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Old 12th Jul 2011, 07:38 AM   #1
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The Transgender Education Thread

Given that there is so much confusion in the LGBT community about transgenders, I thought it would make sense to create a thread dedicated to educating people about it. This thread is really a FAQ of sorts with some definitions. People are free to ask me and other transgendered people about the transgender experience.

This thread is in the pursuit of truth and not rumor, speculation, or myth--otherwise known as ignorance. Only answer questions if you have the experience or knowledge to back it up.

Definitions
Cisgender: A person who is not transgendered.

Crossdresser: Someone who dresses as the opposite of their natal sex and sometimes exhibits the gender roles of that opposite sex. Despite this, they have male gender identities and are fine in their bodies as they are.

Drag King: An individual who presents with male gender roles, similar to a drag queen. They are often in the same venue as drag queens. These individuals often have female gender identities.

Drag Queen: An individual who presents with female gender roles in a very exotic, dramatic way--often theatrically for others. While these individuals dress as women sometimes, they often have male gender identities.

Gender Identity: The internal gender of an individual. Not to be confused with gender roles, which are separate and a social construct.

Gender Identity Disorder: Also known as GID. A known, proven birth defect of the brain. For a currently unknown reason, the brain develops separately from the body, creating a gender identity opposite of the body.

Gender Queer: An individual who is either gender neutral or gender variant. People who are gender queer often claim not to feel either male or female and usually exhibit gender roles from both genders.

Natal Sex: Also known as birth sex. The sex you are born as.

Transgender: Transgender is an umbrella term that references many groups of people that transcend gender. Transgender does not refer to any specific groups. It is a general term. Some examples of groups under this term: transsexuals, drag queens and kings, crossdressers, and gender queer individuals.

Transitioning: A process of a transsexual making steps to present as the opposite of their natal sex to achieve comfort with their gender identity.

Transsexual: A term that is often confused with transgender (see above). These two are different, however, in that transsexual refers to a very specific group of people. Transsexuals are people who have Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Many of whom are going through a process called transitioning.
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Awesome! I learned a good deal from that. One of my childhood friends is currently transitioning (MtF) and I want to learn as much as I can as to not insult her. I have one more question though...
Is the sexual identity then based off of the natal sex or the gender identity? ie is a straight FtM attracted to males or females?
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

What a great idea for a thread! I learned so much about the Trans world from simply asking questions. There is another thread similar to this here, and reading through it gave me sort of a crash course in discussing that area of our culture with some tact and respect.

I was wondering the same thing as Flying Squirrel asked, actually. Is the sexual identity determined by the natal sex, or by the gender identity of the individual in question? I would imagine it depends on the individual... But I am not Trans, so I am curious.
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Squirrel View Post
Awesome! I learned a good deal from that. One of my childhood friends is currently transitioning (MtF) and I want to learn as much as I can as to not insult her. I have one more question though...
Is the sexual identity then based off of the natal sex or the gender identity? ie is a straight FtM attracted to males or females?
oops didnt understand the question (deleted answer). from the transgender people i know; they consider themselves and want to be considered their gender identity; their real gender. so a straight FtM would be attracted to females.
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 10:55 AM   #5
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

How does gender identity affect sexual identity?
To be honest, it doesn't. They're separate. The sexuality of an individual depends on them.

If you're wondering about what transsexuals prefer to call their sexualities, that also depends on the individual. Usually, transsexuals call their sexualities based on their preferred gender, not their natal sex. For instance, I refer to myself as a lesbian because I'm a woman who is sexually attracted to other women.
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

But it seems to me that if someone is transsexual then they are statistically more likely to not be straight. Is this the case?
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Old 12th Jul 2011, 02:24 PM   #7
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

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Originally Posted by fiddledeedee View Post
But it seems to me that if someone is transsexual then they are statistically more likely to not be straight. Is this the case?
Do you mean from their assigned gender or from their gender identity?

From what I've heard, in studies on transwomen, roughly half are straight women (MtFs attracted to men), one third bisexual, and then a smaller amount lesbian or asexual. So in their identified gender the numbers match up roughly to the percentages you'd expect to find in a group of cissexual women.

I don't have any information on transmen as they are less studied.

Of course, I don't have any citations for the studies and don't know if any more rigorous studies have been done so take it with a grain of salt.

Also, I was going to start a thread for this Build support and acceptance of transgender people through education. - Pepsi Refresh Project but I suppose I'll leave it here since we've got this going.
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Old 13th Jul 2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

I mean non-straight from their gender identity, i.e. who they are.

