How do I interact with someone who is Transgendered?
What do I do if someone I know is transgender?
Accept them. They are the same person you have always known.
Respect the identity they claim.
Try to use the same pronoun and name they use to identify themselves.
Educate yourselves and others. Do not rely solely on information created by non-transgender people.
Advocate for them and be an ally!
For Example. Of a Transgendered male-to-female (MTF): Refer to her by her name and refer to her as a she.
talking specifically about her being a transgender person, a respectful
way: She is transgender, she is a T-girl or slang of “she’s TG”.
of thumb: of the commonly used slang words for transgendered, that if
you do a Google search on that word and you find a porn site, do not use
Nobody wants to be associated with Porn!
I think someone may be transgender. Should I ask? Though
each individual has their own level of comfort in being open and
discussing their gender identity, it is generally not considered
acceptable to ask someone if they are transgender. If someone would like
to discuss their gender identity with you, allow them to approach you
is an official mental/emotional disorder specified by the American
Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM). There are four qualifications required for a
person to be diagnosed with GID which can only happen under a qualified
"Strong and persistent gross-gender identification."
"Persistent discomfort about one's assigned sex or a sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex."
"The diagnosis is not made if the individual has a concurrent physical intersex condition."
"Clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."
last requirement is often overlooked. If a person's gender does not
cause the negative stress or prevent them from normal functioning, they
do not have GID
psychological condition is considered a mental disorder only if it
causes distress or disability. Many Transgendered people do not
experience their Transgendered feelings and traits to be distressing or
disabling, which implies that being Transgendered does not constitute a
mental disorder per Se.
is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male
or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as
chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy.
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities,
and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and
men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act,
interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are
similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.
is no single explanation for why some people are transgender. The
diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any
simple or unitary explanation. Many experts believe that biological
factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early
experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all
contribute to the development of transgendered identities.
identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Sexual orientation
refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional
attraction to another person, whereas gender identity refers to one’s
internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Transgendered
people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, just as
non-transgender people can be. Some recent research has shown that a
change or a new exploration period in partner attraction may occur
during the process of transition. However, transgendered people usually
remain as attached to loved ones after transition as they were before
transition. Transgendered people usually label their sexual orientation
using their gender as a reference. For example, a transgendered woman,
or a person who is assigned male at birth and transitions to female, who
is attracted to other women would be identified as a lesbian or gay
woman. Likewise, a transgendered man, or a person who is assigned female
at birth and transitions to male, who is attracted to other men would
be identified as a gay man.
people experience their transgender identity in a variety of ways and
may become aware of their transgender identity at any age. Some can
trace their transgender identities and feelings back to their earliest
memories. They may have vague feelings of “not fitting in” with people
of their assigned sex or specific wishes to be something other than
their assigned sex. Others become aware of their transgender identities
or begin to explore and experience gender-nonconforming attitudes and
behaviors during adolescence or much later in life. Some embrace their
transgender feelings, while others struggle with feelings of shame or
confusion. Those who transition later in life may have struggled to fit
in adequately as their assigned sex only to later face dissatisfaction
with their lives. Some transgender people, transsexuals in particular,
experience intense dissatisfaction with their sex assigned at birth,
physical sex characteristics, or the gender role associated with that
sex. These individuals often seek gender-affirming treatments.
from one gender to another is a complex process and may involve
transition to a gender that is neither traditionally male nor female.
People who transition often start by expressing their preferred gender
in situations where they feel safe. They typically work up to living
full time as members of their preferred gender by making many changes a
little at a time. While there is no “right” way to transition genders,
there are some common social changes transgender people experience that
may involve one or more of the following: adopting the appearance of the
desired sex through changes in clothing and grooming, adopting a new
name, changing sex designation on identity documents (if possible),
using hormone therapy treatment, and/or undergoing medical procedures
that modify their body to conform with their gender identity.
transgender person’s process or transition differs. Because of this,
many factors may determine how the individual wishes to live and express
their gender identity. Finding a qualified mental health professional
that is experienced in providing affirmative care for transgender people
is an important first step. A qualified professional can provide
guidance and referrals to other helping professionals. Connecting with
other transgender people through peer support groups and transgender
community organizations is also helpful.
psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes
significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not
experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that
identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For
these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable
resources, such as counseling, Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT), medical
procedures, and the social support necessary to freely express their
gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may
lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct
or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These
experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety,
depression, or related disorders at higher rates than non-transgender
yourself about transgender issues by reading books, attending
conferences, and consulting with transgender experts. Be aware of your
attitudes concerning people with gender-nonconforming appearance or
that transgender people have membership in various sociocultural
identity groups (e.g., race, social class, religion, age, disability,
etc.) and there is not one universal way to look or be transgender.
Use names and pronouns that are appropriate to the person’s gender presentation and identity; if in doubt, ask.
make assumptions about transgender people’s sexual orientation, desire
for hormonal or medical treatment, or other aspects of their identity or
transition plans. If you have a reason to know (e.g., you are a
physician conducting a necessary physical exam or you are a person who
is interested in dating someone that you’ve learned is transgender),
confuse gender nonconformity with being transgender. Not all people who
appear androgynous or gender nonconforming identify as transgender or
desire gender affirmation treatment.
Keep the lines of communication open with the transgender person in your life.
support in processing your own reactions. It can take some time to
adjust to seeing someone you know well transitioning. Having someone
close to you transition will be an adjustment and can be challenging,
especially for partners, parents, and children.
support in dealing with your feelings. You are not alone. Mental health
professionals and support groups for family, friends, and significant
others of transgender people can be useful resources.
for transgender rights, including social and economic justice and
appropriate psychological care to familiarize yourself with the local
and state or provincial laws that protect transgender people from