General Question

Kardamom's avatar

Do you know what transgender means?

Asked by Kardamom (28249points) July 11th, 2017 from iPhone

I know what I think it means, because I have transgender people in my life and my community. I have had extensive conversations with transgender people, from their own perspective. I live in an area that probably (but not necessarily) has more transgender folks than your average/typical (if that’s actually a thing) town/city.

I’m not an expert, but I think I know what it means. I would just like to hear what other people think it means.

Please do your best to keep this discussion civil, or I will request that the Mods pull it, if they don’t do that of their own accord.

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49 Answers

flo's avatar

Someone who has undergone, undergoing, or planning to undergo the physical transformation from male to female or female to male.
Added: Why? because they feel the opposite of their anatomy. I guess the women who don’t like nail polish etc. are not real women? And men who don’t like sports and playing with trucks etc. are not real men? That makes no sense.

flutherother's avatar

I understand it to mean people who believe their gender is different from the sex given them at birth. I have no personal experience to draw on but I have seen trans people in television documentaries and have no doubt their experiences can be very real. While some considered themselves simply as men or women others considered themselves transgender.

Coloma's avatar

Transgender means anyone, biologically born male or female that identifies as being of the opposite sex rather than their natal sex.

anniereborn's avatar

I have a very dear friend that is transgender. FTM. He has been taking T shots for like 5 years now and has had top surgery. And I agree with Coloma’s answer above.

CWOTUS's avatar

While you may very well know what transgenderism is, your statement is a tautology: “It’s true because I know it’s true.”

You say that you know transgendered people, and based on that knowledge you think you know what transgenderism is. I say… that’s illogical nonsense.

I hope that you understand: I’m not saying that transgenderism is nonsense, or that transgendered people don’t exist, or that you’re illogical in general or that all of that is nonsense. All I’m saying is, like me saying that “I think that I know what racial issues are because I know black folks” – you haven’t demonstrated any knowledge or understanding. Your statement is illogical on its face.

Which is not to say that you don’t know what transgenderism is; I can’t say that you don’t, only that nothing you have said puts that into evidence.

I sure don’t know very well what it is.

Coloma's avatar

I believe it is biologically/genetically based as is being gay, but unlike being born gay transgenderism can also be, as has been documented by the psychiatric community, a fad phase for many children and young adolescents.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It is anyone who does not feel like they belong to their biological gender, also known as gender dysphoria and it is thought to be heritable.

flo's avatar

What does not feeling like a female or a male mean? If you’re a male you have to want to be a provider and a protector and if you’re a woman you have to feel like you need to be pregnant, you have to like cooking and maybe become a nurse, or a teacher. If you’re a woman you should leave the positions of CEO or president for example, to the men.
Plus what’s in my last post (1st answer)

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@flo, do you really believe all men want to be protectors and providers? Or that all women feel the need to get pregnant, to cook, and aspire to occupations such as teaching or nursing and stay away from roles such as CEO and president? Are you being facetious or serious here?

marinelife's avatar

@flo If you are being serious, then please stop posting on this thread. You are displaying your ignorance.

janbb's avatar

I believe she was being facetious about gender stereotypes and gender roles but I see she is answering.

flo's avatar

What @janbb said.
@Earthbound_Misfit and @marinelife I guess you didn’t read my 1st post
As my 1st post says “That makes no sense.”

janbb's avatar

@flo Bu there is another component in it besides not wanting to conform to set gender roles. Trans people feel they are living in the wrong physical body, not just gender non-conforming.

flo's avatar

@janbb Ok, I just have no idea what that means. And I hear more and more “I have felt that way since I was 3” or something, which is sooooo…I don’t know what word. Imagine a 3 yr. old having feeling like that. They haven’t been exposed yet to whatever is supposed to be felt by which gender.

flo's avatar

…Even if they hear things it would just go over their heads.

Zaku's avatar

Transgender is not about the roles or behavior a culture expects of a gender. It’s about not identifying with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transsexual refers to people who (would like to, or do) take medical action to change themselves to be more like what they do identify with.

