A Guide to Understanding Trans*

I thought I'd write this simple 401 to trans-gender, in hope, that it may clear any gray areas some people may have about gender variants. In today's world, schools and parents only teach there children about two genders. The "modern way". But, in fact, this is untrue. Male & Female are just the static genders in which one identifies and is physically. Following that is 20+ other genders which are swept under the carpet and not brought to the light as often as they should be. This leads to very frustrating and tiring questions everyday.

Could you imagine a complete stranger asking you the most intimate questions about your genitals, to sex, to your body right up to questions that lead to offense? Unfortunately, this is just a day by day chore for Trans men and woman, being asked some questions you just wouldn't ask anyone else. I hope this 401 someway or another distinguishes the myths to the facts and enlightens people on gender difference.

Each day, I'm faced with the same questions and sometimes the wording from the said person can be hurtful or offensive. If I reply stating that, it's not always they will see themselves, where the offense lies. I'll list a few below before going into a few deeper details of difference so you can gather the sort of outline structure of these questions.

"When did you choose to be a man/woman" "It's your choice..."

Okay, so some still live by this ideology that gender is a choice. Is it? If that is so, that is saying that anyone, including you, can just wake up tomorrow, flick a switch, and say right, i'm having a sex change. I'm going to spend thousands to be happy just for a few years, then ill switch it off and return back to myself. It doesn't work like that. Everyones gender is static and fluid due to science and genetic build ups. Without that, we would all be gender-less beings.

I have encountered hate crimes, been kicked out of my adoption home, left homeless TWICE for a total of 2 1/2 years, Endured high numbers of debt, been through a drug addiction, multiple suicide attempts including two, nearly killing me if it wasn't for a fast acting service, Lost close ones and friends, discriminated against each day all for the matter of a "choice". not forgetting that since 2009, Trans* murder rates have shot right up. 2014 seeing the highest figures yet. A toll of around 8,000 reported murders in the last 10 years and it'll continue to rise

Does that still sound like a choice someone would make? Is that a life you'd want for a choice? I'll go into deeper detail at the end of the questions about the difference in science on a trans* person and it may help build the understanding more.

So, what genitals do you have? Do they still work? Can you cum? How do you have sex?

Need I go into detail on that one? Pretty personal, right? Unforts, another frequent set we are asked way to often.

You have a penis/vagina, so you are still a man/woman

This is the lovely example of a politically correct bigot who can't see the internal science and is so fixated on ones genitals. Trans* is so much more complex than what genitalia you carry. Some choose to undergo gender reassignment surgery whilst others, simply don't. But, it's not a case of whats what. Should genitals really define someones gender? Especially when alot of there genetic build up has aligned to an opposite sex?

So, since you're trans* does that mean you like women or men?

Gender comes first, sexuality comes second. Trans is a gender not a sexuality

When do you go for "the op?"

Transition to society is seen as one operation, and this is far from true. There are multiple surgeries a trans person can undergo to correct bone mass, tissue and to feminize parts of the body. As stated above, not all will go for GRS. Some do not suffer with genital dysphoria. I would list all the operations in detail, but I don't want to keep this going 😛

You're perfect the way you are

Ouch. If it's one thing being born with a body you so merely hate and are disgusted at, its another being told that, that body, which causes heavy depression, self hate, upset, is "Perfect" and doesn't need correcting. Am sure some people still have logic, but I hear this WAY too much.

I'm not gay but
Oh, hey, that's okay. But, why do you feel the need to "protect" your heterosexuality? I'm not too sure you've seen what a gay marriage or relationship looks like, have you? I think your aiming that starter at the wrong person and need to learn gender, attraction and sexuality are three different things. If you find some one beautiful, so what? Embrace it and tell them. What is the big deal? That you may no longer be "straight"? Oh please lol

The list goes on and on but these are just a few. I can see people want to "learn" about gender, but some questions just should not be asked and some things, should just not be said.

