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Transgender Information

  • Transgender identity includes many overlapping sub-categories. These include transsexual; cross-dresser; transvestite; consciously androgynous people; genderqueer; people who live cross-gender; drag kings; and drag queens. Usually not included, because in most cases it involves a paraphilia and is not a specific gender issue, are transvestic fetishists...
  • The extent to which intersex people (those with genitalia or other physical sexual characteristics that are not strictly either male or female) are included in the transgender category is often debated. Not all intersex people disagree with the gender they were assigned at birth. Those who do may self-identify or be identified as transgender.

    Although some transgender people have had medical sex reassignment therapy, also called sex reassignment surgery, others have not, being quite happy living as they are. In other words, not all transgender people are transsexual, but all transsexual people are transgender. (See below for criticism.) Given the general confusion over and misuse of the term transgender, some individuals who move across the gender divide regularly have begun to label themselves as "ambigendered" as they are comfortable with expressing their identity in either gender [citation needed].

    The term "transman" refers to female-to-male ("FTM") transgender people, and "transwoman" refers to male-to-female ("MTF") transgender people, although some transgender people identify only slightly with the sex not assigned to them. There is a developing awareness that terms such as "FTM" and "MTF" are subjugating language that reinforces the stereotype of gender as a binary system. "Genderqueer" is a recent evolution in attempts to signify gendered experiences that do not fit into binary concepts. In the past, it was generally assumed that there were considerably more transwomen than transmen. However, as more research is performed, it seems more likely that the actual ratio is closer to 1:1.

    "Cisgender" is sometimes used to refer to non-transgender persons, and refers to those individuals who identify themselves with the gender associated with their birth sex.

    The terms "gender dysphoria" and "gender identity disorder" are used in the psychiatric and medical community to explain these tendencies as a psychological condition and the reaction to its social consequences. Strictly speaking, gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder are considered to be mental illnesses, as recorded in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the standard for mental healthcare professionals. Because of the countless historical recordings of such behavior, however, there is strong debate as to whether they should actually be considered a mental illness at all. Most transgender people reject the idea, and consider their being transgender as a simple variation of human behaviour rather than a mental illness. Some have argued in favor of the idea of "gender giftedness."

    Many mental healthcare providers know little about transgender life. People seeking help from these professionals often end up educating the professional rather than receiving help[citation needed]. Among those therapists who profess to know about transgender issues, many believe that transitioning from one sex to another - the standard transsexual model - is the best or only solution. This usually works well for those who are transsexual, but is not the solution for other transgender people, particularly cross-gender people who do not identify as plainly male or female.

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Learn more about Gender Identity and Transgender Issues at sharecare.com

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