Human sexuality topics
Transgender persons and transsexuals:
What do they believe about gender?
What is the cause(s)
of their belief?
Are they just confused?
belief have a physical cause?
What can a parent do to help?
The term "LGBT" is an acronym for "Lesbians,
transgender persons/Transsexuals. Sometimes, additional letters
added, like "Q" for Queer or questioning, "I" for Intersexual.
A general overview of gender identity, cisgender & transgender persons, and transsexuals:
This section discusses gender identity. That is what a person perceives their gender to be.
- A newborn baby's gender is identified at the time of their birth by the appearance of their external sexual organs (a.k.a. primary sexual characteristic). This is later recorded on their birth certificate. The vast majority of adults are cisgendered: they mature into adulthood identifiying with the gender that they were identified as having at birth and have had throughout their lifetime, up to and including the present time.
- A very small minority of adults consider themselves to be transgender or transsexual. They regard themselves as either male, or female, or of neither gender, or of both genders. Among this small minority:
- Most regard themselves as being born with a body of one gender and a brain that tells them firmly, irresistably, and unambiguously that they are of the other gender. They are not "gender confused." They are very aware of what gender they are. However, it is opposite to the gender that they were identified with at birth.
- A small minority of transgender persons regard themselves as not having a gender. The concept of gender has no meaning to them.
- A few experience their gender identity as switching from time to time between female and male;
- A few believe that they are both male and female.
To be a transgender person is sometimes referred to as having gender variance, gender creativity, gender independance, gender non-conformity or gender fluidity. For simplicity we will use "transgender" in this section. The term "transgendered" is now obsolete and rarely used.
Many cisgendered people find this alternate view of gender to be puzzling.
As with most topics related to human sexuality, the opinions of conservatives and liberals differ greatly:
- Many religious and social conservatives believe that a newborn's gender is determined by the appearance of their genital organs; that their gender is registered on their birth certificate accordingly, and that their gender continues unchanged through the rest of their life -- even after gender reassignment surgery. Once a baby boy, always a male; once a baby girl, always a female. Conservatives often refer to people who identify themselves as transgender to be "gender confused," and that therapy and/or prayer can cure a transgender person's internal conflicts.
These beliefs flow naturally from their belief in God, of his infinite power, his concern for humans, and his complete awareness. Religious conservatives often assign specific roles in live to males and females and find the concept of transgender to be unacceptable.
- Many religious and social liberals consider gender to be a much more complex phenomenon:
- The vast majority of people are "cisgender." Most liberals agree that the gender of almost all newborns is determined by their genital organs.
- But some babies are intersexual so that their gender at birth cannot be determined. Their genital organs are ambiguous.
- Further, some people are identified as male or female at birth, but identify themselves as transgender later in life.
A person's gender can thus be a very complex topic. If you ask a transgender person; they will almost always agree with the liberal position.
Once the current conflict over homosexuality and same-sex marriage dies down and is generally resolved, we expect that conflicts over gender identity will be the next protracted clash over human sexuality in western countries. The battle for equal rights for transgender persons and transsexuals is expected to be different from that over sexual orientation. Whereas about 5% of youth discover that they are homosexual and another 5% discover they are bisexual, the incidence of transgender persons in society is much smaller.
Decades ago, the conflict that permeates the life of a transgender person was so disturbing that they developed a rule of thumb: that half of them completed suicide before the age of 30. But now with counseling that recognizes their situation, gender reconstruction surgery (GRS), and hormone therapy, the majority of transgender individuals who identify their gender as opposite to their birth assigned gender can have their body modified to more closely resemble their gender identity.
Topics covered in this section:
The following information source
was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
- Barack Obama, "A Proclamation..." White House, 2009-JUN-01, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
- Charlie Butts and Jody Brown, "Obama appoints transgender LGBT activist," OneNewsNow.com. 2010-JAN-07, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
- Jennifer Reitz, "What transsexuality is," at:
||Tom Murray produced and directed a video concerning transsexuality. It
is titled: "Almost Myself: Reflections on mending and transcending
gender." See: http://www.almostmyself.com/
Copyright © 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Original posting: 2007-JUN-08
Latest update and review: 2015-JAN-02
Author: B.A. Robinson