Key Facts About Trans People

  • Cis (i.e., cisgender) refers to people who identify with their assigned sex and gender at birth. If you’re not trans, you are usually cis and have cis privilege.
  • A trans man, for example, is usually best seen as someone who was always a man, but we must be cautious of strategic essentialism and remember sex/gender is fluid. A trans man would be someone welcomed as “it’s a girl” at birth (AFAB).
  • Regardless of being cis or trans, an individual’s biological sex changes over time and according to one’s activities, surroundings, and environments. Men have decreased levels of testosterone, increased oxytocin and dopamine, when taking care of children. Women in the army will be biologically more “male” with increased levels of testosterone.
  • “Sex” is defined by over a dozen factors that exist on spectrums. “Males”/“Females” have far more in common than not.
  • Just as sex and gender are separate from each other and separate from sexual orientation, being cis or trans is totally separate from sexual orientation. A trans woman is a woman and can be asexual, bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual, pansexual, etc. Additionally, a cishet woman dating/etc. a (trans)man is still a cishet woman.
  • Drag performances/performers are separate from trans and/or cis.
  • Estimates suggest that ≈2 percent of the population is trans. That’s AT LEAST 1 in 50 people.
  • Trans identities fall on spectrums; “trans” is an umbrella term. People can be “transgender” in terms of gender, sex, or both. Trans people are those who are often (but not always “this is a love story between a woman and her body”) uncomfortable with their (birth-)assigned sex and/or (birth-)assigned gender. Trans people are queer people by definition, at least academically speaking, and can include androgynous(male and female gender presentations), genderqueer / nonbinary (neither male or female presentations and/or identities and/or rejects binaries of gender), transsexual (trans people who medically transition), and intersex (biological sex outside of standard binary-based deviation).
  • The cis/trans binary needs to be problematized.
  • Trans people and allies often find “transgendered” to be offensive – a few say it is more accurate than “transgender.” Some people find “transsexual” to also be offensive. “Male” and especially “female” are often offensive terms, too.
  • For some trans people elements of social mores are sometimes, partly, involved in their identity–society doesn’t allow for “easy” movement around the gender binary There would be less trans people, per se, if people could simply live and dress, etc., as they wanted to without fear of violence/death. But, it’s ALWAYS about much more than clothes.
  • Just as there have not always been gay people, there have not always been trans people. Additionally, just as people are not “born” gay, people are not “born” trans. Queer Studies rejects notions of biological and social essentialism.
  • There are many different types of surgery a trans person may want to have: “top” and “bottom” being most common. (People overlook that cis people too take hormones and get cosmetic surgery to achieve desired looks.) There are many different medications available to trans people, especially estrogen and testosterone. Some trans people don’t want either.
  • Comments about any person’s ability to “pass” or “look like” any given sex/gender are usually inappropriate. Medically transitioning, if desired, and socially transitioning are an on-going processes. Even if not realized, everyone has met and seen trans people. There is no way to tell if someone is trans. (Don’t say-“I would have never know you are trans”) Also, if a person identifies as trans, they “look like” a trans person, per se. Just as any gay person “looks like” a gay person.
  • More than others, trans (and genderqueer) people tend to have conflicted relationships with pronouns (“he,” “she,” “they,” plus “ze” and other neopronouns) and with “dead name(s)” / “dead pronoun(s)” and “chosen name(s).”
  • Just as aspects of the early women’s movement excluded lesbian women (e.g., Radicalesbians), trans women were also excluded. Adrienne Rich, an important queer theorist, was transphobic. She thought that transwomen appropriated the identity and body of “real women.” TERFs continue to “hate against” trans people.
  • Trans people typically have at least some internalized transphobia, just as non-heterosexual people have internalized homophobia. Such might be feelings of not “looking” “masculine” or “feminine” “enough” or “in the right way.”
  • Trans people, according to the DSM, are considered to have a “mental disorder”—gender dysphoria. Although, the DSM now provides ways to help trans people seek desired medical treatments. And trans people are not mentally ill.
  • A trans person’s intersectionality affects positionality. Trans people with the “permission,” opportunity, and resources to live as they desire live longer, happier lives.
  • We must always be cautious unnecessarily bringing up topics of “male” and “female” because stereotype threat is real. Focusing on individuals is far better.
  • Everyone does things to “alter” their identities and/or bodies.