Gender affects our lives every day, but most of us don’t really think about it. Our gender determines what clothes we put on, which public restroom we use and, in some cases, how we communicate. For people who are transgender, these daily choices take on a new significance.
Transgender is a term that includes people who have transitioned from their biological gender to the opposite gender or embraced a more androgynous identity that is somewhere in between male and female. People who identify as transgender may only opt to change the way they dress and the name they go by, or they may undergo hormone treatments to transform physical characteristics such as their voice and facial hair. Some may also choose to have surgery to create or remove breasts and, in more rare instances, change the way their genitals appear and function.
There are many misconceptions about what transgender means and how people who are transgender live their lives. Many in the trans community feel their stories often come across as sensational, as was the case with Thomas Beatie, better known as the pregnant man. The next conversation in our occasional series As We Are focuses on the stories of transgender people told in their own voices.
Are you transgender or do you know someone who is? Even if you’ve never considered transitioning your own gender, have you ever felt uncomfortable with the cultural expectations associated with being male or female? What are your questions about being transgender?
- Renee Stor: transgender woman, born male, but changed gender later in life
- Smitty Amabilis: transgender man, born female and currently undergoing hormone therapy as part of the process of changing gender (This link goes to Smitty’s blog, which contains graphic descriptions of his transition.)