Looking on Wikipedia briefly, it seems that from a 2008 poll that only about 6% of Britons identified as homo/bisexual, though. The overall consensus from many surveys suggests that maybe 5% of people are homo/bisexual, with homosexuality being more common than bisexuality. It also seems that women are generally more likely to be straight than men. :/
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Old 13th Jul 2011, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Isn't it just as possible that trans people are more likely to admit homosexuality though?
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Old 13th Jul 2011, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddledeedee View Post
I mean non-straight from their gender identity, i.e. who they are.

Looking on Wikipedia briefly, it seems that from a 2008 poll that only about 6% of Britons identified as homo/bisexual, though. The overall consensus from many surveys suggests that maybe 5% of people are homo/bisexual, with homosexuality being more common than bisexuality. It also seems that women are generally more likely to be straight than men. :/
Hard to tell in these threads what people might mean and I wanted to be clear.

Was it Kinsey then that suggested that a large portion of the population may be bisexual? I could've sworn there was a study at some point that suggested it was a fairly sizable portion of the population.

Either way, moving away from the general populace the only study I ever read on transwomen and orientation those who were bi/homosexual were fewer in number than those who were straight.

@Kitten - Actually, no, gay trans people (potentially) go through the same process of coming out to themselves as cis men and women. In fact, because of a history of denying transition to those trans people who are gay/lesbian many are very hesitant to admit it, particularly early on. ((Though things are better these days with more trans friendly therapists/doctors to be found.))
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Old 15th Jul 2011, 04:42 AM   #11
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Transgender individuals don't get much representation in the media (which is a horrible place to get information, actually), but when they are mentioned, I find it's usually MtF.

So I was wondering, which is more common?
MtF or FtM?

Does anyone have any statistics on that I could look at?
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Old 16th Jul 2011, 05:07 AM   #12
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Click this link. Go to the second link down on the page then scroll to the 7th page of the .pdf and you'll find ratios for FtMs and MtFs in various countries. MtFs tend to be more common than FtMs and transsexuals in general seem more common in Europe than in the US (though I am guessing that has more to do with ease of transition there than anything else).
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Old 17th Jul 2011, 04:30 PM   #13
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

awesome thread thanks for making it
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Old 17th Jul 2011, 04:48 PM   #14
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

I'll just be lurking about here.
Chime in if anyone has questions that I might be able to answer.

Thanks for posting this.
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 02:22 AM   #15
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Well, I suppose this is pretty relevant. There are certain terms that people use quite freely that are highly offensive to transsexuals--and probably transgendered people in general. Please never call or refer to a transsexual with one of these words.

He-she: The FTM equivalent of shemale. Any term that reminds the subject of their natal sex is just in general very offensive.

Shemale: This should be rather common sense, but it apparently isn't. People use this term to refer to both intersexed individuals as well as pre-op male-to-female transsexuals. It is highly offensive because a MTF does not like being referred to as a male in any respect. Honestly, MTF is already pushing it. It only exists as a means of clarification.

Tomboy: Tomboy is a common term used for a female who embraces male gender roles. A female-to-male transsexual is not a tomboy. He is a man.

Tranny: Sometimes transsexuals refer to themselves this way, but they really shouldn't. For the same reason why people of African descent should not use the N-word toward themselves. This promotes the idea that it's a term that's okay to use for people who aren't transsexual. It isn't. Coming from someone else's mouth, this is perhaps the worst thing you can call a transsexual or perhaps any kind of transgender.

This isn't about being politically correct. These terms are socially charged with offensive meanings that degrade the transgender experience. These specific terms are the red buttons for most transgendered people.

---------- Post added 18th Jul 2011 at 04:51 AM ----------

What sexuality labels do transsexuals use?
This has been asked a few times, I think, so I want to answer it. The short answer is that it depends on the person.

If you're asking for my opinion, though, here it is: sexuality is based upon the preferred sex and not the natal sex. Can a FTM be a lesbian? No, because FTM's are men. There are a few stories of FTM's that started transitioning while in a relationship with a lesbian and it rarely works out in the long run. Why? Because lesbians want to be with women and FTM's are men. What does a straight MTF mean? That she likes men. If you think about it from this perspective, there is little confusion.

It can get icky when you mix the labels with politics, however. Many lesbians reject the idea that MTF's can be lesbians. They believe that only people who are born female can be lesbians. To me--and most MTF's--this is just blatant prejudice. Likewise, there are feminist conventions that ban transwomen from attending for the same reason.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 05:04 AM   #16
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Since we've covered sexual orientation of trans people I suppose it may be relative to have a few words on the sexual orientations of those who date them.

So, to start, a gay man who is dating a man with a trans history is still gay. He is not straight, bisexual, or pansexual because of his partner's trans status. He is gay because transmen are men.

Similarly, a lesbian dating a woman with a trans history is still a lesbian. She is not straight, bisexual, or pansexual because of her partner's trans status. She is a lesbian because transwomen are women.

