Transgender people are people who have a gender identity
or gender expression that differs from their assigned
sex. Transgender people are sometimes called transsexual
if they desire medical assistance to transition from one
sex to another. The term "transgender" can also be used
an umbrella term to refer to people whose gender
identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans
men and trans women). It may include people who
are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who
are genderqueer, bigender, pangender, genderfluid,
agender). Other definitions of "transgender" also
include people who belong to a third gender, or
conceptualize transgender people as a third gender.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation.
Transgender people may identify as heterosexual,
homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or may consider
conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or
inapplicable. The term transgender can also be
distinguished from intersex, a term that describes
people born with physical sex characteristics that do
not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic,
and comfortable within their external appearance and
accept their genuine identity has been called
transgender congruence. Many transgender people
experience gender dysphoria, and some seek medical
treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, sex
reassignment surgery, or psychotherapy. Not all
transgender people desire these treatments, and some
cannot undergo them for financial or medical reasons.
Most transgender people face discrimination at and in
accessing work, public accommodations, and healthcare.
They are not legally protected from discrimination in
Frequently Asked Questions: Transgender Children
Ten Myths About Transgender Love
Trans Bathrooms: Nationwide Debate
Trans People Are Not a Threat to You
If You Think Trans Bathroom Access Doesn't Matter...
What it Means to Be Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming
Transgender Speaker at Democratic Convention
Twenty-five-year-old Sarah McBride made history when she
took center stage at the Democratic National Convention,
at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, in July 2016,
as the first openly transgender person to address a
major party convention.
McBride, who works as the national press secretary for
the Human Rights Campaign, is no stranger to breaking
down barriers. Four years earlier, as student body
president at American University, the then-21-year-old
made national headlines when she came out as transgender
in the school's student-run paper, The Eagle. Later in
2012, when she interned at the White House Office of
Public Engagement, she was the first out trans woman to
work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
More recently, McBride stepped into the national
spotlight for a viral selfie she took while inside a
women's restroom in North Carolina, where a
controversial law enacted last March bans transgender
people from using government building bathrooms in line
with their gender identities.
LGBTQ Nation: Openly Trans Speaker at DNC
NBC News: Transgender Activist Makes History at DNC
Transgender - Often used as an umbrella term and refers
to those who transgress societal gender norms.
Generally, people who identify as transgender exhibit
some behavior or traits that fall outside of traditional
Transsexual - Term referring to a person whose gender
identity differs from what is culturally associated with
their biological sex at birth. Some, but not all,
transsexuals wish to change their bodies to be congruent
with their gender identity through sex reassignment
surgery. This term is considered outdated. Most
transsexual people refer to themselves as transgender.
Androgyny - Mixing of masculine and feminine
characteristics. Something that is neither masculine nor
Drag - Act of dressing in gendered clothing as part of a
performance. Drag may be performed as a political
comment on gender, as parody, or simply as
entertainment. Drag performance does not indicate
sexuality, gender identity, or sex identity.
Intersex - Naturally occurring condition that affects
the reproductive and sexual system. Intersex people are
born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or
internal reproductive systems that are not considered
"standard" for either male or female. The existence of
intersex shows that there are not just two sexes and
that our ways of thinking about sex (trying to force
everyone to fit into either male box or female) is
Gender Bender/Gender Queer - Person who redefines or
plays with gender, or who refuses gender altogether.
People who bend/break the rules of gender and blur the
Cross Dresser - Person who enjoys dressing in clothes
typically associated with the other gender. Preferred
over the term “transvestite.” Cross dressers may be of
any sexual orientation.
