A Transexual is an umbrella term, which includes cross-dressers, transgender and transsexual individuals. It is important to differentiate between sex and gender. Sex has biological foundations and is connected to hormones, genitalia and hormones among other things. Gender is a social construct, and it has to do with the internal sense of self and your chosen self-expression.
Cross-dressing individuals like to wear clothes associated with the opposite gender. Some of them just feel more comfortable in those clothes, while others consider it as another form of expression of their personality. Cross-dressing does not make you a transsexual.
Transsexuals usually have conflicting physical and psychological genders. The difference makes their lives quite hard, and leaves them with an important decision to make. They can choose to live with their biological sex, (which is the more difficult path for them) or they might choose to undergo rather radical procedures, such as hormone therapy or surgery, so they can live with their preferred gender.
A small vocabulary of sexual confusion:
FTM: Female to Male, a. k. a. Trans Man.
MTF: Male to Female, a. k. a. Tran’s Woman.
Gender Queer: Someone who identifies as other than male or female or who does not believe in binary gender.
Coming Out: Telling the truth about your sexual preferences for the first time.
Passing: Being perceived as the gender you are presenting.
Disclosure: Revealing your transsexual status to someone.
Stealth: Passing as non-trans without revealing Trans status.
Binding: Flattening your chest to create a male torso.
Packing: Wearing a device to create an external appearance of male genitalia.
Drag: Wearing clothes appropriate for the opposite sex.
The process of declaring romantic or sexual interest to anything other than the conventional heterosexual interest is called “coming out.” This process can start with fantasies, attraction to the same gender, perhaps sexual experimentation, and definitely feeling different from others in his/her peer group. This process is not easy and often leads to emotional distress and chaos.
Coming out is the process of admitting your sexual orientation to yourself and others. While coming out usually refers to the revealing of homosexual identity, heterosexuals can come out as well. Straight youth have a much easier task with “coming out,” however. LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) youth must come to terms with their sexuality and resolve the fears and doubts about it. The acceptance of our own sexual preference is an integral part of our sexuality, and of our identity as well. Coming out to others provides new problems however. Adolescents may face rejection from friends or family, they could be thrown out of their homes, or face being cut off from their families – financially or emotionally. This is not necessary. Some people are honored that the coming out youngster has confidence in them, and it is not uncommon that coming out brings parents and children closer.
It is interesting that when LGBTQ young people feel an attraction to a member of the same sex, they often get the reaction, “You are too young to know,” or “It is just a phase.” While no one questions a teenager’s attraction to a member of the opposite sex the same way.
Coming out has historical aspects as well. Before the gay revolution in the 1970’s, disclosing a non-heterosexual identity could lead to police charges. The Gay Rights Movement was a catalyst to change attitudes and policies, and the coming-out of celebrity and athletic role models in subsequent years has also helped. Today, almost half of the states in the United States recognize gay marriage, and the federal government has recognized it too.
Coming out can be daunting, because there is no easy way to tell someone about your sexual difference. A good idea is to tell only your closest friend or friends about it. You may need to know first what you are going to say, because people tend to have inaccurate perceptions and information about sexual differences. The lack of initial support or positive response from friends and family should not discourage you, because people usually need some time to get used to this new information and have to learn how to show their support. If you want to tell everybody about being different, it would be a good idea to tell the mouthiest of your friends.
Each year an increasing number of gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents come out. Coming out is no less difficult today than it was 30 years ago. We just find a little more acceptance in some parts of society. Today, gay adolescents may not label themselves as LGBTQ, because they do not feel the need of a label, or they just try to avoid homophobic stigmatization.