Transgender 101

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Transgender 101
sex: biological
male, female
gender: socially constructed
masculine, feminine
sexual orientation: romantic and intimate attraction
If, for example, a male who transitioned to female (male to female or MtF) and is a lesbian, people may ask, “Why
did you need to transition if you like women? You could have just been a straight man.” That person's sexual
identity as a lesbian is different from their gender identity as a male.
gender identity: internal feelings, what you feel you are
gender expression: external presentation, what you feel comfortable expressing to the world.
Someone who presents as a male but crossdresses in private. His gender expression is male, but his gender identity
may be transgender.
gender attribution: what others perceive
If we see someone with a mustache, a flat chest, short hair, and an Adam’s apple, we attribute a male gender to that
person, even if his gender identity could be something different.
transgender (umbrella term): transgressing mainstream gender roles and stereotypes
Can include (but this is arguable, depending on the theorist and/or individual): crossdressers, transsexuals (using
technology to transition or enhance biological attributes), intersex people (those born with ambiguous genitalia),
drag queens / kings, genderqueers, and genderfucks.
Intersections of class, race, age, ability, etc. fully affects transgendered people: unaffordable hormones, geographical
location may influence availability of resources, many male to females transition late in life.
cross dresser: one who enjoys dressing as a gender different than their own
transvestite used in past
intersex: one who is born with ambiguous genitalia
hermaphrodite used in past
MtF / FtM: Male to Female / Female to Male
Two-Spirit: Native American term: one who balances both masculine and feminine qualities
Transsexual: one who uses technology as a component of their transition to another gender
Sexual Realignment Surgery, Hormone Replacement Therapy
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