- Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Isia, I’m 19 years old, I’m a psychology student and I’m a transgender woman.
- Can you explain to me in your own words what gender is? What is the difference with sex? And what is trans-identity?
In my opinion, gender is what defines us. It’s what we are deep inside. So for example a woman is a person whose gender is woman, a man is a person whose gender is man.
Finally a non-binary person is a person whose gender is neither exclusively male nor exclusively female.
On the other hand, sex is not gender. Sex is a body. Sex is feminine or masculine but it does not define what we are but rather what we have as sex. It is simply a body envelope.
This makes me think of a question I am often asked: should we say “transgender” or “transsexual”? Well, the word “transsexual” comes from the word “transsexualism” which was the term used at the time by the doctors when transidentity was considered as a mental disease. Moreover the suffix “sexual.le” implies that a genital operation took place, but it is not necessary to be operated to be transgender.
- Can you tell me about your experience? How did you know you were affected?
I always knew I was a woman somewhere. Ever since I was a little girl. But because I didn’t have the knowledge about it or someone to explain it to me, I realized it when I was in middle school.
When I was little, in elementary school, I thought that I was a girl like the others and then I realized very quickly that this was not the case. I saw that I had a body, a male sex and not having the knowledge to guide me I shut myself up and told myself that I had to keep this secret to myself. However, I still remember that every night, when I was in bed just before going to sleep, I would say a kind of prayer where I wished to “be a girl” or more precisely to have a female body so that I could be like all the other girls in my school. And so I would tell myself that when I woke up the next day, I would have this body. I would have this life like everyone else. I did that for a long time, until college I think. In college I assumed at first what others thought was homosexuality because they saw me as male, when in fact I was heterosexual because I was a transgender woman from birth. College didn’t help me love myself or feel confident in myself because I experienced bullying, which made me shut down. But the more time passed, the more I felt bad for not knowing how I was going to have a future life that I was going to enjoy. So I searched the internet and it seems like I found out like this.
- How did it go to tell your relatives?
It seems to me that my cousin already knew about it because we were talking a lot and so she knew more or less. As far as my friends are concerned, because I started first with my friends, most of them were expecting this announcement, and it was not hard or complicated but they had many questions.
As for my family, my parents, it went relatively well too. Obviously it was a shock for my parents in the sense that, like any parent, they made a projection of their child which was not this one. But they quickly accepted it because the main thing for them is that I am happy in my life.
- What advice can you give to people who are wondering and to people who are not concerned by this question?
I would give the same advice to people who are concerned as to those who are not concerned: get informed.
Even if this subject is not yet talked about enough in society, there are YouTube videos where people explain their experiences, their stories, or simply explanations on this subject. There are also Facebook groups where there are testimonies, questions and answers.
So for the people who have questions, it will help you to find answers that you didn’t have, or simply to see that you are not alone in asking yourself questions because it is normal!
And for the people who don’t feel concerned, it is also important because it will allow a better open-mindedness.
But above all, the advice I would give is to talk about it, whether you are concerned or not, you have to talk about it, to your family, to your friends, talk about this subject even if you don’t feel concerned. Just talking about it will help you to be more open-minded.