It’s not hard to find information about this, but it may be hard for people to adjust their thinking to accept the ideas.
e.g.:
http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender
https://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaq
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/transgender-what-it-means#1
http://www.belongto.org/group.aspx?contentid=2918

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Yellowdog's avatar

I cannot add much more to the discussion—but transgender means that you identify with being a member of the sex opposite of your biological sex.

I would not limit it to people who have actually undergone surgery—its really hard to get sexual reassignment surgery.

I went through a stage (age 10–11) where many people at a day camp put out by the Park Commission I passed as a girl. I liked the ambiguity and the slightly weird feelings I got.
Also, I joined Camp Fire Girls in 1975—the year they started accepting boys, I was the only boy who attended and quit in the summer of ‘76 I joined the boy scouts then and even became the bugler (bugle merit badge)—but most people thought I was ‘gay’ and avoided me,

I never wanted to be a girl but I was, in some way, transgender.

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cookieman's avatar

I do not know what transgender means. I don’t know on a personal level nor can I credibly offer a definition. I do know what one of my students told me when we were chatting in my office today.

He said he “never felt at home in his body as a girl” and so he decided to take steps to change what he could to make him more comfortable. Clothing choices, hairstyle, and a newly chosen first name are a start. When he has the money, he wants to start hormone treatment and later, maybe surgery. He says he feels better about himself now. More comfortable in his own skin.

In seventeen years of teaching, I’ve had about a half-dozen students who told me they were transgender.

All I know, really from these relationships is that they felt comfortable telling me and that they are my students.

canidmajor's avatar

@flo, please read this, hopefully it will give you some understanding of how very young children manifest this.

Yellowdog's avatar

True “Transgender” has been with us a long time, just that now, in recent years, it hasn’t been considered a psychosis. (Gender Identity Disorder).

At one time, even homosexuality was considered a sexual abnormality like a fetish.

But transgenders are not into a plethora of sexual freakiness—they are just solidly and to their core identifying themselves as the other sex. If you know a transgender student—and then years later you know another— they will strongly have this trait in common. Their biological sex is greatly and strongly “wrong” to them.

Psychosis or natural condition, I guess it isn’t wrong to let people be who they are—even if it is a psychosis or abnormality—as long as they are happy with it.

The decision to undergo sexual reassignment surgery is very tricky and deceptive, however. I want to emphasize that there are NON-transgender people who want to have sexual reassignment surgery because it is sort of a fetish—not natural to their identity but for the sexual charge they get, as I sorta did in my preteen years (I did it because it felt weird to come across as a girl in some settings, and I could get away with it).

Sexual reassignment surgery could be a BIG mistake unless someone is TRULY transgender. Fortunately it is hard to get for that reason.

Transgender is what it is and should not be confused with homosexuality, Transgender probably entails crossdressing but not all crossdressers are transgender. More important, Transgederism is NOT a sexual fetish nor does it manifest in bizarre sexual feelings/pleasure

What to do with Transgender children? As little as will satisfy them and nothing beyond.
Explain sexual differences and why they were born that way. If necessary tell them their future options but that they may decide when they are older, they may want to be the sex they were born as, and for that reason, children cannot have sex change surgery.

flo's avatar

@canidmajor _From the aricle in your link:
” ...and our kids are bombarded with those messages from the moment they are out of the womb and placed in pink or blue onesies.” Bingo. No? They are being told/conditioned how to feel. Is it not what that statement says?

canidmajor's avatar

And the entire point of that, @flo, because you seem to not be understanding this, is that in spite of all the messages and conditioning, a trans child will still not conform.
Do you not have children? You seem to be drastically underestimating the intelligence and comprehensive reasoning skills of even very young children.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@flutherother Gender is not “assigned” at birth. It is determined at the time of conception. Identifying a baby as “male” or “female” is only logical in the regular course of things.
That identification can change for that individual eventually.

