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Transgender ( Latin trans "beyond, beyond", and English gender "social gender") is a term for people whose gender identity does not or does not completely match the gender registered after birth based on external characteristics or who reject a binary assignment . The increasing use of the term transgender shows a departure from the heteronormative concept of transsexuality that has so far predominated in jurisprudence and legislation, which is focused on physical unambiguity and whose pathologizing context was shaped by medicine and sex research of the 1970s. In contrast to this, transgender , transidentity and trans * are also spoken of. These terms serve as a generic term for self- description or external description as well as for determining the position of transgender people with female ( trans woman ) and male ( trans man ) gender identity and all forms of identity in between. Transgender is increasingly experiencing an expansion of meaning, according to which identity concepts outside the norm of bisexuality are included in the spectrum of meanings of “transgender” (see non-binary , gender-queer gender identities , such as gender fluid, bigender, pangender, gender neutral ).

Transgender is independent of sexual orientation . People who are transgender can e.g. B. be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual or reject a more specific description of their sexuality.

The opposite of transgender is cisgender (from the Latin cis "this side", as an opposite preposition to trans ). The term cisgender person describes people whose gender or gender identity and gender expression matches the gender to which they were assigned at birth.

The degree to which people feel comfortable with their outward appearance and accept their authentic identity has been referred to as transgender congruence. Many transgender people experience gender or gender dysphoria (see gender dysphoria in Wikipedia), and some seek medical interventions, e.g. B. Hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery . However, not all transgender people want these measures and some may not be able to use them, e.g. B. for medical reasons.


There are no reliable figures on the proportion of transgender people in the population. According to research by the self-help organization Trans-Ident e. V. allows the number of cases of proceedings under the Transsexual Act at the German local courts to be roughly estimated: According to this, around 0.014% of the population applied for such a procedure within 16 years in 2011. According to the surveys by Winters and Conway in 2011, their share should be around 0.2% worldwide.

In the US, a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control found a frequency of 0.6% of adults with an estimate of 1.4 million adults in the US who classify their identity as transgender.


The term transgender was originally a term for people who identify insufficiently or not at all with their original biological gender and who perceive their biological gender to be wrong.

Trans men are people who have been assigned the female gender when determining their gender, which usually takes place at birth, but who identify themselves as men. Conversely, trans women are people who identify as women despite being initially assigned the male gender. While many transgender people clearly identify with one gender, others reject any unambiguous form of gender assignment or categorization for themselves.

Transgender activists now also use transgender as a generic term for all people who evade a clear gender assignment. They define transsexuality and transvestism as well - known sub-terms to this generic term . However, occasionally some other non-transgender people are also referred to as transgender if they live or empathize with a different gender role all the time or predominantly. These include, for example, androgyny , cross-dressing , dragking or drag queen .

The last three manifestations are considered transgender if the transgression of the gender role is not only to be viewed as a travesty in the sense of a publicly displayed art of disguise. Usually not included, however, is transvestite fetishism , in which the change in gender roles only happens temporarily and serves to stimulate sexual activity , but the differentiation can be difficult in individual cases.

Whether and to what extent transsexuals seek medical gender reassignment measures varies in individual cases, but this applies or was often considered a necessary prerequisite for a legal change in the first name or civil status.

The opposite of transgender is cisgender ( Latin cis "this side", and English gender "social gender"). This designation developed from the term cissexuality , which was coined by the sexologist Volkmar Sigusch and describes people whose gender identity corresponds to their innate biological gender.

Concept history

Transgender is now used almost exclusively as a generic term. In addition, people choose transgender as a self-designation who do not want to commit themselves to any of the narrower categories. The name was largely coined by Virginia Prince in the USA in the 1970s ; she founded the magazine Transvestia in 1960 , which she published until 1980.

During this time she referred to herself as a heterosexual transvestite in order to differentiate herself from homosexual and transsexual people. Transgender should describe people who completely change their social gender role, regardless of whether they have undergone surgery or gender reassignment interventions .

Since the 1980s, transgender has increasingly been used as a gender-political umbrella term. Simultaneously and in parallel with the replacement of the term Women's Studies ( Women's Studies ) by Gender Studies (Gender Studies) the designation sat down in the US transgenderist by. This group is hardly or not represented in Europe. In Europe, a broader public transgender discourse only began around 1995.

