What is transgender? We hear that word more today than ever before. There is currently an explosion in conversations with Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair article and photo shoot. Before Caitlyn there was Netflix show “Orange is the New Black.” There was before that the Golden Globe award winning Amazon’s “Transparent.” Before that was the movie “Dressed to Kill,” “The Crying Game,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Transamerica,” “The Dallas Buyers Club.” There is the Broadway show “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” There have been many more movies and tv shows with transgender characters for decades.
And yet some people still ask what is transgender?
Transgender is defined as the state of one’s gender identity does not match one’s assigned sex. Imagine feeling that you are physiologically and spiritually one gender, but were born with the physical body of the other gender. How we identify ourselves consists of such things as gender identity, sexual orientation, age, employment, geographic location. How we identify helps to shape how we feel about ourselves, how we show the world who we are. So to have our gender identity not match with our assigned sex is confusing and painful to the self. But to come out can be confusing and painful. So what is one to do? Many transgender people go through a period of identity development through increases in understanding one’s self-image and self-expression. The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their external appearance and accept their genuine identity is referred to as transgender congruence.
Caitlyn Jenner, among many other men and women, have come out to their friends, families, and the world as transgender in order to be their true self with which they identify. She is brave enough to utilize her fame in order to spread the word not only about who she is, but also about being transgender. The increase in Googling and conversations around the world can help to increase the bravery of many others who have not yet come out as their true self.