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Transgender, Intersex and Non Binary.

Gender is different to your biological sex. Biological sex refers to both your genetics (XX typically known as female, and XY is male) and the phenotypical expression of those genes such as primary sex characteristics (typically vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries for females, and testes, penis, scrotum for males). Secondary sex characteristics emerge during puberty and include breast tissue, fat distribution, widening of the hips in the female, and facial hair, adams apple and muscle mass in males. 

Gender is a social and personal expression of identity and a performance of social norms relating to gender roles in your culture, family and religion. 

Studio Portrait

A person who is transgender is someone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth (based on primary sex characteristics). For example a child born with a penis will be assigned the gender MALE at birth, where as a child born with a vulva will be assigned FEMALE at birth. So someone assigned male at birth who identifies as being female, will seek to present and perform as a female, and vice versa. Sometimes people choose to have gender affirming treatments (such as hormone therapy, testestorone to enhance secondary male sex characteristics, and estrogen and progesterone and anti andorgenergics for trans women to block masculinisation and promote secondary female sex characteristics such as breast tissue growth, fatty deposits on hips and bottom) and gender affirming surgery (top surgery: removal of breast tissue or breast construction) and bottom surgery (creating a vagina and vulva from the penis and scrotum, or creating a penis shaft from tissue from the arm or leg)

Non-Binary and Gender Fluidity

Non-Binary- People who identify as non-binary or gender fluid are individuals who do not identify as one gender or another (binary being this OR that) and reject the idea that they need to perform gender normative behaviours which conform to social standards or aesthetics of maleness or femaleness. They may choose to use pronouns such as she/he or they/them.

Gender fluid is sometimes used synonymously with non-binary, and other times it refers to an individuals gender expression that can comfortably express female and male presenting attributes. 

At the Barbers
Natural Beauty

An intersex person is an individual who's genetic  sex is either atypical or does not match their phenotype (what their body looks like).

Chromosomes- Chromosomes are like instruction packages that tell the developing body how to build itself. In so far as sex is concerned  XX chromosomes typically instruct the body to build female urogenital tracts, and XY chromosomes typically instruct male construction of the urogenital tracts. This 'building' occures around week 9 of genstation. Before this time the urogenital tracts of all fetuses are identical. The X chromosome instructs female characteristics and the Y will override the X instructions to create male characteristics. Some people are born with atypical chromosomes such XXY, XXX, or XO (only one sex chromosome) and these different chromosome patterns can lead to different physical expressions of sex. Sometimes when a child is born intersex it is apparent at birth, other times it does not become apparent until puberty when the expected maturation such as menstruation does not occur. 

Trans, Non-Binary and Intersex in Therapy

When a person decides to transition to another gender, or stop performing gender roles in streotyplical ways there can be a big adjustment period in family, social and interpersonal relationhips. As well as this, exploring sexuality in new ways can be an axciting and daunting time. Many people find adjusting to Testosterone or estogen a lot like a second puberty and it can really helpful to have affirming therapy to support the process. It is also helpful for couples and relationships to have suppport around communication - even when everyone is affirming of the transition- it is usually still an identity adjustment for your partner as well as you. 

Supportive Friend

Resources and Recommended Reading

Here are some links to books that I usually recommend...

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