One Equal World

A Friendly Reminder: Trans is Not a Costume

Posted on: October 20, 2016

A photo of a man dressed up as a woman.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

As Halloween approaches, I find it necessary to remind people that being trans is not a costume. It’s a real identity that people wear everyday and as such, it shouldn’t be made light of.

I remember last year when Caitlyn Jenner came out. I was completely awestruck by her courage. Here’s someone who for many years represented the epitome of masculinity. Before becoming Caitlyn Jenner, she was Bruce Jenner, the track star who won an Olympic gold medal.

Bruce Jenner was a well-respected athlete in the ’70s. Nobody made fun of him because on the outside, he was your average heteronormative male. But that all changed when he came out as being trans. All the sudden, he was the laughing stock of the country, with Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costumes popping up everywhere.

What people don’t realize is that Bruce was always Caitlyn on the inside, it’s just that he felt he couldn’t express that because of fear; fear of being bullied, fear of being sexually assaulted, fear of being killed.

All of these fears are 100% legitimate. In fact, according to RAINN, “21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.”

To make matters worse, violence against trans people are on the rise. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2015, 21 trans people were killed in the U.S. This is the highest number of trans murders ever recorded in American history.

Nothing about that is funny. That’s why it’s not okay to treat it like a joke by wearing a trans Halloween costume. If you want to dress up for Halloween, wear a ghost costume. Wear a Mickey Mouse costume. Wear an Iron Man costume. But whatever you do, don’t mock someone’s identity.

Making fun of someone and degrading their self-worth is what leads to suicide. The trans community has been through enough already. The last thing they need is another death that could have been prevented.

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