If you are questioning whether you are transgender or not, we’re here to help. Here we look at what the term transgender means and how you can tell if you are.
Let’s get started!
What Does Transgender Mean?
Transgender is a term used to identify people’s gender that is different from their assigned sex at birth. There are different types of trans people, including people who were born with female genitalia but identify as male and people born with male genitalia, but identify as female.
Transgender people can also sometimes include genderqueer folks. Genderqueer people do not identify within the male or female gender binaries.
Transgender people have different ways of expressing themselves to represent their authentic identities.
Some use make-up, fashion, or other forms of gender expression so they can live according to their gender identity.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is a term used to describe the anxiety that might occur in folks whose gender identity doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth.. Some transgender people may be diagnosed with this mental health condition to receive medical procedures that will assist with their transition process and help trans people get access to the care and treatment they need.
Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis found in the DSM-5, a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that diagnoses various mental health conditions. This term is much more descriptive than the previously used term called gender identity disorder. Gender dysphoria is more focused on a person’s discomfort as the main issue, instead of the identity itself. Being transgender is NOT a mental health condition.
Is There a Difference Between Transgender and Sexual Orientation?
A lot of people get confused when it comes to the difference between being transgender and sexual orientation. A transgender person is different from being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Sexual orientation is about who you feel attracted to romantically and emotionally.
A trans person can be gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual just like a cisgender person. In other words, gender identity is about the “true you” while sexual orientation is about who you feel attracted to sexually.
How Do You Know You Are Transgender?
If you are having some questions about your gender and are wondering if you are transgender, here are some of the things to look out for:
Acknowledge Your Curiosity
If you are wondering about your true gender, there is a possibility that your gender is not yet confirmed. It does not indicate that you are trans, but it can be. It can also be an indicator of a gender variant.
If the gender discomfort persists, or you are attracted to yourself as a different gender, then you could be a trans person.
If you are comfortable with your assigned sex at birth but feel uncomfortable with other cisgender people, you may not be transgender but a feminine or a masculine woman.
Do You Identify With Your Social Role?
Many trans people feel uncomfortable about the role they play in society. Are you comfortable when doing things with other people of the same gender? Do you feel uncomfortable when playing a stereotypical role of your assigned gender?
Figure out how you feel when you are surrounded by people of your assigned gender. If you don’t feel like one of them, you may be experiencing dysphoria.
What Were Your Childhood Desires?
Many transgender people manifest signs of dissatisfaction since childhood. Continued desires for more than six months can be a sign of dysphoria. These signs may be:
- Insisting you are not who your parents say you are
- Desires of doing things that are typical to the sex you were assigned for.
- Imagining yourself as a different gender during games.
- Dressing up as a gender that you feel is right for you.
- Rejecting toys that correspond with your assigned gender.
- Disliking your genitals.
- Thinking you will end up being a different gender other than the present one.
How Do You Feel About Your Given Name and Pronoun?
Figure out how you feel when you are referred by your given pronouns. If you feel out of place, then you might want to change your pronouns. If you do not like to be deferred as “sir” or “ma’am”, it’s because that term does not suit you.
When you are in a group and someone addresses you as “ladies” and “gentlemen”, how do you feel? Are you comfortable with your name? Do you think of it as a girl’s name or a boy’s? How do you feel when someone accidentally refers to you as the gender you would want to be?
Do You Have Body Dysphoria?
Having a feeling of your body being incorrect is common in trans people. Many trans people feel trapped in their own bodies. If you feel the urge to change your sexual characteristics, then you may be experiencing body dysphoria.
What did you feel during puberty? Was it a shock? If yes, it may be dysphoria. Figure out if you were upset by the development of secondary sex characteristics such as breast development, deep voice, facial hair menstruation, among others.
If you cover your body with a lot of clothes and avoid mirrors, it may also indicate that you are experiencing body dysphoria.
How to Tell if You are Transgender? Final Thoughts
If you are not yet sure of your gender, you might need someone with more knowledge to help you. Luckily, we are currently living in a world where resources are just a click away. You can personally seek out a therapist that specializes in gender or connect with one online. You can also talk to someone who has already transitioned and they could be of great help.
For families that have trans people, it is essential to love and help them be their true selves. Trans people need a lot of support and caring to help them through their journey.