Gender difference:

Trans is mainly in different parts of the andro levels, Brain bedding, Cell, Data, and genetic tissue build up.
These things are important for identifying your gender at birth to your physical body. But, in this process, one develops as one sex, whilst the above develop in the oppose. At birth, a doctor will look at genitals and think that a boy/girl. There are now countries introducing the "Trans scan" wich is a test they can perform on a child's brain to find out if your child may well be transgender. Doesn't sound too much like a choice now, does it? Gender can come in many different variants, and I wish in todays world, defining wasn't a problem and we all just learned to love and live. But, some just won't let that go and have to get all the juicy gossip from even the most personal aspects of our lifes.

Here is a list of known gender variants from biologist studies:

Male, Female, Trans gender Male, Trans gender female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Neutral, Gender neutral, Gender Neautral Male, Gender Neutral female, Inter-sexual Male, Inter-sexual Female, Inter-sexual male to female, Inter-sexual female to male, Hermaphrodite Male, Hermaphrodite Female, Hermaphrodite Male to female, Hermaphrodite Female to male, Hermaphrodite Gender Neutral

So, I hope this as somewhat helped clear any blurs and answer any of the questions you may have wanted to ask. Defining shouldnt be the case. I seeked nudism for acceptance and love as true nudists don't apparently judge a body, but it seems so many on certain sites (*coughs* TN *coughs*) Can't face reality and do continue to judge. I get judged in a clothed society, I was not expecting that in a nudist society. As you can see, when I want to get a point across I'm pretty sharp and straight to it, but this is all part of my inside... The inside alot seem to miss 🙁

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83 thoughts on “A Guide to Understanding Trans*”

  1. Well done Jodiee and thanks for writing this. There are clearly more variants than I had realised and after 58 years my knowledge of gender is still only superficial. In my experience, people seldom think if they can react instead (its much less effort). People mostly react in the way they have been taught or conditioned to react but young children usually just look at something, learn about it then accept it for what they believe that it is. It seems to me that we lose this ability as we grow older and prejudice takes hold, bringing suffering. You have done a good job by writing this blog and replying to our comments. More power to your elbow!

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  2. Thanx for this good information, an important phrase you wrote:" if you find someone beutiful,so what? Embrace it and tell them"… That s how we have to live, accepting who you are, not what you are.Nice person.Beautiful human.

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  3. Thank you for a very well written and informative blog and telling your story. Education and acceptance of people's differences are very important. The replies are very good, but I especially like what Peter Dob wrote.

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  4. Sorry. I meant to include varieties of genders. As a Christian I get really upset with the garbage some people proclaim in the name of Christ. My girlfriend's step-brother married his partner in a Catholic church many years ago when it seemed like Love was making a comeback. Sadly Blind Law is returning.

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  5. Unless I am going to be a therapist, surgeon, endocrinologist or whatever, I appreciate all the phases in a life and all the varieties we have in color, size, talents, ethnic mix and whatever and now sexuality. I think the important question is not what label some one has but who they are and how do they deport themselves. It is educational for me to know all the varieties in JodieLeigh's blog and I thank you for that. It is no use to me as a person and I'll never remember them.If we met some where and sat down and shared a beer or glass of water none of the above would matter to either of us. We all have different crosses to bear and need to mind our own business. Men especially need to compartmentalize, but that is an excuse. We can fight that.
    I know we have all varieties of beliefs here from atheist to true believer, but enough smart people have said "do unto others****" and "judge not***" and "love thy neighbor***".
    We refuse to simply own our own talents and shadows.

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    • This is gender, not sexuality as my blog states lol But thank you for your words. It is very true. I get alot of love from people on here and TN, but i do also face stigma and hate from others. I feel in todays world, we just need to accept beauty for what it is as a whole not just based on someones outside. You are very correct about beliefs also! We should be in a let and let live kind of world and respect the stregths some people go through to be who they really are xx

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  6. Good job JodieeLeigh! Sorry I am just discovering this at this late date.

    This was particularly informative, even for someone with several years experience with the TG community. You have a unique perspective, not only addressing cultural issues at large, but also being able to share insights into life as a trans-gendered individual in the context of the nudist/naturist/body-freedom communities.

    I look forward to hearing more from you.

