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What Does It Mean To Be Transgendered?

Published: December 02, 2013
Dear What Does It Mean To Be Transgendered?,

What does it mean when someone says they are transgendered?


Dear What Does It Mean To Be Transgendered?,

Transgender basically means that the gender assigned to a person when they were born does not match their own internal gender identity.

Planned Parenthood does a great job of answering this question in their article All About LGBTQ. Here is what they have to say:

The "T" in LGBTQ stands for transgender. Transgender is not a sexual orientation — it's a gender identity. Before we define transgender, let's take a step back and look at some other terms.

  • Sex is biological. It includes our genetic makeup, our hormones, and our physical parts (like our sex and reproductive organs).
  • Gender refers to society's expectations about how we should look, think, and act as girls and boys, women and men.
  • Gender identity is how we feel about our gender and how we convey those feelings in the way we dress, behave, speak, and other ways we express ourselves.

Most people who have female parts, hormones, and genetic makeup feel like girls or women, and most people who have male parts, hormones, and genetic makeup feel like boys or men. These people are often called cisgender.

But some people find that their gender identity is not in sync with their sex — for example, someone with a penis might be declared a boy at birth, but grow up feeling, thinking, and acting more like a girl. Many people who feel this way call themselves transgender — also known as trans, TG, or genderqueer.

Transgender can include people who are simply not satisfied with the strict gender roles society dictates, those who enjoy "playing" the other gender. The term transgender also includes those who take hormones and/or have surgery to alter their physical bodies to match their gender identity, also known as transexual.

 

For more information, read Transgender 101, an article by GLAAD.

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