This Section is designed for healthcare professionals and GP Practice staff.

For public information, please visit the Brighton and Hove CCG public home page.

About Trans Identities

Guide To Supporting Patients Accessing Specialist Gender Identity Services

Section 2.2

Many people think they know who trans people are due to cultural stereotypes and media portrayals. However, trans people are an extremely diverse group: they come from every social, ethnic and economic background, span the entire age range and experience the full range of health needs. Therefore, it makes sense to talk of trans identities in the plural. Below are just some of the terms and identities that GPs may encounter in working with trans people. The core learning point is to be guided by the identity term the person prefers. See the Glossary for further terms or the resources in the table below for more information.

  • Cross dresser (CD) - Describing a person who wears clothing typically associated with a different gender to express aspects of their personality and/or to gain a sense of happiness and fulfilment. The term ‘transvestite’ would now be considered out-of-date language
  • Genderqueer - A multifaceted term for being other than male or female and outside of a male/female gender binary. May denote one of the following: a) holding more than one gender identity, e.g. both masculine and feminine, b) being without a gender identity, c) moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity. Similar and related terms include: Androgyne, Agender, Bi-gender, Non-gender, Gender-fluid, Gender Non-binary and Third-gender
  • Transgender (Trans) - An ‘umbrella’ term to describe people whose experience of gender differs from the assumptions, expectations and social and cultural norms of their society, and who blend, challenge, or cross gender roles. Where an asterisk is added to the term (e.g. Trans*) this denotes that the full range of trans identities are being referred to.
  • Trans man - A person assigned female at birth but who has a male gender identity and transitions to live as a man. Sometimes used as preferred term to transsexual
  • Trans woman - A person assigned male at birth but who has a female gender identity and transitions to live as a woman. Sometimes used as preferred term to transsexual
  • Transsexual - A person whose core gender identity as male or female is different than their biological sex and who uses hormones and/or surgery to enable their body to match their gender identity. Some trans people resist this term as a medical label while others embrace it.


Introduction Guide Home Page
Section 1.0 About This Guide
Section 1.1 Why This Guide Is Needed
Section 1.2 Current Context
Section 2.0 Developing Understanding About Trans People
Section 2.1 New Thinking About Gender
Section 2.2 About Trans Identities
Section 2.3 About Gender Pronouns
Section 3.0 High Quality Services for Trans People
Section 3.1 Getting It Right
Section 3.2 A Special Note on Children and Young People
Section 3.3 A Special Note on Screening: Screen for the Organs Present
Section 4.0 Understanding the Patient Groups
Section 4.1 Understanding Specialist Gender Identity Services
Section 4.2 The Approach to Treatment
Section 4.3 Treatment Protocols
Section 4.4 Available Treatments - Adults
Section 4.5 Available Treatments - Children and Young People
Section 4.6 The Role of the GP
Section 5.0 Changing NHS Records
Section 5.1 Information Sharing - The Gender Recognition Act 2004
Section 5.2 Medical Reports
Section 6.0 Supporting Patients
Section 6.1 Sources of Information and Support
Section 7.0 Glossary

Further Sources of Information on Trans Experience

Understanding Transgender

E-Learning and Guides


  • Brown, ML. & Rounsley, CA. (2003) True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism - For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  • Centre for HIV and Sexual Health & Trans Bare All (undated). Living My Life
  • Stryker, S. (2008) Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press
  • Stryker, S. & Whittle, S. (eds.) (2006) The Transgender Studies Reader. New York: Routledge
  • Teich, NM (2012) Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. Columbia University Press: New York.

Autobiographical Writing By Trans People

  • Boenke, M. (eds.) (2003) Trans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones (2nd Edition). Hardy: Oak Knoll Press
  • Bornstein, K. (2014) A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Boston: Beacon Press
  • Boylan, JF. (2013) She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders. New York: Broadway Paperbacks
  • Diamond, M. (eds.) (2011) Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. San Francisco: Manic D Press
  • Green, J. (2004) Becoming a Visible Man. USA: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Kailey, M. (2006) Just Add Hormones: An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience. Boston: Beacon Press
  • Kellaway, M. & Keig, Z. (eds.) (2014) Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family and Themselves. Oakland: Transgress Press
  • Morris, J. (1989). Pleasures of a Tangled Life. New York: Random House
  • Nestle, J., Howell, C. &  Wilchins, R. (eds.) (2002) GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary. Los Angeles: Alyson Books
  • Serano, J. (2007) Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Emeryville: Seal Press
  • Various Authors (2014) Brighton Trans*formed. Brighton: Queen’s Park Books
  • Valerio, MW. (2006) The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male. Emeryville: Seal Press

Documentaries Featuring Trans People