The logo representing the Trans* community
The logo representing the Trans* community

Gender identity becomes more precise with new term

HAPPY with your genitalia? Then you likely fall into the category of "cisgender".

It is a word the trans* community roughly defines as a person's gender matching their anatomy.

The trans* community is one of people who may not feel they fit into the rigid boxes of man or woman, male or female.

Some will walk a path to eventual gender re-assignment surgery while others remain content as they are.

For those who live within these varied shades, cisgender also takes a role of being the opposite of trans*.

It is from the crosshairs of these hair-trigger discussions that Kristine Johnson, from Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland, weighs in.

"Everyone has a gender identity," she said.

"With people who are transgender, the brain is saying one thing yet their body isn't matching it.

"We're trying to say we're human beings."

She said there was a move away from the term transsexual because it sent minds "straight below the belly button".

"You take sex out of the equation, eyes are more open and minds are more open."

University of Queensland social psychologist Dr Fiona Barlow said trans people might consider themselves intersex, gender queer or gender different depending on their anatomy and who they found attractive.

For each individual, their feelings on gender did not always line up with what they were born with.

"It's a group that faces a lot of discrimination and are often overlooked by the straight population and feel left out of sexual equality movements like gay rights," Dr Barlow said.

Dr Barlow said gender was always going to be an important part of a person's identity, and needed to be respected even if it was outside of the male, female boxes.

To Ms Johnson, who has helped the trans community for decades, cisgender was just terminology and she preferred to look at the person in front of her.

"We refer to people however they want to be referred to," Ms Johnson said.

"If they want to be Lauren, then they are Lauren."

Note: The use of the term Trans* refers to the multiple ways in which a person may transcend old notions of the gender and sex binary.



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