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Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.

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These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves.

While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

“Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person.

The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow.

Cross-dressing is not indicative of sexual orientation.

(See Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality for more information on sexual orientation.) The degree of societal acceptance for cross-dressing varies for males and females.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same.

Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person, whereas gender identity refers to one’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.

Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy.

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