What is Transgendered?

'Sex' is something you are born with
'Gender' is variable.....

Most people go through life knowing subconciously 'who' they are, without having to think about it and without it causing any problems. 'Gender' for most people is just something that 'is'.

For a small number of people, this is not the case. These people find that their sex (the biological and genetic state of being either male or female) does not match their gender (the way they feel about themselves in their own minds).

When this occurs a person is said to be suffering from 'gender dysphoria'.

Everyone who suffers from gender dysphoria, can also be called 'transgendered'.

'Transgendered' was introduced in the 1960's as a term which was used to describe a person who, whilst wanting to live life in the opposite gender to that associated with birth sex, chose not to undergo surgery to modify their body to conform to their psychological gender.

It became more widely known and was used throughout the 1970's as an acceptable term in the context described above.

In the 1980's the term 'transgendered' began to take on a new meaning as an 'umbrella' term, used to describe anyone who was suffering from gender dysphoria.

Because of its origins, some people still use the term in the old sense, to describe someone who lives in the opposite gender, whereas others view 'transgendered' as being anyone who suffers from gender dysphoria.

For purposes of simplicity and so as not to confuse anyone, we have decided to use the term 'transgendered' as the umbrella term to describe anyone suffering from gender dysphoria. For those who choose to live in one gender whilst remaining biologically in the other gender, we will use the term 'third gender'. There are a host of new terms which come into being with great regularity, some remain over time and others lose popularity and drop from general use.

We don't want to confuse anyone if at all possible, and so this is, if you like, the general section. The information contained herein may be as applicable to the partners of transvestites as much as to the partners of transsexuals. There may be some personal accounts from transgendered people who do not fit into the transsexual or transvestite catagory. These people in days gone by would have simply been called 'transgendered', but we have conformed to modern usage and will identify them as being 'third gender'.



The simple diagram above can be reversed for F to M transgendered people.

‘Transgendered’ is possibly the least well-defined and most overused term you will find anywhere on this site, and indeed in the trans community as a whole. Although it is an ‘umbrella’ term, used to classify anyone with any type of gender dysphoria as explained above, you may at some point encounter people who identify themselves as simply ‘tg‘.
This might seem confusing and you may well be asking yourselves - if ‘transgendered’ is an ‘umbrella’ term, these people must fall into another category as well? Well, the answer is "Not necessarily"!

Recently there has been a move by such people to use other terms to describe themselves; but as stated above, the easiest to understand for our purposes is ‘third gender’.

A person living as tg or third gender may present as female yet remain biologically male. They may have certain body modifications, for example breast implants, whilst remaining male. They may or may not take female hormones to alter their body chemistry. Women may present as male whilst remaining female. There are many possible combinations and this list is not exhaustive.

The more you start to look around at people you appreciate just how much we all differ as human beings. Just look at us women - long hair, short hair, somewhere in the middle hair, pierced ears, pierced lips, eyebrows, belly buttons, or nothing pierced at all. Breast enlargement, breast reduction, plucked eyebrows, painted nails, short nails, different sizes and shapes. No two of us are the same, we all go about things differently - some of us live in jeans, others live in skirts and dresses. The point is we are allowed to be and do as we choose and as we feel is right for us.

If we apply the same thinking to gender, which is a thing very few of us actually think about, is it really that difficult to understand?

We are usually fortunate enough to be born with a subconscious inbuilt knowledge of who we are. For the transgendered, however they define themselves, this inbuilt knowledge often does not match society's expectations of what they should look like and how they should behave as men or women. People who are transsexual, for example, know their bodies do not match what their brain is telling them and whilst for them it is simpler, in as much as they KNOW that their minds and bodies don't match and can seek treatment to alter their bodies, for "third gender" people, things are a bit more fuzzy around the edges.

They may not feel wholly male or wholly female. They may feel like a mixture of the two. They may, if they are strongly drawn to the female aspects of their personalities, present most or all the time as women but opt not to have any surgical or hormonal intervention to alter their bodies. They may present part of the time as male and part of the time as female. The best such a person can hope for is to find a combination of lifestyle and treatment which works for them and where they feel comfortable, and live that way.


  © Transpartners 2008