Sexual Health D&G



Understanding Transgender

It is widely known that gender is assigned at birth and created through the social circles and interactions made throughout our lives and that this process of defining gender identity can be harmful or limiting for many people.
Gender is a social or biological way to describe masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and vary differently between cultures.

Transgender is an umbrella term to describe people whose gender identity or expression differs in some way, or does not sit comfortably with the sex they were assigned at birth and conflicts with the ‘norms’ expected by the society they live in.


Image:Scottish Transgender Alliance website:

Attempting to list and define all possible gender terms is potentially controversial. Terminology varies widely and individual preferences should be respected: trans people might identify simply as men and women - or as transgender, trans man, trans women, gender variant, non-binary, transsexual or any other of a myrid of terms.

Of the things that could offend a trans person or lead them to feel misunderstood, excluded or distrustful, are mistakes involving forms of gender related speech. If unsure then ask what form of address a person prefers. 

Glossary of some of the more commonly used terms

Transgender man - A term used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male. Trans men should be treated as men and male pronouns should be used.
Transgender woman - A term used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female. Trans women should be treated as women and female pronouns should be used.
Non-binary – A term used for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ’woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people whose identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
Trans* - An umbrella term (similar to transgender) that refers to all the identities in the gender identity spectrum. The asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all transgender, transsexual and non-binary identities.

Transsexual - Term used in the past as a more medical term to refer to someone whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth based on their biological sex. The term is still used by some although many people prefer the term trans or transgender.

Cross Dressing- A person who dresses in clothes normally associated with another gender identity. People cross dress either privately or publically. Many cross dressers do not identity as trans, and many find the term transvitstite (sometimes used as an alternative) offensive.

What is Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is when someone experiences significant and long-standing distress, unhappiness and / or discomfort about their physical body not fully matching their gender identity. Experiencing gender dysphoria does not mean that there is anything wrong with a person’s gender identity. It merely means the person is experiencing a personally distressing disparity between their gender identity and gender related characteristics of their physical body.

Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical issue and gender reassignment treatment is available on the National Health Service in Scotland. This may involve hormonal and surgical interventions to modify someone’s physical appearance to help that person live their life in accordance with their gender identity.

Further Information

LGBT Youth Scotland (Dumfries) for Young People who identify under the Trans umbrella
DG1 Leisure Centre, Hoods Loaning, Dumfries DG1 2HT
Tel: 01387 255058

LGBT Plus in Dumfries offer a wide range of support services and social events for all gender diverse adults’ and their families.
Main Office: 3rd Floor, Newall House, 22 Newall Terrace, Dumfries, DG1 1LW
Tel: 0800 020 9653 (free from landlines)

Mermaids UK family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people.

The Scottish Trans Alliance works to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland.

Gender Identity Service at the Sandyford Clinic Sandyford, the specialist sexual health service for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde also provides a comprehensive gender identity service available to anyone in Scotland who is uncomfortable or uncertain about their gender identity or expression of their gender.
6 Sandyford Place, Glasgow, G3 7NB
Tel: 0141 211 8130

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