I see a lot of discussion on this forum posted by cisgender fetishists with little knowledge of transgender issues. That is unfortunate, because it makes the place unfriendly to actual transgender people. To combat the high degree of ignorance of trans issues, here are some of the basics. 1. Transgender people are born this way. It is not a choice. It is not a lifestyle. Don't call it a choice or a lifestyle. 2. The brain has gender, just like the genitals do. While most people have brain gender and genital sex that match, transgender people have a brain and genitals that do not match. 3. The brain differences that determine gender are structural. It is not that they 'think' or 'imagine' that they are their gender; in fact, the structure of their brain doesn't permit them to think anything else. 4. Being transgender is not a mental illness. It is just part of the variety of being a human being, no different than having blue eyes. 5. You can't become transgender if you weren't born that way. And if you were born that way, you can't ever stop being transgender. 6. At birth, if the doctor sees a penis, they say "boy"; if they don't, they say "girl". Sometimes they are wrong. Who you "really" are is determined by your brain, not by the presence or absence of a penis. 7. Some transgender people figure out their true gender at a very young age. Most transgender folks envy them. MOST transgender people figure it out as adults, after struggling unsuccessfully to be the gender their parents told them to be. 8. Just like some cisgender people are gay and some are straight, some transgender people are gay and some are straight. Being transgender has NOTHING to do with sex. Nobody goes through the agony of transitioning just so they can boink a man: there are easier ways to do that. 9. You can't always tell if a person is transgender. Some people "pass" so well that even medical professionals can't tell the difference. There is no reason why you need to know unless you are trying to conceive a child. 10. Most transgender people are not looking to lay you. Most just want to get on with their lives with the least hassle possible. 11. Vocabulary: Transgender - someone whose gender does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. They may or may not transition their outward presentation. They may or may not alter their body. Grammatically, the word 'transgender' is only an adjective. You don't say that someone is 'a transgender'; you say that they are 'a transgender person'. You don't add '-ed' to make the word an adjective, because it already is one. A person is not 'transgendered'; they are 'transgender'. Transsexual - a transgender person who alters their body (by hormones or surgery) to make their body's primary or secondary sexual characteristics match their experienced gender. Cross-dresser - someone who dresses to present an appearance that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most cross-dressers are transgender, whether they are full-time or part-time cross-dressers. They may or may not choose to alter their body (i.e. become transsexual). Transvestite - an obsolete and insulting term. While is seems similar to cross-dresser, it implies a sexual fetish that has nothing to do with being transgender. Trans woman - someone who was assigned male at birth, but whose gender is female. Trans man - someone who was assigned female at birth, but whose gender is male. Intersex - someone whose genitals were ambiguous at birth. Their sex assigned at birth tends to be arbitrary and is often wrong. This was one of the first scientific indications that gender is in the brain, not the genitals. Drag queen/king - a performer whose performance specialty is an exaggerated impersonation of the oposite gender. They are usually not transgender. Transition - the process of changing one's presentation to live presenting as one's true gender. Transition can be as simple as cross-dressing, or it can involve hormone therapy and/or surgery. It is typically a long process, painful both physically and emotionally, not to mention financially. Many transgender people choose to transition; many do not, for various reasons. Biologically male/female - an inaccurate term used by transphobes. A trans woman is not 'biologically male'; she is biologically transgender female. A trans man is not 'biologically female'; he is biologically transgender male. The brain is just as biological as the genitals!