Two-Spirited - Term for third-gender people that are
among many Native American and Canadian First Nations
tribes. It usually implies a masculine spirit and a
feminine spirit living in the same body. It is also used
by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex
Native Americans to describe themselves. Two-Spirited
people have distinct gender and social roles in their
tribes. Some are counselors while others are medicine
persons or spiritual functionaries. They study skills
including story telling, theater, magic, hypnotism,
healing, herbal medicine, ventriloquism, singing, music
Jenner is Now Caitlyn Jenner
transgender Olympic champion, formerly known as Bruce
Jenner, revealed her true self in a photo shoot by Annie
Leibovitz and interview with Buzz Bissinger in Vanity
Fair Magazine in June 2015. In the interview, Jenner
speaks movingly about her journey, saying, "If I was
lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and
never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there
saying, You just blew your entire life." In April 2015,
Jenner sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer to
reveal that the former Olympian had the "soul of a
65, who won an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, has
had a long public life. As Bruce Jenner, she had been on
the cover of Playgirl, an author, an actor and most
recently a part of the Kardashian family’s reality
television empire. Earlier in 2015, reports emerged that
Bruce Jenner was in the process of becoming a woman.
YouTube: Caitlyn Jenner Photo Shoot
CNN: No More Bruce
NY Times: Caitlyn Jenner Introduces Herself in Vanity
Vanity Fair: Introducing Caitlyn Jenner
Gender - Socially constructed collection of traits,
behaviors, and meanings that we use as a standard for
how biological differences should be represented.
Gender Conformity - When your gender identity and sex
“match” (fit social norms). For example, a male who
identifies and behaves in traditionally masculine ways
and identifies as a man.
Gender Expression - Outward behaviors and appearances
(hair, clothing, voice, body language) by which people
manifest their gender identity or gender choices.
Gender Identity - Person’s fundamental sense of their
own gender. This can include identifying as a
combination of genders or refusing to label oneself with
a gender. Gender identity is often confused with or
considered tied to sexual orientation, but this is
inaccurate. Gender identity and sexual orientation are
exclusive off each other.
Gender Roles - Socially constructed and culturally
specific norms of behavior and appearance expectations
imposed based on biological sex (femininity and
Sex Identity - The sex that a person sees themselves as.
This can include refusing to label oneself.
Matt Nathanson: The Girl in the Kinks Shirt
Five Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
Grieving a Child Who is Still Alive
Gender Identity: A New Challenge for Schools
Huff Post: Broader Acceptance of Gender Non-Conformity
Slideshow: Transgender Resources
Statistics on Transgender Mental Health
Critical Facts About State of Transgender America
Transgender activist, Laverne
Cox, star of the hit Netflix
series "Orange is the New
Black," was featured on the
cover of Time Magazine in June
2014. She was interviewed by
Time about her life, current
issues, and the transgender
Bullied and harassed for
appearing feminine while growing
up in Mobile, Alabama, Cox
eventually came out as
transgender while living in New
York City and took up acting.
Now a star on the Netflix drama
"Orange Is the New Black", she
has emerged as a public leader
of the trans movement, using her
increasingly prominent perch to
make the case for equal rights
and touring the country giving
Laverne Cox in Time Magazine
Laverne Cox: Website
Laverne Cox: Wikipedia
Laverne Cox: IMDb
Based on D’Augelli’s Model of LGB Identity Development
(1994), the processes do not necessarily occur linearly
nor does every transgender person experience each
process. It should also be noted that the term
“transgender” covers a wide variety of identities.
Individuals may experience the stages in different ways
or to different degrees depending on how they
specifically identify and the particular restrictions or
prejudices that society places on that identity.
Exiting a Traditional Gender Identity - Involves
recognition that one is gender variant, attaching a
label to this identity, and affirming oneself as gender
variant through coming out to others.
Developing a Personal Transgender Identity - Entails
achieving the stability that comes from knowing oneself
in relation to other transgender people and challenging
Developing a Transgender Social Identity - Focuses on
creating a support network of people who know and accept
that one is gender variant.
Becoming a Transgender Offspring - Consists of coming
out as transgender to family members and reevaluating
relationships that may be disrupted by the disclosure.
Developing a Transgender Intimacy Status - Involves the
creation of intimate physical and emotional
Entering a Transgender Community - Involves making a
commitment to political and social action and
understanding identity through challenging transphobia.
