What does Transgender mean? Transgender is a term that covers a broad spectrum of a person’s gender identity. An identity that does not match his/her assigned sex at birth. If gender was placed on a scale with total masculinity on one end and total femininity on the other most people fall rather close to one end or other of that scale. A transgender person falls somewhere else along that line. The closer one is to the opposite end than what there birth sex is determines the degree of transgender that they would be considered. A person born male but felt they were more feminine would fall closer to the female spectrum of the scale. While just the opposite would be true of a female if she felt more masculine, she would fall towards the male end of the scale.
You may be asking how common transgender is. It is not a new or recently discovered phenomenon but rather has been around for as long as history has been documented. Exact figures are sadly not available do to the number of transgender persons that do not seek medical intervention. To get a fairly accurate estimate I ask you to imagine this: you are in a crowd of 5,000 people; on average one person in that crowd will be living with muscular dystrophy. In that same crowd there will be an average of 2 people whom have already undergone female to male sex reassignment surgery. On average there will be as many as 75 people who fall somewhere within the spectrum of being transgender.
Many times you may hear of someone being transgendered, that term is incorrect. Transgender is an adjective and the suffix “-ed” can only be used on verbs. Transgendered may sound more correct and be easier to use but in any case is grammatically wrong.
You can ask 20 people what any of the transgender definitions are and get 20 different answers. Therefore use these terms as a guide rather than being set in stone.
Gender Identity: Is a person’s sense of being male or female; resulting from a combination of genetic and environmental influences. They may have been born sexually male or female but feel they are or should be the opposite sex.
Gender expression: A person’s way of communicating gender identity to others. This may be in the form of clothing, their actions and mannerisms, the jewelry they wear and how they wear it, make-up or the lack of it, even the way they wear their hair.
Androgyny: A person dressed in such a manner that determination of sex is hard. This person may not see themselves as one sex or the other but rather as an individual that doesn’t fit either role.
Crossdresser: A male or female that occasionally wears clothing of the opposite sex. This may or may not been done as a sexual stimulation, can be done in the presence of partner or in total secrecy. A crossdresser is usually heterosexual.
Drag queen or king: A person that dresses as the opposite sex, usually for show. Drag Queens/Kings may be gay, bi-sexual, or heterosexual. Female impersonators (men impersonating women, usually famous women) fall within this category, as would male impersonators (women impersonating men) even though not as widely or publicly seen are becoming more common.
GRS (sometimes SRS): Genital Reassignment Surgery is the act of physically, medically and surgically altering ones genetic or physical sex to match ones gender. It is possible to cosmetically change the body, where currently it is impossible to change the mind to fit the body. Although many have tried and others claim they can
Transsexual: A male/female that seeks medical intervention to align their body to match their gender. Within this category there are separate categories, and include pre-op, post-op, and non-op. a pre-op is a person who is undergoing medical treatment and seeks GRS. A post-op is someone that has completed the required medical and living conditions and has undergone GRS. A non-op is just as it sounds, a person that desires to live their life as the opposite sex but for some reason can not undergo the required surgery. The reasons may vary and range from financial to medical. The requirements for GRS are stringent and follow a rather strict code. A person can not just walk in to their doctor and say I want to have my sex changed. They are required to complete at least the following: HRT (hormone replacement therapy) usually lasting for a period of 24 months prior to surgery. A RLE otherwise known as a Real Life Experience is required in where the individual lives fulltime, 24/7 as the sex of their choice and is done from 12 to 24 months. Also required is 2 letters from separate therapist recommending you for the surgery. Your therapist will be with you along your journey usually before HRT begins.
Transvestite: This term is not as commonly used at it once was. A transvestite is a gay male that dresses as a female in an attempt to attract other gay males.
Intersex: Individuals born with chromosomal anomalies or ambiguous genitalia. The medical term “hermaphrodite” has been used, but is not accepted by many intersex people. Medical professionals commonly assign a male or female gender to the individual and proceed to perform gender assignment surgeries beginning in infancy and often continuing into adolescence, before a child is able to give informed consent. For more information please visit The Intersex Society of North America.