What does it mean to be Transgender?

While traditional society tends to emphasize gender as a binary construct (being male or female), many people experience gender in a more fluid way.

Gender identity is how someone feels about themselves, as female, male, both, or neither.

Gender expression, is how they convey this felt sense of gender to the world, via their clothing, mannerisms, social roles, overall appearance and behaviour.

Individuals who identify as transgender may include:

  • People whose gender identity or gender expression does not match the biological sex that they were born with
  • People who do not ascribe to the gender binary – who identify and/or express themselves as being both genders or neither gender

Is there a relationship between being Transgender and Sexual Orientation?

How one feels about one’s own gender is different than who one is attracted to.  However, transitioning from one gender to another can have implications on how one perceives one’s own sexual orientation, as well as how the partner will understand their sexual orientation. For example, if a man and a woman are in a relationship, they may view themselves as heterosexual. However, if one day the man transitions towards becoming a woman, and this couple stays together, they may find themselves in what others might consider to be a lesbian relationship.  In this way, gender and sexuality are related, in that a change in gender identity or expression can lead to a change in perceived sexual orientation.

I am, or think I might be transgender. How can therapy help me?

Your gender identity and expression will only be the focus of therapy if you decide that it’s something that you want to talk about.  If your gender is not an issue for you, it’s not an issue for us either, and we can focus on whatever brings you to therapy, e.g., anxiety, depression, etc. However, if you do want to talk about your gender identity or expression, therapy can help you to:

  • Have a safe space to explore whatever’s on your mind
  • Sort through complicated thoughts and feelings
  • Explore how you might want to express your gender identity and in which contexts
  • Discuss how you might come out to loved ones if and when you want to
  • Cope with foreseeable or experienced harassment or discrimination
  • Work through internalized transphobia
  • Receive support, validation, and unconditional positive regard

I am thinking of pursuing sex-reassignment surgery. Do you offer letters of support for this?

Deciding to undergo surgery or hormone therapy to change one’s gender is a big decision. Being able to assess your readiness for this requires specialized training.  If obtaining a letter is important to you, please speak to our receptionist about it before booking, so that we can verify whether or not we have someone on staff who is qualified to provide this service.

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