How does a person become transgender

Man, woman - it doesn't matter: What each of us should know about transgender people

According to the definition, people are referred to as "transgender" if their physical gender temporarily or permanently does not match their perceived gender. What many do not know: Transidentity, as it is also called, has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the person concerned. So it doesn't mean that you're automatically homosexual.

Because how exactly do you want to argue? Take someone whose birth certificate says male, but who definitely sees himself as female. Does she fall in love with a boy, is she homosexual from a birth passport point of view or is she straight as a trans woman? And this alone shows that the classic-conservative ways of thinking are not going anywhere. You have to close the drawers and think more freely.

The fact is: the desire of many transgender people to get as close as possible to the gender they feel they belong to is not a phase that will pass. Therapy doesn't help either. Rather, the level of suffering is usually very great - depending on how understandingly and helpful the environment reacts. And at times it is simply not very understanding because there is a lack of knowledge about transgender people. So let's clarify a few terms that are often mixed up. This is because many wrong ways of thinking are already uncovered.

These stars are transgender:

Video by Jane Schmitt

Transgender - what is it actually? You should know these 10 terms:

1. Transsexuality
The term refers to people who do not / not only identify with the gender that was determined for them at birth. However, it is rejected by some people because the ending "-sexuality" puts the physical component in the foreground. It sounds like transsexuality has something to do with sexual orientation - which it doesn't. However, there are also many transsexuals who consciously call themselves that because they see it as a physical, not a social issue.

2. Transgender
This term also describes people who do not / not only identify with the gender that was determined for them at birth. Here, however, the aspect is social, not sexual, physical. Transgender also includes people who see themselves as neither male nor female.

3. Transgender
This term is the generic term for both: the physical aspect (transsexual) and the social (transgender).

4. Trans identity
With this term, the focus is on identifying with the opposite sex and less on the physical. But it is also controversial because the body is so excluded and it sounds as if you chose to be transident.

5. Trans *
Since all of the above terms are somehow problematic, Trans * is the attempt to use a term that is as neutral as possible.

6. Transvestite
An old term used to describe people who dress contrary to their gender in the birth certificate. So men in women's clothes and vice versa. Nowadays, the term cross-dressing is more used, as the transvestite dresses differently for sexual reasons. And that is not the case with transgender people. It's not about sexual motives, but about feeling different.

7. Androgynous
We often refer to someone as androgynous if, for example, a man has very feminine traits and a woman looks quite boyish. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with whether this person feels transgender or not, but is a purely external characteristic.

8. Trans woman / trans man
A trans woman is someone who identifies as a woman even though the gender was determined to be male at birth. With a trans man it's exactly the opposite.


A post shared by Andreja Pejic (@andrejapejic) on Apr 1, 2017 at 4:33 pm

9. Cisgender / Cis woman / Cis man
In contrast to "trans", which is Latin and translated means "otherworldly", "cis" means "this side". In other words: It is about people who identify with the gender determined at their birth. This term is important so that one does not make the mistake of talking about "normal" and "not normal".

10. Gender reassignment
There is often talk of gender reassignment. But this term is wrong. Rather, gender reassignment is more correct. Because here it is physically adjusted what is already a fact inside, felt inside. That means: The identity of a trans woman is that of a woman even beforehand.

What happens with a gender reassignment?

There are two options for gender reassignment. On the one hand through a hormone treatment or hormone-blocking medication, on the other hand through an operation. In both cases one tries to adapt the physical characteristics to the personal gender identity. Each affected person decides for himself how far to go. The hormones change the external appearance (breasts, beard growth, etc.) and the voice.

Many go even further and have their external and internal sex organs adjusted. With the OP, it is possible to turn the penis inside out to create a vagina, or a penis out of the clitoris. There are different options, more or less radical and complex.

A pregnant man: that's the law

Many still remember the images of the American and trans man Thomas Beatie that went through the media in 2008. A man who is pregnant and giving birth to a healthy child. This is not possible in all countries. With us in Germany since November 2011, too. Until then - and the fact is really disturbing - transgender people had to get sterilized if they wanted to undergo gender reassignment and have their gender changed on their passport. In other words, if someone who, according to the birth certificate, had grown up as a girl wanted to change this to male in his passport, he had to be sterilized beforehand.

And as unbelievable as it sounds: In many European countries this is still the law. A total of 15 EU countries are very retrograde when it comes to transgender rights, to say the least. In Belgium, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, France, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Greece, sterilization is a condition for an official sex reassignment. In Hungary and the Republic of Cyprus, transgender people are not even officially recognized.

Fortunately, it was determined in Germany in 2011 that surgical gender reassignment surgery and sterilization violated the Basic Law. No operational measures have been necessary since then. According to the Transsexual Act, however, the person concerned must prove that they have "been under the pressure to live according to their ideas for at least three years" and that "it is highly likely that their sense of belonging to the opposite sex will not change".

Denmark, Malta, Ireland and Norway are doing even better. No psychological assessment is necessary here when it comes to the legal recognition of gender identity in the form of personal status and name changes.

Can trans men and women become mothers and fathers?

On the one hand, people who were referred to as girls at birth with a uterus and a vagina can of course remain of childbearing potential even after having their gender changed to male. Conversely, someone who was called a boy at birth but feels like a girl can keep his penis and testicles and thus remain fertile. Even after he started hormone therapy.

And this is exactly what the 2011 Transsexual Act was about, which fortunately has been changed. After all, why would you want to deny someone the possibility of having a child if they are physically and mentally able to do so just because the gender that was determined at the beginning of their life was a mistake for them? So let's hope that the legal situation of trans * in other European countries will improve in the future. In Belgium there was only recently a corresponding draft law.

Models like GNTM candidate Giuliana also ensure that the topic is no longer taboo. Read more here.

Make yourself smart!

You can get information at:

Anyone who is affected, relatives or acquaintances should do themselves a favor and find out about them. Precisely because we have learned to only think in terms of two genders, we are often insensitive and simply uninformed. Here are some informative pages:

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Strong women: Two of Germany's next top model candidates come out as trans

To ask? What you should know about homosexuality in women

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