Familiarize yourself with the local and state or provincial laws that protect transgender people from discrimination. Some can trace their transgender identities and feelings back to their earliest memories. It is not helpful to force the child to act in a more gender-conforming way. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ. Peer support from other parents of gender-nonconforming children may also be helpful. These individuals often seek gender-affirming treatments. Other categories of transgender people include androgynous, multigendered, gender nonconforming, third gender, and two-spirit people.
They are also the victims of subtle discrimination—which includes everything from glances or glares of disapproval or discomfort to invasive questions about their body parts. For example, a transgender woman, or a person who is assigned male at birth and transitions to female, who is attracted to other women would be identified as a lesbian or gay woman. Connecting with other transgender people through peer support groups and transgender community organizations is also helpful. Transgender people usually label their sexual orientation using their gender as a reference. However, transgender people usually remain as attached to loved ones after transition as they were before transition.
It is helpful to consult with mental health and medical professionals familiar with gender issues in children to decide how to best address these concerns. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released a report in 2011 entitled , which confirmed the pervasive and severe discrimination faced by transgender people. Experiencing discrimination may cause significant amounts of psychological stress, often leaving transgender individuals to wonder whether they were discriminated against because of their gender identity or gender expression, another sociocultural identity, or some combination of all of these. If you have a reason to know e. A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability.
Others become aware of their transgender identities or begin to explore and experience gender-nonconforming attitudes and behaviors during adolescence or much later in life. It can take some time to adjust to seeing someone you know well transitioning. Some transgender people, transsexuals in particular, experience intense dissatisfaction with their sex assigned at birth, physical sex characteristics, or the gender role associated with that sex. Exact definitions of these terms vary from person to person and may change over time, but often include a sense of blending or alternating genders. Some embrace their transgender feelings, while others struggle with feelings of shame or confusion. . Out of a sample of nearly 6,500 transgender people, the report found that transgender people experience high levels of discrimination in employment, housing, health care, education, legal systems, and even in their families.
Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. The degree of societal acceptance for cross-dressing varies for males and females. Some individuals who transition from one gender to another prefer to be referred to as a man or a woman, rather than as transgender. They vary in how completely they cross-dress, from one article of clothing to fully cross-dressing. Consequently, transgender people in most cities and states face discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives. Those who cross-dress are usually comfortable with their assigned sex and do not wish to change it. In some cultures, one gender may be given more latitude than another for wearing clothing associated with a different gender.
They typically work up to living full time as members of their preferred gender by making many changes a little at a time. Often, transsexual people alter or wish to alter their bodies through hormones, surgery, and other means to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their gender identities. Transitioning from one gender to another is a complex process and may involve transition to a gender that is neither traditionally male nor female. Anti-discrimination laws in most U. Groups with such additional identities include transgender people of racial, ethnic, or religious minority backgrounds; transgender people of lower ; transgender people with ; transgender youth; transgender elderly; and others. Because of this, many factors may determine how the individual wishes to live and express their gender identity. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, just as nontransgender people can be.
A qualified professional can provide guidance and referrals to other helping professionals. Those who transition later in life may have struggled to fit in adequately as their assigned sex only to later face dissatisfaction with their lives. Not all people who appear androgynous or gender nonconforming identify as transgender or desire gender affirmation treatment. The diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation. Transgender people experience their transgender identity in a variety of ways and may become aware of their transgender identity at any age. There is no single explanation for why some people are transgender. Likewise, a transgender man, or a person who is assigned female at birth and transitions to male, who is attracted to other men would be identified as a gay man.
Mental health professionals and support groups for family, friends, and significant others of transgender people can be useful resources. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5th ed. Finding a qualified mental health professional who is experienced in providing affirmative care for transgender people is an important first step. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many transgender people are the targets of. See for more information on sexual orientation.
Parents may be concerned about a child who appears to be gender-nonconforming for a variety of reasons. The term drag kings refers to women who dress as men for the purpose of entertaining others at bars, clubs, or other events. Various conditions that lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics are collectively referred to as intersex conditions. Transgender people may also have additional identities that may affect the types of discrimination they experience. Some children express a great deal of distress about their assigned sex at birth or the gender roles they are expected to follow.
Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity. Be aware of your attitudes concerning people with gender-nonconforming appearance or behavior. Some people who use these terms to describe themselves see traditional, binary concepts of gender as restrictive. People of color in general fare worse than White transgender people, with African American transgender individuals faring far worse than all other transgender populations examined. This process of transition through medical intervention is often referred to as sex or gender reassignment, but more recently is also referred to as gender affirmation.