Gender and Identity FAQ
Some of our most frequently asked questions about Gender and Identity.
Let’s break down what each of these terms means : Gender Identity is the gender you feel best describes yourself. Think of this term as the internal expression of gender, which gender expression feels correct to you. This can change over time, and may take exploration of gender expressions to fully form. Gender Expression is the gender you would like to present as publicly. Gender Expression is shown through outward appearance - in one’s choices of clothing, makeup, voice, hair, even body language are all forms of Gender Expression. Sexuality is different than gender, and can differ based on physical and emotional attraction. For example, someone who is transgender male to female may be physically attracted to women, but have an emotional attraction to both genders. All of this to say : Your gender does not determine your sexuality, and vice versa : your sexuality does not determine your gender. Gender and Sexuality are separate, with both having a wide variety of spectrums. In terms of sexuality, some of these terms are : bisexual, pan-sexual, Asexual, Fluid, Gay, lesbian, Heterosexual, and many more.
According to Mayo Clinic studies, Gender Identity begins to form around the ages of 3 years old, and by this time a child begins to categorize themselves. Gender Identity beginning to form at such a young age is why having family support is crucial in a child’s development, in their sense of self and identity expression so they can better understand the dysphoria they might experience. Some common traits of diversity in gender at a young age are : A child may want to play with toys typically assigned to opposite birth sex.
Wanting to dress or wear clothing assigned to opposite sex
Bathroom Behavior, for example a girl wanting to stand up while urinating
Anger or frustration at being called a boy or girl
Gender Dysphoria is the feeling of distress caused by a person’s assigned gender not aligning with their perceived gender identity or expression. What are the Signs of Gender Dysphoria The signs of Gender Dysphoria are extremely important to understand, and to take action when you notice that yourself or a loved one may be experiencing distress . Some common signs of Gender Dysphoria are: Expressing signs of Anxiety, especially in social settings. Attempting to hide parts of their body that cause dysphoria. An example of this could be wearing baggy clothing, or restricting parts of their body that don’t align with the gender they feel they are. Self-Harm - Scratching, Cutting, or biting themselves. Self Harm may also show in self harming areas that show physical signs of their sex that may cause them a sense of dysphoria, for example the chest or groin area. Depression - They may show signs of irritability, lack of motivation or interest, or isolate themselves due to distress of gender dysphoria. One easy way to help support a loved one who may be experiencing gender dysphoria is to allow them a way to express themselves without judgement, many who experience gender dysphoria ask to be called by a different pronoun “he, she they”, which can help alleviate some of the distress caused by gender dysphoria.
Some might confuse transgender as only being one category : male to female, or female to male. Transgender is actually an umbrella term, that encompasses all forms of gender identities including : non-binary, agender, Genderfluid, male to female (mtf), female to male (ftm), and more. These categories can be better understood by explaining two major categories : non-binary and binary. Binary means “having two parts”, meaning male or female. For those who express themselves as Binary, they are expressing themselves with female or male identities. For example, Male to Female, Female to Male, Transgender Women/Men, Transmasculine or Transfemine, and Transsexual Male or Female. Those who consider themselves non-binary do not always conform to the typical male or female gender identities, and some identities adhere to both simaltenously. Some examples of non-binary terms : androgynous, genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, bi-gender, and many more
Transitioning can mean different things, from transitioning one's gender expression or identity through social, legal, and even medical processes. Common medical transitions involve top or bottom surgery, hair removal on body or face, hormone therapy, facial feminization or masculinization, vocal feminization or masculinization, fertility preservation (egg or sperm storage). Here at TGC, we are able to help you with letters for certain surgeries with help from our specialized gender and identity counselors. Our Counselors can help you throughout the process of transitioning. Legally, transitioning can mean changing your listed sex on documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and other identification cards. Socially, transitioning can be changing the way you express your gender publicly with body language, clothing, voice, hair, makeup, and other physical changes. Social changes can also be pronouns and names you would like to use in order to conform to affirm to the gender you identify as. Detransitioning is the process of reversing a transition. For example, a female who has gone through male hormone therapy, or top surgery may decide to try and reverse those changes. Detransitioning can mean reversing social, legal, and surgical procedures to reaffirm gender identity. In some cases, going through transition does not aleve the feelings of gender dysphoria, which is why some people may make the choice to detransition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with detransitioning, it is a personal choice that Transformative Growth can help assist you through.
Yes - we do offer letters from our specialized gender and identity counselors. Please contact us for more information!
No, you do not - transitioning or not is a personal choice that does not change how you identify or choose to express your gender. How you express your gender is completely up to you, and can be fluid, without having to commit to permanent changes. To learn more about transitioning, contact us!