Transgender social transition

Most of a gender transition is a social transition. This site tells how to do that.

Background

We all have a social role. It is like a role in a play, and you are the actor. People think you should follow a script based on who you are. Socialization is the process of learning and believing a social role.

Some common social roles connected to a trait include:

  • age
  • race and ethnicity
  • ability
  • sexual orientation
  • appearance
  • sex

Many places give each new baby a sex assignment. This is often done by looking at the baby’s external genitalia before or right after it is born. Many people will do things based on the child’s sex assignment. For example, they might buy a doll for a girl, but a toy truck for a boy.

A social role based on sex assignment is a gender role. Every part of the world has one for each gender they have. So if a society has three genders, it has three gender roles. A gender role is sometimes called a sex role. When some people say “gender is a performance,” they mean that each of us performs our gender role for others, like a play.

Each of us has a gender identity. That’s your sense of your own gender. It’s how close we feel inside to a set of gender roles. How we show our gender identity to others is called our gender expression.

For a long time, many places have had two gender roles: masculinity and femininity. They think men should be masculine, and women should be feminine. Over time these places build up rules about what is masculine and what is feminine. What gets built is called a social construction. A lot of people want to change those rules because it’s not fair. It can hurt some people.

In a place with two genders, these rules are called a gender binary. Some people don’t follow the rules for their gender binary. For example, a woman might work on cars, which is often thought of as a “masculine” job. Or a man might teach kindergarten, which is often thought of as a “feminine” job.

Some people ignore some or all of their gender role by changing their appearance or behavior. This is called gender variance or gender nonconformity. A man might like to paint his fingernails, or a woman might like a hairstyle that is more common among men. Those people are breaking the rules for their gender role. Most people who do these things agree are not transgender. They agree with their sex assignment. People who are not transgender are called cisgender people.

Transgender people

This site is made for people who are sex and gender minorities. Among those people, one large group is transgender people.

Most people accept their sex assigned at birth, but some people think that theirs was wrong. Their gender identity does not match their assigned sex. Some people feel distress about this. If someone’s distress is bad enough, a medical expert can diagnose them with gender dysphoria or gender incongruence.

Many transgender people decide to do something about their distress. They make social, medical, or legal changes in how they look or act. They make a gender transition. Every person who does this has their own path.

People who only make a social transition do not always say they are transgender. Some say they are genderqueer. Some other identities for gender minorities are:

  • nonbinary
  • genderfluid
  • androgynous
  • gender-expansive
  • gender-creative
  • demigender
  • agender

This site talks about the social, legal, and medical parts of a gender transition. For those who want to make a social transition, these parts may help:

This page uses easy words. This helps young people read it. This also helps people who do not know many English words. You can use these links to look up words you do not know:

Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary