The transgender flag.

Transgender (often shortened to trans) is a term referring to people who do not identify as the gender assigned to them at birth. It commonly refers to men who were assigned female at birth (trans men), and women who were assigned male at birth (trans women), these examples being known as binary trans people. All non-binary people are inherently included under the term trans, because their gender is not what was assigned to them at birth. Although, some non-binary people choose not to identify as trans.

Transgender is not a gender identity on it's own, rather it is a gender modality, showing that there is a difference between one's assigned gender at birth and one's actual gender.

When writing about trans people, the word "trans" should not be as anything other than an adjective. For example, one should not write "transwoman" or "trans-woman", but should rather write "trans woman", using trans is adjective to describe a category of women in this case. Sometimes trans is written as trans+, or less commonly, trans*. The asterisk or plus sign are meant to include all transgender people (such as trans/non-binary identifying people). It can also represent drag queens and crossdressers. Many drag queens are trans or non-binary, and use drag as a way to explore their gender identity, however performing drag does not inherently make one trans or associated with the trans community, which is why the spelling is not commonly used today.

The opposite of transgender is cisgender.

Terminology[edit | edit source]

Dysphoria[edit | edit source]

Many transgender people experience dysphoria, a feeling of discomfort or self hatred stemming from a disconnect between their internal sense of gender and their outward appearance, their bodies, or how others perceive them. Dysphoria can range in intensity, ranging from severe, to mild, to none at all. Sources of dysphoria can be different for everyone, and can sometimes change over the course of one's life. There are different types of dysphoria- body, social, and internal. Body is the form that can be the most obvious- feeling like one's hips are too feminine for a trans man, voice is too low for a trans women, ect. Social is how others treat you as your gender, such as names and pronouns. Internal is feeling like something is wrong in your own mind, almost like an internal battle.

Passing[edit | edit source]

Passing is a term used by trans people to describe their appearance, and whether they can be mistaken for a cisgender person. For example a trans woman would "pass" when people assume she is a cisgender woman.

Transition[edit | edit source]

Transitioning refers to the act of beginning to live as one's actual gender, rather than the gender they were thought to be at birth. Transitioning can be social and medical. Social transitioning typically involves going by one's chosen name, pronouns, and possibly changing one's clothes, hair, and other parts of one's appearance to present as one's gender. Medical transitioning is the act of changing one's body to be closer to one's desired body. It can include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and surgeries. Both of these things can help with dysphoria (see above).

Not all trans people choose to fully transition. Some may socially transition, but do not medically transition. Some may undergo certain aspects of transitioning but not others, for example they undergo HRT, but not surgery, or they may go by a different name and pronouns, but they may still dress similar to their assigned gender at birth, because they are gender non-conforming.

Dead Name[edit | edit source]

A trans person's dead name is the name that they were given by their parents when they were born. Most trans people choose to go by a different name as a part of their transition. Using one's deadname intentionally to invalidate them is called "deadnaming." For example, if a trans man used to go by "Jessica" and chose the name "James," if somebody knew about their transition and intentionally used "Jessica" instead of "James", this would be deadnaming.

Transgender vs. Transsexual[edit | edit source]

Transsexual is an older term originating in the medical and psychological communities. It was previously used interchangeably with transgender, and is still used by some older trans people. It is mainly used to refer to people who have changed- or seek to change- their bodies through medical interventions, such as hormones and/or surgeries. Currently most people prefer the word transgender, as transgender includes people who have not, or do not want to medically transition.

Trans Masculine[edit | edit source]

The trans masculine flag.

Transmasculine, or trans masc people are men, men-aligned people, or masculine aligned people who were assigned female at birth (AFAB). Trans masc people might also be called FtM, F2M (female to male) or transmasc (mostly for binary trans men). Some transmasculine identities include:

Transition[edit | edit source]

Many trans men and transmasculine people will try to present in a traditionally masculine way. This can include having short hair and wearing traditionally masculine clothes. Some will wear packers to give the feeling and appearance of having a penis. Many will wear binders to make their chest flat, however binding can be dangerous and can lead to deformation of the rib cage, especially if done incorrectly or for long periods of time.

Medical transition typically involves taking testosterone injections, or testosterone gel. Surgical elements can include a mastectomy to remove breasts (known as top surgery), and a metoidioplasty and/or phalloplasty to create a penis (known as bottom surgery). It is also not uncommon for trans masc people to have a hysterectomy (removal or the uterus), oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), or both.

A trans masculine person may do all, some, or none of these things. Some may not feel a need to transition and some may be unable to transition due to medical reasons.

Trans Feminine[edit | edit source]

The trans feminine flag.

Transfeminine or trans fem people are women, women-aligned, or feminine aligned people who were assigned male at birth (AMAB). Transfeminine people might also be called MtF or M2F (male to female).

Trans feminine identities include:

Transition[edit | edit source]

Many trans women and transfeminine people will try to present in a traditionally feminine way. This can include having long hair, wearing traditionally feminine clothes, and wearing makeup. They may wear breast forms to give the appearance of breasts. Some will tuck, which is the act of pushing the testicles back into the body and pushing or taping the penis back, to get rid of the bulge created by the penis. This can be dangerous to do for extended amounts of time, and it may be impossible for some trans fem people as their body might not allow them to fully push their testicles back into their body.

Medical transition typically involves taking testosterone blocking medication and estrogen, in the form of pills, injections, or gel. Surgical elements can include a vaginoplasty to create a vagina, and sometimes breast implants. Breast implants are sometimes not necessary though, as estrogen will cause breast growth. Some trans feminine people will get facial feminization surgery and many will undergo laser hair removal.

A trans feminine person may do all, some, or none of these things. Some may not feel a need to transition and some may be unable to transition due to medical reasons.

Trans Neutral[edit | edit source]

The trans neutral flag.

Transneutral people are neutral-aligned non-binary people. They could have been assigned female at birth or assigned male at birth. Trans neutral people might also be called MtN/M2N (male to neutral), or FtN/F2N (female to neutral) depending on their assigned gender at birth.

Trans neutral identities include:

Transition[edit | edit source]

Many trans neutral people will try to present in a way that is either a combination of both masculine and feminine, or in a way that is gender neutral. What this looks like commonly depends on one's assigned gender at birth. They may wear breast forms or binders to give the appearance of breasts or flat chests. Some will tuck, or simulate the bulge created by the penis via packing.

Medical transition can involve element of transfeminine or transmasculine procedures, such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast implants, breast removals, and hormones, depending on one's assigned gender at birth. Although, many transneutral people choose to not undergo these transitions, or only undergo some of them.

Flag[edit | edit source]

The transgender flag was designed by trans woman Monica Helms in 1999 and was first shown in a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2000[1][2]. The flag has two blue stripes, the traditional color for baby boys, two pink stripes, the traditional color for baby girls, and a white stripe, representing non-binary and intersex individuals.

Resources[edit | edit source]

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