LGBT+

Talking About My Gender-ation

Rei Griffiths, NUS Wales Trans* Officer, talks to Quench about trans* issues and identities

Rei GriffithsIt has always been somewhat amusing being a part of the LGBT community. But that’s only been because of one thing. Did you know that, out of all those letters, ‘T’ is not a sexuality? No; Transgender, Transsexual, Transvestite, Gender Fluid and Intersex (though the latter two don’t begin with T) are all under the umbrella term Trans*, but have no effect on what sex you take to your bed (or for a candle-lit dinner). Nonetheless, it is a part of the same community because of the amount of support and understanding we get from other protected characteristics. We’re family, man.

I digress. Being transsexual myself, the same question pops up. ‘What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?’. To put it in basic terms, it is what one would identify themselves as between the ears (transgender) and between the legs (transsexual). It can be tedious waking up and asking yourself, “Why is my brain in the wrong body?” or like a bellybutton, “why do I have an inny instead of an outy?”. These morning calls are only temporary for most people, and that’s why we are called ‘Trans’. We transition into the gender or sex we were meant to be born because, one day, Mother Nature thought she’d spice life up a bit and set a challenge for one in four thousand members of the human race in the UK. I gasp! Didn’t you know? We are human, honest! The video game of life just set us to the hardest difficulty level. I am level 23 (23 years old). Previous levels made me lose friends and family, but there are many others playing the same ‘game’ who lose more than that, like their home, job and children.

[pullquote]The same question always pops up: what is the difference between transgender and transsexual?[/pullquote]

It’s not all bad though. Yes, there are the ‘fun’ times of hormone therapy, surgery and sometimes unpleasant social interaction, but I like to look at it like this. Being a transman has allowed me to understand women on a level no man-by-birth can understand. Periods! It is legit that women suffer with them. Plus, it is a funny word to say randomly. I, as a man, can understand the pain of periods. There are not many men who can say that, or understand or experience other gender-related issues. I have lived in both worlds: Venus and Mars.

However, one question will always remain unanswered. Does it hurt more to give birth or to be kicked in the testicles? Don’t try this at home.

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