Transgender Made Simple


When Boo first told us she was transgender, I thought I knew what that meant.  I have since discovered that the term “transgender” encompasses the entire group of people who consider themselves to be gender variant, in whatever form that may take.

Merriam-Webster defines transgender as:

of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.


transgender symbol
By User:ParaDox – en:User:ParaDox – de:Benutzer:ParaDox (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Imagine waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror and not seeing the face or body you expect to see.  You know in your head that you are a woman, but your face and body are that of a man.  How would you feel?  What would you do?  This is a simplified look at what transgender people go through.  It is called gender dysphoria.  This term includes not only people like Boo who were born one gender and think of themselves as another, but also people who are bi-gender (consider themselves both male and female), genderless (don’t identify with either male or female) or gender fluid (male sometimes and female sometimes).  Are you confused yet?

If you have a friend or loved one who is transgender or just want to learn more about what it means to be transgender, I highly recommend the book, Trans Forming Families, by Mary Boenke.  This book is a compilation of true stories, told by transgender people and their families.  The insights in this book helped to make the first year of Boo’s transition easier for us, her family.