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Serving Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault
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Transgender 101Sexual Assault in the Transgender CommunityTips For Those Who Serve Victims
June 2014
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Transgender-Specific Issues

The Givens: Gender Identity

Forms of Identity

  • Self identity: Who I say I am to myself.
  • Ascribed identity: Who you say I am without my confirmation.
  • Disclosed identity: Who I tell you I am.
  • Perceived identity: Who I think you believe that I am.

"Sex" is what you are assigned at birth, generally based on whether you have a penis or a vagina. "Intersex" or "disorders of sexual development" are the current terms for people whose genitals and/or internal reproductive organs do not clearly fit into one of the two binary classifications and/or who have chromosomal structures other than XX or XY.

"Gender identity" is your internal sense of whether you are male, female, or another gender and is not necessarily visible to others. Because gender identity is internal—how a person sees themselves—it is impossible to know someone's gender identity without overtly asking them, which is not always appropriate when providing services to them.

For most of the general population, sex and gender identity align—the sex assigned at birth matches the gender with which they identify. Transgender people, however, have a gender identity that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.

Everyone has a gender identity, and transgender people may have more than one. Some will align with the word transgender, although a growing number either never considered themselves transgender or do not embrace the term. For example—

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  • Many individuals who have transitioned from one gender to another state their gender identity as simply male or female, with some never viewing themselves as another gender. These individuals may describe a gendered past that matches their current gender identity.
  • Others state that they were transgender before and during transition to another gender, but not after.
  • Still others view being transgender as a medical condition, which hormones and/or surgery can correct, and no longer identify as transgender after they have medically transitioned.