Humans are mean making machines. Our brains are wired for safety and seeking clarity. In order to find that safety, our brains will assign meaning where it isn’t necessarily there. By generating meaning, we create a sense of certainty and comfort. So let’s dive in to see what meaning is real versus the meaning that we may be self generating about the word transgender.
The prefix “trans” is Latin meaning across so the word transgender is literally defined as across gender. It means someone is a gender across from the one assigned to them at birth.
For example, an individual may be assigned female at birth based on external genitalia. That’s their biological sex. As they grow and develop, the person recognizes their gender identity to be male. That’s their gender. Because their gender differs or crosses from their assigned sex, the person is considered to. be transgender.
That’s it. That is all being transgender does mean.
What it does not mean is that an individual is straight, gay, bisexual, etc. Gender and sexuality are not related.
What it does not mean is that the individual will have a horrible life. Just like you and me, they will face challenges, some of which may or may not be related to their gender, but they are just as capable of a positive, productive life as anyone else. There is no reason to doom and gloom any person based on their gender.
Being transgender does not mean a person has a psychiatric or psychological problem.
Being transgender does not mean that an individual is uncomfortable within their body. Not all transgender individuals have body dysphoria.
Being transgender does not define how someone dresses, wears their hair, or creates the environment around them. Self expression is not dictated by gender but more frequently by social norms. Questioning why we believe a female should be one way and a male another is a great way to grow in our own thinking.
Being transgender does mean being human with all of the desires of every other human- happiness, peace and joy. As my son puts it, “I just want to be a regular guy.” Understanding that it’s just a definition of gender and nothing more allows us to recognize it is only in our thoughts that we create any other meaning. Because all thoughts are optional, we have the ability to change our thinking about what it does and doesn’t mean to be transgender and move to a place where people can just be their regular selves.