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Identifying as Trans

When a baby is born, we are often excited to announce that “it’s a boy!” or “it’s a girl!”  However, not everyone agrees with the gender they were assigned at birth and that’s totally okay.

This page provides some useful information that may help if you identify as trans or wonder if you might be trans.

What does being trans mean?

  • Trans is a short form for the terms transgender and/or transsexual. It can be used to describe many different ways of identifying your gender.
  • Transgender: Someone whose gender identity or expression differs from their biological sex or from assigned, strict male/female identities.
  • Transsexual: Someone whose gender identity is different from the biological sex they were assigned at birth. Some transsexual might change their sex by having surgery known as sex reassignment surgery or taking hormones. This process of change is known as transitioning.

I fantasize about being another gender. Does this mean I am trans?

  • Possibly. Your fantasies are a safe way to explore your identity and your feelings about your gender. They help you learn more about yourself and can help you as you think about your gender identity. This normal and does not necessarily mean you are trans.
  • Remember it’s up to you to decide how you define your gender. (For more on gender and exploring your identity, check out Understanding Your Own Sexual Identity and Gender.)

How do I know if I’m trans?

  • Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
    • Do I feel comfortable with my biological sex?
    • Am I comfortable or uncomfortable with my sex-specific body parts? (for example, do I have breasts and wish I didn’t?)
    • Do I wish I had body parts that I don’t have?
    • What gender do I feel most comfortable expressing myself in?

Is it possible to be trans and attracted to members of the same sex?

  • Yes. Gender identity and sexual identity are two different things.
  • Trans people can be gay, bi, lesbian or straight.

How will being trans affect my life?

  • In an ideal world, being trans would simply mean living your life in the sex/gender that fit for you, with access to ways of changing your body if you wanted.
  • Unfortunately, our society is not always accepting of people who are trans and you may experience discrimination, bullying or violence because of transphobia.
  • If you have transitioned from male to female, your experience of sexism might change.
  • Fear of discrimination keeps some trans folks from coming out about their gender identity.
  • The trans community provides support for people who have experienced these forms of discrimination, and is working to combat this kind of discrimination. For more information, check out Supports for LGBTQ Youth

Should I change my appearance?

  • Only if this is something you want to do. If you want to change your appearance, here are some options you could consider:
    • Change the way you dress or wear your hair.
    • Take hormones to make your secondary sex characteristics more in line with your gender identity.
    • Have surgery to change your genitals and other characteristics.

I know I’m trans. What do I do now?

  • That will depend on you! Realizing you are trans is an important step in your journey to self-discovery and self-exploration. Where you choose to go from here is your call.
  • Here are some possibilities:
    • You may choose to simply continue doing the things you were doing before.
    • If it feels right and safe for you, you might want to try representing yourself in the gender that matches your gender identity, privately or publicly for a day or a few hours.
    • You may want to live most of the time or all the time in the gender that matches your gender identity.
    • You could decide to change your name or gender pronoun.
    • You may consider connecting with other trans youth or trans adults. For more info, check out Supports for LGBTQ Youth
    • You might want to become more active in the community and work on combating transphobia, or work to include trans issues in your school or community.
    • You may decide to come out to friends, family and peers. For more info, check out Coming Out.
    • You may want to explore other options and procedures for transition with a trans-positive open health care provider.