Trans Visibility

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When I typed "transgender" in the Google Ngram Viewer site during my Digital Literacies class at Arizona State University, I was shocked. A Google Ngram Viewer is an online search engine that shows, in chart form, the frequencies a particular word shows up in any text between 1500- 2008. The results pushed me to begin creating my Trans Visibility book. Factually, people have identified as transgender since the beginning of time. However, GNV tells a different story because the "transgender" line graph does not lift off from zero until, yes, you guessed it 1960's. With that said, one must keep in mind the concept of perverse presentism when looking at the chart. Perverse presentism is defined as, "uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events/definitions in terms of modern values and concepts." The concept of transgender is not new, but what is new is the word "transgender" itself. For example, the Native Indians used words such as "nadle" and/or "berdache" to explain the concept of what we know today as transgender. Moreover, the Ancient Hawaiians used the word "mahu" to identify transgender people. The "male" and "female" gender binary system was forced on non-Christian cultures through the process of assimilation during colonization. 
With the advancement of social media, transgender people were able to utilized multiple platforms to live visibly, build community and educate both non-transgender and transgender populations. I will discuss, and you will experience, how social media platforms began the dialogue on the topic publicly.

According to Mikhel Proulx in his blog post, "Queer Networks," since the launch of the internet queers, "found each other across cultural and material borders to create online identities, develop novel forms of pleasure, and create networked cultures." Developing these cultures on the web can explain the huge spike in the trend when typing the transgender into the Ngram viewer. Social media has been a huge game changer for the transgender topic in America. Social media has been a great platform for social participation to advance trans rights and to change ideologies and stigmas placed on people who do not live within the gender binary system. The internet has paved way for a positive cultural climate shift on the transgender topic. With this fast spike in interest, it is important to have a basic understanding of transgender culture. It is important to know basic terms, which I will discuss, and hear transgender individuals tell their stories from their narratives!

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