Being a Trans Kid is Hard
Transgender Expert Offers Tips to Parents
Here's What Parents of Transgender Kids Need to Know
Advice for Parents Whose Child Just Came Out to Them as
Sex Change Treatment for Kids
How Do I Know if I am Trans?
Senate Health and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator
Tom Harkin, held a hearing on the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would create a
federal ban on discrimination against gays, lesbians,
bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace. The
measure has been introduced in every congressional
session since 1994.
The witness panel included
one openly transgender
person, Kylar Brodus,
founder of the Trans People
of Color Coalition, who
spoke in support of the ENDA
bill. Brodus is the first
transgender person to
testify at a US Senate
C-SPAN Video: Senate Hearing
Metro Weekly: Senate Hearing
Includes Trans, Business and
Washington Blade: First
Transgender Person to
Testify at US Senate
Outing - Remember that revealing the transgender status
of any transgender person without his or her expressed
permission has the same potential for harm as outing a
gay man, lesbian, or bisexual man or woman. Outing is an
invasion of privacy.
Appearance - Do not assume that someone who appears to
be cross-dressed is a "transvestite." That person may or
may not be living full-time in their presenting gender,
or they may intend to do so in the future. Instead of
the stigmatizing "transvestite", use the terms male
cross-dresser or female cross-dresser if it's clear that
they are not living full-time nor intend to do so.
Living Status - If a transgender person is living
full-time in a gender not associated with their birth
sex, that person should be referred to at all times with
terms appropriate to their presenting gender, regardless
of their surgical status or body state.
--Transgender Woman is an appropriate term for
--Transgender Man is an appropriate term for
--Transgender Person is an appropriate term for someone
of either above types.
--Transgender People is an appropriate term for mixed
Surgical Status - Almost all transsexuals
(pre-operative, post-operative, non-operative) and many
transgender people are extremely sensitive about their
surgical status and/or their body's physical state.
Questions about this should be avoided or, if medically
necessary, asked very sensitively. Moreover, this
information should be considered confidential and should
not be shared with others unless it is medically
necessary. Regardless of their surgical status,
the appropriate term for a Male-To-Female transsexual is
Transsexual Woman, and for a Female-to-Male transsexual,
Quotation Marks - Avoid aspersion by not using quotation
marks. Never put pronouns or possessive adjectives of
transgender persons in quotes. Never put their sexual
orientations or genitalia in quotes.
Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives - It is extremely
offensive to refer to transgender persons using pronouns
and possessive adjectives that refer to their birth sex.
Use pronouns and adjectives appropriate to the
transgender person gender expression. If you are
uncertain, ask what they prefer. Some people prefer the
new pronoun ze (pronounced “zee”) in lieu of she/he, and
the new possessive adjective hir (pronounced “here”) in
lieu of his/her.
Self-Identification - Not all transgender people use the
same terminology to describe themselves. When in doubt,
just ask an individual transgender person how they wish
to be identified. If you’re not sure how to
address someone, just ask. Or simply use their first
name or last name. It's sometimes customary for patients
or clients in clinical situations to be addressed by
their last name when it’s time to see their providers.
"They're telling me I'm a boy
when I'm really a girl."
Rolling Stone Magazine ran an
amazing article in October 2013
about a young boy who wanted to
become a girl. Sabrina Rubin
Erdely's article is about the
journey of Coy Mathis and her
parents' process of coming to
terms with the transgender
Coy's parents regarded his
fascination with all things
sparkly, ruffly and pink as the
harmless play of a toddler whose
mind was yet untouched by social
constructs of "masculine" and
"feminine." Coy was one of four
siblings – a triplet with a
same-age sister and brother,
plus an older sister – and so
was surrounded by both "girl"
and "boy" toys, inside their
cramped split-level house, where
the living room was covered by a
patina of puzzle pieces and
stray Legos. Kathryn and Jeremy
figured it was just a matter of
time before Coy sorted it out
"When am I going to get my girl parts?" he asked softly one day. "What do you mean?" asked his mother. "When are we going to go to the doctor to have me fixed?" Coy asked, tears now spilling down his cheeks. "To get my girl parts?" That's when it dawned on Kathryn Mathis, with a sinking feeling, that she and her husband were dealing with a very serious issue. The lengthy article, published by Rolling Stone, is incredibly touching and filled with profound details and lots of links to related articles. It is a "must read."