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  7. Hi Jodiee, I’ve always worked on the basis of what makes a person attractive is what goes on between their ears. How “attractive” or appropriate, in the mainstream sense of the words, the rest of their physical person might be is of far less importance. I came to the Naktiv site about the same time as you did and have formed the impression that you are an articulate and intelligent person.

    Obviously, no one can see in to anyone else’s mind. We have to judge that mind based on the actions laid out via their body. Anyone who is present on a site like the Naktiv site is clearly body comfortable, even if that body may not be their own personal ideal. Being here is an action which applies to all of the members and I find this is a behaviour which I take to indicate a certain type of mind, which I like. Fat, thin, young, old, trans or currently physically appropriate, they’re on the Naktiv site site so something of a shared outlook exists with me. I might make other judgements based on behaviours such as the images they post, the comments they make and what they “like”. I suppose I might form some sort of an opinion influenced by what they feel is appropriate hairstyle and jewellery, but these I take as simple reflections of the workings between the ears.

    Gender, absolutely, is in the mind. Love is in the mind. I hope you end up in a place where you are comfortable, happy and loved.

    Peter

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  8. I have a friend who was born intersex, initially raised as a girl, then underwent surgery to be assigned as a male, and has a son.

    Trans is short for 'transition' as in transitioning from one gender to the other, whilst intersex have both genitalia at birth and cannot therefore transition from one to the other.

    There is now widespread acceptance of the third sex, where a person lives as other gender, but doesn't undergo gender reassignment surgery. This is commonplace in many South East Asian countries, with some of the enlightened nations officially accepting the third gender.

    If you visit South East Asia you might be served by a trans person in a shop or cafe without knowing. In a recent secular civil court case in Malaysia trans people have been given the okay to wear whatever they feel fits their gender identity, overruling the earlier Sharia court decision.

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  9. if this was mentioned above forgive me. In my experience the trans title if you will covers two different aspects. The first is the true trans gender person , those that were born with both sets of genitalia, and those that are for what ever reason the gender other than they are physically.

    at the end of the day WTF does it matter. My wife and I have had relationships with both. They were just beautiful loving people. and in most cases more honest than hetros we have known.

    My problem with people is not gender identification it is honesty or lack there of.

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  10. I feel lucky in that I enjoyed science and especially biology as a youth. When the thalidomide debacle happened there was publicity about all the deformities that occurred in utero. As a biology lover, in time I was made aware of all the mistakes nature makes to include children born without genitals and those born with both sets. In the latter case there was guesswork that there may have been twins originally but one was absorbed into the other accounting for a variety of extra body parts. In some cases doctors delivered a baby and on there own or with parents input snipped off "offending" penises and decided on the child's sexuality. Failure!!!

    It comes as no surprise that there are countless people whose bodies have developed outside the norm. Hormones are powerful tools in creation and some got the short end of the stick.
    In high school the counselor called me in to tell me I came out on the female side of the personality test! Why? Things like enjoying art and classical music made me effeminate in 1961. People want black/white right/wrong question/answer.
    Nature answers gray, maybe and no one knows.

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    • Not all, but certainly many of the issues people face with coming to terms with gay/trans/whatever are to do with NOT knowing any better. Because heterosexual male/female is basically what is taught in schools and nursery rhymes. Never underestimate the value of information/education!

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      • This exactly. And, I know labour have plans of bringing more varient education in gender and relationships into schools in the uk if they win the election hence I'm backing them. It is about time that education is extended as when you leave school, you discover there is so much more out there that you weren't taught and some areas can be very taboo hence we do have a lot of "Phobic people" out there. I think if education was taught on all aspects, even though some parents do not like it, kids will grow up much differently than they are today. You hit the nail on the head there hun x

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        • In Spain, some years ago the Socialist party introduced a new subject in primary school so that children could learn (among other things) that there are more than the two classical gender variants and straight sexuality. When they returned to government, conservatives swiftly removed this subject. As you say, there is much to do in education. This post have realy helped me a lot in understanding the issue.

