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Want to know what all this gender stuff means? Here are a few very basic definitions:
First off, a few things to keep in mind! Gender and sex are not the same thing. I think the easiest way to understand this is that "sex is between the legs, and gender is between the ears". Basically, sex is physical, gender is emotional, and for some, spiritual. Gender is incredibly varient, and it is not appropriate to make assumptions about an entire group of people sharing an identity. Just because a group of people may identify the same way, it does not mean that they share the same qualities, ideals, or desires. Also, there is general etiquitte that everyone should keep in mind when meeting someone with an identity that you may have questions about. Just as you would have respect for anyone else, remember that people of variant gender identities are still 'anyone else', and it is not appropriate to assume that you can ask personal questions just because you are looking to become more educated. If there is something that you would like to ask someone, ask them if it's okay to first, and remember that even if they say it's okay, that does not mean that they will always answer a question if they feel it is too personal. You would not like it if people assume they can pry into your personal life just because you may be different from them, would you?
Trans*: Trans means transgressing, and when referring to gender, transgressing gender. Basically, trans is used to refer to someone who identifies as gender variant; maybe they are transitioning to the opposite gender, maybe not. Some people choose to identify as gender ambiguous. What this means is that people who identify as trans may feel as though their sex and gender are not the same, some may relate it to feeling like they are in the wrong body, and may take steps to alter their gender or sex so as to feel more comfortable. Transexual people have usually gone through some sort of gender/sex reassignment surgery (GRS/SRS) to match what they feel is their true gender. Transgender is another term that is commonly referred to as the umbrella term to embrace many different facets of gender variance.
Transgender: Transgender is an umbrella term used to encompass many facets of the trans* population. TG is a hard term to identify and often means something different to each person, but the most common or basic definition is a person who identifies with the opposite sex but does not medically transition.
FtM: Female to Male. This term applies to someone who was born and raised socially as female in most cases, but who identifies as a guy. Oftentimes, someone identifying as FtM has intentions on transitioning either partially or fully, but this is not always the case.
MtF: Male to Female. This term applies to someone who was born and raised as male in most cases, but who identifies as a woman. Oftentimes MtF people will have intentiones of transitioning either partially or fullly, but not always the case.
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