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Do people choose to be trans?

No, gender identity is just one piece of each individual’s unique makeup, like eye color and height. Just as a person cannot choose which eye color he or she is born with, a person cannot choose to be transgender.

For many people, their bodies at birth match their own internal sense of being female or male. For others, these things don’t match. And for some it’s more complicated. Think of the people you know whose internal sense of gender matches their body. Did they “choose” to be that way? The choice is not whether to be your gender or not—but how to be who you are.

There are some other things we do know. One can’t be “cured” of being trans by doctors or counselors. Professionals can talk through things you may face as a trans person to make you feel more comfortable. They can also discuss your options if you’d like to take steps to make your body more physically like your gender identity. But there’s not a treatment or pill that will actually change your gender identity.

“Pretending” to be a different gender can’t change one’s gender identity, that is, one’s core sense of who they are as a person.

Trans people get to make many choices every day, from the simple to the complex, such as…

  • when and whether to come out as trans
  • whether or not to pass in public as their gender identity
  • which restroom and/or locker room to use
  • how to be their best self
  • and how to live life

A book that can be helpful for anyone who wants to better understand their own sense of gender is called My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely by Kate Bornstein.

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.” For some, the Q stands for “queer.” Heterosexual,…

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