The transgender population is a very misunderstood group. My experience lies in assisting in sorting out feelings and experiences in order to Diagnose (self-diagnosis), become more empowered, comfortable and the "coming out process". There is a lot of isolation and depression that tends to be comorbid with this diagnosis. My primary goal is to work with the transgender client to eliminate guilt and/or shame. I have had several experiences where I was the very first person these clients shared their transgender identity with. That is usually the first step of coming out. After having the strength to tell me, we can usually begin planning to tell theses closest to the transgender client, then eventually the world. It is a delicate process and I am honored every time I get to be a part of it.
  • Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. “Trans” is shorthand for “transgender.” (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus “transgender people” is appropriate but “transgenders” is often viewed as disrespectful.)
  • Transgender Man: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man (see also “FTM”).
  • Transgender Woman: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman (see also “MTF”).
  • Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
  • Gender Expression: How a person represents or expresses one’s gender identity to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.
  • Transsexual: An older term for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth who seeks to transition from male to female or female to male. Many do not prefer this term because it is thought to sound overly clinical.
  • Cross-dresser: A term for people who dress in clothing traditionally or stereotypically worn by the other sex, but who generally have no intent to live full-time as the other gender. The older term “transvestite” is considered derogatory by many in the United States.
  • Queer: A term used to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual and, often also transgender, people. Some use queer as an alternative to “gay” in an effort to be more inclusive. Depending on the user, the term has either a derogatory or an affirming connotation, as many have sought to reclaim the term that was once widely used in a negative way.
  • Genderqueer: A term used by some individuals who identify as neither entirely male nor entirely female. Gender Non-conforming: A term for individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.
Click for 7 Steps on Coming Out As Transgender