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What’s the T in LGBT?

By on June 15, 2014
Cox Laverne-Photo (High Res HEADSHOT 2013)

Have you heard of the word Transgender? Do you know what it means?

If you’re still in the dark on the diversity of our communities, let me break it down for you brothers. This word is expressed in the media almost daily. There’s no time to be close-minded with this topic, so let me give you the medical T (TIP) on this. While exact numbers are unknown, roughly 700,000, or 1 out of every 330 Americans, identify as transgender.This term is used for person whose gender is different from their sex. Confusing right?

Do you know the difference between gender and sex? Let me break THAT down, too. Sex is assigned to you at birth – male or female or intersex (if you have both parts), based on your anatomy (genitalia). Gender is how a person expresses themselves – masculine or feminine or androgynous – OR – you can think of gender as how the person expresses what he or she feels on the inside.

For those who identify as transgender, the sex doesn’t match the gender. Contrary to popular belief, transgender people are not like RuPaul or a drag queen. Transgender people can be transwomen (assigned sex is male but gender is female/ M to F) or transmen (assigned sex is female but gender is male/ F to M).

Let’s take this even further.

Sexual orientation is who the person is attracted to, whether its someone of the same sex or opposite sex – or both! You can’t assume who a transgender person is organically attracted to. Some can be what we consider heterosexual, gay/lesbian, or even bisexual. If a transman is attracted to women, he might identify as ‘straight.’ If a transwoman is attracted to women, she might identify as a lesbian. If a transman is attracted to both men and women, then he likely would identify as bisexual.


It’s important to understand because respectful language is important. So now you know what’s the T in LGBT!




Dr. Draion M. Burch, DO (Dr. Drai) is a practicing physician and teaching faculty member at Magee-Womens Hospital of The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He specializes in obstetrical and gynecological care. Dr. Drai is also the founder and Chief Medical Advisor of DrDrai.com.