Prefix: Trans-
Main Umbrella: Gender Modality

Gender(s): Different to one's ASAB/AGAB

Transgender is a gender modality for individuals that identify as a gender differing from their assigned-gender-at-birth, the prefix trans- meaning 'to or on the other side of, beyond; outside of'.[1] The trans prefix is often combined with a gender, denoting that an individual identifies as that gender, such as a transwoman identifying as a woman. One may also use it in the sense of identifying with a different gender quality, such as transfeminine or transmasculine.[2]

Many transgender individuals are FtM or MtF (meaning female to male, and vice versa), however by nature of its definition it is open to various gender and assignment incongruence, including those assigned intersex at birth. As gender assignment is binary and dictated by birth certificate, this can result in partial incongruence, such as transfeminine AFAB individuals. Though whilst the term appears to be contradictory it is comparing the complexity of gender identity with the binary assignment of sex. The usual example that accompanies this case is an individual AFAB (assigned female) identifying as a demigirl (non-binary woman), but other examples include changes in culture, having a fluid gender, incorrect gender assignment, identifying as some other woman aligned gender that isn't the same as one the designated from birth, and more.[3]

Whilst drag performers and cross dressers may appear to be transgender, they are not inherently linked identities, as gender expression is not the same as gender identity. Some individuals may choose to dress as another gender (gender non-conforming) for reasons unrelated to their gender identity.

Dysphoria and Euphoria

The transgender experience often coincides with the feeling of dysphoria and euphoria. Gender dysphoria comes in various forms, and is described as a sense of unease due to one's gender not matching their ASAB, the levels of dysphoria differing between individuals.[4] In extreme cases gender dysphoria can relate to depression and anxiety, though this is often correlated to being misgendered by external sources rather than personal internal incongruence.[5] Various studies have shown that mental health greatly improved when an individual is gendered correctly, or when the individual had undergone some kind of transitioning process.[6]

Transgender individuals may experience some, all, or no types of dysphoria. These forms include:[7]

  • Cognitive Dysphoria: Discomfort of personal and subconscious perception of oneself that is influenced by self guilt and/or doubt,
  • Social Dysphoria: Discomfort when being perceived by others incorrectly, including incorrect pronouns, name, and gendered titles,
  • Body Dysphoria: Discomfort of one's own physical body, mostly involving sexually dimorphic characteristics. (see transsexual)

Signs of gender dysphoria include:[8]

  • Only comfortable when in the role of one's desired gender (gender euphoria),
  • Feeling isolated from others, friends, classmates, coworkers, family, and general society,
  • Feeling uncomfortable when being perceived as the wrong gender.

Causes of gender dysphoria include:[8]

  • Hormonal development and abnormalities,
  • Chromosomal abnormalities,
  • Inadequate care as an infant or during pregnancy causing general maldevelopment,
  • Having both male and female sex characteristics (intersex),
  • External pressure and stereotypes,
  • Neurodivergency.

In comparison, gender euphoria is a feeling of ease, comfort, and general happiness when perceived as one's gender. Some argue that transgender should be primarily indicated by euphoria rather than dysphoria, as a sense of self and desired gender is generally more present within the transgender experience.[7] Other parties (transmedicalism) state that an individual cannot be transgender unless they experience dysphoria, though this is known to be harmfully limiting to as it ignores individuals that would benefit from transitioning due to euphoria. It is also harmful towards those who are non-binary and partially identify as one's ASAB.[9]


Transitioning (also known as gender alignment or gender aligning) is the process in which a transgender individual changes something about their life so that they may live more according to their gender identity.[10] Transitioning comes in various forms, the steps taken largely depending on the dysphoria or euphoria than an individual experiences. For example, an individual that experiences body dysphoria may eventually transition via surgery (transsexual), but an individual that only experiences social dysphoria may not benefit from such a transition.

Social adjustments may include:[11][12]

  • Changing pronouns and/or name
  • Changing style of clothing
  • Changing hair style
  • Coming out
  • Changing legal documents

Passing is a term for when an individual is seen as the correct gender by others, aligned with societal expectations of said gender's associated expression. For example, a transman may be passing when their appearance to others is that of a man. Passing can be more complicated or not required for those who are gender non-conforming (expressing differently to one's gender identity).[13] Passing has also been recorded historically, though it was usually in order for one gender to get the benefit of the other gender, such as a woman dressing as a man to go to war.[14]

In some countries, transgender individuals may change their legal gender (as originally defined by their birth certificate), and have their birth certificate adjusted and reprinted. Depending on the region, this includes changing one's gender to non-binary, indeterminate, or a specified other.[15] Other birth certificates may denote assigned gender via a single letter, with some regions giving the option to change one's assigned gender to X.[16] These gender label changes can and often sync with one's other legal documents including driver's license and passport. Though whilst these changes are possible legally, they are not available to everyone - depending on country, time, and finances. It is reported that only 21% of transgender individuals who have transitioned have been able to update all of their legal IDs.[10]

Changing of name is also common in transitioning, the previous individual's name (or name given at birth) thus being referred to as a deadname. The act of calling someone via their deadname is deadnaming. [17]


Transgender individuals have been recorded throughout history, albeit using different terminology as the current definition had not been coined until 1965 by J. Oliven.[18] Due to the differences in terminology it's unclear how common transgender individuals were throughout history.

