An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Sometimes abbreviated as trans.

Although the word “transgender” and our modern definition of it only came into use in the late 20th century, people who would fit under this definition have existed in every culture throughout recorded history.

Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.

Some transgender individuals undergo a process called “gender transitioning” in order to match their gender identity more closely with their outward appearance. This can include changing clothes, names or pronouns to fit their gender identity. It may also include healthcare needs such as hormones or surgeries.


Human Rights Campaign used by BMC’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery;