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Q17. What Does It Mean Physically Or Biologically To Say That Someone Is “Transgender”?

A17. A transgender person is currently defined as someone whose identifies as other than their biological sex. For example, a male who identifies as transgender is someone who identifies as a girl/woman even though they are biologically male. A person does not need to take gender-affirming hormones or have surgery to be considered transgender. Some transgender people are not on hormones and have not had surgery. Some transgender people take hormones but do not have surgery. And some transgender people do both. Whether a transgender person takes hormones, the level at which they choose to set their hormones, and whether they have surgery, are all matters of personal choice, medical advice, and/or opportunity.

Transgender does not mean what transsexual used to mean. According to recent research by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 62 percent of trans adults identify as “trans, gender non-conforming” or “trans, nonbinary,” while only 33 percent identify as a “trans man” or “trans woman.” Just 31 percent have used hormone treatments, HRT, or puberty-blocking hormones, and only 16 percent have undergone “gender-affirming” surgery or another surgical treatment to change their physical appearance.4 This survey was conducted on adults; one can reasonably assume that schoolchildren and college students are even less likely to have used medication or undergone surgery. Therefore, the vast majority of males who identify as transgender (at least 84 percent) who seek to compete against female athletes have not had surgery, and at least 69 percent have not taken any medications.