mistake.

2. I do believe that there may be some endocrine disorder. This can be tested both by endocrinologists and by gynecologists and THAT would be easily treated by hormones. However, this is a matter of nature AND nurture.

3. Your guest is entirely WRONG about her stance on transgender matters. Yes, for those people who absolutely believe that they are in the wrong sort of body, we still do need to treat them with all the respect everyone else gets, but no, this is not the natural state of things. We were designed to be a race of males and females and we procreate heterosexually. If this doesn't continue to happen, homo sapiens will die out. (Yes, I know about AI and IV and surrogates, but this is an expensive approach to reproduction that is beyond the means of most of the people on the planet.) In addition, I, personally, prefer to approach and accept people as individuals and to me, their value as a friend or enemy or acquaintance is not gender-based or based on sexual preference (provided, of course, that their preferred partner is a CONSENTING ADULT). Whether you are gay or bi or transgendered should NOT enter into a conversation unless you are planning to ask me on a date, etc. Otherwise, you'd just better be a solid, responsible person.

4. As far as the restroom issue, I guess there should be a third type of restroom as I, personally, would not feel comfortable having a man who claims to be receiving female hormones in a ladies room with me. As a matter of fact, any man would theoretically be able to enter a ladies room if he then claims he's undergoing transgender therapy, even if it later proves to be untrue.

5. Finally, there is the issue of people who believe they are in the wrong type of body. How far are we going to go with this? There are two types of human bodies determined by X and Y chromosomes. You get XX and a woman's body and XY and a man's body and aside from genetic mutations, those are the only two choices. But what about someone who insists s/he is a cat and wants to be trans-specied? Do we then go along with that? Do we agree that the person has the wrong number of chromosomes and is really meant to be a cat?

It is my firm impression that there is a LOT more study to be done about this issue before we willy-nilly accept all these increased claims about gender identity issues. It is a physical, physiological and psychological matter that cannot be debated solely by the LGBT community, but by the scientific, medical and psychological communities, not to mention bioethicists.

Jun. 19 2014 11:38 AM

I'm 62. I remember that when I was about 12 or so, there was an episode on "Dr. Kildare" that addressed this issue. The person in question was a male doctor (portrayed by Robert Reed) with a family, and the episode depicted his journey from telling his family through post-surgery. In my twelve-year-old view, this subject was treated very sympathetically. Good for you, Dr. Kildare! You educated me then.

Jun. 19 2014 11:37 AM
scott from soho

LBGT Topic .... check
Legalize Marijuana.... check
Make excuses for radical islam.... check
Blame Bush.... check
Continue to blindly support the Obama administration no matter what. ... check

Another big day on the show.

Jun. 19 2014 11:28 AM

Suggesting that gender-identity issues might have an endocrine disruption connection is NOT at all to suggest that transgender people have "something wrong with them" as the guest responded to the caller about endocrine disoriders, nor is it comparable to lesbianism...! A ridiculous, limited and clearly emotional comparison. We have to have these conversations about endocrine disorders and how connected they are to the environment; do the studies and if no connection is evident, then we can dismiss it, but to ignore this fundamental question is nothing short of ludicrous. Also, how much is the pharmaceutical industry profiting from transgenderism? We really need to see those numbers.

Jun. 19 2014 11:18 AM
Elena Caravela from Summit, NJ

Just want to add a voice of support for the trans community. My daughter is transgendered, and I could not be more proud of her! Since coming out, her confidence has grown, she is quite accomplished and could not be a better daughter. Thank you Brian and guests for this terrific show. Trans people deserve to simply be people, and shed the myriad preconceptions that they bravely face in their daily lives.

Jun. 19 2014 11:16 AM
Kari from White Plains

My daughter is dating a transgendered boy and we love him. One thing that I worry about is for those transgender individuals who choose not to undergo sex reassignment surgery finding healthcare providers who can really care for them. It is not easy for a transgendered man to walk into a midwife or gynecologist's office to get a pap smear, or for a doctor to remember to remind a 50 year old trangendered female to get her PSA checked. We need to get the medical field onboard with welcoming transgendered individuals into their offices and taking care of all of their healthcare needs.

Jun. 19 2014 11:12 AM
Amy from Manhattan

About the "Orange Is the New Black" trans character, how realistic is it that she's in a women's prison? How many states recognize a transsexual person's sexual identity for this & other legal purposes?

Jun. 19 2014 11:12 AM
John A

What about the issue of pronouns? Apparently it is an offense to use Either him Or her as a pronoun in certain situations.

Jun. 19 2014 11:02 AM

Does Brian's daily alphabet soup have to be read live ?
Let's not buy up any more radio stations please.

Jun. 19 2014 11:02 AM

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