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Transgender Health

transgender coupleThese pages are about the special health concerns of transsexual people, those who want to change their bodies to be like the other sex. The process of changing the body, through hormones, surgeries, and other means, is commonly referred to as "transitioning."
» Additional topics on Transgender Health

Transgendered people are a diverse group, including people who feel a strong identification with the other gender; people who cross-dress occasionally or regularly; and people who actually change their bodies to look and feel more like the other sex.

People whose genes, genitals, or reproductive organs aren't clearly male or female are intersexual. To learn more about intersexuality, visit the Intersex Society of North America website.

What does transsexual mean?

Transsexuals are persons who identify so strongly with the other sex or gender (biologic females who identify as men and vice versa) that they change their bodies, through hormones and sometimes surgery, to look and feel more like the other sex. Following transition, transsexual people often function quite normally in society in their sex of reassignment, and often those around them do not know that they were born the other sex. They may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual -- gender identity is neither the same as, nor is it necessarily related to, sexual orientation.

Biologic females who transition to live as men are also called transgendered (transsexual) men or FTM (female to male). Biologic males who live as women are called transgendered (or transsexual) women or MTF (male to female).

Why do transsexual people have special health concerns?

MTF personTranssexual people face a unique set of emotional health issues. Living in a body that feels foreign, and being perceived widely as a gender that feels wrong and unnatural is enormously challenging. In addition, the process of transitioning to the other sex brings up a myriad of specific challenges, some anticipated and others harder to predict.

Transsexual people typically take cross-sex hormones throughout their lives and they may also undergo surgeries to change their bodies. Both the hormones and the surgeries can have specific health effects that need to be acknowledged and monitored to maintain the good health of a transsexual person.

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All information is general in nature and is not intended to be used as a substitute for appropriate professional advice. For more information please call (206) 296-4600 (voice/TDD).

Updated: Friday, August 11, 2000 at 02:36 PM PDT

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