Who gets the better deal? Transgendered people, or transoriented people?
Today, not for the first time, I read a comment complaining that people who are transgendered face problems of non-acceptance. It reminded me of the non-acceptance experienced by people who are, or who want to become, transoriented.
Transgendered people and transoriented people both experience non-acceptance, and for the same basic reason.
Transgendered people are (for example) male, but want to be accepted in future as female (or vice versa). In some cases, trangendered people have had their bodies changed, so that they resemble more their acquired gender, and less their birth gender. Transgendered people experience rejection on the part of people with strong, fixed beliefs. Beliefs that it is impossible for a man really to change himself, or be changed, into a woman (or vice versa).
Transoriented people (as I am defining the term here) have a similar tale to tell. They have experienced (for example) same sex attraction, but have decided that they want in future to be people who are attracted to the opposite sex (or vice versa). They want other people to accept them as they are, complete with their desire to change, or that fact of their having already changed, their “sexual orientation” (so-to-speak). But, unlike transgendered people, they have changed their minds rather than their bodies, so that their behaviour resembles more that of their acquired sexual orientation than the sexual orientation with which they have formerly identified. Transoriented people often experience rejection on the part of people with strong, fixed beliefs too. Beliefs, in this case, that it isn’t possible for somebody who has in the past said that he has had a homosexual orientation really to change into somebody who now has a heterosexual orientation to all practical intents and purposes.
Which do you think is the more unkind? Being transgendered and finding oneself shunned or insulted by people who don’t believe that changing one’s gender by changing one’s body is possible? Or being transoriented, and finding oneself shunned or insulted by different people, who don’t believe that changing one’s sexual orientation by changing one’s mind is possible?
Despite the obvious parallels between the plight of both transgendered people and the transoriented people, health professionals seem willing to offer transgendered people and transoriented people completely different “help” (if one can call what they offer “help”, in either case).
During the past few years, I think that I have discerned an increase in the tolerance shown to transgendered people. Those who say that they have changed their gender by changing their bodies are more accepted than they were. During the same period, I have noticed an increased intolerance shown towards transoriented people. Those who say that they have changed their sexual orientation by changing their minds are disliked more than ever.
Transport For London banned an advertisement recently, which they had accepted an order to display, on the sides of London buses. All the banned advert did, was to remind the public politely, that transoriented people exist, and are proud, and suggested that any members of the public with a bad attitude towards transoriented people should “get over it”. What was so controversial about that? Yet some of the verbal abuse directed at transoriented people during the discussion that followed in various web places was a sight to behold.
I wonder how the sizes of the trangendered and transoriented populations compare. Even more, I wonder why transgendered people are better accepted than the transoriented people. Changing one’s mind isn’t as drastic as changing one’s body, but it seems to be far less socially acceptable. Why is there such a double standard?