It shouldn't need to be said, but it does.
Only twenty states ban employment discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity (via). That means there are still 30 states were people can be fired for being transgender. Which might partially explain why the rate of unemployment in the trans community is double that of the general population. At school, 78% of trans students reported that they were harassed, and it led 15% to leave school entirely (via). For the students that had been harassed by teachers, it had a negative effect on their health. Misgendering (using a gender pronoun that is different from the one the individual uses to identify) is commonly treated as 'not a big deal' by people outside the community. But misgendering and bullying contribute to the higher suicide rate in the trans community (via). (Some reports suggest about 41% of trans people attempt suicide at least once- the rate for the general population is about 5%).
In short: We as a society don't treat trans people with the courtesy or respect due another human being.
(Image: Laverne Cox. She's an activist for trans rights).
Gender is not a choice.
Nobody chooses their gender. People can choose to present or identify in a certain way, but no one's experience of gender is a choice. The term transgender is pretty broad, it applies to "a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender". Conventionally, humans have used a few different things to define gender, but our current culture defines gender based on sex (gonads). It's a pretty narrow definition, especially since our chromosomal or hormonal gender doesn't always "match" what our bodies feel or look like. And that doesn't take into account the 1.7% of people who are born intersex. Gender variance is not new, and the idea that there are only two genders ("male" and "female") is not universal- not among every human culture or every species.
The way we define gender as a society is extremely narrow, and excludes so many different identities and experiences.
Check out this awesome unicorn!
The rainbow indicates gender identity, which is the personal experience of one's own gender. It's not something that other people can dictate for you.
Gender presentation refers to how we look on the outside- how we dress and behave. A lot of gender presentation is socially constructed- currently we subscribe to the idea that pink is feminine, but in the 1920s it was considered a masculine color. There's not really anything inherently gendered about color, or clothing.
The DNA refers to sex assigned at birth. When we're born, our parents or doctors make an assumption about our gender based on the appearance of our bodies. That assumption often shapes how we're raised and treated, and often carries with it the expectation that we will develop a gender identity that matches the assignment.
Romantic and sexual attraction are the emotional responses that we have to others. We feel romantic attraction does not always coincide with sexual attraction, and neither one depends on our gender identity or sex.
A lot of us take the experience of sex or gender for granted, as something we all relate to in the same way, but that's far from the truth!
Would you say stuff like this to someone that isn't trans?
Probably not! (Hopefully not). Invasive questions about someone's body, medical history, or identity are really inappropriate! Yet stuff like this happens all the time to trans people. They shouldn't have to get used to it or accept it. Trans people are people, and they deserve our respect. That includes respecting their pronouns, their presentation, and their choices.