Gender identity is an innate understanding of one’s own gender. Some people recognize this early on. Others may take longer to realize it. Gender-affirming individuals often use terms like transgender, genderfluid, and nonbinary to describe themselves.
Those who know they are female but were assigned male at birth are called transwomen, while those who were assigned male but know they are a woman are known as transmen.
Gender identity is a person’s deep inner sense of whether they are male or female, and it may not correspond with the gender assigned at birth. It is different from sexual orientation, which describes a person’s enduring physical and romantic attraction to people of the same or opposite sex.
A person’s gender is influenced by cultural and social expectations, and can differ from their body’s physiology. Most people identify as the sex they were assigned at birth, which is called being cisgender. Others may self-identify as transgender, agender, Two-Spirit, gender queer or nonbinary.
Some people choose to have their sex match their gender identity, and this is called transitioning. This can include social (such as telling other people which pronouns to use) and legal (such as changing their name or officially stating their gender) changes. It can also involve medical procedures such as hormone therapy and surgery. People who were born male but feel like women can change their bodies and lives to match their gender, which is known as being transsexual or MTF.
A person with gender dysphoria feels distress when their assigned sex at birth does not match their inner sense of self. This may lead to a desire to change their appearance, which can involve dress, accessories and grooming; changing the name on identity documents; using public restrooms associated with their affirmed gender; or undergoing hormone treatment or surgery.
People who experience gender disphoria often feel unable to express their affirmed gender publicly, and they are at higher risk for suicide and substance abuse. They may also be at higher risk of family and peer rejection and social stigma, which can increase feelings of distress and depression.
Gender dysphoria can be a debilitating condition, and it is important to get help for this disorder. A mental health professional can help you explore your gender identity and support you in making plans for long-term social, medical and/or legal transition goals. They can also help you manage unpleasant feelings and navigate relationships with friends, loved ones and coworkers after coming out as transgender.
Gender reassignment surgery
Gender reassignment surgery is the last stage of the physical transition process for people who identify as transgender. It involves removing and replacing parts of the body that are assigned by birth. For example, a biological male who identifies as female may have surgery to remove their testicles and penis. It may also involve constructing a vagina and clitoris from other tissue. Surgical procedures are usually only offered to people who are medically ready. They must meet certain requirements, such as having well-documented gender dysphoria and completing hormone therapy.
Some studies show that gender-affirming surgery improves the mental health of transgender people. These improvements include better self-satisfaction, more social interaction and less anxiety. However, it is important to remember that these surgeries are not a cure for gender dysphoria. They should be used in conjunction with continued psychotherapy. In addition, people who have lower genital surgeries must use lubrication and regular STI testing to avoid passing on or contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Although transsexuality is often associated with sexual orientation, it is important to distinguish between the two. Sexual orientation describes whom a person feels romantic and sexual attraction to, while gender identity is a person’s sense of their own gender. People can have a mixture of different sexual and gender identities, which is perfectly normal. They can also change their orientation at any time.
Gender identity is a person’s basic sense of their own gender, regardless of the sex they are assigned at birth or on legal documents. It can be influenced by cultural and societal expectations, and it may vary over time.
Sexual orientation is the person’s preference for either opposite-sex (heterosexual) or same-sex (gay or lesbian) relationships. It can also include a desire for both (bisexual) or neither (asexual). Some people use the term queer to describe their orientation, while others prefer more specific terms such as alloromantic, bisexual, asexual, and cupiosexual. The asexual community is also known as ace.