'Trans' can be used by and to describe people who are transgendered, transsexual or cross-dressers (transvestites).
Transgendered people feel that the sex they were assigned at birth does not fit easily with their own gender identity. For example, a boy with male genitals may feel emotionally and consciously like a girl, and a girl, with female genitals, may feel like a boy.
'Transgendered' does not imply a person's sexual orientation. Gender identity is how a person perceives themselves as being either male, female or gender-free, it is not related to who a person is attracted to. Someone who describes them self as gender-free does not identify with being either male or female.
Transsexual people usually want to live full-time as the gender they identify with and may choose medical procedures such as hormone treatment or surgery to change their bodies appropriately.
Cross-dressers (transvestites) are those who choose to wear clothes that are considered to be for the opposite gender but may not want to change their bodies.
If you are feeling unsure and uncomfortable about your body and gender it can be a worrying and confusing time. It may help to find out more about transgender issues and to speak to someone who will understand how you are feeling. Advice and support services run by transgendered people offer a range of services to provide the level of support you are looking for. Please see the resources listed below for details.
You may want to speak to someone - someone who won't judge you or tell you what to do, but will listen to your thoughts, fears and feelings. Befriending centres can help. They will listen to your problems, whatever they are, in a caring and non-judgemental way. You don't have to tell them who you are, and everything you say will be treated in complete confidence.
If you want to talk to someone right now you can click here.
There are many resources available for transgendered people, we have listed some below. If you need help or support please click on the link marked 'I need help'.
Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity
Press for Change
Parents, friends and family of transgendered people
A guide for young trans people in the UK
National Center for Transgender Equality
Gender Public Advocacy Coalition
International Helplines Directory