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  11. The term "ladyboy" is accepted in Thailand, in preference to the Thai word "Katoey" which is used in a derogatory manner. Unfortunately the term ladyboy has become associated with the sex trade and entertainment (The Ladyboys of Bangkok have been touring the UK with a successful show for a few years! They are currently in Leeds.)

    Transgender, or Trans for short, followed by the chosen gender noun is the politically correct wording accepted in the west.

    It annoys the pants off me when people are too stupid to understand the difference between transgerism and transvestism, and refer to trans women as tranny's. There is so much ignorance in the world, but as naturists we should be accustomed to it I suppose, since there are people who think nudity = sex.

    Transgerism is stigmatised here in the UK, but is so common in Thailand for many years that it is accepted among the populace, but not by the government unfortunately. Despite there being so many trans women in Thailand they still have to identify as male on ID cards and passports.

    Pete

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    • Thanks, Peter. That's very informative. I didn't know Thailand doesn't change their gender in ID cards. I know my country is even worse. When I was about to get married, I was asked by the Registry of Marriages to show proof that I was born a male. I jokingly asked if I should strip but the counter woman was not amused. Anyway, I told her that was really backward. What if I was born a woman but had a sex change to be a man. Why should the State decide for me my gender? But she said the law was the law. Thailand is still more progressive than my country any time.

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    • It's too easy for people to "assume" we know what they know. The especial value of Jodiee's blog here is that perhaps we can explain what is meant by the various terms and concepts in a place where people can find the answers. I've already referred others to this interesting and informative blog, and reading it has cleared up some further points for me too.

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  12. Jodiee Leigh the TV programme called "Ladyboys" follows Trans males in other counties, the few programmes I've seem have shown the world trans beauty contest. It also follows some of the contestants in their normal day to day lives, trials and tribulations.
    Its only with this type of TV show that a lot of people see and hear about Trans people, in my view even though they only touch on a small part of the lives of transsexuals they do help to break down barriers and make bridges us all.

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      • I don't understand what you are saying Jodlee. Are you saying Chris got it wrong and it should be "trans females"? I did think he wrote it wrongly when I first read it. Are you also saying that ladyboys are a different category and they don't really understand the lives of trans women? "Ladyboys" is a common term used to describe the Tiffany show in Pattaya, Thailand. Thailand is the single country in South East Asia that is perfectly accepting of trans females. In a remarkable "Thailand's got Talent" episode, a trans female sang a song to rousing applause. It's very heartwarming to see an Asian country so tolerant of variations within our human species. I think there's a lot going for Buddhism which is the main religion of Thailand. You'll NEVER see this kind of tolerance in a Muslim country.

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        • Trans is the "condition", Female is the gener they recognize, so yes it was wrong. And, again (You keep commenting and commenting) We are NOT Talking about tv shows. We are talking about the programme and how it is NOT the reality of trans lifes over here. I never once mentioned it "not being accepting". You need to starting reading things.

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          • I do read what you write. But you don't express yourself in a manner which makes the matter clear for me. Perhaps you use colloquialism that I'm not familiar with and I'm sorry I really couldn't understand this which you wrote: "*Trans females and I know, I as on the UK Spin off that got dropped co of how we "educate" it over here. Ladyboys has no realization on real lifes on trans women". Your further explanation befuddles me even more.

            I did not say that you said anything about "not being accepting". I brought up the fact that Thailand was accepting of trans people and that puts them apart from the more unaccepting countries in Asia. I brought up Thailand as an example of a progressive nation in this respect. I made no mention about you saying anything on this matter.

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  13. I think this is a very bold and timely discussion.

    I can understand the biology of balance between male and female chromosomes which can produce a wide variety of different secondary gender charateristics. I can also understand the effects of hormones on those characteristics, hormones which can help people to change the way they look and feel.
    What I have difficulty with is with the social effects of these differences, why it matters to so many people which it so obviously does.
    In a utopian society where people were equally empowered, and everybody dressed androgynously, if at all, and were mostly bisexual enjoying relationships with individuals of both genders, what would be the reality of a feeling of gender misalignment? If people also had interchangeable social roles regardless of gender, except for the biology of reproduction what then is left?

