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Getting to know transgender identities: using appropriate language


Understanding Gender Identity: Breaking Down the Binary


For years, we have been taught that only two genders and two sexes exist. However, the truth is much more complex than that. Gender identity is a topic that is often misunderstood. Still, it's important to unlearn old ideas and learn about the true meaning of gender.


When we are born, we are generally assigned a sex based on our biology, chromosomes, and physical body. Most people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, this is called being 'cisgender.' However, some people feel that their gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth. This is where transgender identities come in.


Transgender is both a gender identity and an umbrella term encompassing many other gender identities, including genderqueer and gender non-conforming. Genderqueer and gender non-conforming individuals often express their gender in ways that do not align with traditional gender roles or expectations. This may involve using gender-neutral pronouns, such as 'they/them', instead of gender-specific pronouns like 'he/him' or 'she/her'.

It's important to note that not all genderqueer or gender non-conforming individuals identify as transgender. Gender identity is a personal and complex topic, and everyone's experience is unique. By breaking down the binary and expanding our understanding of gender, we can create a more inclusive and accepting world for all.


When discussing the transgender community, using appropriate language is crucial. One example is using an asterisk (*) when shortening the term "transgender," which acknowledges the various identities that fall under the transgender umbrella.


Writing about this has felt like part of a journey we must all take to understand and educate ourselves. I thank one individual who helped me understand my outdated terminology and indirectly changed me by making the struggle of a marginalised community real. The reality is we as a community owe a debt.

The transgender community have supported us during countless times of need and, in some instances, even started the call to action for the greater community. Its time we help educate those around us and learn to ultimately be a more accepting and understanding community which works with the people to recognise that we are all individuals that have earned their right, regardless of age, to be who we are and in the way that they want to be seen and identified.


Consider this my eternal gratitude towards that particular interaction that educated me and continues to educate me by showing strength and conviction for who they are and always were meant to be. Your life proves that living your authentic life, how it was meant to be, inspires me to do more to change my world and, in effect, the world around me.

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