In Britain, the first trans man to have medically transitioned was Michael Dillon, in 1944. He had begun hormone therapy, changed his legal gender, and went through genital reconstruction surgery. The first trans woman to medically transitioned was Roberta Cowell, having undergone surgery to develop a vagina.[19] Eleanor Rykener was arrested in 1394 for prostitution and sodomy, identifying as a woman who worked as an embroiderer, barmaid, and sex worker - all jobs restricted to women during that era.[20]

In 2022, Transgender was reported as one of the most common queer identities, alongside non-binary and gender non-conforming.[21]

Related Terms

Label Relationship Description Difference
Cisgender Opposite Identifying as a gender that matches one's ASAB Cisgender is the opposite of Transgender
Transsexual Counterpart Desiring sexual characteristics that are different to one's ASAB Transsexual relates to body sex, unlike gender
Transn't Opposite Not identifying as transgender Transn't is not Transgender


Label Suffix Flag Description Creator(s)
Transandrogynous[22] -Androgynous Transandrogynous.png[22] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully androgynous which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. decaykid
Transaporine -Aporine Transaporine.png[23] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully aporine which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. beyond-mogai-pride-flags
Transfeminine -Feminine Transfeminine.png[24]

Transfeminine Pride Flag.png

Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully feminine which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. Pride-Flags, Unknown
Transmasculine -Masculine Transmasculine.png[25]

Transmasculine Pride Flag.png

Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully masculine which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. Pride-Flags, Unknown
Trans man -Man Transmasculine3.png[26] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully a man which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. Pride-Flags
Transneutral -Neutral Transneutral.png[27]


Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully neutral which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. Pride-Flags, Unknown
Transoutherine -Outherine Transoutherine.png[28] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully outherine which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. beyond-mogai-pride-flags
Trans woman -Woman Transwoman.png[29] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully a woman which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. Pride-Flags
Transxenine -Xenine Transxenine.png[30] Identifying as a gender that is partially or fully xenine which doesn't correspond with one's ASAB. beyond-mogai-pride-flags

Prefixes and Suffixes

Label Prefixes / Suffixes Flag Description Creator(s)
Demitransgender Demi- Partially identifying as a gender different to one's ASAB. Unknown

Flags and Symbols

The most well known transgender flag was designed by trans woman Monica Helms in 1999 and was first shown in a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2000. The flag has two blue stripes (the traditional color for baby boys), two pink stripes (the traditional color for baby girls), and a white stripe (representing non-binary, transitioning, and intersex individuals).[31]

The most common transgender symbol is a mix of the female (Venus) symbol, the male (Mars) symbol, and the androgyne (Venus and Mars mixed) symbol. This symbol was designed in the early 1990s by Holly Boswell, Wendy Parker, and Nancy R. Nangeroni.[32]

The black transgender/POC flag was created by trans activist and writer Raquel Willis as a symbolic show of the level of violence towards those that are both people of colour and transgender, to spread awareness, and to promote the pride of trans individuals of colour. It was first used in the United States of America in 2015 on Black Trans Liberation Tuesday. However, some feel that this flag erases non-binary identities by replacing the white stripe.[33]

Another example of a variation of the transgender flag was "The Trans Flag", created by graphic designer Michelle Lindsay in Ottawa, Canada. This flag incorporates sunset fuscia to represent female, ocean blue to represent male, and has the unicode transgender symbol overlaid in white to represent the trans community as a whole. The colours are bold to represent confidence and pride with the sunset and ocean colours representing the unlimited horizons of the trans movement. This flag was first used in 2010 in Ottawa for the Trans Day of Remembrance and is raised yearly. This flag has also been seen in a number of pride protests.[34]

There is also the Israeli transgender and genderqueer pride flag, consisting of a bright, neon green, with the transgender symbol. This flag has been used, along with its lesser known base of a black base with a neon green symbol, in pride protests across Israel. The original creator is unknown.[35]

