GLAAD's Transgender Resources
Welcome! Many people have questions about who transgender people are, and we hope this page is helpful to you.
GLAAD provides this page to educate those who may be unfamiliar with or want to learn more about the transgender community. According to poll data from 2008, only 8% of Americans said they either worked with or personally knew a transgender person, compared to 78% who said they worked with or knew a lesbian or gay person. As media representation of transgender individuals and the issues they face improves, it is important that that we all have an understanding of the facts and common misrepresentations surrounding trans people.
If you are a media professional, please check out our resources for covering transgender people in the media.
If you are a transgender person seeking resources, please see our list below.
Trans 101/Frequently Asked Questions
'Transgender' is an umbrella term often used to refer to people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. However, people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth may not self-identify as transgender; some may identify as transsexual, trans, genderqueer, a person of transgender experience, etc. Transgender people may or may not use a different name or pronoun than the one they were assigned at birth, and they may or may not pursue hormone therapy or surgery. When in doubt, always defer to the way a person self-identifies.
How is sexual orientation different from gender identity?
Sexual orientation describes an individual's enduring physical, romantic, emotional, and/or spiritual attraction to another person (for example: straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual). Gender identity is someone's personal sense of their own gender (for example: male, female). Like people who are not transgender, transgender people may identify their sexual orientation as straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
How do I talk about transgender people?
When referring to a transgender person, you should always use the person's preferred third-person pronoun (he/she/his/hers) and name. If you're uncertain which pronoun is appropriate for a person, you should respectfully ask that person rather than make an assumption.
When writing about transgender people, please use "transgender," not "transgendered"--which is considered incorrect.
Incorrect: "Max is transgendered."
Correct: "Max is transgender," or, "Max is a transgender man."
Keep in mind that 'transgender' should always be used as an adjective, never as a noun. For instance, instead of saying, "Max is a transgender," you should say, "Max is a transgender man."
What words are offensive to transgender people?
These words should not be used: 'transvestite,' 'she-male,' 'he-she,' 'it,' 'trannie,' 'tranny,' and 'shim.' These words are dehumanizing, and using them to refer to any person is similar to using an anti-gay epithet.
Pictured above right: George Washington University athlete Kye Allums came out publicly as transgender on Monday Novemebr 1, 2010, making him the first Division I college basketball player to ever do so while competing publicly.
Media outlets are doing an increasingly positive job of portraying transgender people in their coverage. One of the most encouraging examples of this is the inclusion of transgender actor and author Chaz Bono in the cast of "Dancing with the Stars" in its 13th season.
Chaz Bono pictured at right at GLAAD's 25th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles.
The Legal Status of Transgender People
Transgender people almost always deal with discrimination - much of which is perfectly legal. Many legal and administrative policies that regulate gender make it difficult for transgender people to go about their daily lives. Various forms of legal identification have different, and often stringent, rules about changing gender that leave many transgender people with little or no option for correct or consistent documentation, leading to problems in the long run. In addition, most states and countries offer no legal protections in housing, employment, health care, and other areas where individuals experience discrimination based on their gender identity or expression. Offensive stereotypes about transgender people only make matters worse.
- According to a study from the Anti-Violence Project (AVP), 40% of anti-LGBT murder victims in 2011 were transgender women. Transgender women made up only 10% of anti-LGBT violence survivors.
- In the same study, AVP found that transgender people of color were 28% more likely to experience physical violence compared to the rest of the sample of LGBT and HIV-affected people.
- In a report from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) conducted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Trangender Equality, transgender people faced double the rate of unemployment of the gereral population.
- The same NTDS report found that while discrimination was pervasive throughout the transgender sample, transgender people of color, and especially African American transgender people, were consistently fare worse than white respondents.
- 63% of transgender people in the NTDS report sample had experienced a serious act of discrimination that majorly affected their abilibty to sustain themselves, such as loss of a job due to bias, physical and sexual assault due to bias, homelessness because of gender identity/expression, or bias-motivated denial of medical service.
Pictured at right: 31-year-old Stacey Blahnik Lee was found murdered in her home on October 11 2010.
Trans People Speak Project
Watch and share videos at www.glaad.org/transpeoplespeak
I AM: Trans People Speak is a campaign created by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and sponsored by GLAAD to raise awareness about the diversity of transgender communities. It will lift the voices of transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends, and allies.
GLAAD's Work on Transgender Issues
- Report problematic or offensive coverage in the media
- GLAAD's work on trans issues
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide Transgender Glossary of Terms
- The Angie Zapata Murder: Violence Against Transgender People Resource Kit
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy
NYC LGBT Center's Gender Identity Project
Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
TNET – PFLAG's Transgender Network
Transcending Boundaries Conference
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Transgender Law Center (SF)
Transgender Law and Policy Institute
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
Trans Youth Family Allies
Transgender people in crisis should contact The Trevor Project 's 24/7 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386), Trevor Chat, the Trevor Projects' online messaging service, or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.