Following his recent coming out as transgender, Elliot Page posted a pool pic showing off his new body after enduring top surgery. Now another trans man has come forward explaining how life saving the surgery can be for many trans people across America...
Now, what does 'transgender' actually mean?
The word "transgender" – or trans – is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to us at birth. Although the word "transgender" and our modern definition of it only came into use in the late 20th century, people who would fit under this definition have existed in every culture throughout recorded history.
December of last year, famous actor Elliot Page came out as Transgender.
Page, 33, disclosed their announcement on Instagram:
"Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot," he wrote. "I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."
"I've been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community."
"I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can't begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I've been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society."
"My joy is real, but it is also fragile," he wrote. "The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared"
"I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and the violence."
"I love that I am trans," he continued. "And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all the trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you, and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better."
Elliot Page also noted the severe violence that is directed towards Transgender people everyday.
"In 2020 alone, it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were black or Latinx trans women."
Most recently, Elliot shared a photo on his Instagram showing off his top surgery.
'Top' surgery is a common surgical procedure for trans men and involves the removal of both breasts and then reconstruction, including nipple repositioning.
In an interview with Oprah, Page said getting access to the treatment had been "life changing" and that it is "life saving" for many people.
Dylan, another trans man, spoke to the Independent about how life saving top surgery truly is...
"One of the first things I remember doing after my top surgery was posting a picture of myself topless. I had my operation on 26 June 2013 and after your operation you are meant to wait for a while and not get your scars in the sun but I didn't bother with that - it was the summer. There is a photo of me on one of those rented deckchairs in Hyde Park in London with my mates on either side, I have still got tape on my chest and the visible scars, but I remember feeling really proud - in fact, you can see it on my face - I was like 'yeah this is me'."
"Prior to the top surgery I had been binding [a technique to flatten the chest] for around 18 months."
"Exactly what the surgery involves can depend on your body type and your surgeon, but I underwent a bilateral mastectomy where they remove all of your breast tissue and leave you with two scars under your pec line - it seems this is what Elliot had done too. They'll also take off your nipples and resize and replace them as part of the process."
"I already knew I had gender dysphoria [a feeling of mismatch between your biological sex and gender identity] and wanted to make it look like I didn't have a chest."
"I wanted the freedom of top surgery - the ability to live as much as a male as I could and be seen by others as a man. With breasts there is all the stuff that comes associated with it that I didn't want: society views having boobs as such a feminine thing so it's not just you saying to yourself 'I shouldn't have this' but everything in society mirrors that as well. Everything around us says having boobs is only a thing that a woman has."
Elliot Page is amongst some of the most prominent transgender actors in Hollywood.
Others include Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black, Hunter Schafer from Euphoria and Trace Lysett from Hustlers.
Dylan: "You hear a lot of the cliches about gender dysphoria that you look in the mirror and you see someone else's body or a man's body. But I didn't feel that."
"When I woke up after my surgery I remember just feeling so relieved. For two weeks it was really swollen and had bandages so it didn't feel or look too different to binding. It was at my post-op appointment back at the hospital that I had the first moment of seeing my chest."
"We often talk about gender dysphoria but we don't talk about the euphoria that happens after you're actually able to get access to treatment."
"It is then that it emotionally hits a lot of people. I couldn't stop looking at it, touching it, taking pictures. I sometimes think the surgeons don't realise how emotional that moment will be - they're asking you to pop your shirt back on and you just want to stand there for 10 minutes."
"Being able to blend into society and live your life as a man, to want to live as much of a 'normal' life as possible. It massively helped my mental health and cleared the way to be more stable, one less worry, one less anxiety."
"Before top surgery I would never have taken that picture on the deckchair. I wouldn't have thought about doing that but I'm very proud of the way I look now. I'm happy to be showing myself off and I think it's really cool that Elliot has posted that picture of himself too."
Over recent decades, studies have shown that American society has grown more welcoming or accepting to members of the LGBTQ+ society.
However discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still a serious concern in the United States. Nevertheless, around 5.6% of Americans identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender, with 15% of them being within Gen Z according to Statistics.
However there is still raging violence towards the transgender community.
According to a 2017 report by public policy research organization the Williams Institute, approximately 0.6% of U.S. adults are transgender. That may seem like a tiny percentage, but it translates to 1.4 million trans people across the United States.
According to a 2020 study published in the journal ILR Review, trans people have significantly higher unemployment rates than their cisgender peers. Based off of survey responses from over 2,000 trans people and nearly 400,000 non-trans people, cis folks are two times more likely than their trans peers to have access to a college education, and trans folks are 11% less likely than their cis peers to have a job.
It's an ongoing battle, sometimes with their own brain...
According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41% of trans folks have attempted suicide at some point in their lives — a percentage that is more than 25 times higher than that of the general population.
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