Friday, May 25, 2012

Being Transgender is All Encompassing

(Preface: When I use the term "Transgender" I specifically am referring to Transsexuals. I dislike the term Transsexual, and what is implied by the term, as it is woefully inaccurate(there is no sexual motivation; moreover we don't change our sex, we change our gender). I understand the common use is to use it as an umbrella term, however, when I use it, I mean what is typically called 'Transsexual".)

I was recently talking with a trans friend, who's going to a wedding shortly. Her mother asked her "So, are you going to wear a suit? or...."

This was indicative of a lack of understanding of trans issues, and it's one I wish to tackle head-on. All too commonly, people remain ignorant of how all-encompassing being transgender is. People often latch on to superficial ideas while missing the core issues present.

The core of being transgender is personal identity. It is who we are, fundamentally. It is not what we wear, who we date, or how we act. It is our personal identity. We seek not to 'wear women's clothes' or 'act feminine'. We seek to be ourselves, whether that means wearing a flower print skirt and matching top, or if it means a tank top and skinny jeans. We seek to be recognized as our gender, not our sex.

We want to be ourselves.

When we say we're transgender, or say, we're transitioning to female for instance... that doesn't mean "We like guys" nor does it mean "We want to wear flowery skirts" nor does it mean "we want to act feminine". We want to have the freedom to better express who we are.

 This is all encompassing.

It is not a single aspect of our life, nor is it an issue we will hide. The comment that spurned on this article is indicative of a person who falsely believes being transgender is about crossdressing in private. That is the definition of someone who is a transvestite, but not someone who is Transgender.
Being transgender means that your gender is in conflict with your physical sex. It is not the kind of thing that is solved by crossdressing on the weekends, away from the eyes of the public.

It is about, fundamentally, the freedom to be ourselves, and being ourselves involves crossing gender barriers.

Being ourselves doesn't mean "being ourselves when it's convenient for you". It means, in everything we do, being who we are unashamed, and living our lives in a way that will make us happy and bring us fulfillment. It means being able to live without fear of discrimination for simply being who we are.


(Regarding the question about the divide between MtF and FtM, I do not see such a divide, nor have I ever experienced such a thing. I've encountered three trans men in my life, all of them were well-spoken, and we got along fantastically. I would write this for you, but it would all be assumptions, and they fly in the face of my personal experience, so I chose to not write on this)

If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please submit them in the comments section below. I am always hurting for prompts, and any questions posted will be considered as possible topics for posts. At the very least, if I cannot answer your question, I will provide a reason why I can't or won't address it properly. Anonymous posting is enabled, so you don't even need to sign up to comment with your question!


  1. It appears, to me, that your definitions of transgender, transsexual, sex, and gender, are in conflict with each other.

    You write, "...moreover we don't change our sex, we change our gender...Being transgender means that your gender is in conflict with your physical sex."

    If we change ourselves to come more into a state of alignment, it is necessary to make our sex and gender more closely match. There are two conceivable ways that this could be done -- you could (try to)change your mental aspect (gender), or you could change your physical (sex)aspect as much as possible.

    So which is it? Your claims (in quote) contradict each other.

    1. Your sex is your genetics and born plumbing. Gender is who you are, the core of your personality. What changes is your role in society, mode of dress, body language, etc. such that the core of your personality is respected. The problem here is I failed to distinguish between gender (I.E. mental) and gender in the sociological sense (Role in society, etc)

      Sex is immutable. It cannot be changed. Hence, Transsexual (Trans meaning other side, sexual) is a misnomer. You cannot change your sex. Its the same reason SRS (Sexual reassignment surgery) is often now referred to as gender reassignment surgery (GRS).

      TL;DR recap
      Sex is inborn genetics, organs, etc, and cannot be changed.
      Gender, in the mental sense, is your core personality, and cannot be changed.
      Gender, in the Sociological sense is role in society, mode of dress, body language, and so forth.

      I suppose I could correct the whole thing by adding one word to the second quote "moreover, we don't change our sex, we change our gender presentation".

      Did I clear that up?

  2. *continuation (sorry)*

    Personally, I feel like my hormonal treatments and/or future surgeries definitely affect the physical part of my body, more than the identity part. I've always identified as a female, now I have female features. I feel that it is definitely my sex, and not my gender, that has changed.

  3. I agree with the other Anonymous poster. I am a transsexual because I am intent on changing my sex, not my gender. My gender has always been female. I was born a little girl and I grew up to become a woman. However, my sex is male because I still have male genitalia. Sex-reassignment surgery will replace those with female genitalia, reassigning my sex from male to female. My gender will not change, and for those who are not gender fluid, I don't believe it ever changes. So I am transsexual because I *am* changing sex as soon as I can afford the operation, but I am transgender in the sense that my lifetime gender differs from the sex I was born. The only gender change I will make is the marker on documents, as well as my gender *expression* through clothing, hair, etc. I don't mean to be argumentative, but the terminology means a great deal to me: my gender is fixed, but surgery can change my sex to match.

  4. Sorry I needed to add a P.S. and it was too late to edit further. Sex is not genetics if you mean XX and XY chromosomes, as XY women who've conceived and born children unaided by medical technology can attest, and as millions of intersex persons can as well. It may very well be that being trans is itself genetic, but we don't know yet. Born plumbing doesn't define sex either. You qualified that, for some reason, to make sure it is unchangeable to prove your point. If the plumbing can be changed the sex can be, but if you argue it has to be what you were born, you cannot go back in time to alter your birth. Sex is a complex of many issues, of which being XX or XY is surprisingly indeterminative. If the born plumbing is removed, new plumbing installed, new hormones dominate the physiology, then the only marker left to say the sex is the original is the presence or lack of a Y--and as I said, medical research has uncovered women with Y chromosomes who were fertile as women and passed the trait on to their daughters. Many other women have full female genitalia from the vagina on out, so their sex has been female from birth, but having CAIS means they too have a Y. Gender reassignment surgery is a misnomer because the gender is the same as it always has been; if the word sex needs be taken out, gender confirmation surgery would be the better new term, because the surgery externally confirms the gender the patient was born with--their born mental plumbing, if you will. OK, done now!