When we are born, we are all assigned a sex designation – usually male or female. If you have ever questioned this designation, you might be a Transgender person. Transgender people are frequently misunderstood by society, and as a result may experience struggles with access to services, employment and finding other trans people for support and friendship. The good news is that there are supports and lots of helpful information now available in Ireland. There are many ways to be Trans. The Transgender umbrella is an inclusive term which welcomes all those who wish to identify within it.
Watch the short "What is Transgender" video from BeLonG To Youth Services:
For more detailed information on examples of Transgender identity, visit the TENI website or LGBT Helpline website.
So you think you might be Trans?
Or maybe you are sure that you are? The process of realising your identity sometimes feel scary, lonely, exciting or overwhelming. The time before you tell someone, could be difficult but it can also be enlightening.
Some tips for when you realise/start questioning your gender identity
Remember that you are not alone. Whether online or in person, there are other Trans people out there. Finding them, reading about their experiences and connecting with them, might help you feel less alone and bring some clarity to your own thoughts and feelings.
There are lots of safe spaces where you can be yourself. Online in particular, there are very unique groups or communities with who you should be able to identify. Reach out and do not be afraid to ask for help.
Remember that the Trans community is diverse. Only you can define your own gender, or lack thereof. Regardless of how you define your own identity, you can always take small steps to build your confidence and accept yourself. Try things out for yourself. Whether in private or in a public space, do what makes you feel comfortable. Try out different names, pronouns, clothes, walking, or talking. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, is ok.
Remember that "transitioning" it is not necessarily a medical process, so try to to feel overwhelmed by it initially. Transitioning means changing the way that you present your identity to society. It can be social, legal or medical. For more detailed information on transitioning, visit the TENI website or LGBT Helpline website.
Trans coming out
"Coming out" is a term to describe telling others about your gender identity, sexual orientation or romantic orientation. For Trans people, coming out can take many forms, depending on your identity and what makes you comfortable. It may include educating people about your identity and asking people to change the way they address you, such as what name and pronoun they use for you. Coming out can also include dressing differently or going through a medical transition to align your body with your identity.
Watch the short "Trans Coming Out" video from BeLonG To Youth Services:
For more detailed information on Trans Mental Health, read “Heads Up: The Trans Guide to Mental Health and Wellbeing” (TENI, 2017)
Supports for LGBT+ people and family
- LGBT Helpline - 1890 929 539
The LGBT Helpline is a non-judgmental and confidential service providing listening, support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people, their family and friends, and to those who are questioning if they might be LGBT+. In addition, they facilitate instant support messaging and peer support groups around the country.
- Young people
BeLonGTo Youth Services provide a wide variety of nationwide supports, groups and information for young LGBT+ people and their parents.
- Transgender support
The Transgender Equality Network Ireland provides lots of helpful information and support for transgender people. They seek to improve the conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families.
- General Information
There are very helpful libraries of information, personal stories and good advice for LGBT+ people and their families, available on Reachout.com and Spunout.ie.