Before I answer, below, if I am transgender, or can an intersex person be transgender, let me educate about five things first. Biological Sex, Transgender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Secondary Sex Characteristics. You can read more here too: LGBTQIA+ Definitions of Human Sexuality.
Biological Sex: It is typically assigned, at birth, by the “authorities”, based on the appearance of our external genitals, gonads, sex chromosomes, and sex hormones. Our gender, gender expression, and sexual orientation are often assumed by these two things; even though our gender has nothing to do with our genitals, hormones, or chromosomes. This strict division of male and female is often referred to as endosex/dyadic or “binary”. The reality is, there are many different types of bodies out there, other than the typical male or the typical female body.
Endosex or Dyadic: Two words used to describe someone who is not born intersex. Endosex or Dyadic people are born with sex characteristics which could be categorized them either as typical female or typical male. Endosex/Dyadic people can have any gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression. Endosex or Dyadic is often described as the “Male/Female Binary”.
Male: Is the physiological sex that produces sperm. Most male mammals, including male humans, have one Y and one X chromosomes.
Female: Is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ova (egg cells). Most female mammals, including most female humans, have two X chromosomes.
INTERSEX: Is a general term used for a variety of human bodily variations in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. In humans, it is a variation in sex characteristics, including chromosomes, hormones, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Just like anyone else, an intersex person can have any gender, sexual orientation, or gender expression. The “rules” of the heteronormative binary, male and female, often do not work for intersex people. To read more about intersex please go to the United Nations Intersex Factsheet.
The definition of TRANSGENDER:
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies, and help them to develop secondary sexual characteristics. Some can even undergo surgery as well. However, not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.
Further, some have tried to say intersex is under the “transgender umbrella”. This is simply not so. Not all intersex are assigned wrong at birth, and not all intersex people feel transgender.
Gender Identity is one’s internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or another gender(s). Everyone has a gender identity. It is like our personality. For transgender people, their sex assigned at birth and their own internal sense of gender identity are not the same. We have six common gender identities: Female, woman, and girl and male, man, and boy. However, there are many more, such as: Gender Queer, Gender Fluid, Inter-gender, Non-conforming gender, and more.
Is about how we appear to this world male, female, both, or neither, and is based on a social construct of what appears male or female. This includes our clothes, shoes, body hair, facial characteristics, and even the tone of our voice. Which leads us to secondary sex characteristics.
SECONDARY SEX CHARACTERISTICS:
Sex hormones are very powerful things. They create secondary sex characteristics. Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear at sexual maturity in people and typically happens during puberty and adolescence.
In females, breasts are a manifestation of higher levels of estrogen; estrogen also widens the pelvis and increases the amount of body fat in hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. In males, testosterone directly increases size and mass of muscles, vocal cords, and bones, deepening the voice, and changing the shape of the face and skeleton. When the body converts testosterone into DHT in the skin, it accelerates the growth of androgen-responsive facial and body hair. Needless to say, it can also slow and eventually stop the growth of head hair.
In an intersex person, we do not always have typical secondary sex characteristics, due to our bodies being intersex. Some of us can have a mixture of male and female traits and appear both male and female. However, some intersex people can appear very typical to the expectations of male and female.
You can learn more about human sexuality here: LGBTQIA+ Helpful Definitions of Human Sexuality
Now that you know these FIVE things I will answer: Am I Transgender?
Here is my grand conclusion after educating myself about transgender, and talking to many trans women and trans men.
So, what happened to me?
I was born intersex in 1967, and assigned female at birth, and raised female. You can read more about my form of intersex here in my autobiography. As a young child, I had to go to therapy due to “gender confusion” and what they diagnosed as a “reversal problem” and being perceptually handicap. You see, I thought I was a boy.
I first blocked my testosterone and took female hormones, so that it would help my intersex body to appear more female. I did these things to conform to appearing female from the 1980’s to 2014. It was not all misery appearing female. I liked makeup, beautiful hairstyles, and even the ways of feminine dress up. This was my gender expression. I never felt female.
All the things I was doing to live as and appear female, lead to great sickness, disability and a complete loss of my true identity. Since October of 2014, I have stopped doing everything female.
I now allow my own androgens that are created by my adrenals and my ovaries/gonads. I also stopped taking any supplemental female hormones. By December of 2014, I started injecting more testosterone. This has lead to more secondary sex characteristics known as “masculine features.” I would call this self-determination of my true gender; since I knew as a young child I was a boy even if my body was intersex.
Unlike most transgender men, I wanted at one time to appear a woman. I tried to conform to societies rules about being female. I became very sick, disabled and it almost took my life.
Now, unlike a transgender woman, I now want to appear as a man, and look forward to my beard coming in and dressing and doing everything to conform to male. The only thing I will not do is cut my hair to conform to appearing a typical male. When I appeared female, I hated my body hair and facial hair. This mostly due to societal expectations of the female having to abide by social norms in appearance. So…….
My Answer: Do you consider yourself transgender?
So, when I am asked if I am transgender I will say, Yes, sort of. However, obviously not in the same way as a typical transgender person or a trans man. I can relate to both transgender women and men.
First of all, my physical body appears both male and female, due to having intersex natural bodily variations and I do not want surgery. I do not want to conform to the expectations of appearing a typical male or female. I love my body and do not have gender dysphoria. I love that I was able to give birth to our children, and call myself a Seahorse Dad even. You can read about that here: I am a Seahorse Dad.
Second, I literally can relate to things BOTH trans men and trans woman go through. I love the transgender friends I have made because of this. I can relate to both my transgender male friends and transgender female friends, very well; and in ways, most could never imagine being able to identify with both.
To explain this with labels, since the world loves labels, I now call myself an intersex, gender nonconforming, androgynous, queer gay man. Here is a related blog: Why was I diagnosed with gender dysphoria?
The world often asks: Can an intersex person be transgender?
Yes, some intersex people, assigned wrong at birth call can later call themselves transgender if they were assigned the wrong gender.
They also can go through a legal transition to correct this error at birth. It is very important to never assume one’s labels though. Ask the person, if you have questions. I share only my experience here. Not all intersex people are alike.
However, just because an intersex person does not agree with their birth assignment, does not always mean they relate to being transgender. Plus, again, some intersex people are assigned correctly at birth, and this too would not make them transgender. Therefore, like I shared above, intersex should never fall under the Transgender Umbrella, and I hope this stops. This blog I wrong might also be helpful in understanding this concept: The Difference Between Transgender or Transexual and Being Born Intersex.
I will end this blog with introducing you to one of my friends. Here is a man who identifies as both transgender and intersex: Cary G. Costello, Ph.D., whom considers themselves an intersex transgender man. Here is his blog you can visit where he talks about if an intersex person can be “cisgender” or not. He has an interesting suggestion of using the term “ipso gender” to describe intersex people who do not transition: “Cis Gender, Ipso Gender” By Cary G. Costello Ph.D.
You may also want to read these three blogs I wrote:
The above Memes are From: Intersex Day.org
If you have questions or comment, please feel free to contact me: