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Transgender is an umbrella term that is generally applied to a variety of individuals whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.


Transgender people and the LGBT community

See also: LGBT

The concepts of gender identity and transgender identity differ from that of sexual orientation.[1] Sexual orientation describes an individual's enduring physical, romantic, emotional, and/or spiritual attraction to another person, while gender identity is one's personal sense of being a man or a woman.[2] Transgender people have more or less the same variety of sexual orientations as cisgender people.[3] In the past, the terms homosexual and heterosexual were incorrectly used to label transgender individuals' sexual orientation based on their birth sex.[4] Professional literature now uses terms such as attracted to men (androphilic), attracted to women (gynephilic), attracted to both or attracted to neither to describe a person's sexual orientation without reference to their gender identity.[5] Therapists are coming to understand the necessity of using terms with respect to their clients' gender identities and preferences.[6] For example, a person who is assigned male at birth, transitions to female, and is attracted to men would be identified as heterosexual.

Despite the distinction between sexual orientation and gender, throughout history the gay, lesbian, and bisexual subculture was often the only place where gender-variant people were socially accepted in the gender role they felt they belonged to; especially during the time when legal or medical transitioning was almost impossible. This acceptance has had a complex history. Like the wider world, the gay community in Western societies did not generally distinguish between sex and gender identity until the 1970s, and often perceived gender variant people more as homosexuals who behaved in a gender-variant way than as gender-variant people in their own right. Today, members of the transgender community often continue to struggle to remain part of the same movement as lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens, and to be included in rights protections.

  1. Answers to Your Questions About Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity report from the website of the American Psychological Association - "What is the relationship between transgender and sexual orientation?"
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GLAAD’s Transgender Resource Page
  3. Tobin, H.J. (2003) "...It has become more and more clear that trans people come in more or less the same variety of sexual orientations as non-trans people..." Sexual Orientation from Sexuality in Transsexual and Transgender Individuals.
  4. Blanchard, R. (1989) The classification and labeling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias from Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 18, Number 4, August 1989. Retrieved via SpringerLink on 2007-04-06.
  5. APA task force (1994) "...For sexually mature individuals, the following specifiers may be noted based on the individual’s sexual orientation: Sexually Attracted to Males, Sexually Attracted to Females, Sexually Attracted to Both, and Sexually Attracted to Neither..." in DSM-IV: Sections 302.6 and 302.85 published by the American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved via Mental Health Matters on 2007-04-06.
  6. Goethals, S.C. and Schwiebert, V.L. (2005) "...counselors to rethink their assumptions regarding gender, sexuality and sexual orientation. In addition, they supported counselors' need to adopt a transpositive disposition to counseling and to actively advocate for transgendered persons..." Counseling as a Critique of Gender: On the Ethics of Counseling Transgendered Clients from the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, Vol. 27, No. 3, September 2005. Retrieved via SpringerLink on 2007-04-06.