Transgender/Transsexual

Gender in our society is split into masculine and feminine, and it is
society – the people around us – that decides men and women should
behave a certain way. Everyone has a gender identity, and this is
separate and different from a person’s sexuality. When people are
described as transgender this suggests someone who feels that some
aspect of the sex and gender they were born with does not fit
who they feel they really are.
 

How do you know?
Some people say that they have felt like they are the ‘wrong’ gender,
or that they are different from other people of the same gender, from
a very young age, but for other people they may not be aware of
how they feel until they start going through puberty. 

All the same?
Everyone is an individual, and no two people feel exactly the same way.
As a result, people explore their gender identity in different ways and
may describe themselves using different terms. Below are explanations
of a few of the most common terms people use:

Transgender
This is often used to describe anyone who does not feel they completely
fit the gender and/or sex they were born with.

Transsexual
This is usually used to describe a person who feels that they were born
the ‘wrong’ sex, and who identifies with and would like to be accepted as
a member of the opposite sex. Many transsexuals want to change
physically and do undergo sexual reassignment to change their bodies
so that they are the sex they feel is right for them.

Transvestite or cross-dresser
These words describe a person who likes to dress in the clothes usually
associated with someone of the opposite gender, such as a man liking
to wear women’s clothes, or a woman dressing as a man. There can be
many reasons why people like to do this and it does not mean that they
want to change gender or physically change their bodies.

Intergender or Intersexual
These words describe a person who does not identify strongly as either
male or female and who does not fit neatly into a typical masculine or
feminine role. They can also be used to describe someone who naturally
has both male and female physical characteristics.

Prejudice
Unfortunately transgendered people do experience prejudice from
others, as many people do not understand why a person might feel that
they have been born in the wrong body, or would like to wear the clothes
usually worn by the opposite gender. This type of prejudice is called 
homophobia and can make people feel worried and vulnerable. 
More importantly our society has systems in place to stop this sort
of discrimination. The important thing to remember is that gender
identity is not fixed and that everyone has the the right to feel happy
and comfortable and to be who they really feel they are.

Meeting other people
Some people find joining a gay club or society really helpful, especially
when they do not know many other transexual people, as it can give 
them the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Growing up as a 
transexual is not always easy and it can be very helpful to meet other
people who understand any worries or difficulties you may be having.
Of course that does not mean that you can only have gay or bi friends,
or that your straight friends won’t understand you.
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