An information resource for and about
trans* people in the Province of Alberta


This website uses the term "trans*" to refer in a general way to people who either transition between physical sexes, and / or live between genders.

Terms that are sometimes used elsewhere include transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender variant, and many others. There are sometimes very specific reasons for selecting specific terms, which are discussed on the media page, but for the most part, this website leaves language up to individuals to determine for themselves. Being trans* is an individual path, where the only rule is that one does what one needs to, in order to be at peace with themselves.

It is important to recognize that there is more than one characteristic involved:

  1. Individuals may be assigned male or female at birth, but identify with the other sex and need to change their appearance and / or medically transition to reflect the person they understand themselves to be.
  2. Individuals might not really see themselves as fully male or fully female -- or at least not according to the social conventions typically attributed to those genders -- but rather as in between to some degree, or else completely independent of gender.

Because the two characteristics often overlap, and a person might experience both to some degree, trans* people cannot be neatly seperated into two separate categories, and instead form a wide spectrum.

Gender Identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. Gender Expression refers to the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms. (adapted from the Yogyakarta Principles)

Who a person is and how they need to live are self-driven questions.

A trans* person might opt (or in some cases severely need) to medically transition (which can -- but does not have to -- include hormone therapy and surgery, and can also include things like facial hair removal, voice training, etc), if they experience body dysphoria (anxiety caused by a person's body configuration, which can be anywhere from unconscious aversion to a source of severe distress that might even drive someone to self-harm). They might also decide to do so if they feel that it is a necessary step to achieve personal closure and to help them socially integrate.

Another might not experience distress, but instead needs to find some mode of gender expression that better represents who they are, without (or regardless of) medical interventions.

Intersex and / or Two Spirit people are sometimes categorized as trans* but are actually very specific groups of people, discussed in the Gender Diversity page.

"Am I Trans*?"

If a person is questioning or soul-searching through their life experiences to look for a direction, "am I trans*" may not be the question to ask themself. Too often society builds up a language, then defines it very specifically, and then looks for ways to make life fit the word. In reality, the words are only tools to communicate our lives -- not the roadmaps for our lives. The question instead should be, "what do I need to be at peace with myself, personally?" Sometimes, the weight of one's life experiences and sense of self point to the need for a life change; other times, modifications to one's life and how they express is enough to bring personal comfort and resolution.

Experiment, and listen to your heart. In an ideal world, as long as one is living responsibly and ethically, the rest shouldn't matter, and a person should have the right to determine who they are for themselves. Of course, we don't live in an ideal world, so along the way, it also helps to do our best to work toward the ideal as best we can.

What is Trans*
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What is Trans*?
Gender Diversity
Human Rights and ID Issues
The Transition Process in Alberta
Facts About Youth
Info for Media
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