Transgender people often have a gender identity that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth
A transgender female is someone who identifies as a female but was labeled as male at birth. Learn about the difference between transgender and other gender terms.
What is the difference between cisgender and transgender?
In Latin, the terms “cis” and “trans” mean:
- Cis: On this side
- Trans: On the other side
Cisgender is a term used for people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a cis female is born with female genitals and identifies as being a female.
Transgender is a term used for people whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. So a transgender female is born with male genitals but identifies as being female.
What are different types of transgender?
Some transgender people identify themselves as females, whereas some identify themselves as males. Other transgender people do not identify with one gender exclusively (a combination of either female and male elements or no association with any gender), often termed nonbinary, genderqueer, or genderfluid.
Transgender people may develop gender-non-conforming behavior, which means they may adopt customs and habits that are not typically associated with their assigned birth sex and express their identity in their talking, acting, dressing, hair styling. and other behaviors.
Not all, but a few, transgender people may undergo medical treatments to change their bodies to be compatible with their gender identity through interventions that may include hormone therapy and surgeries.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are approximately 1.4 million transgender people in the United States.
How is gender identity different from sexual orientation?
Gender identity is often expressed with dress and behavior, while sexual orientation is used to describe a person’s innate preference for romantic or sexual relationships with men, women, or both sexes. A transgender female may be sexually attracted to cis males or cis females or other transgender people.
Sexual orientation can be categorized into the following:
- Heterosexual or straight: People who are attracted to members of the opposite sex
- Homosexual people (gays and lesbians): People who are attracted to people of the same sex
- Bisexual: People who are attracted to both men and women
- Transgender: People who can be straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual
Gender identity is often confused with sexual orientation. In simple terms, however gender identity is about who you are, and sexual orientation is about who you want to be with romantically, emotionally, and sexually.
What is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder is a medically recognized form of psychological and emotional distress, unhappiness, and anxiety caused by the mismatch between your sex assigned at birth and your gender identity. This condition generally arises in adulthood, but it can develop during adolescence as well.
People with this distress feel an intense and persistent desire to get rid of the sexual characteristics they were born with and convert themselves to another gender completely. In addition, being rejected by family and society increases their risk of social dysphoria.
Transgender people often have to face psychological distress through stigmas and discrimination in everyday life. However, various legal authorities are fighting for legal protections to prevent discrimination against transgender people and get fair treatment concerning their lives, jobs or medical treatments.
Signs of gender dysphoria include:
- Feeling of conflicting gender identity and assigned sex
- Comfortable in the role of preferred gender identity
- Strong desire to hide or get rid of physical signs of assigned sex, such as breasts or facial hair
- Strong dislike of the genitals of assigned sex at birth
What are disorders of sex development?
Some people are born with or later develop issues with their external genitals, reproductive organs, or sex-related hormones, known as intersex conditions or disorders of sex development. Examples of disorders of sex development include:
- Genitals that may not be easily categorized as male or female
- Gender differences between reproductive organs
- Missing/underdeveloped reproductive organs
- Increased or decreased sex hormones
- An unusual response to sexual hormones
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Medically Reviewed on 5/18/2022
Smitha Bhandari. What Is Transgender. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/what-is-transgender
Stephanie Watson. Cisgender. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cisgender-overview
Transgender Identities. Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/gender-identity/transgender