Most societies operate a gender system, in which specific sets of rules
are applied to individuals, depending on the sex of the individual.
In Western society a binary gender system is imposed, with one set of
rules for males, and one set for females. At one level the gender rules
cover the appearance and behaviour of the individual, at a deeper level
they also form part of the legal system.
Gender rules impose restrictions on every member of a society. They
change over time, but the changes tend to happen slowly. Other
societies, past and present, have developed different gender systems,
often with more categories.
Many people are unable to accept the rigid binary system. They may feel
restricted or oppressed by the rules for many different reasons.
The term transgender covers several groups of people, who do not fit into the system.
Cross Dresser's are males who may dress in female clothes for various
reasons, often feeling strongly motivated to do so. Cross dressing in
itself is harmless, and can be positive in its effects: many Cross
Dresser's find it highly effective as a method of managing stress.
Problems Cross Dresser's face include feelings of guilt within
themselves, and lack of acceptance from others. The first of these can
be countered by self-acceptance.
More than 90% of Cross Dresser's are Heterosexual.
Transsexual's generally feel a difference between their gender
identity, their sense of themselves as male or female, and their sex.
Resolution of this may require changes in their life leading to gender
reassignment, allowing them to live within the other gender category.
This will require professional help, and medical treatment.
Transsexual's may be male-to-female (MTF) or female-to-male (FTM).
This is one of a number of terms for those who do not fit within the
binary gender system. They may adopt either category at different
times, may feel that they belong to a third category, or feel that the
system is simply irrelevant to them.
For more information, see the following links ...
Beaumont Society .........www.beaumont-trust.org.uk
TransgenderZone ......... www.transgenderzone.com