Last Updated: May 20, 2019

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Definition - What does Invisibility mean?

Invisibility, as it’s applied to gender identity, is a failure to see or acknowledge gender diversity. It occurs chiefly in government systems, including healthcare and education. Invisibility chiefly occurs because government bodies collect data about gender assigned at birth, rather than gender identity. Gender assigned at birth only recognizes male and female genders, so all other gender identities are not seen.

Kinkly explains Invisibility

As government bodies currently collect data about gender assigned at birth, rather than gender identity, people that are not cisgender, such as gender fluid and transgender individuals, remain unseen. When government bodies do not have an accurate idea how many people are transgender, gender fluid, etc., they cannot be accurately represented. This is a substantial problem since gender diverse individuals have unique needs. For example, a transgender person may use hormone therapy that a cisgender person with the same gender assigned at birth does not. This is a unique requirement for a population that is invisible. If an organization cannot accurately predict the needs of its population, it cannot plan and provide the best service. When this occurs, individuals that aren’t cisgender are disadvantaged.

Invisibility can also take a mental toll on people who do not have a cisgender gender identity. When they are not counted, they feel like they do not count. For example, a transgender child may feel isolated by sex education classes which only focus on the experiences of cisgender individuals.

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