Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Transgender vs. Transsexual

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.    


  1. Things have changed so much for us over the last few years Rhonda and even the medical field is catching up!

  2. Not to pry into a woman's personal life, but did you present at your Doctor's office in full on Rhonda mode, or in an androgynous mode, or as the guy? I ask because I'm on a similar mission -- to have my primary care physician and his entire practice aware that I identify as transgender, yet am not looking to make any body modification.

    How did you assess your doctor's likelihood of acceptance, or did you just take the risk and go for it?

    Best regards,