Between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, the terms mainly used under the transgender umbrella term were woman-to-man (FzM) and man-to-woman (MzF) (compare MtF and FtM). These terms have now been replaced by trans man and trans woman and the terms transmasculin and transfeminine are becoming more and more popular. This shift in preference from terms that emphasize biological gender (transsexual, FtM) to terms that emphasize gender identity and expression (transgender, trans woman) reflects a broader paradigm shift in the self- image of transgender people and the growing acceptance of people who do not use medical interventions as part of the transition.

Treatment guidelines and LGBT professional associations agree that the choice of designation, name and pronoun is left to the person concerned and is to be accepted. Many note that transgender should be used as an adjective in the English language and not a participle should be formed from an alleged verb (e.g. "Max is transgender", but not "Max is transgendered").

Transgender contrasts with the use of the English adjective cisgender as a description for people whose gender perception corresponds to what was assigned to them at birth (for example "Anna is cisgender" instead of "Anna is cisgendered").

Role change

Reports of people or incidents describing a role change can be found in almost all cultures . Many cultures know the ritual change of the gender role, which is usually of a temporary duration. A number of cultures have specific social roles for people who do not feel they belong to the gender of their birth or who for other reasons do not take on the role corresponding to their physical gender. These include:

It is not always possible to make a statement as to whether a behavior was caused by a transgender person or simply by circumventing the boundaries of the respective gender role, for example in the case of women who became soldiers disguised as men. In addition, terms such as transgender , transsexual or homosexuality did not even exist. Often the incidents are shaped by the fact that they came about in connection with criminal or religious persecution.

A change in the assigned gender role can have pragmatic reasons: Examples are women who disguise themselves as men in situations in which they fear rape - for example during war . Or there are men who dress up as women in order to escape a massacre .

Reactions and sanctions

Deviating from the specified gender roles is usually socially, often also criminally or religiously sanctioned negatively .

While corresponding laws in Europe have been abolished in the last few decades or never existed, there are still laws in some US American counties that make the public wearing of non-innate clothing (see cross-dressing ) a criminal offense; however, with increasing liberalization , these are used less and less. Furthermore, in most western ( North , West and West-Central Europe as well as North America ) and some other countries (e.g. Japan , Iran ) there are now laws that regulate the legal aspects of changing gender roles. In many non-Western countries, however, such behavior is punished much more severely, up to the death penalty (for example in many countries with an Islamic majority).


For example, many transgender people face discrimination in the workplace and when visiting the doctor. In many countries they are not legally protected from discrimination. In Germany, "according to the prevailing view today", they are protected by Article 3 (Paragraph 3, Sentence 1) , although sexual identity is not explicitly mentioned there in the list of prohibitions of discrimination.

Frequently, people with a transgender identity also face a problem of adequate health care, incorrect medical treatment and undersupply.

Social and medical discrimination is cited as the main reason for the overall poorer health of transgender people, who are more likely to suffer from addictions , infections, mental disorders and cancer . Anxiety disorders , depression and suicidality in particular are significantly more common.

Gender roles in medicine and law

In today's western society, both ritual and necessity-born gender role changes have become extremely rare, so that one can almost always assume that whoever shows transgender behavior there is doing this out of inner necessity. Because a gender role presentation deviating from the usual gender roles is usually not or only partially based on a voluntary decision, but is an inner necessity for some transgender people, as they perceive the presentation in an accepted gender role (compare heteronormativity ) to be very stressful or even unlivable . Many transgender people strive, often for years or decades, to meet the expectations of society, but never manage to do so in such a way that they feel comfortable in the expected role. Many do not even manage to convince other people of this conflict with the gender role presentation that does not correspond to their inner feelings. This conflict often gives rise to psychological problems, psychological and psychosomatic illnesses, addiction problems and the like. Although with different consequences with regard to the assumption of costs for surgical or other medical measures, according to ICD-10 there is the diagnosis F64.9 “Disorder of gender identity, unspecified”, which is not for transsexuals in the classic narrower sense, but also for transsexuals in the broader sense Transgender people can be applied.

This fact has been partially taken into account in Germany since 1980 by the Transsexual Act , which regulates at least the legal necessity of changing gender roles from female to male or vice versa, since transsexuality was viewed as a condition requiring medical treatment. Since then, however, the Federal Constitutional Court has dealt with the TSG in numerous decisions and declared a number of provisions of the TSG to be unconstitutional (see decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court on the TSG ). Many transgender people particularly criticize the fact that the law only takes into account the medical-expert diagnosis of transsexuality, so that individual personal feelings are often not taken into account.

