The prefix ‘trans’ comes from the Latin word for across, so ‘transgender’ literally means “across gender” (Huffington Post). This is an umbrella term with people of various types attached. Since gender is such an important part of identity in most cultures, it’s difficult for a transgender person to “come out” to someone. It takes a lot of trust and courage. If someone comes out to you, show them the utmost sympathy, ask them questions and find out more. If they begin to feel uncomfortable about your questions, give them some slack. Also, be there for them and let them know that you recognize how difficult it was for them to come out.
We have a dichotomous society when it comes to gender, which divides into whats called, “the gender binary”. We decide restrooms to use on our gender, what clothes to wear and how to act. Though this is simple and accepted by most people, this makes life very difficult to navigate for the transgender community.
“Gender identity” or “gender expression” is another complicated matter for transgender individuals. Though we often think we can tell, clothing is not always an accurate indicator of gender. What’s underneath may be far different then what is believed.
The moment of self-realization can take many forms for a transgendered person. Often times it takes them a while to figure out which sex they self-identify with. Many people are led to act a certain way by their parents, or they do what they think they need to do to fit in, but everyone’s situation is different. A person may be in denial for years or know all along that they felt more like one gender than the other. Many in this community continue to deny signs of what they feel is their proper gender. Surgery usually needed to become one distinct gender, but still some don’t need it. This “gender assignment” surgery helps people become on the outside, what they feel they are on the inside.
Dr. M. Mirza, LGBT Health Wellness – 2014