    I suppose what I am really asking is 'is the feeling of gender dysfunction socially constructed?'

    I am trying very hard here not to offend and apologise in advance it I have failed but please can anybody help me understand the essence of the issue?

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    • two things to add…first off…its bad education telling children 'this is a man and this is a woman'. It's easier that way but it's lazy and it leads to surprise and ill-reaction in adulthood. Secondly…we as humans have evolved to look for patterns and react when something does not fit the pattern…a defence mechanism…hence we 'make discrete' things that are instead on a continuous grey scale. We subconsciously compartmentalise…because we like pattern and order. Sometimes our reactions to things that are different are out-of-personality…hence we forget to be diplomatic and offend too easily because we are startled. The solutions are obvious…teach the young, and respect difference.

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  14. Thanks for sharing JodieeLeigh. This is a bit of an eye opener. I hope this doesnt come across in a negative way but here goes:

    Transgender is, for most people, extremely unusual. Sexism or Genderism (?) is unacceptable. We should all practise tolerance and seek to remove our ignorance without jugdement. But I hope you can understand why most people (myself included) are so ignorant about the issue? it's something of a 'taboo' subject. Medical science has only recently been able to address the issue for those in this situation and so society is slowly adjusting to the reality.

    I think I was most enlightened by that issue not too long ago (a year or two) where a professional runner was accused of being male, entering a female contest. There followed a period where she underwent tests and the media reported on this to a largely ignorant public who thought it was a straight forward issue. After this, I realised that gender is far more complicated than have the right set of reproductive and sexual organs.

    I hope that you are patient with those you meet who may have questions, and I hope that you understand where their ignorance comes from. I'm sure you know far far more about the topic than most people and (without knowing exactly what people have said to you) in a way, it's nice to know that those you meet have the courage to ask you these questions out of genuine curiosity about a topic less common.

    I DO know that it is not just YOU who needs to be patient and understanding of others who are curious about trans and I refer you back to the start of my comment about genderism (have I just made that word up?).

    Once more, I hope this does not come across in a negative light JodieeLeigh, I do not mean any ill-feeling and thank you again for sharing so openly.

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    • There is a lot of truth in what you say. I'm extremely afraid of saying the wrong thing and even the little that I said in my above comment was wrong. LOL. I understood the blog post perfectly but somehow when I made my comment, I again confused gender with sexuality. It's very easy to make a mistake because I do not know any trans personally and so I can't even ask anyone who's really in the situation about it. You see, in that preceding sentence (just one sentence), I had to think carefully about three things:-

      1. Is "trans" an offensive term for transgender? But since the title of the blog post says "trans", I felt safe to use it.

      2. At first I wrote "I can't even ask her about it". And then I thought if I was presumptuous to say "her". What about a trans who wants to be a man? So I changed that to "anyone".

      3. And then I wrote "anyone with that condition" and I immediately paused. Is that insensitive and offensive? How can I speak of it as a "condition" as if it were an ailment. So I changed that to "anyone in that situation". And then I worried if that might imply that it's only a temporary situation that can be changed. A trans would be furious if anyone said her trans nature was fleeting and could be changed.

      I think it's very easy to offend someone without intending it. And because of the extreme likelihood that something someone says is bound to be a mistake, most people would rather say nothing. And the ignorance continues. Someone just rebuked me yesterday for using the word "niggardly". She said I was insensitive and the word was too close to "nigger". But the two words don't even share the same etymology.

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      • No, you was perfectly fine in what you said, but I stated in the above post it's a gender not a sexuality hence I repeated myself. At the end of the day, you need to say what you want for someone to come back and correct it's the only way people will learn So, on that note, A Trans woman/Man is the correct term not "A Trans". Also, if someone is female you call her, her. IF someone is male you call them he. I am a transsexual female, I go by her. Condition/Aliment theres many things people have called it and to be fair, I think its just a "Variant" as I again, stated in the blog. I hope that helps 😉

