November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States — a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.
We often confuse a person’s sex with their gender. A person’s sex is determined by their physical anatomy, how we are put together physically.
Gender on the other hand is in our minds, how we see and think of ourselves, who we feel and believe we are deep within ourselves, how we express who we are to other people around us.
Transgender Day of Remembrance occurs annually on Nov. 20, designated as a day to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, or the hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and acts to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
In our culture, we quantify sex and gender as a binary of possibilities — male or female — with little room for variation in between.
Transgender people transcend or cross over these traditional gender lines to live our lives outside of society’s norms. As transgender, we view life not in a strict male/female binary concept, but rather a much fuller and richer continuum of possibilities across a variety of gender-related spectrums.
Often misunderstood, transgender is an umbrella term used to describe a larger group of people to include cross-dressers, gender non-conforming individuals, people who identify as transsexual.
Many or most transsexual people may be in various stages of changing their physical bodies in order to bring their minds, bodies and spirits into one unified, whole, happy person.
Some transsexual individuals may not have the desire or finances to change their physical bodies, but still need to live on a full-time, permanent basis in the identity opposite from their birth sex.