Transgender: The Basics

Being transgender (or trans) basically means you identify with a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth.  A trans woman is someone who was assigned male at birth, but identifies as a woman.  Whereas, a trans man is someone who was assigned female at birth, but identifies as a man.  Someone who is genderqueer or nonbinary is neither a man or a woman, in between man and woman or neither a man or a woman.  Some genderqueer and nonbinary people identify as transgender.  Others do not.  It’s important to respect the way a person identifies themself.

It’s very important to learn someone’s pronouns because by doing that, you not only show that you respect the person, but you accept them for who they are.  Some people go by he, others go by she, others go by the gender-neutral pronouns they, ze, xe, em and other pronouns.  Also, if you don’t know a person’s pronouns, just ask!  It’s better than using the wrong pronoun.  If you do slip up, just say, “Oops, sorry!” and move on.

Never out a transgender person without their permission.  Some cisgender people aren’t accepting of the fact that someone may be trans.  If you out a transgender person, they could lose their job, their housing, their friends or even their life.

Many, but not all transgender people take hormones or have surgery to match their bodies with their minds.  The reasons that some trans people don’t have surgery or take hormones is because both are very expensive, many insurance companies still deny transition care or because some transgender people just don’t feel the need to.  However, all this does not mean that they are not transgender.  Gender is not how you dress or what’s between your legs.  It’s what you feel in your mind and in your heart.