Trans 101


As part of our violence prevention education, the Katie Brown Educational Program teaches 8th-grade participants about gender stereotypes in order to reveal how these stereotypes can lead to discrimination and violence. These discussions often lead to questions from our 8th graders about transgender people and the LGBT+ community. The past few years have seen a surge in the discussion of transgender politics as trans individuals like Janet Mock, Laura Jane Grace, and Caitlyn Jenner have come into the public eye, yet many people still find themselves confused about this topic. It’s important to be educated in order to make the world a better, safer place for transgender people and other members of the LGBT+ community.

Here are the answers to some of the questions you may be asking.

What is gender?

Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity.

How is gender different from sex?

Sex refers to the categories into which living beings are divided based on their physiological characteristics. Sex is a biological category. Gender, on the other hand, refers to roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender is a social category.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is how an individual conceptualizes and experiences their own gender. Gender identity is internal.

What is gender expression?

Gender expression is how an individual presents their gender through appearance and behavior. Gender expression is external.

What does it mean to be transgender?

Someone who is transgender does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

What does it mean to be cisgender?

Someone who is cisgender does identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

What does it mean to transition?

Transitioning is essentially the process of changes a person goes through to affirm their gender identity. A transition can be social, medical, legal, or any combination of these. Social transition includes name changes, pronoun changes, and changes in expression. Medical transition includes hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgeries. Legal transition includes changing legal documents such as birth certificates, licenses, social security cards, and passports. There is no right or wrong way to transition —transitioning is individual and personal, and differs from person to person.

Here at the Kate Brown Educational Program, we believe that all people have the right to live free of violence regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Education is the first step toward preventing discrimination and violence against LGBT+ people. Interested in learning more?


Register for our Understanding the LGBT+ Community workshop today!