Transgender

Gender isn't Either/Or

It's Not About Being Gay

Gender isn't Either/Or

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People often think of gender in forms of male and female. The truth is, gender is richer and more complex than that. Not everyone looks or feels like one sex or the other. 

Gender identity is the inherent feeling people have about what gender they are.Some people identify as a gender other than the sex they appeared to be at birth.

They might identify as male, female or as something else, like transgender. Sometimes people use "Trans" for short.

Being Trans

It's Not About Being Gay

Gender isn't Either/Or

Gina Roberts was the first transgender delegate at February’s California Republican Convention.

Pictured above: Gina Roberts was the first transgender delegate at February’s California Republican Convention.


The more you understand about gender issues, the easier it will be to support trans friends.

  • Trans children are often encouraged to act like the gender they appeared to be at birth, no matter how they feel inside. Some wish that during puberty they'll get the adult body that matches their inner gender.
  • Trans teens are sometimes clear about their gender identity. But normal puberty can be challenging.
  • Support is important, but sometimes its hard to find.
  • Trans adults have options about how they live. Some live with the body they were born with. Others take steps to change their bodies so the world sees them as they see themselves.

It's Not About Being Gay

It's Not About Being Gay

Different Ways to be Gendered

This is Jaimie Wilson, a 21-year-old transgender man and country musician from Florida

 This is Jaimie Wilson, a 21-year-old transgender man and country musician from Florida 


Gender isn't the same as sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is about whom a person is sexually attracted to.

  • Heterosexual men are attracted to women and hetrosexual women are attracted to men.
  • Gay men are attracted to men.
  • Lesbian women are attracted to women.
  • Bisexual people are attracted to both men and women.  
  • Transgender people can have any sexual orientation. They can be straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. Usually, people define themselves based on their gender identity, not their physical sex. 

Different Ways to be Gendered

Different Ways to be Gendered

Different Ways to be Gendered

Mal Faust, 29 Boulder, Colorado

Pictured above: Mal Faust, 29 


Transgender is sometimes used as an umbrella term that includes people with many different gender identities:

  • Transgender women identify as female but appeared physically male at birth. Some use the term MTF ("male to female").
  • Transgender men identify as male but appeared female at birth. Some use the term FTM ("female to male").
  • Genderqueer people might identify as male, female, or something different, like "fluid". Their gender identity can also be different at different times.
  • Crossdressers are people who feel comfortable with their physical bodies and enjoy dressing as another gender.
  •  Pan-sexual is not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
  • Transsexual is an older medical term referring to trans people who have surgery or take hormones to change their bodies. Most young trans people today don't identify with the term. People use many other terms for different ways to be gendered. Definitions are often personal as well. If you're not sure how to address a transgender friend, ask.

Being a Friend

Different Ways to be Gendered

Violence Against Trans

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The support of friends is very important. There is still a lot of misunderstanding and fear about gender differences. Support Transgender friends in these ways:

  • Let go of stereotypes about the way gender ought to be. Accept the range of gender feelings people can have.
  • Respect peoples gender choices. If you're not sure, ask which pronoun they prefer you use with them.
  • Learn about different gender choices. 
  • Listen to your trans friends if they want to talk about their experiences. Its a good way to learn more about different gender identities.
  • Speak out against transphobic remarks or behavior. Help inform others about gender issues.


Violence Against Trans

Different Ways to be Gendered

Violence Against Trans

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Once a year our local chapter of LTA Louisiana Trans Advocates remembers those Trans individuals who lost their lives in the previous year. The numbers keep growing.

 

In 2017, Human Rights Watch tracked at least 28 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into homelessness.

While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.

Sadly, 2018 has already seen at least 14 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. As HRC continues to work toward justice and equality for transgender people, we mourn those we have lost.