Gender-diverse people live meaningful, rich and productive lives. In Australia, generally, and South Australia, in particular, gender-diverse people are being increasingly accepted, affirmed, and being validly acknowledged in law, in human rights, in employment situations, and in the general community. So much as changed.
Sadly, it is also true that being gender-diverse can, and still does, result in being misunderstood, and experiencing discrimination, stigmatisation and rejection, often on a daily basis. Gender-diverse people are among the most vulnerable groups in our society to depression, anxiety, social isolation and trauma, as well as difficulties in relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or boy or girl.) For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into those two choices. For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match.
People in the transgender community may describe themselves using one (or more) of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, and non-binary. Always use the term used by the person.
Trying to change a person’s gender identity is no more successful than trying to change a person’s sexual orientation — it doesn’t work. So most transgender people seek to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. This is called transition.
As part of the transition process, many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgeries as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and it’s important to know that being transgender is not dependent upon medical procedures.
Transgender is an adjective and should never be used as a noun. For example, rather than saying “Max is a transgender,” say “Max is a transgender person” or “Max is a transgender man.” And transgender never needs an “-ed” at the end.
How is sexual orientation different from gender identity?
We use the acronym LGBTQ to describe the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community. The Q can also sometimes mean questioning.
Sexual orientation describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person (for example: straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual), while gender identity describes a person’s, internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman, or someone outside of the gender binary.
Simply put: sexual orientation is about who you are attracted to and fall in love with; gender identity is about who you are.
Like everyone else, transgender people have a sexual orientation. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman. A person who transitions from female to male and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a gay man.
Gender Diversity does not necessarily mean “transgender”.
Most people might think that gender diversity is the same as transgender. It isn’t gender diversity means developing our thinking to understand that gender is much more than male or female. The following video, about Sharon Jones, produced by SBS, is great at illustrating this point. The video further highlight the fact that there gender identity is not the same as gender expression. Sharon is wonderful example of this, she is truly inspirational person and great advocate for LGBTI people in regional and rural areas. Please do enjoy this.