A transgender is a person who is at odds with their assigned sex and gender identity. Transgender does not only refer to men and women whose gender identity is different from their actually assigned sex, it also includes gender queer individuals. Gender queer persons do not have identities that are specifically masculine or feminine. Such persons may for instance be agender, pagender or bigender. This term may also refer to cross dressers.
Many transgenders go through a period where they seek to develop their identity through understanding their self expression, self reflection and self image. Transgender congruence is the level at which a transgender feels authentic, genuine and accepts their identity and is comfortable with their external looks.
Transgenders and Sexual Orientation
Being a transgender has no relationship with a person’s sexual orientation. A transgender may be bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, asexual or have any other form of sexual orientation.
According to a recent effort to determine the population of transgenders, it was found that 0.3% of the adult population in U.S.A. is transgender.
Distinction between a Transsexual and Transgender
The difference between a transsexual and transgender is based on the difference between sex (physical) and gender (social and psychological). Tran sexuality focuses on one’s sex whereas transgender focus on one’s gender predisposition and the social expectations, such as dating, related with a particular gender role. Many transgenders prefer the term transgender and do not like to be referred to as transsexual. For instance, in 1979, Christine Jorgensen, a well known transgender, publicly dismissed the term transsexual in reference to her and identified herself as a transgender. She stated that gender is not related to bed partners but refers to one’s identity. Some transsexual individuals also object to being categorized as transgender.
Genderqueer are not masculine or feminine but are bigender, agender, androgynous or pangender. Bigender individuals move between the roles of male and females (gender fluid) or being male and female at the same time (androgynous). Agender are identified as persons who are genderless or beyond gender. Persons who exhibit multiple genders are referred to as pangender. Some forms of androgynous behavior include men with earrings and women with pants. Androgynous people are also called intersex individuals. Genderqueer is an identity that is not linked to a person’s sexual orientation.
A cross dresser is also called a transvestite person. This is an individual who wears the clothes of the opposite sex. This definition does not include people who wear the clothes of the opposite sex for other reasons like female impersonators or actors or males or females who are participating in a masquerade. Cross dressers do not necessarily want to be or adopt the mannerisms of the opposite gender. Cross dressers may not even want to alter their physical appearance to fit that of the opposite sex. Many cross dressers are heterosexual.