The term transsexual is used to describe someone who has an internal sense of gender that does not match their sex assigned at birth. They may change their appearance, body, name or legal gender marker to reflect this.
While the majority of people in the transgender community approve the term, some find it offensive. A 2015 review argues that using these terms increases the stigma and oppression experienced by transgender people.
What is transsexuality?
Transsexuality is a condition in which someone identifies as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. This is often done via hormone therapy and/or surgery to achieve a more authentic physical appearance, or a combination of both.
The term “transsexual” comes from the Latin prefix, cis, meaning “on the side.” A cisgender person is one whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. A transgender person may identify as a woman, a man, a asexual, or a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual person.
The term “transsexual” is outdated and offensive to many people, so most people prefer to use the more accurate term, transgender. However, there are some people who still identify with the term, and it should only be used when specifically asked.
How do I know if my loved one is transgender?
Transgender people often feel intense dissatisfaction with their sex assigned at birth, physical sex characteristics or the gender role associated with that sex. For some, these feelings of dissatisfaction lead to depression or distress that can interfere with their daily lives.
In these cases, they may seek help from a mental health professional who specializes in gender identity. They will work with them to address their distress, and teach them ways to cope with it.
If you suspect your loved one may be transgender, it is important to speak with them and ask them about their experience. This is a very sensitive subject, and you want to be as understanding as possible.
Your love and support is essential, and you should not hesitate to talk with a mental health professional. They will be able to offer your loved one the best support, and help them overcome their distress. They can also help them develop a positive self-image and improve their overall well-being.
How do I support my loved one?
When a loved one comes out as transgender, it can be a huge shock and a new experience for everyone involved. The first step is to learn as much as possible about the LGBTQ+ community and their experiences.
It’s also important to be empathetic and listen well to your loved one. This can be challenging, but it’s essential that you do your best to hear them and truly understand what they are going through.
Be respectful of their gender identity and use their chosen pronouns whenever possible. Avoid saying things like “transitioning is a phase” or “they can choose whatever they want to be”. These statements are demeaning and push them away from you.
Be their wingman in spaces that are supportive of their identity. Help them with medical procedures, help them navigate social systems and life considerations that might be difficult for them, and assist with finding the resources they need. This will show them that you support them and are there for them throughout their journey.
How do I address my loved one?
If your loved one is transgender, it’s not unheard of to want you to refer to them by a new name or use their preferred pronouns. Using the right terms can go a long way toward helping them feel seen and appreciated.
The best way to do this is to ask them what their preference is and commit to using it. It might take some practice to get it right, but it’s an excellent way to show your support.
The word transsexual is often thrown around in a negative way, but the best definition we’ve found is “the experience of having a gender that is different from your biological sex.” It’s not uncommon for people to have a medical diagnosis and hormone therapy before they decide on their preferred gender. The word is often used as a buzzword or a buzzed about term, but we’ve seen it used more positively, especially when it’s used as a compliment.