Trans Guide for the General Public
You may think you don't know any transpeople - you are probably wrong. Or perhaps you know someone who identifies as trans and want to know more about the way they are thinking.
The first thing to understand is that many transpeople hide this from even their closest friends and family. They are not doing this to deceive you, it's a well grounded fear of adverse reactions. In the past and in some countries today this reaches the same level of persecution that gay men and women suffer. Even today in the UK transpeople are often targets for abuse and sometimes violence. Also some transpeople have discarded their birth gender so completely that they want nothing to remind them of the past. If someone trusts you with the knowledge that they are trans don't assume they are happy for you to share it with others.
Trans is rarely about sex, there are straight transmen and transwomen, others are gay, bisexual or have no interest in sex at all.
What it is about is gender - what society expects men and women to look like and how it expects them to behave. For the majority of people the social roles of man and woman fit reasonably well into the male and female categories determined at birth by our genitals. Transpeople are the minority who don't - some are uncomfortable with their bodies, some with the role society expects them to play while others just don't like restrictions on what they can and can't do.
There is often confusion about how people should address transpeople. The simplest approach is to address and talk about them as the gender they are currently presenting unless they have indicated otherwise. Trying to guess their birth gender is likely to cause offence and you may still get it wrong. If you are genuinely uncertain because their presentation is ambiguous then ask how they wish to be addressed.