Defining Transgender Transsexual

The terminology describing the "gender" community is extremely dynamic, not just in the descriptors of gender, but also in the body/sex/sexuality and medical status terminology associated with a given gender identity. This, along with certain components of the population being unwilling to allow themselves to be labeled or categorized by labels fixed by someone else, makes it extremely difficult to obtain an accurate census or description of this population. For example, an individual who is born genetically female (XX), but states that she is actually male, might describe himself as an FTM (female-to-male) transsexual, while another woman might claim the label transman. Others might choose to define themselves in terms of hormone usage (lo-ho, hi-ho) transman and still others might use their "operative status" as a description (pre-op transsexual, post-op transman). Yet others might claim that they were MBT (men born trans). Thus, categorizing the membership of the transgender community is exceedingly difficult.

Although they are frequently invisible and highly stigmatized within our society (i.e., marginal legal protection, noninclusion in hate crimes legislation and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission/Affirmative Action, and inclusion in DSM IV-TR (Currah & Minter, 2000; Witten & Eyler, 1999a) transgender individuals form more than a negligible percentage of the U.S. population. Understanding that there are labeling and power concerns of importance that surround any issue of subdividing a population, Witten and Eyler (1999a) address the definition of transgender stating that:

The gender community includes cross-dressers (men and women who take on the appearance of the other gender, often on a social or part-time basis), transgenders (people whose psychological self-identification is as the other sex and who alter behavior and appearance to conform with this internal perception, sometimes with the assistance of hormonal preparations), and transsexuals, both male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM), who undertake hormonal and/or surgical sex reassignment therapies. In addition, it includes others with gender self-perceptions other than the traditional (Western) dichotomous gender world-view (i.e., including only male and female), such as persons with "non-Western" gender identities (Langevin, 1983; Godlewski, 1988; Hoenig & Kenna, 1974; Sigusch, 1991; Tsoi, 1988; van Kesteren et al., 1996; Walinder, 1971a,b; Weitze & Osburg, 1996).

It is also important to mention that there are overlaps between the transgender and intersex communities with respect to the aforementioned definitions. As was pointed out earlier, because the majority of intersexuals have been and still are forcibly reassigned to the female gender at birth, the majority of intersexuals that seek sex reassignment are FTM. However, this does not mean that there are not some who are MTF as well. Thus the confluence of both gender and sex issues further adds to the problem of counting both the intersex and transgender populations.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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