What is Trans*? The “T” in LGBTQ
…Refresh my memory, please!!!
transgender: adjective: denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.
You probably have heard the word and have likely heard rumors and stereotypes that are associated with the term “transgender”.
When individuals feel that their gender identity (remember, your own personal sense of self in terms of how girly or boyish you are inside) does not agree with their given sex (the parts of your body that deem you male or female), they often refer to themselves as transgender.
What happens if you feel like you have been born in the wrong body??? Or that your personality is mismatched from the way people treat and look at you??? (Think back to Dangers of Gender Stereotyping…) This can be an uneasy feeling and a lot of the time people may choose to ignore the disparity between their sense of self and their anatomy.
Other people may choose to DO SOMETHING when they feel their gender identity and sex do not align. People may…
Cross dress – The act of wearing clothes or accessorizing in ways that have been designated for the opposite sex. (Think gender expression!)
Take hormones – By changing the levels of sex hormones in the body, transgendered individuals can alter parts of their anatomy (their SEX) and ultimately minimize the gap they feel between their SELF and BODY.
Undergo surgery – Surgically altering one’s body and anatomy to reclaim their body and restore their sense of SELF with their (gender) IDENTITY.
***NOTE: SOMEONE’S GENDER IDENTITY (internal sense of self in terms of gender) IS DIFFERENT THAN THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION (to whom they are attracted sexually/romantically)!***
Sometimes the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation gets confusing since “transgender” is often grouped with the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBTQ), but it is important to keep separate someone’s sexual orientation (who they are attracted to physically and romantically) from their gender identity (how they see themselves internally in terms of masculinity and femininity).
Another important note to make in this area is how to label transgendered individuals. Language is not only important here, but can be a very sensitive topic because it is a matter of someone’s own unique and personal identity! Some labels/terms that are used among transgendered individuals include:
TRANS* is a unique umbrella term. Adding the asterisk (*) enables people to choose how they want to end the word “trans-“ thus making it a more personal description of their SELF.
When in doubt, trans* is a safe fall-back term.
Post Question: Do you think that language is important? How do you feel when someone misidentifies you?