Translating Transgender: A layman's guide to the least-known minority

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Translating Transgender: A layman's guide to the least-known minority Who hasn't been told to "just be yourself and people will like you?" It seems like such a simple notion. But what if being yourself could lead to harassment, rejection, isolation, unemployment, homelessness, physical violence, or even death? Not so simple anymore, is it? Sadly, this situation is one that confronts transgendered people worldwide on a daily basis. Laurie Johnson*, a tall, robust Fall River resident who underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in 1998, says that she can hardly leave her house without being hassled. "The discrimination and harassment are almost constant when I'm 'dressed,'" she says. "I've heard total strangers comment…show more content…
Johnson, a Vietnam veteran and former Navy Seal, who currently does freelance consulting for a government agency, says that "even the gays and lesbians segregate us to the realms of the pedophiles and 'animal lovers.' During a 'Gay Pride Day' parade in Boston, they had set up three tents for the participants, one for the gays, one for the lesbians, and one for 'everyone else.' Since I don't like to be grouped with those kinds of people, I never went to another parade." This marginalization and segregation is becoming an increasingly important issue, especially as the number of openly transgendered (TG) people grows. Researchers like Lynn Conway, a research manager and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan, who is herself transgendered, estimate that in the past decade alone, as many as 20,000 transsexual (TS) women have undergone male-to-female (MtF) sexual reassignment surgery. In her 2002 article, aptly titled "How Frequently Does Transsexualism Occur?," Conway says that, in a conservative estimate, roughly 1 in 2,500 women in the United States right now are post-operative transsexuals, and 1 in 1,000 are MtF transgenderists (choosing to live their lives as the "opposite" gender, but without

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