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BECOME AN INFORMED ALLY

Who is transgender?

Transgender, or trans, is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. [3]

Who is gender non-conforming?

Gender non-conforming is an umbrella term referring to people who do not identify in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. [3]

Sexual Orientation vs Gender Identity

Sexual orientation describes a person's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person (straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual), while gender identity describes a person's, internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman, or someone outside of the gender binary. [4]

Sex vs Gender

A person’s sex refers to the identity given to given to them at birth, most often based on their external anatomy.

Gender is typically associated with a person’s own sense of their behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts. [3]

Who is non-binary?

Non-binary is an identity embraced by some people who do not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. [3]

How do trans people identify?

Some trans people identify as trans men or trans women, while others may describe themselves as non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, agender, bigender or other identities that reflect their personal experience. [2]

What is gender expression?

Gender expression refers to the external appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, body characteristics or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine. [3]

Pronouns

It’s appropriate to respectfully ask for a person’s name and pronouns. You could also share your pronouns to create an opportunity for the other person to share theirs. Misgendering, or using the incorrect pronouns for a transgender or non-binary person, may lead them to feel distressed or unseen.  [3]

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GENDER DYSPHORIA

Gender dysphoria is a medical term that refers to the psychological distress a person may feel when their gender is misaligned with their sex assigned at birth. Some may experience it as an acute pain, while others may experience it as an overarching sense of unease. Although many transgender and non-binary people experience gender dysphoria, it is not a necessary requirement to identify as transgender or non-binary. [3]

According to Mayo Clinic, “Preoccupation with being of another gender than the one assigned often interferes with daily activities. People experiencing gender dysphoria might refuse to go to school, due to pressure to dress in a way that's associated with their sex or out of fear of being harassed or teased. Gender dysphoria can also impair the ability to function at school or at work, resulting in school dropout or unemployment. Relationship difficulties are common. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse and other problems can occur.” [3]

Poverty

Around 29% of trans adults live in poverty (compared to 14% of the general population), as well as 39% of Black trans adults, 48% of Latinx trans adults. [2]

Healthcare

Around 22% of trans people and 32% of trans people of color have no health insurance coverage, while 29% of trans adults have been refused health care by a doctor or provider due to their gender identity. [2]

Suicide

40% of respondents reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the United States. [4]

Employment

Transgender people experience unemployment at 3x the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to 4x the national unemployment rate. [4]

Violence

Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, face shockingly high rates of murder, homelessness, and incarceration. [4]

Lack of Legal Protections

Most states offer no legal protections in housing, employment, health care, and other areas where individuals experience discrimination based on their gender identity or expression. [4]

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES

If your child expresses a desire to identify differently from their sex assigned at birth, you should respect and support their desire to explore. For practical advice on supporting a gender-expansive child, you may consult the Human Rights Campaign’s guide on Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children. [3]

According to Mayo Clinic, “Preoccupation with being of another gender than the one assigned often interferes with daily activities. People experiencing gender dysphoria might refuse to go to school, due to pressure to dress in a way that's associated with their sex or out of fear of being harassed or teased. Gender dysphoria can also impair the ability to function at school or at work, resulting in school dropout or unemployment. Relationship difficulties are common. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse and other problems can occur.” [3]

[1] Michelle Johns, Richard Lowry, Jack Andrzejewski, et al. Jan 25, 2019. “Transgender Identity and Experiences of Violence Victimization, Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — 19 States and Large Urban School Districts, 2017.” [2] The Human Rights Campaign, "Understanding the Transgender Community" [3] The Human Rights Campaign, "Transgender and Non Binary FAQ" [4] GLAAD, "Transgender FAQ"

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