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Frequently Asked Questions on Trans Identity

Does being trans have any effect on sexuality?

Gender identity and sexual identity are different constructions. Trans folks identify with a different gender than their assigned gender at birth, but this does not necessarily mean trans people identify as gay or lesbian.

What does it mean to transition?

Transitioning is any process—hormones, surgery, etc.—to help bring the physical body to match one’s gender identity. This also encompasses legal procedures such as changing one’s name or gender marker legally.

Is trans a mental disorder?

Despite being listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- 4th Edition (DSM-IV) as Gender Identity Disorder, trans identities are not a mental illness and cannot be cured or changed through treatment.

Why do people crossdress?

Crossdressing is a form of expression that is often fulfilling for the wearer of clothing not associated with their assigned gender at birth. Generally crossdressers and drag performers identify with their gender assigned at birth, but find wearing the clothing psychologically or emotionally gratifying.

Why would someone identify as gender non-conforming?

Some individuals do not feel comfortable with the male/female binary perpetuated by societal norms; not identifying with either construction. Gender non-conforming folks may have many different identities—gender fluid, gender non-conforming, gender variant—typically preferring gender neutral pronouns such as “they/their/theirs,” “ze/hir/hirs.”

Do all trans folk still identify as male or female?

Not all trans folk identify as male or female. Transgender individuals may identify as a third gender, multiple genders, or no gender at all. However, there are trans people who identify as female and male, sometimes referred to as MTF or FTM; male-to-female, female-to-male, respectively.

Trans Etiquette

  1. Treat trans people as you would anyone else.
  2. Use the correct name and pronoun.
  3. If you make a mistake with a pronoun or name, move on.
  4. Don’t say, “I’ll never get that pronoun/name right.”
  5. Don’t say, “You will always be a man/woman in my eyes.”
  6. Don’t ask personal questions unless you are invited to.
  7. Don’t “out” a trans person.
  8. Don’t make assumptions.
  9. Use terms like “cisgender” instead of “normal.”

Download more on Trans Etiquette!

10 Things Not to Say to Trans People

  1. Have you had “the operation”/”the surgery”/”are you pre- or post-op”?
  2. Which bathroom do you use?
  3. If you _______ a certain way, you’d be more masculine/feminine.
  4. When did you decide to become trans?
  5. You pass really well!
  6. You’re actually pretty normal.
  7. How do you have sex?
  8. I can still see the woman/man in you.
  9. Are you afraid that people will hate or want to hurt you?
  10. What does being a man/woman mean to you?

Download more on 10 Things Not To Say.