The film, “Growing Up Trans”, identifies the internal battle of discovering gender identity. It focuses specifically on adolescents developmenting a sense of gender dysmorphia and how that plays into their development. Although many sociological ideas are integrated into the transgender community, society confusing the meaning of gender and sex causes the negative perception of transgender children.
Gender identity is the major factor separating the children in “Growing Up Trans” from the rest of their age range. In chapter nine of The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology, gender identity is defined as an individual’s self-definition or sense of gender. If this identity does not match the given gender at birth, society tends to outcast this person. In most cases, transgender kids start out as just gender nonconforming, meaning they begin with just having some characteristics that dont match a predisposed gender. A lot of the times nonconforming people eventually then start self identifying as transgender. With that being said, you can be nonconforming without being transgender, this idea highlights the main parental debate within the film “Growing Up Trans”. Being a parent of a self identifying transgender child, one must make the decision to go with the desires of their child or ignore them and let me get through this “phase”. The first reaction of hearing a younger child is transgender is that they must be just going througha confusing phase in life that is making them feel this way. A growing debate is taking place in the U.S. because of this on whether taking an actual medical approach to a transgender young person is a smart method and safe for the still developing person. In a lot of cases, the parents are cisgender and have a socialized transphobia that causes this conflict of allowing your child to transform into a nonconformative role. This socialization has a lot to do with the misunderstanding of how gender, gender identity, and sex are all different. Sex is your biological make-up, while gender is simply the societal standards of how each sex should act and present themselves. Gender Identity can come in many different forms and is determined solely on how the individual feels. So you can have an individual who is biologically in the male sex and society precieves them to be apart of the male gender, but they self identify as a transgender female. If socialization is moved forward into focusing on gender identities more than the actual “gender roles” themselves, then the outcasting of transgender and other nonconforming groups with being to decrease. Many kids feel discouraged to identify as different than the normative solely because of the fear of bullying and becoming a victim.
The queer theory is another sociological idea presented in chapter 9 that highlights the many different identities individuals can have. The development of this theory is very beneficial to adolescents like the ones shown in “Growing Up Trans”. A new community has formed along with this theory to embrace the differences and even highlights its importance, the community is known as LGBTQ. Creating this for all non-traditional gender identities and sexualities allows minority groups to form a safe community to feel a new sense of normalcy. This helps a lot of internal struggles shown to affect young transgender individuals. Many transgender people are suicidal and depressed because of the overwhelming feeling of being an outsider combined with gender dsymorphia. Having a community of individuals who have also been through similar experiences and feelings can act as a coping mechanism and a form of therapy for these kids. The theory basically says that any form of categorization is restricting and does not fully embrace the uniqueness of each individual.
The film, “Growing Up Trans” gives support to many different sociological ideas relating to the transgender community. These different examples easily explain how children are being outcasted, and parents are debating on to handle a touchy subject. The study of sociology gives awareness on how socialization, and specifically gender role socialization, has brought fear for embraces differences between individuals.
- Ferris, K. a. (2018). The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. (6th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton.