Transgender / trans-individual: a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the biological sex assigned at birth.
Gender identity: a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or somewhere outside of that gender binary).
Gender dysphoria/incongruence: a term used to describe the discomfort or distress a person experiences because of the difference between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
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 transgender, transsexual, trans-individual, genderqueer or other.
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, therefore most transgender people seek to bring their bodies into harmony with their gender identity.
Gender Identity Disorder
Many people who experience dissonance between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth are diagnosed with gender identity disorder, some of whom will suffer from gender incongruence. Many of these individuals will seek to change their gender presentation to bring it into harmony with their gender identity. This process is known as “transition”. Transitioning may involve various types of medical treatment, to bring a person’s physical characteristics more in line with their gender identity and presentation.
The National Health Service (NHS) within the UK uses a diagnosis of “gender incongruence”, which is defined as the experiencing of discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between one’s biological sex, assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. The diagnosis is located under “Conditions related to sexual health” within the World Health Organisations International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).
There are a number of steps transgender or non-binary individuals may undertake in their transition including, hormone therapy, surgical intervention, vocal and speech coaching and permanent hair removal. All these services are provided at The London Transgender Clinic. Not all transgender people can or will undertake these steps, and it’s important to know that transitioning does not need to involve any form of medical intervention and this is entirely an individual choice.
Many trans individuals experience abuse, violence and discrimination before, during and after their transitioning. It is a sobering and distressing fact that in the UK, about half of young trans people and a third of adult trans individuals report that they have attempted suicide before transitioning.
At LTC our vision is to educate, treat and support trans and non-binary individuals to achieve lasting contentment within their gendered self.