Also, because it has been claimed, I do not buy the idea that bisexuality "reinforces the gender binary"* and/or that in order to date a transsexual one must identify as pansexual. Because transmen are men, and transwomen are women and bisexuals like men and women then a bisexual person attracted to a man or woman with trans history is still bisexual.

Pansexual becomes a useful label when talking about non-binary identified trans people but it shouldn't be used in a way that seperates a transperson from their identity (i.e. "I'm attracted to men, women, and transsexuals/transmen and transwomen), that is othering and suggests that men and women with trans experience are not real men and women but are actualy some form of "third gender"; something most binary identified trans people do not like.

On this note I think it is worth mentioning the increasing trend of chasers** to claim their fetishizing of the trans community is a legitimate orientation, that they are "tranny-sexual" or that they are "pansexual" defined as something along the lines of "I like women and FtMs". This is demeaning, fetishizing and othering; it seperate trans people from their legitimate identity and tries to force them into a position of being "third gender" or to bring them back in line with the sex they were assigned at birth. No matter how good you think your "transdar" is (an offensive concept in itself) the fact remains that there is no way to tell who is trans and who isn't without asking. You have no way of telling whether that cute, short, thin fellow is actually trans or a cis man who is cute, short and thin (and whatever other "tells" you think you are seeing) unless you ask him*** anymore than you can tell whether he's had his appendix removed. You cannot have orientation based on trans status, you simply have a demeaning fetish based on your stereotype of what a person with trans status is like.

*Bisexuality doesn't reinforce the gender binary anymore than "gay" or "lesbian" does.

**Chasers are people who fetishize trans people. Often has some idea of "what trans people are like" and tries to find trans people who fit that and date them.

***Any person you ask this of is under no obligation to answer your rude and prying question anymore than they would be if you wanted to know about their appendix (or any other major surgery they may have had or the status of their genitals).
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 07:18 AM   #17
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Hi, I'm new here so this is my first post. I just wanted to state my opinion on these issues as a trans woman myself. Sorry, it's a bit long but I have a lot to say and want to introduce myself a bit to the forum.

First off I just want to thank all the LGB people on this forum for including the transgendered and fighting for us. Being a transsexual is a gender issue and not a sexuality issue but the discrimination is the same. A homophobe isn't going to stop to determine if you're a transsexual in transition, a drag queen or an effeminate gay man before beating you up or firing you from your job. Transgendered people are a small group and transsexuals an even smaller one so we wouldn't be getting anywhere without the support of the rest of the community.

I find the term 'chasers' to be offensive I think they prefer to be called pansexual. Pansexuals are attracted to men, women and the gender variant and/or transsexual men/women. In reality most pansexuals have a fetish for trans people. I'm ok with this as 99% of men have a fetish for something, feet, breasts, whatever. A pansexual's fetish just happens to be loving someone like me for whatever reasons. They're just people, good and bad, no different then anyone else. Yes, there is no way to tell by looking if someone is trans. This is why most pansexuals don't determine if someone is trans just by looking but instead go to trans/LGBT groups or trans chat rooms to find dates. It is a legitimate sexual orientation in my opinion and some transsexuals are pansexuals themselves as they find dating other trans people to be easier.

I'm not sure about the sexual orientation of trans women there doesn't seem to be any statistics. In my experience most trans women I've met identify as either lesbian or bi-curious. Many of them seem to be married to women at the time of their transition and are still married. This is just from the people that I've met myself so there is no stats to back it up. My experience seems to be the opposite of what others here have had. I've also met trans women that say their sexual orientation changed with hormone treatments. I don't know if this is scientific but I'm not one to argue with another person's personal experience if they say it happened then it's true.

My story is I came out as bisexual when I was 17. At seventeen I began my first serious long term relationship with a man. I pretty much lost everything, disowned by my bible thumping family and all that crap that many of us go through. At this time I identified as a bisexual male but I've always had an 'odd' or 'wrong' feeling about being born a male and playing the role of a male in society.

I've just recently started transitioning and I am totally surprised at the huge wall of discrimination that comes from the people that are supposed to be there to help you. I expect discrimination from the general populace but from those who are there to help?

To get the treatments and everything you actually have to prove you're mentally stable and a 'true' transsexual to a therapist or psychiatrist or whatever, because you know, you're just batcrap insane in the first place for being transsexual as it's still considered a mental illness. A number of these psych. people seem to think you should aspire to be Barbie or you're not really trans. You know the 1950's/90210 stereotype of a woman. You should wear a dress at every opportunity, spend an hour every day on your make up, your career aspirations should be to be a secretary or a homemaker and you need to act like an airheaded bimbo. I met one trans woman who's gender 'therapist' told her she had to go get a manicure and wear dresses more often to her appointments. WTF, telling people how to dress! Funny, 'cause my mom never wore make up or earrings and rarely was in a dress. My mom's life goal was to be a high school phys. ed. teacher. My mom would be refused hormone treatments guess that would make her what? A fake woman, who knows. She's even good at math, oh no!

