The word ‘trans’ is often used as an umbrella term to describe people who feel their gender is, or has been, different from the one they were labelled with at birth.
'Trans' describes someone’s gender identity rather than their sexuality.
Some trans people prefer to write trans*. The asterisk shows that everyone who identifies as trans or non-binary is included.
How do you know if you’re trans?
You may have felt like you are not the ‘right’ gender from a very young age. Or your feelings may have come up when you started going through puberty or even later on in life. If you have any concerns about your gender identity there are people who can support and advise you.
Stereotypes about trans people
Some people assume that all trans people are ‘born into the wrong body’ and want to change their gender with surgery. This is not necessarily the case, although it may be true for some trans people.
All the same?
Everyone is an individual, and not all trans people feel exactly the same. Below are explanations of a few of the most common terms trans people use:
Trans male - someone who is labelled female at birth, but who has an internal sense of gender which is male - more about trans males ››
Trans female - someone who is labelled male at birth, but who has an internal sense of gender which is female - more about trans females ››
Transsexual – someone who usually feels that their gender identity does not match their appearance or the gender they were labelled with at birth. They may present to the world as the gender they truly are and many transsexuals will undergo hormone therapy and ‘gender confirmation surgery’.
Non-binary or genderqueer – someone who feels they do not fit into the male-female gender binary. Non-binary can be a stand-alone identity for some, while for others it can mean they may feel they are a combination of male and female or neither male nor female. A non-binary person could identify as male or female but choose to use a non-binary pronoun such as Mx. Non-binary people might use the singular ‘they’ and/or ‘them’ pronoun. It's important to ask people’s pronouns rather than making assumptions on your perceived expression of gender.
Cross-dressers - are usually comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth but enjoy wearing clothes usually identified with the opposite sex.
Prejudice and transphobia
Unfortunately trans people sometimes experience prejudice - this is called transphobia and, apart from making people feel worried and vulnerable, it is illegal.
Help and support for trans youth
If you have recently started questioning your gender identity, you may be feeling confused and lost and need someone to talk to. The following organisations can help:
cliniQ is a free holistic sexual health and wellbeing service for all trans* people, their partners and friends.
The trans-led team offer a safe, confidential space for those who may not feel comfortable accessing standard health and wellbeing services. cliniQ provides a range of services, including community support, gender identity counselling and groupwork.
Gendered Intelligence work with young trans people.
Mermaids offer family and individual support for teenagers and children with gender identity issues.
Trans Youth Network
Trans Youth Network also provides support and has an online forum.
THT Direct: 0808 802 1221
You can call 0808 802 1221 and talk to somebody at THT Direct about sex and sexuality. We can put you in touch with face-to-face support if you need it as well.
You can also visit the section of our website for trans men and trans women.