Yesterday I discussed one parent’s possible lack of understanding on what being transgender means. A mother much preferred noting her daughter to be a “tomboy” and not "transgender". For those who do not understand they may feel that there is a slippery slope from gender non-conforming to transgender to transsexual.
A pop culture example: Caitlyn Jenner by her own admission is transgender. However, is she also a transsexual? Having just finished her book I would say yes. She states unequivocally, not identifying with her gender assigned at birth and struggling all her life to fit into a male world. This is a story that I have heard many times and accept it to be “not a chosen reality", but a fact within someone’s frame of mind or in computer terms - operating system.
Spoiler alert - Caitlyn has undergone reassignment surgery.
One definition of being transgender: You may not identify with the gender assigned to you at birth and/or express your gender in a non-conventional way. Transsexual people, on the other hand not only feel a disconnect with their gender but with their assigned sex as well.
No one can influence one into becoming any of the above. It is a state of mind, like left handed, dyslexic or artistic. Accepting the reality may take time but the state of being is just there. I am happy with the umbrella term transgender and comfortable using it.
Example: Several weeks ago, I had my annual wellness physical. My doctor ask – Is there anything else? Wow, what a leading question. I wanted my medical records to state that I was transgender. I stated for the record that I am transgender and then ask the Doctor, did he understand? He stated yes, but to be sure, I added, “I am not seeking body changes through medical surgeries – I am content with my body. However I do express my gender in a non-conventional manner.” That is the way it was left….
I am pleased that there is a term that does fully convey my reality.