Some of these docs want you to live full time for a year as a woman (full time as a woman meaning to act like the bimbo described above and never wear pants) before giving you hormones. This is ok with me as I was born with a hormonal difference and am not very masculine looking, some women though have very masculine traits. For some women they need the hormones to look like a woman and to not face ridicule the second they step outside their home. Without the hormones and the feminization that comes with them they have no chance of even remotely passing as a woman. These doctors mine as well just call Fred Phelps and crew up to come down and lay a beat down on the trans women they're treating or just order up a suicide machine for these poor girls because that's what these scum are doing they're killing us both directly and indirectly. The sad thing is if you don't do what these people tell you to do they can take away your hormones, which you NEED to feel right and normal. The sadder thing is many transsexuals support and encourage this system, like it's some kind of initiation ceremony. It's just flat out discrimination, you can surgically alter any part of your body but your genitals because if you want to change your gender you're just insane!

Myself, I went to school to be a secretary and spent most my marriage as a stay at home parent and a homemaker, so yes I fit the stereotype but it still irks me that these people think to be a woman you have to be some kind of stereotype. Apparently it's still OK to be misogynistic towards trans women.

As for lesbians and feminists that don't accept mtfs in their club I imagine those kind of people are the same people that have a hate on for men and just hate and bully anyone that doesn't think and act exactly like they do. Trans people are just an easy target for haters since we're already ostracized by society. I'm sure these hate filled individuals would be hating someone else if it wasn't us.

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Old 21st Jul 2011, 11:15 AM   #18
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Anawin, I find a lot of what you're saying to be purely based upon local mentality. You seem to live in a fairly oppressive environment, if what you say of your experience is true. My therapist has been supportive of me the entire way.

Proving you are mentally stable is, in fact, one of the requirements of gaining access to hormones, but I think you are--or someone in your life is--misinterpreting what that means. Many transsexuals have mental issues that came from their experiences as a transsexual person--usually due to societal and social pressures to conform to being something that they're not. Many homosexuals find themselves with similar mental issues for the same reasons. This requirement is to make sure that these issues are being managed before taking drugs that may further increase their severity. Therapy usually gives people tools they originally didn't have to combat these self-destructive thoughts.

My therapist hasn't been pushing me to be anything I don't want to be. Not all transsexuals have to aspire to be Barbie or be a bimbo. Everyone has their own personal path to walk. Now, I'm not sure what to make of this part of your post. You may live in a different country with different policies. Now, given that you have been banned, you may have just been trolling this thread.
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Old 24th Jul 2011, 07:19 PM   #19
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

Is transitioning a selfish process?
I make no qualms about this: it is. Get over it. Your transition does effect more people than just you. Your friends and family all have to transition as you do. Is it selfish to force others to change for your comfort? It is. Some honestly won't be able to handle it and those people will fade out of your life.

If this process is inherently selfish, then why should you transition? It would be great if it was so simple as that. Just deciding not to transition because you don't want to hurt other people's feelings or make their lives a little more complicated. If you're a transsexual, you'll understand what little choice we have in this matter. It comes down to self-preservation. Sooner or later, we all hit that point: transition or die--literally. Having Gender Identity Disorder is emotionally crippling. Eventually, people can no longer function in society. Some of us break, committing suicide or just losing our minds. Others overcome their fears and decide to face their adversity and transition.

While it's true that transitioning is selfish, it is necessary. It is the only treatment available that has the best results. It's selfish, but it isn't easy. It isn't easy for anyone involved. Transsexuals tend to forget that there are others in their life and those people are profoundly changed by their transition forever--good or bad. It is a decision that has almost immediate consequences, but I will never go back. Since I started transitioning, my life is much better--despite having lost some precious people. When it comes down to it, my happiness means more to me than pretending to be something I'm not for the convenience of others.
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Old 26th Jul 2011, 04:24 AM   #20
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Re: The Transgender Education Thread

I was wondering, about how long does the process take, from the first visit to the therapist to the final operation?

And how many operations would you have to go through?

Incidentally, I was reading an article on the Human Rights Campaign website noting that the prevalance of transgender individuals in the US is between 0.25% and 1%. Their cited source is an article on calculating those numbers published in 2007, so the numbers may not be completely reliable. Another paper I looked at recently (don't remember where though) puts the number at about 0.3%, though I believe this was from 2006.
But I thought I'd share what I found, and would like to be corrected if anyone has more accurate or current information.
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