According to Dr. Rachel Levin, an associate professor of biology and neuroscience at Pomona College, trans* people do not require the discovery of a trans gene to support our gender identities. Dr. Levin spoke at the Trans Awareness Week event “Rethinking Trans,” held at California State University, Northridge.
In her presentation, Dr. Levin emphasized the inherent biases in past transgender scientific research studies. Dr. Levin’s goal is to help trans* people depend less on science when claiming their gender identity.
This article from the Latin Post highlights transwoman Vivian Diego. Diego recently survived a vicious beating on the streets of Los Angeles at the hands of four males. Diego was beaten simply because she lives as female.
Unfortunately, the article also demonstrates confusion about trans* people. The writer refers to Vivian Diego by her male birth name and refers to her as a “transgender man”. A transgender man would not prefer to be called Vivian and work as a waitress. A waitress is called “miss”, “ma’am” and “she” by polite restaurant patrons. So, it is very safe to assume that Vivian Diego prefers female pronouns and the female gender and is a transgender woman.
However, we do not have to assume someone’s gender or pronoun preference because we can always ask the person for their preferred pronoun in order to remove our confusion and embarrasment. Sometimes I get the feeling that for some folks talking gender brings up the same uncomfortable feeling as talking about sex.
Sex and gender are just different sides of the same human.