You may be interested in these documentaries The Transgender Project (interviews with trans people on various topics) Louis Theroux: Transgender Kids My Transsexual Summer Dutch: Hij is een Zij A small guide on transsexuals A trans man is someone who transitions from female-to-male; he is a man. Most trans men use the pronouns he and him. A trans woman is someone who transitions from male-to-female; she is a woman. Trans women often use the pronouns she and her. Transition refers to the process when a trans person begins to live as their proper gender, for example by changing their name and beginning hormone therapy. Please use the currently preferred pronoun for a trans person, even if you’re talking about a past experience where they possibly had not transitioned yet. There are three gender teams in the Netherlands: the Curium-LUMC for adolescents, and the VUmc and UMCG for adults. Gender dysphoria differs in intensity. Transsexuals can also experience dysphoria about different parts of the body. Transsexuals often begin to feel gender dysphoria either during childhood or in puberty. What pronouns should I use? Often, the pronouns mentioned above will work. However, if you’re uncertain, you can always ask what pronouns they prefer. In some cases, people are not yet out of the closet to everyone. In this case, it’s best to ask what pronouns you should use around others. This is to prevent accidental ‘outing’. Did you make a mistake with the name or pronoun? It’s alright to quickly correct yourself and say sorry once. You can also correct yourself and apologise in private later. There’s no need to draw more attention to the slip-up. Everyone makes mistakes, especially if it’s about a person who you’ve known for years. Social Please don’t ‘out’ a trans person. Outing means that you tell others that someone is trans, without the person’s permission or knowledge. This can have severe consequences such as the person being fired, or experiencing harassment. Many trans people live as a regular man or woman and don’t talk or think about trans matters anymore. This can be done for security reasons (to avoid harassment etc.), or because they want to be seen as just a regular man or woman instead of a trans person , or because being trans simply doesn’t play a role in their life anymore. Many people seem to think that transsexuals all have the same opinions! All trans people are different individuals with different experiences, world views, appearances, or whatever. Please don’t use the word ‘tranny’. It’s an offensive slur, similar to racial slurs. Asking questions Please respect a trans person’s privacy. Before asking a question, try to ask yourself whether it’s an appropriate one. If a stranger were to walk up to you and ask the same question, would it make you uncomfortable? If so, don’t. Try to avoid questions relating to the body, intimacy, surgery and anything else that is private. Some may be willing to talk about it, but most would rather not. This kind of question is asked a lot and can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. You can ask what topics the person in question is comfortable with. Professional sports Whether or not a transsexual can participate in a sports event depends on the organizers. Some don’t allow it due to the use of hormones. Others allow it and test each trans person individually. The biggest issue is possible unfair competition due to hormones. Medical care in the Netherlands All trans persons must undergo therapy and psychological testing to make sure they are really trans, and healthy and stable enough to begin their medical transition. They are closely monitored during their transition. You need several appointments before you can be considered for hormone blockers or hormone replacement therapy. You are evaluated by several psychologists and an endocrinologist. Hormone blockers do not have permanent effects and are used to delay or prevent puberty in adolescents. Once you stop using hormone blockers, the body will develop as usual. Hormone replacement therapy involves the use of estrogens for trans women and testosterone for trans men. These hormones do have permanent effects. You need to have lived for at least one year as your proper gender in order to be eligible for surgery. Not all transsexuals undergo all trans-related surgery. Sexuality You don’t have to be bisexual to be attracted to a trans person. Heterosexual and homosexual people can also fall in love with trans people. Being attracted to a transsexual person doesn’t suddenly make you gay. If you’re a man who is attracted to a trans woman, you’re still attracted to women. If you’re a woman who is attracted to a trans man, you’re still attracted to men. ‘Transsexual’ isn’t a sexuality, but is often confused with one. Transvestites and crossdressers are not transsexual per se. They only cross-dress for pleasure or for fun. Most don’t experience gender dysphoria. However, transsexual people can also be transvestites or crossdressers. Transsexuals can also be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual! Of course, the best and probably easiest way to interact with transsexual people is to treat them exactly like anyone else. After all, transsexuals are just regular people too.
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