@flo My husband likes to cook. I hate to cook. My husband likes flowers. I don’t. What exactly does this mean? And can you explain why my first husband suddenly felt no qualms about not providing for and protecting his children, and just abandoned them? Was he not a man? Am I not a woman because I don’t like to cook? Am I not a woman because I believe some women can excel in positions such as CEOs, at least as well as some men?
Being male or female does not impact one’s ability to make decisions. Ask Hillary. Or, for true intelligence and capability, according to you, ask Trump.

flutherother's avatar

@Dutchess_III I didn’t use the word ‘assigned’ but that is what happens with all mammals. At birth the gender is apparent and is accepted by all concerned. I am aware that later this identification can feel wrong, that is what this question is about after all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, humans DO assign, or give, the designation at birth.

Mariah's avatar

There’s a difference between sex and gender. Sex refers your physical characteristics, chromosomes, etc. Gender is what’s in your head. So a male to female transwoman would have the male sex but female gender.

The phrase “gender assigned at birth” refers to how parents and others assume that a baby’s gender matches its sex, when there’s no way to know that until later. So a transwoman might complain that she was assigned male at birth even though she’s a woman.

Sex is obviously medically relevant and needs to be noted at birth, but gender is another story.

CWOTUS's avatar

That seems like a straightforward (no pun intended!) and simple enough explanation to understand, @Mariah, but let me ask this, in light of what you have said:

If it’s true, as you say, that gender is all-or-mostly in a person’s head, then what, exactly, would “trans-genderism” be? To put this another way, and using different words but the same concepts, my “self” is also in my head, right? We should be able to agree on that, I would presume. So what would the concept of “trans-selfism” be? That is, if gender is already subjective, then where does the “trans” concept come from? (Now, if we were going to call it something else, such as gender-sex mismatching – or if that concept is upsetting to people who think that it indicates “a mistake” or a defect in a person – then I’d be fine with other words that indicate the same concept of “sex” not aligning closely with “gender”.)

On a related note, why do we call it “gender-reassignment” surgery when people elect surgical modification to make their bodies match their self-image, their gender? Surely it is the “sex” being modified, and not the gender. Or is that just bad reporting? Because I’m sure that I’ve also seen it called “sex-reassignment” surgery.

Mariah's avatar

I’m not sure about the origin of the term ‘transgender.’ Maybe it represents making the shift from ‘gender assigned at birth’ to their true gender, socially. They certainly used to use the term ‘transexual’ but that fell out of favor for reasons I’m not familiar with.

I’ve always heard it called either sex reassignment surgery or gender affirmation surgery.

flo's avatar

If you’re a male and you don’t like sports it has to be that you need to…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I can’t say I buy into “There’s a difference between sex and gender” You’re either XX or XY unless you have one of those rare disorders where you have an extra X or Y. Just because you identify and may even go through gender reassignment biologically your DNA is your sex or gender. I don’t think “gender” was defined as a state of being other than what you were born as until the last 30 years or so when it has been hijacked and people started to try to redefine it. I’m with @CWOTUS

Mariah's avatar

“You’re either XX or XY unless you have one of those rare disorders where you have an extra X or Y. Just because you identify and may even go through gender reassignment biologically your DNA is your sex or gender.” You’re describing sex characteristics. Nobody is arguing that going through sex reassignment changes your chromosomes. But the word “gender” refers to gender identity and it doesn’t matter whether someone is pre-op, post-op, or doesn’t intend to go through sex reassignment surgery – gender is what’s in their head. That’s what the word has evolved to mean. Words do that. I don’t see what’s the point in having two words that mean exactly the same thing anyway, much more useful to use the distinct words for the distinct concepts.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, getting back to the subjective nature of “gender”, though, who can say with any kind of objective finality and definition “what it is like to feel like a woman”? (Subjectively, that is – I must state for the record here that I absolutely adore the way women feel on the outside.) I mean, I’m a man, a cis-male, if that expression has any meaning; I’ve lusted after women since I outgrew the phase where I hated girls – and all of that, at least according to anything I’ve picked up from others is “how a man feels”. So I never had any doubts.

