December 22, 2020

Transgender is a term that defines a person’s gender identity (Read here the definition of gender identity). The word itself is relatively new, and its meaning is still changing and adapting, but humans that transgressed the socially accepted truths about gender and biology have always existed across time and cultures.

This is a broad definition of transgender: those who transgress norms and rules of the sex they were assigned at birth are transgender. But truthfully very few of us adhere to all gender norms, and according to this definition we’d therefore all be transgender.

A more commonly accepted/used definition is that people who are transgender move away from such norms in ways that are consistent and central to their identity.

These definitions are only theoretical and might be confusing, so let’s talk about it in more practical terms.


Binary transgender folks are those people who were assigned a sex at birth that does not align with their gender identity, but whose identity still falls within the binary: male or female. 

Therefore, they were either born and assigned female, but identify as male, or they were born and assigned male, but identify as female.

This is the most commonly understood definition of transgender, but it represents only a very small percentage of the transgender experience! 


This category includes a lot of different gender identities that have one thing in common: they identify people who find the gender binary and all of its rules and boundaries confining, and find in the term transgender the possibility to carve out an alternative space.

The multiplicity of identities that fall within this umbrella include, for example: 

  • Agender folks:According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "agender" refers to people who don’t identify themselves with any particular gender. This can mean being genderless, lacking gender, or having a null gender. However, people also use "agender" to mean identifying as gender-neutral or having an undefinable gender.” (Quote from a THEM. article,August 7, 2018)- I found this definition so simple and clear I didn’t want to change a word!
  • Bigender people: People whose gender identity encompasses two genders. It does not need to be male and female, it can be any two genders.
  • Gender fluid folks: people whose gender identity is not stable or fixed but fluctuates
  • and many others (There will be more blogs on this topic!).


It is important to note that not all people that could be Transgender according to these definitions, do identify as transgender. Always respect what they tell you their gender to be and don’t assume, one’s gender is theirs to determine (or not!).
It is also important to note that some non binary folks don’t agree with transgender being an umbrella term that includes them and would rather transgender to be only used for transgender binary people.

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