A transgender person is someone whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. A person's gender identity is their internal sense of gender, such as identifying as a man or a woman. For someone who is transgender, their internal sense of their gender does not match what was assigned to them at birth. As they become comfortable with their identity, a transgender person may decide to transition, which is the process in which they bring their body into alignment with their gender identity. However a person's decision whether or not to transition, should not be seen as a basis for a person's gender identity.
When talking about transgender people, refer to the gender they identify as:
When writing about trans people, use “trans man” and “trans woman” rather than “transman” and “transwoman.”
Gender identity and sexual orientation are separate segments of a person's identity. Sexual orientation refers to a person's romantic and sexual attractions, while gender identity refers to a person's sense of self. So a trans person can be gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, pansexual, etc. An individual who transitions from female to male and is exclusively attracted to men would be considered gay just as someone who transitions from male to female and is exclusively attracted to women would be a lesbian.
**At all San Antonio Public Library locations, patrons can use the bathroom with which they identify.
For someone who is transgender, transitioning is the process by which they bring their gender presentation in sync with their internal identity. Gender presentation is what it sounds like: how a person presents their gender to the world. This covers a range of characteristics, from a haircut and clothing to body characteristics and behavior.
While many people are familiar with sex reassignment surgery (a.k.a gender confirmation surgery) there is much more involved in transitioning. It is a process that can take months or years. Everyone transitions at their own pace, but some of the steps can look like this:
Medical Transition (unimportant in terms of gender validity)
Not all trans people transition medically! There are a lot of reasons a trans person might not transition medically: they might have health problems that prevent it, they might not be able to afford it, or they might have personal reasons for choosing not to. Medical transition doesn’t make a trans person’s gender more or less valid.
Gender Confirmation Surgery: Finances
As previously mentioned, not all transgender people want to undergo gender confirmation surgery, but for those who do, it can be an expensive process. Financing &Support for Gender Confirmation Surgery by Laura Dorwart provides information on the various costs of medically transitioning as well as financing options and support. Below is a summary of some of the information provided in the article.
Average Cost: $20 - $350
For transgender individuals who wish to transition medically, hormone therapy is a relatively affordable and accessible option that allows them to achieve significant physical changes. Masculinization hormone therapy often involves the use of testosterone, while feminization hormone therapy uses estrogen, or testosterone blockers such as spironolactone or progesterone.
Gender Confirmation Surgeries
Average Cost: $5,000 - $50,000
Types of surgeries for Trans Men:
Types of Surgeries for Trans Women:
Medical Transitioning and Health Insurance
While it is illegal for the majority of private and public health insurers within the U.S. to discriminate against transgender people or deny transition-related care, financial and logistical barriers still remain.
Read the full article for suggestions on how to navigate health insurance and medical transitioning.
Read the full article for additional expert insight on financing gender confirmation surgery as well as additional resources.
It can be hard to know how to be an effective ally for someone in a minority population, especially when their experiences are far outside your own. To help you out, here are some Do's and Don't's of being an ally for transgender people.