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Spectrum Transgender
Group of Western NY
P.O. Box 596
Buffalo, NY 14207

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a 'transgender'?

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe anyone who is gender different: someone born of one gender, but having either a casual affinity for clothing, and/or affectations of the opposite gender; or someone with an innate identification as the opposite gender. Transgenders can range from female impersonators, to crossdressers, to transsexuals - both male to female, and also female to male.

Are all transgendered people transsexual?

No. Many transgenders are crossdressers - people who identify as the gender of their birth, but who occasionally wear clothing or act as the opposite gender. Crossdressers are people who virtually never feel the need to actually become, or live as the opposite gender.

Are all transgendered people just homosexual?

No. In fact, sexuality among transgenders is a microcosm of the entire sexual spectrum of society at large. The majority of crossdressers are, in fact, heterosexual; often married with children and grandchildren.

Do all transsexuals change their sexuality on hormones?

Some do, some do not. Sexual orientation can be very fluid among transgendered poeple. Some may change their orientation during or after transition, while others remain attracted to the same gender they were attracted to prior to transition.

What is 'intersexed'?

Simply put, intersexuality is a set of medical conditions that feature congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. That is, intersexed people are born with "sex chromosomes," external genitalia, or internal reproductive system that are not considered "standard" for either male or female

Do transgendered have families?

Yes, many do. A majority of crossdressers have wives and often children. Though many transsexuals experience the break-up of families, there are numerous instances of wives who stayed with their former husbands, even after the surgery, and became legally married lesbians. Several FTM transsexuals marry and have children as well. It's remarkable testament to people who "love the person" instead of the image.

Are transgendered people prone to sexual perversion or pedophilia?

No. This is unsubstantiated and misinformed 'fact' that is used to falsely discredit transgenders. Human nature often views someone who is different or exotic as potentially a threat, and thus suspect. It is always based on lack of, or very limited exposure to actual individuals of that group.

Are all transgendered people either agnostic or atheist?

No. There are an overwhelming number of publicly transgendered that are chased out of, or encourage not to attend many congregations. While many of these individuals become embittered, and eschew further dealings with the church; a sizable number of them find other congregations that are more understanding in which to continue practicing their faith. A portion of transgenders practice their faith by reading scripture privately - away from more personally negative or derogatory influences. Some transgenders are also among involved in the clergy [one example: Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark - a transsexual ordained as a Reverend Mother by the Catholic Church] Because one is transgendered, does not mean they are anti-Christian - it only means they are viewed as such by others who wish to believe that.

Are all transgendered people like the ones on Jerry Springer?

No. The only real transgenders on that show are the most sensational, over-the-top folks they can find. It draws the ratings. The show has also gone so far as to hire actors to play these 'transsexual' characters. The average transgender is too mundane to appear on their show.

Why do transgendered people need job protection?

Employers are (as a rule) extremely averse to hiring and accommodating someone they don't understand. It's similar to what many racial minorities have experienced for years. If hiring of these individuals were commonplace, there would be no need. But far too many transgenders are not hired strictly because of their gender identity status, and employers currently have no incentive to hire them.

How do you know transgendered people aren't equally hired?

Look around your workplace: how many among your co-workers are transgendered? If there's 100 people in your place of work, there would be two or three transgendered co-workers. True, they may be closeted. But if there were no hiring problems, why would they be in the closet?

What kind of jobs could a transgender worker do?

Virtually any job that any non-transgendered human could do. It's been noted that transgenders tend to devote a large part of their lives in their careers. While an inordinant number of gender different folks tend to gravitate towards the computer programming and design field, many more are involved in banking, aircraft mechanics, law enforcement, the legal profession, teaching, the arts, marketing, graphic design, accounting, and - yes - even construction. A classical pianist in New York City, and a feted symphony violinist from San Diego are both known-transsexuals. A finalist for the 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics is also a transsexual. The only two professions known that do not have transgenders are the military, and city-wide (or higher) elected offices.

Don't transgendered people have equal rights already?


Only so long as they conduct their lives as others see fit. Even though they may commit no crime nor victimize anyone, if they are forthcoming about themselves, or are somehow discovered to be transgendered; employers, landlords, and even health care workers are legally entitled to deny jobs, housing and medical care in 48 states and in an overwhelming majority of municipalities around the nation.

© 1999 Vanessa Edwards-Foster


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