In 1999, Johnathan Andrew, aka "Captain John" created a flag for the trans community which he published on his FtM (Female to Male transgender) website called "Adventures in Boyland" in Oakland, California. The pink represents female identities, the blue represents male identities, and the white stripes represent the transition between those identities. Emblazoned on the top left corner of the flag is a combination of the Venus (♀) and Mars (♂) symbols (⚥). The purple within this symbol represents the merging of the male and female identities to incorporate those that are neither female nor male transgender or are a mix of both, now perceived to be a representation of the non-binary community.[36]

Further Reading


  1. "trans-". Wiktionary, 17 Nov, 2022,
  2. "transgender". Merriam-Webster, Accessed on 7 Jan, 2023.
  3. Giardina , Henry. "AFAB Transfem: What It Means, and What It Doesn’t Mean". Into, 24 Oct, 2022,
  4. "Overview-Gender dysphoria". NHS, 28 May, 2020,,harmful%20impact%20on%20daily%20life..
  5. "Study Finds That Early Social Transition For Transgender Youth Results In Good Mental Health Outcomes, But Unaccepting School Environments May Lead To Greater Risk Of Suicidality". Fenway Health, 27 Jul, 2021,,that%20match%20their%20gender%20identity..
  6. "Transgender Health". Endocrine Society, 16 Dec, 2020,
  7. 7.0 7.1 "What are Gender Dysphoria and Gender Euphoria?". Plume, 22 Sep, 2021,
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mandal , Dr. Ananya. "Causes of Gender Dysphoria". News Medical, Accessed on 7 Jan, 2023.
  9. Earl , Jessie. "What Does the ContraPoints Controversy Say About the Way We Criticize?". Pride, 21 Oct, 2019,
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Frequently Asked Questions about Transgender People". National Center for Transgender Equality, 9 Jul, 2016,,looks%20different%20for%20every%20person..
  11. Madeline B. Deutsch, MD, MPH. "Overview of gender-affirming treatments and procedures". Transgender Care, 17 Jun, 2016,
  12. "Transition Roadmap". Transgender Care, Accessed on 8 Jan, 2023.
  13. Uequhart , Evan. "Why Passing is Both Controversial and Central to the Trans Community". Slate, 30 Mar, 2017,
  14. Easton, Fraser. "Covering Sexual Disguise: Passing Women and Generic Constraint." Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 35, 2006, p. 95-125. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/sec.2010.0048.
  15. Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. "Application to register your gender 16 years and over". Tasmania Department of Justice, Archived on 7 Jan, 2023.
  16. Tapp , Fiona. "What Happens When You Choose "Gender Neutral" On Your Child's Legal Documents?". Parents, 15 Mar, 2019,
  17. Clements , KC. "What Is Deadnaming?". Healthline, 18 Sep, 2018,
  18. Oliven, John F. (1965). Sexual hygiene and pathology: a manual for the physician and the professions. Lippincott. OCLC 264364221. Archived from the original on 2020-10-02. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  19. "Trans Pioneers". Historic England,,Oxford%20University%20in%20the%201930s.. Accessed on 9 Jan, 2023.
  20. "7 Famous Transgender People From History You Can Mention Next Time Someone Says ‘Trans is a Trend’". Spectrum Outfitters, Accessed on 9 Jan, 2023.
  21. "Gender Census 2022: Worldwide Summary". Gender Census, 22 Aug, 2022,
  22. 22.0 22.1 decaykid. "Transandrogynous Pride Flag". DeviantArt, 24 Apr, 2017,
  23. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "Transaporine Pride Flag". Tumblr, 18 Jan, 2021,
  24. Pride-Flags. "Trans Woman / Transfeminine (1)". DeviantArt, 4 Jul, 2015,
  25. Pride-Flags. "Trans Man / Transmasculine (1)". DeviantArt, 4 Jul, 2015,
  26. Pride-Flags. "Trans Man / Transmasculine (3)". DeviantArt, 14 Jun, 2016,
  27. Pride-Flags. "Transneutral (1)". DeviantArt, 5 Oct, 2016,
  28. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "Transoutherine Pride Flag". DeviantArt, 18 Jan, 2021,
  29. Pride-Flags. "Trans Woman / Transfeminine (3)". DeviantArt, 14 Jun, 2016,
  30. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "Transxenine Pride Flag". Tumblr, 28 Jan, 2020,
  31. "The History of the Transgender Flag". Point of Pride, 23 Apr, 2015,
  32. "Transgender Symbol". GenderTalk, Jul, 1994,
  33. @RaquelWillis_. Twitter, 23 Aug, 2016,
  34. "About our Flag". Gender Mosaic, Archived on 23 Dec, 2013.
  35. "יום הזיכרון בתמונות". Go Gay, 20 Nov, 2009,
  36. "Transgender (Captain John Design)". Library.LGBT, 21 Jun, 2021,