Our world is constantly changing and progressing in terms of what society views as normal and acceptable. The last few years have seen immensely positive changes in regards to our LGBTQ communities.

While members of the LGBTQ communities are feeling more comfortable, safe, accepted, and loved than ever before as society embraces a more liberal and open-minded stance, many LGBTQ individuals are still misunderstood, bullied, judged, etc.

Transgender individuals commonly face these negative responses, as many cisgender people simply do not understand what the term transgender means and what transgender individuals go through or how they feel.

What Does It Mean To Be Transgender?

The term transgender refers to an individual whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. These individuals may have been born male, and identify as female; vice versa; or perhaps believe that neither male nor female define them properly.

Some transgender individuals chose to transition physical, with the help of surgeries and/or medications, while some chose to express their preferred gender solely by means of dress, etc.

What Are Some Things Society Should Know About Being Transgender?

While it may be impossible for those of us who are cisgender to truly understand how a transgender individual feels, there are a few ways in which we can educated ourselves that will help us become more empathetic towards and supportive of our transgender friends, family members, coworkers, etc.

Transgender Individuals Often Struggle With Identity

Knowing you are transgender and knowing who you truly are, are not always one in the same. Regardless of when or how an individual realizes they are transgender, they still have a long journey of self discover ahead of them.

For someone who has been living their life pretending to be something they are not, or with the constant feeling that something is wrong, determining what feels right can be emotionally and physically draining.

Gender Identity Encompasses More Than Just Male or Female

You may think that being transgender means that someone born a male actually identifies as a woman, or that someone born a female actually identifies as a man. While these are both examples of transgender individuals, being transgender can encompass a variety of other gender identifications.

Gender is more commonly being referred to as a spectrum, with many people identifying not only as trans, but as gender queer, non-binary, non-conforming, etc. There are endless ways in which someone can identify themselves, however, and these are only a few of the possible classifications.

Gender Identity Is Not Related To Sexual or Romantic Attraction

It is a common misconception that an individual’s gender identity is somehow reflective of, or influenced by, their sexual or romantic orientation.  These are two separate concepts and neither one is definitive of the other.

How Can We Show Support

Reading these 3 things to know about transgender people is a great way to begin developing a better understanding of them and what it means to be transgender.

Just because someone is different than you in some way, it does not make him or her less than you. It is important to educate yourself and remain open minded when you are faced with something you do not fully understand.