Transsexual is a term that refers to people who choose to transition into the sex they identify as. They usually seek medical assistance, such as hormones and surgery, to align their bodies with their gender identity.
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Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of their gender. It differs from sexual orientation, which is the physical attraction to a particular sex. For most people, gender identity correlates with their biological sex. However, for transgender people, this does not always hold true.
The study found that most transgender and nonbinary people find affirmation and support from a variety of sources. These include friends, chosen families (and less often their biological family members), therapists and other health care providers, religion and LGBTQ spaces. In addition, many participants cited experiences of being misgendered by others, including being deadnamed (called their former name without their permission) or being called “he” when they go by “she.”
Although there is no objective measurement for gender identity, researchers have studied the impact of various factors on a person’s gender. For example, people who learn about science are more likely to believe that a person’s gender can be different from the one assigned at birth than those who do not.
Those who are transgender often suffer from gender dysphoria, which causes a conflict between their sex and the anatomy they were born with. This condition is often associated with depression, anxiety, and a negative sense of self-worth. It can also lead to relationship conflicts and a high risk of suicide.
Gender dysphoria affects people of all ages and backgrounds. While it is not clear what causes this condition, it is believed that hormones in the womb, genes, and culture play a role. Many of these individuals have a strong desire to live a life that matches their gender identity, and may seek hormones or surgery to express their identity.
More needs to be done to raise awareness about gender dysphoria and help people find the right support. This includes providing more mental health services for this population and encouraging physicians to treat them with compassion. Psychotherapy focuses on helping transgender individuals feel comfortable in their identities and can help reduce feelings of distress.
Gender reassignment surgery
Gender reassignment surgery, also known as gender transitioning, is an important step for those with gender dysphoria. Typically, people who undergo gender reassignment have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and undergone counseling before they are ready to surgically transition. The surgeries change the patient’s physical appearance and help them resemble their identified gender. These procedures can include “top surgery” that creates breasts for trans men and women, and “bottom surgery” to remove or construct male genitalia.
There is a dearth of research on the long term effects of gender reassignment surgery for transsexuals. This study used population-based matched cohort data from Sweden to examine mortality, morbidity, and quality of life outcomes.
The matched cohort was composed of 324 transsexual individuals who underwent surgical sex reassignment and were assigned a new legal gender between 1973 and 2003. The baseline characteristics were similar for cases and controls, except that immigrant status was twice as common in transsexuals compared to controls, and hospitalization for psychiatric morbidity other than gender identity disorder occurred four times more frequently in transsexuals than in controls.
Legal change of name or gender
Changing the gender on state and federal identification documents is an important step for many transgender people. These documents are used for everything from applying for jobs to accessing health care services and social benefits. Having accurate documentation can dramatically reduce the risk of violence and discrimination. However, the requirements for changing these documents vary by state.
In some states, a person may need to provide proof of surgery or a letter from a doctor to change their gender marker. In other cases, the process is more informal. For example, New York City allows applicants to self-attestate their gender, rather than providing medical documentation or undergoing surgery.
Changing gender markers on identity documents can be a complicated task. Wealth and estate planning professionals should be familiar with the steps involved in updating the sex designation on birth certificates, credit cards, and driver’s licenses. They can also assist with obtaining federal and state letters for identity documents, including the Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The National Center for Transgender Equality maintains a one-stop hub for information on how to update ID documents by state.