Erica Greaves / Silhouette Intern

As a high school student, I see transgender discrimination everywhere I go. An exaggeration, perhaps?

Take this for example. at my school there are girls washrooms and boys washrooms. Does this sound normal? It is. But I encourage you to imagine being a transgender youth and having to choose which washroom you’ll enter. Those of us who prefer not to identify as either gender aren’t considered. Some students might not be comfortable expressing which gender they truly identify as by entering a certain washroom.

A legal form of any sort requires you to face the infamous gender boxes; you have the opportunity to check off either female or male, and there is no other option. Every time you create an account on the Internet, fill out a questionnaire or sign government papers, you are only given the options of female or male – it’s a stab to your self-esteem.

It’s not true that, because transgender individuals might identify as a certain gender, they can enter the corresponding washroom or check the corresponding box. Some transgender individuals may prefer to identify as simply transgender. With no option for an unspecified gender category, an unfair practice is still taking place in our community.

Speaking of self-esteem, it is incredible how often I hear transgender-related insults. If comments like “Ew, is he a cross dresser?” and “That’s totally a tranny” in the hallways make me uncomfortable, I cannot begin to imagine how it makes my transgender peers feel. Comments like this aren’t “just a joke;” since when did a kick to someone’s gender identity become an acceptable form of humour?

By allowing these slurs to pass, we allow discrimination, and sometimes hate, towards transgender/transsexual persons. We encourage fear and anxiety in transgender/transsexual people. We turn a blind eye to those suffering as a result of transphobia.

The Hamilton community must work in unison to stop the stigma.

We need to recognize inequality among the genders, realize the way in which it affects the transgender/transsexual community and reiterate that the deliberate and non-deliberate discrimination is not acceptable and only makes society weaker.

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