Coy Mathis: One Child's Fight to
Transgender persons may identify as heterosexual, so
they may not be dealing with issues of sexuality.
However, depending on how they sexually identify,
transgender people may face discrimination from both
heterosexuals and LGB people.
They may experience more verbal and physical attacks
than most LGB people if they cross-dress or otherwise
“look gender variant.”
They are generally less accepted in society than LGB
people, in large part due to ignorance. There is little
understanding of transgender lives. They are not
visible in popular culture beyond stereotypes and almost
no research has been done on their experiences.
They sometimes experience a lack of acceptance and
support from the LGB community.
As a result of the lack of acceptance and support in the
dominant culture and in the LGB community, they often
lack a strong community and positive role models or
images. Consequently, transpeople, especially trans
youth, may feel isolated and marginalized.
Transpeople may want to remain closeted because of the
legitimate fear of how they will be treated by their
professors, employers, co-workers, friends, and others
in their field.
Transpeople often have a hard time finding medical help
that is knowledgeable and understanding concerning
If transitioning, they will need to change their
identification as well as other records and documents.
Keep in mind that different states and institutions have
different rules about when and if these changes are
They are especially vulnerable to attack, harassment,
and/or embarrassment when trying to use the gender
Transpeople often have others refer to them as a gender
different than the one with which they wish to identify
or insist on calling them by their given name even
though they have changed it.
[Source: Beemyn, B., 2003, Serving the needs of transgender
college students. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in
In June 2009,
the 40 year old child of
Sonny and Cher,
transitioned from female to male. Chastity's
new name is Chaz. After many years of consideration, he
has made the courageous decision to honor his true
identity. He is proud of his decision and grateful for
the support and respect of loved ones. It is
Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the
hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue,
just as his coming out did nearly 20 years ago.
Daily News: Chastity Bono Changing Gender From Female to
E On-Line: Chastity Bono to Become a Man
ABC News: Chastity Bono Gives Voice to Invisible
Cher's Daughter Undergoing Sex Reassignment
for Transgender Youth
Transgender youth often face enormous hardships when
they acknowledge and express their gender identity.
They may be thrown out of the house when their family
discovers that they are transgender, often forcing them
to live on the streets.
They typically face harassment and abuse in school to
such an extent that they quit, which makes it hard for
them to get decent-paying jobs (for example, a survey of
more than 250 transgender people in Washington, DC found
that forty percent had not finished high school and
another 40 percent were unemployed).
Even if they are able to get an education, they have
difficulty finding and keeping almost any kind of job
because of discrimination, forcing some to become sex
If they live on the streets or are a sex worker, they
are at a greater risk for abusing drugs, becoming
infected with HIV, and being subjected to
Many lack access to health care, including proper
counseling and medical supervision for those who are in
the process of transitioning. And when they do get
medical treatment, they frequently face discrimination
and hostility from health-care workers. Consequently,
some transsexuals decide to treat themselves by buying
underground hormones, which can contain dangerous if not
Because gender reassignment surgery can cost more than
$100,000 and is not covered by most health insurance
policies, even most middle-class transsexuals cannot
afford the procedures.
The ultimate result is often high rates of depression,
drug and alcohol abuse, and thoughts of suicide among
transgender people (thirty-five percent of the
respondents to the D.C. survey mentioned above reported
that they had seriously considered suicide).
Many transgender people who can “pass” will choose to
remain closeted, so trans youth often do not have
visible role models and mentors.
[Source: Beemyn, B., 2004, The Legal and Political Rights
of Transgender People, Ohio State University, Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services Web]
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