Since in many societies or countries for transgender people, especially for trans women, the only way to earn money is prostitution , or prostitution is recognized as the only social role for trans women, some people still associate transsexuality with transgender as an associative equation encountered with prostitution. Also, in many states, the sometimes high costs for gender reassignment operations and other gender reassignment measures are still not or only insufficiently paid from the state welfare system, so that in these cases the transgender people, who, moreover, are often without "normal" wages (see Discrimination in the world of work) to be forced to work in the sex industry in order to generate these costs .


The reason why there are people whose gender identity does not, or does not completely match, the gender entered after birth based on external characteristics is not known. While a variety of psychological theories exist, including some that assume physical causes, none of these theories has yet been empirically proven. A number of counterexamples can be found for every single theory postulated to date, both among transgenders to whom the postulated cause does not apply and among cisgenders (non-transgenders) to whom it applies.

According to the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (2007), “ gender ” describes those gender roles that are socially, socially and culturally shaped. They are "- unlike the biological sex - learned and thus also changeable."

Transgender and Sexuality

As with people whose biological ( sex ) and legal gender coincide with their gender identity (see cisgender people), the gender identity of transgender people is also independent of their sexual orientation and sexual practices . Accordingly, all sexual variations can be found equally in transgender and cisgender people. Not all transgender people are heterosexual , but some of them are also lesbian , gay , bisexual or pansexual .

The association of transgender (for gender with gender identity) with homosexuality , which can still be found in society, has several causes. On the one hand, this originates from the term transsexuality (transsexualism) , which is Germanized from the English language , and which historically supposedly interprets sexuality and thus sexual orientation into it, while the word part sex, derived from the English words transexuality or transsexualism , refers to the biological Gender relates. On the other hand, it can be due to the fact that transgender people are sometimes not (fully) perceived according to their lived identity gender, so that such a person as a “man dressed in women's clothes” and thus as a “gay” or as a “woman dressed in men's clothes” and so that it is perceived as a "lesbian". Furthermore, the fact that lesbian or gay circles often offered both space and role model for people with deviating gender role presentation also plays a role.

Transgender versus transsexuality

Although (or precisely because) transsexuality appears as a form of transgender, there have been conflicts in the past between transsexuals who reject the designation or any communication, cooperation or alliance with non-transsexual transgender people, and above all politically motivated transgender people on the other hand . The groups differ significantly in their desire and rejection of operational measures. While some seek gender reassignment surgery, others view them as mutilations and reject them.

Where, on the one hand, "classic" transsexuals often argue that they suffer from being transsexual and only want to lead a normal life, while transgender (sometimes transvestites are used instead or transvestism implies, i.e. a temporary change of role) partly through them On the other hand, some transgender people point out that a) non-transsexual transgender people can suffer just as much and may need medical and legal measures just as much as transsexuals and that b) not all non-transsexual transgender people want to attract external attention or thereby “have fun” Want to attract attention or want to "have fun", but there are also non-transsexual transgender people who also have no great personal interest in attracting attention in any way with regard to their gender.

This assumed possibility of differentiation is initially supported by the ICD-10 definitions of "disorders of gender identity" insofar as this is under F64.0 (transsexuality, complete change of gender roles within a system understood as binary, taking advantage of "as far as possible" medical measures) and F64.9 (unspecified gender identity disorder) make a similar distinction. However, the ICD-10 arguments ignore the following factors:

  • The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) completely dispenses with the term transsexualism and speaks (under the number 302.85 for adolescents and adults and 302.6 for children) only in general terms of gender identity disorders that would occur in differently severe forms where the treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual patient and not just an all-or-nothing alternative.
  • And last but not least, the not inconsiderable number of people who need or have already carried out a gender role change including the medical and legal measures necessary for them, but who, however, be it because they reject a binary gender understanding or do not need certain medical measures for themselves, does not meet the strict definition of F64.0.

Other transsexuals welcome the term transgender because it does not contain the word component - sexual (from neo-Latin sexualis "gender"). Because in the German language this can suggest the error that it is a matter of sexual orientation. For this reason and the fact that in German there is no general distinction between biological and identity gender - both are named with the single word gender - the term transsexuality is also replaced by transidentity .


In some definitions, all intersex people, i.e. people whose physical gender is not clear, are subsumed under transgender . Other definitions consider only those intersex people to be transgender who find their gender assignment problematic in some way.


