What is Transgender?
Transgender / Trans-Individual is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or someone outside of that gender binary), and this is developed in childhood, becoming firmly established by age 4 years. For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match.
People in the transgender community may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including transgender, transsexual, trans-individual and genderqueer.
Trying to change a person’s gender identity is no more successful than trying to change a person’s sexual orientation — it doesn’t work. So most transgender people seek to bring their bodies more into harmony with their gender identity.
Gender Identity Disorder
Many people who experience dissonance between their gender identity and the sex assigned at birth are diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder some of whom will suffer from Gender Dysphoria. Many of these individuals will seek to change their gender presentation to bring it into harmony with their gender identity. This process is known as “transition”. Transitioning may involve various types of medical treatment, to bring a person’s physical characteristics more in line with their gender identity and presentation.
The UK NHS uses the mental-health diagnosis of “gender dysphoria”, which is defined as the experiencing of discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between one’s biological sex, assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.
Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctor to change their bodies and enhance their desired gender, at the same time suppressing undesired effects of their body’s natural hormones. Some undergo surgery as well. Not all transgender people can or will take all of these steps, and it’s important to know however, that transitioning need not involve any form of medical intervention.
The term Affirmed Gender is now preferred for a trans persons gender after transition.
Many trans individuals experience abuse, violence and discrimination before and during their transitioning. It is a sobering and distressing fact that in the UK, about half of young trans people and a third of adult trans individuals report that they have attempted suicide before transitioning.