How can I respect my transgender patient?

Gender identity is our internal understanding of our own gender. We all have a gender identity.  The term “transgender” is used to describe people whose gender identity does not correspond to their birth-assigned sex and/or the stereotypes associated with that sex. A transgender woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth and has a female gender identity. A transgender man is a man who was assigned female at birth and has a male gender identity.

For many transgender individuals, the lack of congruity between their gender identity and their birth sex creates stress and anxiety that can lead to severe depression, suicidal tendencies, anti-social behavior, and/or increased risk for alcohol and drug dependency.  Transitioning - the process that many
transgender people undergo to bring their outward gender expression into alignment with their gender identity - is a medically necessary treatment strategy that can effectively relieve this stress and anxiety.

For practical tips on how to provide respectful care to your transgender patients, please see Transgender Law Center's 10 Tips for Improving Services to Transgender People.   

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