What Does Transgender Mean?
Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people who live outside traditional gender categories, including transsexuals, transvestites or cross-dressers, gender queers, two-spirit, and sometimes people who identify as butch or femme. A transgender person is someone whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional expectations of masculinity or femininity.
Gender Identity is one's internal sense of being male or female, and for non-transgender people, there is no difference between their gender identity and their physical sex. However, transgender people find their gender identity differs from their physical sex.
People who are transgender can face discrimination in their jobs, churches, and schools, as well as judgment from their friends, families and coworkers. Unlike many who are members of minorities related to sexual orientation, a transgender person may not be able to choose when they come out. Their physical appearance may automatically "out" them.
People who are transgender have issues similar and dissimilar to the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities. All these communities face issues related to coming out, relationships, community, identity, family, friends, etc. Both experience discrimination on the basis of gender and identity.
Frequently, homophobic discrimination occurs because of the way a gay or lesbian person presents his or her gender. Similarly, a transgender person is often discriminated against because they are perceived to be gay or lesbian. The transgender community, however, also faces its own distinct set of issues, just as there are different issues between lesbians, gays, and bisexual people.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of transphobia in the LGB community, and similarly there is a great deal of homophobia in the transgender community, just as there is both homophobia and transphobia in non-LGB/non-Transgender crowds. Most of this is simply due to ignorance.
from University of Austin, Texas