• Published Date: 13/11/2021
  • by: UNDP

5 Myths debunked about transgender people


“I started taking contraceptive pills since grade 8. If I hadn’t, no one would accept me.” said a young transgender woman with a small voice. ‘Pin’ (Pseudonym) is a transgender youth studying in the Northeastern part of Thailand. As she vents what was on her mind, she said she does not want to conform to what society expects of her. “I skipped taking pills for 4 days and I am scared that my body will ‘turn back’ into a boy. I am afraid that I will feel bad about myself and people around me would react in a different way.”


One of the biggest concerns that transgender people have is the misunderstanding that society has towards them. Today, GendersMatter and UNDP Thailand will debunk five myths about transgender people in order to stop repetition of such myths.


(1) “Only people who have gone through sexual reaffirming surgery can be considered as a transgender person” – A transgender person is someone who identifies with a gender that is different from their sex assigned at birth. Regardless of whether they have gone through sexual reaffirming surgery (SRS) or not, it does not negate the fact that they are a transgender person. Therefore transgender people who do not wish to or cannot have SRS because of economic or financial reasons are no less of a transgender person than those who have had SRS.


(2) “There is no transgender youth.” – Since being a transgender person is not defined by their surgical status, any youth who feels that they were born in the wrong body and are suffering from gender dysphoria are considered as a transgender person. There are numerous research showing that the sooner transgender kids can access gender affirming care, the better their mental health will be. Therefore, it is crucial to improve access to gender affirming care for transgender youth.


(3) “There are only transgender woman and transgender man.” – The concept of gender identity is not binary. There are a number of transgender people who do not define themselves as a man or a woman, rather as a non-binary person who does not conform to the gender binary system. Therefore, the binary notion essentially excludes some transgender people.


(4) “A transgender person must have hormone therapy” – Similar to surgical status, not every transgender person chooses to have hormone therapy. Many transgender people are actually satisfied with their body and prefer not to take hormones. In fact, transgender people can choose to transition socially without undergoing any physical transition.


(5) “Transgender women need to express themselves in a feminine way while transgender men in a masculine way” – Similar to their cisgender peers, transgender people do not need to express themselves in a feminine or masculine way, as expected by society. Each of us should be able to express ourselves in any way we want. Gender norms imposed by society only cause discomfort and anxiety for anyone who do not conform. Wouldn’t we want a society that embraces people for who they are and not just for their masculinity or femininity?


“Society forces us to conform with gender stereotypes that is easy to understand for them. If I don’t conform, I won’t be accepted.” said Pin before digging deeper about her decision to be her true self. “Transgender people do not need to take hormones. Anything that makes them happy is perfect for them. No need to mind other people’s business.” We nodded in agreement with Pin’s words. Transgender people will live a much happier life if they are not bound by gender norms and stereotypes of society.


After all, we are all human beings.

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