Transgender individuals are those whose behaviors, looks and gender identity do not coincide with the gender they were assigned at the time of their birth. Homosexuals are attracted to individuals of the same sex. Transgender individuals can be attracted to either sex. The main difference being that a transgender individual is one gender but acts and, in some cases, looks like the opposite gender. So what is Transitioning?
What Is the Definition of Transitioning?
The meaning of transitioning is literally the changing from one sex to another. The complete gender transition process is not one to take lightly and can take several years to complete. The beginning of the transition involves making the decision to begin the process. By choosing to change their gender, they can begin to take the steps needed to become the person they feel they were born to be.
What Does Transition Mean to a Transgender Person
Individuals who are confused about their true sexual orientation are often bullied for the choices they make. Their attraction to members of the same sex can cause others to be uncomfortable when they are near. Jokes and insults are extremely hurtful. Part of the reason for this is because they are outwardly exhibiting attractions to members of the same sex.
For a homosexual or transgender person, being able to behave naturally as the sex they feel the most affinity for is extremely beneficial. They regain their self confidence and their self esteem is increased. Being able to dress in the fashion that makes them feel the most beautiful (or handsome) helps them to restore their sense of self and truly embrace their identity.
Transition to a transgender person is the road map to being the person they have always felt they should be. They often believe they were born into the wrong body and during their formative years, have great difficulty expressing themselves or being comfortable in their own skin. They lack self-confidence and often become the target of bullies.
The uncertainty concerning their own identity often bleeds over into other aspects of their lives. As adolescents, their grades may suffer and their friendships may be awkward and superficial. Until a transgender begins to understand who they really are, their perception of self can be extremely low. When they begin to transition and understand why they are the way they are and accept themselves, they can then begin to take the necessary steps to change their physical body.
Transgender Transition Issues
There are several issues that transgender individuals face during the transition period. Not only must they change their perceptions about their physical body, they must also deal with the physical changes they will be experiencing during the transition process. A few of the issues they face on a regular basis include:
- Appearance – Many transgender individuals begin to change their appearance long before they take the first step in the transition process. Males begin to wear makeup as well as women’s clothing and change their hygiene habits to that of women as well. Women cut their hair and begin to wear men’s clothing and participate in activities that are normally thought of as masculine.
- Physical changes – As the transition process begins, physical changes will begin to take place. One of the most common causes is the introduction of male or female hormones depending on which gender is trying to be achieved. Female hormones soften the skin and facial features and trigger the growth of breast tissue. Male hormones cause the growth of facial hair and the gradual reduction of breast tissue and the accumulation of fat in areas that are mostly associated with women, such as hips and thighs.
- Emotional changes – When hormone therapy starts, changes in moods and emotions will begin to occur more frequently . One of the most dramatic emotional changes will be in how the individual responds to others. Individuals who were once aloof and withdrawn may become more social, outspoken and self-confident.
- Mental – As their body and emotions begin to change, their mental perception will also begin to transform. Many started to think and behave like their intended gender long before any physical transformation took place. The mental changes that result when the transition actually begins to take place is a realization that they are finally on their way to their true selves, no matter what their gender.
- Public image – The public’s perception of the changes the person is making will range from true support to outright disgust. It’s a fact. Many people do not believe in the right to change genders. There are others though who do support a person’s right to choose. The main issue becomes embracing those who offer support, while processing the negative feedback and realizing that is their opinion and they have their right to own it.
- Confidence – As the transition moves forward and the other changes begin to settle into normalcy, a transgender individual can begin to focus on their own personal perceptions of themselves. As they become more and more comfortable in their own skin, their confidence increases and they begin to see a side of themselves that may have been long hidden behind doubt and insecurities.
- Medications and medical procedures – Along with all of the personal issues they must deal with, a transgender person must deal with the side effects, complications and various other problems associated with the many medications and medical procedures they must endure.
As they enter each new phase in the transition process, the transgender individual will face new challenges and issues. An individual who chooses to go through this type of transition must be prepared to face the many changes that accompany each different step. Some changes will be less traumatic, while others will be extremely difficult.
Male to Female
Male to female transgender transition is a difficult process. After years of mental, emotional and physical preparations, the final surgery is quite extreme. The penile tissue and scrotum are opened up to form a vagina and the muscle structure of the penis is used to form the clitoris. This type of surgery is very destructive in that the male organs must be virtually dissected to create the female genitalia.
Transgender men must come to the realization that the male to female change is irreversible. It cannot be changed. They must truly have no doubt that this is their desire. In today’s society, everyone tries to influence individuals who are making these life changes. The choice to change from male to female is one that must be made solely on their own, without undue influence.
Coping with Transition
Once the transition has begun, the person must begin to cope with not only the physical changes, but the reaction to those changes by others. Bullies take great pride in trying to intimidate others who are different. Coping with the actions of bullies, anti-gay protestors and others who are against gay and lesbian rights can be difficult. Hurtful words, hate talk and physical abuse can be common in certain areas. It is important as a transgender individual to exercise your rights. Join a support group. Visit a paster or spiritual leader. Talk to a counselor about what is happening and how you feel about the process.
Bullying and Transgender Issues
When facing the issues associated with being transgendered, individuals must also endure the taunts and jokes thrown at them by bullies and protesters who do not believe in their lifestyle. For those who have already completely transitioned, the bullying may subside. Most “new” females cannot be identified as formerly being a male.
Until the change is complete, however, dealing with the insults and slurs must be taken in stride. Many people try to educate those who choose to bully, although it rarely makes a difference. Trying to change another person’s perception of a sexual topic is difficult, if not impossible. Accepting themselves for who and what they are is important when dealing with the personal issues involved in transgender transition and related procedures.