What it is all about…

Transgender is all to do with identity. It is about the gender a person identifies with. Most people have a gender identity in accord with their anatomical sex, that is, the sexual character of their body. A person with a male body will usually identify with being male. A transgendered person has a gender identity which does not match their anatomical sex. A person with a female body and a male gender identity is transgendered. The feelings of discontent that arise from the incongruity between body and mind is called gender dysphoria.

The extent of the gender dysphoria can range from being mild and easily manageable to severe. In its severe form transgendered people can feel discord with their body and with life in general. Severe gender dysphoria is typically associated with depression. The incidence of suicide among such people is high.

Severe gender dysphoria is also accompanied with the desire to change one's body and life style to match the internal gender identity. A person who changes his or her body in this way, or desires to, is called transsexual.

The process of changing one's life style and body to match one's gender identity is called transitioning. For many transsexuals, transitioning is the only viable way to end the discord in their lives. The transitioning process usually takes a few years. It begins as a test to see if the social and physical changes are really appropriate. Some people find that the transition to living permanently in their chosen gender (in accord with their gender identity) is not appropriate for them. For others transitioning becomes a period of physical, mental and social change leading to a new life which is as integrated in society as non-transgendered people.