On the other hand, I’ll admit that I can cry like a girl at certain times and for various reasons. But I’ve never doubted my maleness (and I’m not about to start now!). I know women – who seem to have no doubt of their femininity – who are in far better shape than I am, physically – stronger and tougher, for starters – and though I’ve never spoken to them about “their feelings of gender”, I would be surprised in the extreme if they had any consideration other than that they are – and “should be” – women.

I’ve also known at least one young woman who was a lesbian, and certain of that fact… and then outgrew that phase, just as certainly. But I’m not going to hijack the thread in that direction.

Mariah's avatar

I guess just consider how you would feel if everyone you knew kept insisting you were a woman, @CWOTUS. You just know inside that you’re not.

Believing people when they say their sex doesn’t match their gender doesn’t have to involve buying into gender stereotypes. A transwoman coming out isn’t her saying “I like shoes and ponies so I guess I must be a woman.” You said it yourself, you know your maleness even though you in some ways break gender stereotypes. Transpeople know their gender innately too, it just doesn’t match their outsides.

I’m not trans. I have some very good friends who are but that doesn’t make me an expert. If anyone else wants to speak up here on these topics please do. I hate feeling like I’m being a spokesperson for a group I’m not a part of.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@CWOTUS, I feel like a woman (and like I’m quoting Shania Twain!), but I don’t have any doubts about my categorization as a woman. If I was in a woman’s body but felt with every fibre of my being that I was a man, that would be a very different situation. I don’t think we know enough about how our bodies work to say the outwards manifestation of our sexual identification is enough to say with 100% certainty that is what we are. I don’t know how or why this might work, but I feel very comfortable with the idea that our hormones and other physiological effects might influence whether one feels male or female.

Certainly, our understanding of gender can be driven by external influences, but I think it is very likely in time we will learn there are other physiological influences that affect our gender experience. I hope I’m communicating what I mean.

Aethelwine's avatar

You are doing an excellent job here @Mariah.

I would like to add that the transgender community does not use the word transgenderism or transgendered. This explains it well: In referring to transgender issues as “transgenderism” it can be framed as an ideology, philosophy, political strategy… It places transgender issues in the realm of Environmentalism, Feminism, Libertarianism and any other -ism you’d care to think about. If a thing is a philosophy, ideology or political strategy then it can be diminished from the status of objective fact to controversial opinion. Once you move something from fact to opinion then it’s easier to build “everyone has an opinion” arguments and to place specious arguments on more equal footing.

In many instances, where you see “transgenderism” used you can substitute “transgender identity” or “transgender issues” or just “transgender people”, all of which would be more accurate. (I found this on another site. Not my words.)

I would also like to add that being transgender is not a fad.

flo's avatar

@canidmajor I meant to respond. I’m still thinking.
In the meantime see Mariah’s post :https://www.fluther.com/202209/what-is-the-difference-between-i-feel-like-another-ethnicity-and/#quip3392111

MaximinaCranmer's avatar

Transgender denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

flo's avatar

@MaximinaCranmer one word: conditioning.

Coloma's avatar

@flo What do you mean by “conditioning”?

Kardamom's avatar

@flo From everything we’ve all discussed so far on this thread and the others, it seems pretty apparent that being transgender is the opposite of conditioning. We are conditioned to act like the gender of the sex (male or female) that we were assigned at birth. Transgender people feel very different about their gender than most people, that’s the whole idea.

Unless you mean something else, then I’m all ears.

flo's avatar

I have already done it though. If you really want, post links of sites where both sides are presented in a fair way, (I’ve seen some biased sites) , and then debate with the statements there.

Kardamom's avatar

@flo You just don’t get it do you? On this thread and the others, links galore have been presented.

What exactly are you not understanding about this subject? There aren’t exactly sides to be presented, just facts. Some people don’t like the idea that transgender people exist, but that is a whole nother subject.

flo's avatar

I didn’t man debate there ( brain malfunction) I meant post the statement/s (and the links) you find flawed and then counter that/those, here of course.

By the way each side of any issue/ debate (I mean any ) always claims to have the facts on it’s side. Nobody claims to have fallacies on their side and the other to have the facts.

janbb's avatar

@flo But I’m having trouble figuring out what you see as the sides here?

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