What is Transgender?

So you might be asking yourself what does it mean to be transgender? How can someone not be the gender they are born? After all, what is more basic than when you come into the world and the doctor announces “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl.” That’s the beginning of your identity in so many ways. Even assuming you have modern liberal parents who paint your nursery yellow or green you are going to get a lot of gendered messages. Girls like certain things and boys like certain things. Toy commercials will tell you which toys are for you. Video games will be made for you or not. Despite your liberal parents best intentions you might, like I did, want frilly pink dresses and patent leather shoes. My mom dressed me in primary colored overalls and kept my hair short. And as soon as I could talk and choose anything for myself I wanted tights and dresses. So much for all those feminist intentions.

But being a boy or a girl is more than the outside trapping of toys and clothes. It’s also how you feel inside. Confused? So was I. After all, if you never questioned your gender this seems a little crazy. Of course I’m the gender my body assigned me to be. But the brain works in mysterious ways. And some kids, like my husband, spend time wishing and hoping they would wake up a girl. Feeling like a girl. Doesn’t that just mean they’re gay, you might ask? Nope. Gender identity and sexuality aren’t related. Gender identity is how you feel inside. Are you a girl or a boy? If you feel like the thing you were born, congratulations, that’s amazing. If not, you have a hard road ahead. But it’s not something the person can change or fix or resolve. It just is. And not dealing with it can lead to depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Is transgender a product of genetics or how someone is raised or something that happens in the womb? Hard to say. I’m not a scientist, as my college biology grade would confirm, and there are tons of theories. If you want to find out more I’ll create a resource page. But in the end it doesn’t really matter. What a person needs to live a whole and happy life is to live the gender they feel. The medical community is in agreement on that. So let’s move on.

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