The Objectification of Transgender People
Written by: Kesley Aidan Davis
As a transgender individual, I have noticed and encountered many instances of objectification towards me and other trans friends. It’s a tough situation to be in and most of the time, you’re basically forced to either invalidate your identity or let the other person get away with their statement. Which is never okay.
A mistake I’ve seen many people make is reading the discomfort and dysphoria one has with their own body as complete apathy to their figure. This insecurity is preyed upon and used against trans people in a way that is sometimes hard to respond to or combat. I’ve encountered this personally from a so-called friend.
I remember having a conversation with him and out of the blue, he asked, “So, you’re a guy now, right?” I agreed and he then asked, “So, I can touch your chest then.” and I told him, no, that was definitely not allowed. He countered with, “But you’re a guy. And you don’t want them, so why does it matter?” I shouldn’t have had to answer his question. But at the time, I felt like I did. He rendered me speechless. Just like that, he had backed me into a metaphorical corner that I couldn’t get out of.
Sometimes, trans people are forced into situations like this. Whether it’s being asked to allow people to touch them inappropriately or explain ‘how that works’. It’s almost never done in a comfortable way. I especially fear this kind of treatment for younger transgender individuals, because it could happen. In an instant, you or someone around you could be put on the spot like this and be forced to justify their thoughts and feelings for their own body and mind. It isn’t fair and it’s a serious problem that we as a people must face daily.
Most studies reveal that around 50% of transgender or transsexual individuals experience sexual violence at some point in their life while another states that one in ten trans people have been sexually assaulted in a healthcare setting. So, on top of general discrimination, we have to also be more aware of things like this.
With this being said, I believe there is a way we can fight it. We can band together and stop the objectification that people like us have to endure. So, what I would like to discuss are ways to do this. How do you think we should combat this? How can we teach others that treating someone like a toy is wrong and disrespectful no matter what they identify as? What can we say or do to get out of this situation and not have to negate or completely complicate the things we’ve said about our identity before? How can we stop this and create a better future for younger generations of trans and non-gender conforming people? This needs to stop and I know that if we work hard enough we can get rid of it or even just greatly reduce the numbers.
This is a changing time and I know that if we work together, we can accomplish great things.