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 reverses to men to were assigned female at birth (trans men), and women who were assigned male at birth (trans women), these examples are known as binary trans people. Many non-binary people identity as trans, meaning their gender does not fall strictly into the categories of male and female used in western society, although some non-binary people choose not to identify as trans.
Many transgender people experience dysphoria, feeling of discomfort or self hatred stemming from a disconnect between their internal sense of gender and their outward appearance, or how other perceive them. Dysphoria can range in intensity, ranging from several, to mild, to none at all, and reason for dysphoria are different for everyone, and can sometimes change over the course of one's life. Some, but not all, transgender people choose to medically transition with hormone replacement therapy, and gender affirming surgeries.
When writing about trans people the word trans should be as any other adjective. For example, one should not write "transwoman" or "trans-woman", but should rather write "trans woman", as 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/nonbinary identifying people). It can also represent drag queens and cross-dressers. This spelling is not commonly used in the modern day. Many drag queens are trans or non-binary, and use drag as a way to explore their gender identity, however preforming drag does not inherently make one trans or associated with the trans community, which is why the spelling is not commonly used.
The opposite of transgender is cisgender.
Trans masculine, or trans-masc people are men or men-aligned individuals who were assigned female at birth. Trans masculine people will often try to appear more stereotypical masculine. Trans-masc people might also be called FtM, or F2M (female to male).
Trans Masculine Identities
Some trans masculine include:
- Trans men
- Genderfluid people who are often masculine
- Other non-binary people who strongly identify with masculinity
Many trans men and trans masculine 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 do to medical reasons.
Trans feminine or trans-fem people are women or women-aligned individuals who were assigned male at birth. Trans feminine people will often try to appear more stereotypical feminine. Trans feminine people might also be called MtF or M2F (male to female).
Trans feminine identities include:
- Trans women
- Genderfluid people who are often feminine
- Other non-binary people who identify strongly with femininity
Many trans women and trans feminine 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. Estrogen can be taken by 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 do to medical reasons.
Trans neutral people or trans-neutral people are neutral-aligned people who could have been assigned female at birth or assigned male at birth. Trans neutral people will often try to appear like a combination of traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine, or try to appear as neutral as possible. Trans neutral people might also be called MtN, FtN, M2N, or F2N.
Trans neutral identities include:
- Agender people
- Genderfluid people who are often neutral
- Maverique people
- Other nonbinary people who identify as neither feminine or masculine, or a combination of the two.
Many trans neutral people will try to present in a way that is either a combination of both masculine and feminine, or neither. This can include having long or short hair, wearing traditionally feminine, masculine, or gender neutral clothes, and wearing makeup. They may wear breast forms or binders to give the appearance of breasts or flat chests. Some will tuck, or simulate the bulge creative by the penis via packing.
Medical transition can involve both trans feminine and trans masculine procedures, such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast implants, breast removals, and hormones, although many trans neutral people choose to not undergo these transitions.
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. 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.