The term "LGBT" is an acronym for "Lesbians,
transgender persons/Transsexuals. Sometimes, additional letters
added, like "Q" for Queer or questioning, "I" for Intersex.
What is being "transgender" or "transsexual" all about?
The vast majority of adults -- about 99.4% -- were identified as being either a girl or boy at birth, and identify themselves as being of the same gender today. They are referred to as "cisgender."
That leaves a small minority of youths and young adults who identify themselves as having a gender identity that is different from their birth-identified gender in some way. Most from gender Dysphoria.
They are referred to as transgender persons or transsexuals.
Most transgender persons describe themselves as having a female brain trapped in a male body. That is, they identify themselves as female but were born with male external sexual organs. As newborns, they were registered as male on their birth certificate.
A smaller percentage describe themselves as having a male brain trapped in a female body. They were registered at birth as female.
A minority feel that they do not fit into this binary -- female/male -- gender identification system at all. That is, they do not identify themselves as either female or male.
Another minority switch between female and male at times during their lifetime.
The term "transgendered" -- ending in a "d" -- was once in common use, but is now obsolete.
In the past, transgender persons had a horrendously high suicide rate. Some suggested that half of all transgender persons committed suicide by the age of 30 because of the intense internal conflicts that they experienced over gender. The cure rate in adulthood through therapy and/or prayer has been at or near zero. Since they are unable to change their gender identity, many who identify their gender as opposite of their birth-identified gender are now engaging in gender reassignment surgery (GRS) and hormone treatments. This changes their bodily appearance to more closely resemble the gender with which they identify. Their suicide rate in adulthood is still much higher than the average for the general population, but not nearly as high as in the past before GRS became generally available.
Many conflicts continue:
Religious and social conservatives often consider transgender persons to be "gender confused." They refer to transgender individuals by their birth-identified gender. For example, if a newborn is identified as a girl, they are viewed as always being female even if they identify as male later in life. Many people, including most transgender individuals themselves, consider that highly offensive.
Transgender individuals. transsexuals, religious and social liberals, secularists, the vast majority of therapists, etc. generally refer to transgender persons by their current gender identity. So, they consider a newborn identified as a girl at birth, who goes through a female-to-male transition (FTM) later in life as a male. They refer to that person as a "he" and by his new name.
GRS is best done before puberty causes irreversible changes to the person's body. However, pre-pubertal children lack the maturity to make such a life-changing decision. Also, some transgender children become cisgender spontaneously without medical intervention. Some medical professionals are now recommending that puberty blocking medication be used to delay puberty until the individual is sufficiently mature to decide whether to go through GRS and hormone treatment.
Some photographs of transgender persons:
These are seven unidentified male-to-female (MTF) transgender persons: individuals who were identified as male at birth, and who identify as female today:
A remarkable video by RetroReport at the New York Times:
It is titled: "Transforming History: Transgender issues today are rooted in a decades-long struggle for inclusion:" 2
A series of remarkable videos from the Transgender Law Center: 3
Joe and Mimi Lemay's moving account of their 5-year-old transgender child who was identified as a girl at birth and has transitioned to a boy: 5
Jessi Kammeyer posted this video titled: "How you going to turn into a girl when you were a boy?" 6
Other transgender videos:
The leading search engine, Google, has a video search function at: https://www.google.com/ By going there and entering a word like transgender or transsexual, a list of topics will appear, like:
Transgenders before and after
Transgenders dysphoria blues
Click on one of the options to get a list of videos on that topic.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Free images, downloaded from DreamsTime.com.
Zachary Green, "Transforming History: Transgender issues today are rooted in a decades-long struggle for inclusion," RetroReport/New York Times, 2015-JUN-15, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
"My authentic life," Transgender Law Center, 2014-MAY-01, at: https://www.youtube.com/ The first video has been watched by about 120,000 viewers during its first year online at YouTube.
Tom Murray produced and directed a video concerning transsexuality. It
is titled: "Almost Myself: Reflections on mending and transcending
gender." See: http://www.almostmyself.com/