What does Transgender mean? Transgender is an umbrella term for all people who live somewhere between the gender binary, or have an understand their gender differs from traditional gender norms.
Transgender is about gender not sex or sexuality. Transgender is specifically related to a persons gender identification which can be based amongst other things on the societal norms. In other words if a natal male identifies themselves as a woman then that person is transgender, irrespective of their sex of sexuality.
So what’s the difference between sex and gender? Biological sex and gender are different but the two words often are used interchangeably – incorrectly. Most people can be identified at birth by their genitalia and other chromosomal sign posts. So medically we can define in most instances if a person is sexually male or female. However we have no way of knowing how the brain is wired, we don’t even know exactly what a ‘normal’ male or female brain should look like, our understanding of the brain is too limited. We simply make assumptions at birth what gender that child will grow to be identify as. Just because a baby has a vagina, doesn’t mean the person will have a brain wired as a stereotypically woman. The presence of a vagina simply means that they are female sexually, the chances are they will grow to identify as a girl and grow to be a woman. Social stereotype assumptions channel parents to assume that the baby will follow the ‘normal’ gender binary and they raise the child accordingly, sometimes unwittingly.
If a child is raised in a way that is in-congruent with their own internal gender identity – then problems can sometimes occur throughout life. In some instances the child can grow to exhibit Transgender traits at various levels.
If we look at person they are made up of many facetes, they may have female genitals (sex) but a more male brain (gender). How they live with this is their own personal choice, but often they break the conventions of society, they need to transport themselves a little or a lot away from the normal stereotypes, they need to transport their gender to a ‘place’ where they feel more comfortable. They need to transport their gender – they are transgender.
No matter what terms people use do be truly politically correct it is important to ask what term the individual prefers. Never assume….using a their chosen name is always a safe bet.