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Reflect and share with us how your gender identity impacts your experience online using #EngageUplift!

Engage by Uplift tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

Sources for this episode:
Stotzer, R. (2009). Violence against transgender people: A review of United States data. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, 170-179.

Resources for trans women faced with violence:
http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/housing-and-homeless-shelters
http://www.avp.org
http://srlp.org

Spaces for trans women online:
http://Feministing.com
http://transgriot.blogspot.com
http://topsidepress.com
#RealLiveTransAdult on Twitter

Guest hosted by Kat Blaque:
https://twitter.com/kat_blaque

Written by Brook Shelley

Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
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Follow Uplift- Online Communities Against Sexual Violence:
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Hey guys.

I'm Kat Blaque filling in this week for Kat Lazo for Engage by Uplift, a weekly series aimed at having real talk for real change when it comes to sexual violence. Today we'll be talking about trans women and our experiences online.

We'll also be discussing how you can avoid leaving abusive or hurtful comments or asking invasive questions. We also know that some of you may be trans or questioning and we want you to know that there are many places on the internet where trans women love and support each other. What do you mean by trans woman?

Just like cis women, trans women are diverse: we have different bodies, opinions, and lived experiences. But what we do have in common is that at birth we were assigned male by a doctor or our parents. However as we got older we discovered that this designation didn't match up with our internal sense of self.

We realized that we were actually women. For many of us this meant coming out to the people in our lives, taking hormones, and finally being able to buy the clothes that express our gender in the way that we wanted to express it. Being trans can also mean finding an affirming community of trans women.

It also can unfortunately mean facing harassment, abuse, or trauma from uneducated and angry people, some of whom you used to be close to. I don't know any trans women. It's likely that even around us before.

Estimates may vary but we're about 0.3% of the population and possibly much higher. As with many groups it's hard to measure trans women, as measurements would require us to outwardly and openly identify as trans and for some trans people that isn't always the safest thing to do. It's even more likely though that you've met trans women online on this website or on other social media websites like Twitter or Tumblr.

We might be playing video games with you or watching the same music videos. I've heard some bad things about trans women. Trans women are a vulnerable minority that is often targeted for a culture of fear mongering centered around their daily lives and activities.

I mean, we still have debates about whether or not we can use the women's restroom because cis women are worried that we're going to violate them in some way. The reality is that like any other woman trans women are more likely to be targeted for violence than they are to be the perpetrators of it. November 20th is the Trans Day of Remembrance in the United States.

It's a day to remember the trans sisters that have fallen since last year. Last year alone 27 of us were murdered in this country and most of them were trans women of color like myself. This number is a drastic increase from the year before.

Regardless of how you may feel about trans women, statistically we're a vulnerable group that isn't interested in harming you. What kind of issues do trans women face? Most studies show that fifty percent of trans women face sexual violence at some point of their lives.

That's half of us. In addition to struggling for health care, employment, and housing, we also are less likely to report sexual violence or to be supported when we do so. Police and service workers are unlikely to refer to us by our proper names or genders because of our documentation.

From state to state there are different processes to changing your name or your gender. And in a lot of cases it can be a quite difficult and expensive process. Despite the high instance of need, many women shelters in the United States do not offer services to trans women.

Fortunately through trans advocacy and direct action, a lot of these factors are changing as society gains a better understanding of the trans community. If you have faced physical or sexual violence, please note that there are a lot of resources for you in the description of this video. I'm interested in trans women does that mean that I'm...?

Trans women, just like cis women, can be of various sexual identities. This means that some of us may like you and your gender and many of us will not. Most importantly though is that we have the ability to make choices and to say no.

If you want to get to know us or date us just approach us like you would any other person: be thoughtful, respectful, and fun. No one likes to feel like they're only interesting because of one characteristic so it might not go so well if we feel like you're only interested in us because we're trans. What if I want to ask about the surgery?

Just don't. It's as simple as that. Trans bodies are not public domain, and you're not entitled with somebody's medical history.

How should I talk to trans women online? Well, just like you, we're people with thoughts and feelings. Treat us like a co-worker, or an acquaintance, or a neighbor because we could likely be any of those.

You may be curious about transition or you may have some questions about our personal or private lives. But if you wouldn't ask a cis person, don't ask the trans person (even if your username makes you feel anonymous). In general, it's important to remember that trans women are not your Google.

Many of the answers that you're looking for are available online on websites like. Autostraddle.com, Everyday Feminism, Feministing, and TransGriot. The trans community also has an amazing tendency of sharing their experiences to encourage understanding.

Many of us on YouTube make videos that will tell you about our transitions and our lives. We also do public speaking events and write books about our experiences. And for the trans women watching this I want you to know that there are so many amazing Facebook groups that are open and available to you where you can meet trans people from all around the world and gain your own type of community.

Twitter and Tumblr also have a knack for creating amazing little spaces where trans voices can be heard. I also want to say for the trans people that are watching this that you don't need to advocate or educate for yourself. Especially if doing so compromises your safety, your happiness, or your health.

For trans people, survival is a radical act and participating in activism is not a requirement. There are so many trans activists out there who are fighting to be heard, if you're not comfortable speaking up quite yet? Don't be afraid to share and support their work.

Now you know a little bit more about trans women, who we are, and how you can be better to us on and offline. As trans stories pop up more in Pop culture, and we're featured more positively in media you're going to start seeing a lot more of us. Remember this conversation when your family, friends, and coworkers are commenting on trans issues.

Treating us like any a person and encouraging those around you to do the same can go a really long way towards making the world a better place for trans people. Thanks for watching. If you have any additional questions about trans women, leave them in the comment box below or use the social media hashtag #ENGAGEUPLIFT.

Once again, I'm Kat Blaque filling in for Kat Lazo for Engage by Uplift.