There is a spectrum of people who completely reject the attribution of a social gender ( gender role or, from English: gender ) for themselves or who do not (want to) have a gender identity ; Various terms are used for this, especially agender, gender-neutral, neuter or neutrois .

action Day

  • March 31 : International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), International Day for trans Visibility (since 2009): Demonstration of the achievements and successes of trans * and gender-nonconforming, non-binary people

See also



Web links

Commons : Transgender  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Professional associations

LGBT lobbies and networks:

Individual evidence

  1. Laura Adamietz, Juana Remus: Concepts and the change in meaning of trans and intersex in law. (PDF) In: Expert Opinions: Concepts, Definitions and Disciplinary Approaches to Transgender and Intersexualities. Interministerial Working Group on Inter- & Transsexuality, Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth, Public Relations Department, May 2015, pp. 13-17 , accessed on July 13, 2019 .
  2. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Retrieved July 28, 2018 .
  3. Compare also gender expression in the English language Wikipedia.
  4. Holly B. Kozee, Tracy L. Tylka, L. Andrew Bauerband: Measuring Transgender Individuals 'Comfort With Gender Identity and Appearance Measuring Transgender Individuals' Comfort With Gender Identity and Appearance: Development and Validation of the Transgender Congruence Scale . In: Psychology of Women Quarterly . tape 36 , no. 2 , June 1, 2012, ISSN  0361-6843 , p. 179-196 , doi : 10.1177 / 0361684312442161 .
  5. Overview: How many transsexuals are there in Germany? In: 2015, accessed June 11, 2020.
  6. ^ S. Winters, L. Conway: How many trans * people are there? In: Stacey Colton Meier, Christine M. Labuski: The Demographics of the Transgender Population. 2011, pp. 289–327, here p. 297 (English; doi: 10.1007 / 978-94-007-5512-3_16 ).
  7. ^ AR Flores, JL Herman et al. a .: How many adults identify as transgender in the United States? Williams Institute, Los Angeles June 2016 ( download page ).
  8. Volkmar Sigusch : The transsexuals and our nosomorphic view. In: Journal for Sexual Research. Volume 4, 1991, pp. 225-256, 309-343.
  9. ^ Volkmar Sigusch: Change of sex. Klein, Hamburg 1992 (Paperback: 1995)
  10. ^ Volkmar Sigusch: Transsexual Desire and Cissexual Defense. In: Psyche - Journal for Psychoanalysis. Volume 49, 1995, pp. 811-837.
  11. Volkmar Sigusch on Zissexuelle
  12. Joan Roughgarden: Evolution's Rainbow. Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. University of California Press, Berkeley (USA) 2004, ISBN 0-520-24679-9 . (English)
  13. ^ “Frequently Asked Questions” on the website of the University of Texas, Austin (USA) ( Memento from September 1, 2006 in the Internet Archive ): “FAQ - Transgender Issues”; "How should I identify myself if I am not transgender?" (English)
  14. Ekins Richard, King Dave: Virginia Prince: Transgender Pioneer. In: International Journal of Transgenderism. Volume 8, No. 4, 2005, p. 8 (English).
  15. ^ Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD): GLAAD's Transgender Resources. ( Memento of October 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: 2012, accessed on March 22, 2020 (English); Quote: “ How do I talk about transgender people? Incorrect: "Max is transgendered." Correct: "Max is transgender." 'Transgender' should always be used as an adjective, never as a noun. For instance, instead of saying, "Max is a transgender," you should say, "Max is a transgender man." The word transgender never needs an extraneous '-ed' at the end of the word. ”
    Ibid current GLAAD resources: Resources for Transgender People.
  17. Study "Out in the Office ?!": Transgender employees are often discriminated against in the workplace. In: Retrieved July 28, 2018 .
  18. Andrew M. Seaman: Transgender people face discrimination in healthcare. In: . March 13, 2015, accessed July 28, 2018 .
  19. Federal Council initiative : Senate wants to anchor protection of sexual and gender identity against discrimination in the Basic Law. In: April 10, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018 .
  20. Joshua D. Safer, Vin Tangpricha: Care of Transgender Persons New England Journal of Medicine 2019, Volume 381, Issue 25 of December 19, 2019, pp. 2451-2460, [DOI: 10.1056 / NEJMcp1903650]
  21. Definitions of “Gender Mainstreaming”, “Gender” and “Mainstreaming” ( memento of November 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) of the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women & Youth. (As of Nov. 30, 2007)
  22. Queer Calendar: Transgender Day of Visibility. In: December 19, 2019, accessed July 9, 2020.
  23. Anna Siegel: Anti-Discrimination: Nuremberg Greens demand bathing day only for trans * and intergender people. In: . July 7, 2020, accessed on July 9, 2020 (“The campaign is to start for the International Trans * gender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2021”).
  24. Ashlee Fowlkes: Transgender Day Of Visibility: Honoring The Visible And The Invisible. In: . March 31, 2019, accessed on July 9, 2020.