Different coloured letter blocks spelling out "transgender".

Transgender is an umbrella term which refers to any person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. It also includes non-binary identities.

If you are someone who identifies with the gender you were born with, you are described as cis-gender. 

However, not all people feel this way and as they grow up, they begin to identify with other genders or perhaps feel like who they are doesn’t fit any existing gender description.

How will I know if I’m transgender?

If you were born male or female and start to realise that you identify more with a different gender, it’s understandable to be confused or worried.

There is nothing wrong with feeling this way but it’s a big moment in your life and it helps to have someone with whom you can talk things through. 

Choose who you talk to wisely. Some people know their gender immediately and are confident in their gender expression. For others, it’s a longer process that becomes clear at different stages of their life.

The most important thing is to trust that you know yourself best and to surround yourself with people who will love and support you for who you are.

How can I express my gender identity?

There are many ways you can express your gender identity:

  • You can ask people to address you with your preferred pronouns and/or name
  • You can change your hair, clothing and mannerisms to reflect your gender
  • Once you are old enough, you can opt to have surgery to align your gender identity with your appearance

However, it’s important to remember that you do not have to do all or any of these things in order for your gender identity and expression to be respected.

Support for transgender people

It’s important to remember that there is support available if you are confused or questioning your gender identity.

BeLong To and TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) are two organisations that offer support to LGBTI+ people and their families to help them overcome any difficulties they may be experiencing.

If you simply want to talk through how you’re feeling, Childline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 1800 66 66 66 or use the Live Chat button on childline.ie.

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