Transgender Participants in Campus Recreation
September 18, 2012
Assistant Manager – Facilities
San Jose State University
The average recreation user faces many challenges when seeking to participate within recreation programs and facilities, including time, money, family, and other obligations. The following article seeks to shine some light on a population that is often times misunderstood and overlooked — the transgender community. The article also shares a ‘Steps to Inclusive Recreation’ section as well as a Transgender Audit a department can use to ensure they are taking steps in the right direction.
Here are some brief definitions that will be used in this article:
Gender Identity — One’s Internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or a boy or a girl). usually developed during early childhood as a result of parental rearing practices and societal influences and strengthened during puberty by hormonal changes. For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match.
Gender Expression — External manifestation of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through “masculine”, “feminine” or gender- variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics. Typically transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex.
Sex — The classification of people as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex based on a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitals.
Sexual Orientation– one’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.
Transgender-An umbrella term (adj.) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender- variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.
Transsexual– a person having a strong desire to assume the physical characteristics and gender role of the opposite sex.
An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. While some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves, many transgender people prefer the term transgender to transsexual.
Transman-“trans men” referred specifically to female-to-male transgender person
Transwoman-“trans woman” referred specifically to male-to-female transgender person
Heteronormativity– a term to describe the marginalization of non-heterosexual lifestyles and the view that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation. Those punitive rules (social, familial, and legal) that force us to conform to hegemonic, heterosexual standards for identity. The term is a short version of “normative heterosexuality.”