Gender identity is a person’s own feeling of what they identify as. This can be a woman, man, or varying combinations of these. It is also possible that people feel that no gender identity fits for them. Somebody’s identity can change. As time goes by, how much or little someone identifies with man-ness, woman-ness, and as other genders can change. People can be transgender, and identify as a gender other than what people said they were based on their body. They can also be cisgender, and happy with the gender assigned to them.
Gender has nothing to do with biology or science. People made it up to fit their ideas of what and how people should be. It can vary from place to place, culture to culture. Gender roles are society’s ideas about men and women. They can be like ‘men must be strong’ and ‘girls should dress in pink’. Gender rules tell people how people should and shouldn’t dress, act, or live their lives. These ideas put restrictions on how people live their lives and express themselves.
Gender is something that a lot of people think they understand, but most of them do not. Gender is not about ‘either you are or you aren’t’. It’s more like having both of these and more. Most people have at least some parts of other genders.
What does transgender mean?
If someone is transgender, the gender they identify as is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. So, if someone was born with a penis, the doctor might have said “it’s a boy,” but growing up, that person might realize that she’s a girl.
Many trans people may know early on that they don’t fit with the gender that people think they are. Some people find out later in their lives or take longer to know for sure. Either way, they also might not feel comfortable telling people they love.
Some transgender people choose to take hormonal therapy. MTF (Male to Female) transgender people born with a penis can take estrogen to make their body appear more ‘feminine’. FTM (Female to Male) transgender people can take testosterone to make their body appear more ‘masculine’. In addition to this, some people choose to undergo gender confirmation surgery to get a body they feel more comfortable in.
Other people who are transgender might not identify as a man or a woman. Some people are agender, not identifying with any particular gender. Other people may identify ‘between’ or other than a man or woman. They can use gender identities like genderqueer, bigender, nonbinary, genderfluid or other words. Each have separate meanings.
What’s the difference between gender identity and gender nonconforming?
Gender nonconforming means someone’s gender identity doesn’t always match how they like to dress or act. Whether they’re transgender or cisgender, anyone can still be gender non-conforming. So a transgender woman might sometimes like wearing a suit or a cisgender man might like to talk in a voice he sees as feminine.
Where can I learn more or get help?
If you think you might be trans or you’re helping someone who is, you have lots of options. There are many organisations supporting young transgender people and you can look below for details on some you can use in Montreal. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can text ask us at 514 700-4411!
ASTT(e)Q aims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer support and advocacy, education and outreach, and community empowerment and mobilization.
Concordia Center for Gender Advocacy
The CGA offers a lot of different services and events dedicated to empowering and advocating for gender equality and trans rights. They also offer free dental dams, as well as binders and gender-affirming IDs. Their Peer Support line is available at 514-848-2424 x7431.
This toll-free phone support line is entirely staffed by people who are trans people, letting people who are trans can be talk to people who understand their experience. The website explains the service in more detail, and tells you when specific volunteers with unique knowledge will be available to talk.
Offers various services (listening line, counseling, drop-in, advocacy, and workshops) to help maintain the personal, social and sexual well-being of LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ Youth Centre
A safe and welcoming environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people can meet up, get to know each other, and generally understand themselves better as queer-identified people.
Genderbread Person 2.0
A great diagram explaining four main concepts: Identity, Attraction, Sex and Expression, and what distinguishes them from one another. All four are found on a continuum, and examples are given to explain the fluidity. Provides a comprehensive foundation on starting a dialogue.
Transgender Glossary of Terms
GLAAD’s reference guide of general and transgender-specific terminology. Also describes commonly used derogatory terms and what terms should be used instead.