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    • I get you. "Transgender is, for most people, extremely unusual" That though, is untrue. I would go in to it but Rich knows what I am going about as I've had a chat with him about society and the way me and many other TS girls have been treated. It's more Sexualized and fetishnized & little understanding by many instead of "acceptance and understanding". I remember reading about that story too. I always try to show people you can undergo tests and brain scans now to find out if one is trans, but nope, they have none of it haha

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    • My country is very conservative. The old British law (yes it comes from the UK) criminalising homosexual acts is still in the statute books. Although the government has assured the people that they won't prosecute anyone for that, Christian and Muslim groups and other conservative people want the law to be kept. Anyway, you can't expect much from a country in which it's an offence to bring in chewing gum. LOL

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      • Why are you comparing transsexualism to homosexualism, they're not the same. Also, criminlizing? Gay people have the right to marry. So do trans women/men. Trans women and men also have the "right to be forgotten" and have every inch of previou slife removed from every angle possible leaving them with there new ID. Trans people also have the right to a new birth certificate with the appropriate gender on it. Trans people also have the right to access free surgery to reconstruct the genitals. Theres alot, but it's far from homosexuality. Half the things you keep saying obviously shows you really haven't took note of the blog post properly. *facepalm*

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        • I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. I didn't mean to say that transsexualism was the same as homosexuality. But it's my fault. I should have made myself clearer. What I meant is this. My country is very conservative. It criminalises homosexual acts from a law it inherited from England that saw Oscar Wilde imprisoned. It also bans the sale and import of chewing gum. Merely taking a packet of chewing gum into the country is an offence. These two examples – the criminalising of homosexual acts and the banning of chewing gum – show how repressive my country is. But I didn't mean transsexualism is the same as homosexuality or chewing gum.

          One major problem I think why everyone is so ignorant about transsexualism is the fact that it is so rare. And a lot of people are very cruel to trans people and so most of us don't dare to say anything for fear we might be misconstrued as one of the many cruel people. And although I really didn't confuse transsexualism with homosexuality, I used to be very confused about the two. A long time ago, I referred to a gay man as "she". I thought it would be appreciated but he was furious. He was quite feminine but he wanted to be known as a man. And I used to think there was no difference between homosexuality and transsexualism – I thought it was just a matter of degree. And I was really not alone. Lots of people are confused.

          But when I became older, I could see the difference is huge. A gay man has a sexual preference for men but he doesn't want to be a woman. And he'll chew you up if you refer to him as "her". There are many more gay people than there are trans people. I have friends who are gays and lesbians. But I don't know a single trans person. I've only seen strangers who are trans people and of course I don't look at them because it'd be rude to do so and as it is whenever I see them in public places, other people are staring at them rudely and so the last thing I want to do is to be like other people. Because of this, I only have fleeting glances of trans people and I don't even know any one of them.

          I once saw a documentary about trans people in Singapore. There was a Dr Ratnam who was the only surgeon who did sex change operations in Singapore at the time. It's now discontinued and trans people go to neighbouring countries for surgery. He said something that shocked me. He said many of his patients would kill themselves if they didn't have the operation. But if we all think about it, it's not surprising. I ask myself what I would do if I woke up one morning to find that I had female genitals and my whole person was a woman. I think I would go into an endless depression.

          But this variant is extremely rare. And because it's so rare, it's easily misunderstood. And the worst thing is cruel people and there are so many of them in my country – if a trans person walks to a bus shelter, everyone is staring at her.

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  15. Thanks. This is very educational. I didn't know there were so many variants. I'll google to find out what the differences are. I always thought that apart from heterosexuals, there were only four: L,G,B & T.

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  16. I posted earlier, but in trying to edit a typo I deleted by mistake. Anyway, here goes for a second attempt.
    Jodiee: You may, or may not have heard of Sass Rogando Sasot, she is a trans activist from the Philippines, currently living in Holland, who appeared before the UN Assembly to speak on transphobia.

    Fight against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: http://youtu.be/JrOc6CIQjtc

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  17. I also grew up as you say only knowing male/female gender until later in life when i discovered about others.I did not know there were so many until now!! This is a very interesting blog,thanks for finding the time to write and explain all about a subject which not a lot of people know about

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