What Does it Mean to be Transgendered?
Everyone has heard the term transgender but few actually understand exactly what it means.
At the most basic level, transgender is a term that applies to those who do not fit in with the way a woman or a man is supposed to act or look.
The reason for this is that it can be quite hard to define and it means different things to different people. Here we will break down the term transgender so you can have a better understanding of it from a variety of angles.
A common example is a person who was male at birth but as time passes, they realize that they feel more like a woman than a man. Their outside does not reflect what they feel on the inside. This person might live as a man but feel as if they are stuck between two genders, or not relate well to either gender. Many times crossdressers are labeled as being transgendered, although in some cases the crossdresing individual will evolve to the transgender level and assume living full time as a person of the opposite
Many people use the term transgender as an umbrella word to group specific types of people together. Those under this umbrella do not fit in with the standards of society of how a man or a woman is supposed to look or act. To put it simply, they are not conforming to their outside gender in the expected ways.
Transgender people have always existed even though the term has only become a more developed one over the past 20 years of so. Some transgender people have medical procedures to make themselves feel more like they belong. For instance, transgender men may have injections to make their breasts grow or even go as far as have a full sex change where their penis is formed into a vagina. This is not the road all transgender people take though. Some choose not to make any alterations but this does not make them any less of a transgendered person. What people do with their feelings about their gender is a very personal and individual choice.
Another thing that many people are confused by when it comes to transgenders is how their lifestyle fits into a specific sexual orientation. Again, this is a personal thing and depends on the individual. Some transgenders identify as straight while some identify as being homosexual or bisexual. You have to remember this; being transgender is an issue with ones gender identity. Being homosexual is about sexual orientation. These are two very separate issues. Many people who choose to have gender reassignment surgery find that they would rather be with their counterpart. For instance, a woman who has a sex change may find that “he” is more comfortable being with a man now that “he” is in “his” new body. For transgenders who chose to live in their given body, they are more likely to stay in relationships with the opposite sex.
The thing to remember is that the transgender community as a whole is not something that you can fit into a neatly wrapped package. All people are different and experience things in different ways. It is no different for those who are transgender. If one feels as if they are transgendered it is up to them to really figure out what it means and what they wish to do with their feelings.
Today transgendered individuals have more freedom and understanding from society to be who they are, however there are still many barriers to be broken especially in smaller communities where understanding and tolerance are not the norm.
Here is a great video by Princes Joules discussing questions about being transgender: