Frequently asked questions
What do the terms "transgender" and "cisgender" mean?
Gender (which in the Czech language is unfortunately translated the same as biological sex) is a part of our identity. It has several components which may or may not relate to each other, the most important being the feeling deep down. Gender identity is how I feel inside. There are theoretically infinite options here (just as there are infinitely many points on a line segment), but this does not always lead to large practical differences. It is possible to feel ever so slightly more feminine than your female friend without your gender expression changing one bit. Gender identity (how I feel) and gender expression (how I show it) may or may not relate to each other. It is therefore definitely possible to feel extremely feminine yet never wear traditional feminine clothing such as dresses and skirts.
Now that we know what gender is, let's see how the terms cisgender and transgender fit in. These make sense due to how legal gender works in practically every country - a doctor determines your legal gender (called sex on documents) based on what they see between your legs when you are born. It is that simple, and doesn't take into consideration very important details like whether you are intersex, what chromosomes you have or other genetic mutations and differences of sex development. Cisgender (shortened to cis) is the vast majority of people on this planet. To be cis your gender identity just has to match what the doctor assigned to you. Transgender (shortened to trans) is that very small amount of people for whom their assigned sex doesn't match their gender identity.
Can a person be trans and gay at the same time?
Sexual orientation (who you like) has nothing to do with gender identity (who you are). You can be trans and heterosexual, trans and bisexual, trans and gay or trans and asexual. Just like other cis people.
What does the term "nonbinary" mean and how can I correctly talk to these people?
Nonbinary people are trans people that do not identify with either of the binary genders (man or woman). Keep in mind that it's not just about how a person presents themselves, but how they feel inside. For nonbinary people it may not be comfortable to go with the typical pronouns he/him or she/her and they may have different preferences such as she/they or they/them. In the Czech language this is exceptionally difficult because there is no good equivalent to they/them. The pronoun "ono" is used in the singular to refer to inanimate objects while the plural "oni" is used to refer to a group of people. There is also the question about handling verbs, since those also do have a gender. In the past tense they can end with either i or y depending on if the group of people is entirely made up of women or not. Some people therefore choose to use the version of the verb ending with "y+i" to include both options. Others also use the "y*i" format, which we don't like as much. There is no agreed upon standard and it is still a topic of debate and each nonbinary person may have their own preference.
What is gender dysphoria?
From a dictionary we can gather that dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria. Euphoria is something a lot of us can imagine pretty well, but dysphoria is a bit trickier - gender dysphoria even more so. Gender dysphoria is a very common feeling among trans people. From the outside it can look like depression, discomfort or even anxiety. These feelings can originate from the body not matching the gender identity of a person, but can also arise in social interactions, like when someone is not being addressed as the gender they are. Different people can have dysphoria from different sources and there is no single trans experience. Gender dysphoria can be mitigated or even eliminated by transitioning, however do note that the presence of dysphoria is not a requirement to be trans.
What do the terms "trans feminine" and "trans masculine" mean?
On our website we prefer to use trans feminine persons instead of trans women and trans masculine persons instead of trans men. As we mentioned above, gender is not binary, while the terms trans woman/man are. So we use the terms trans woman/man mainly in the context of the binary trans health care here, which still only recognizes only two categories. For everything else we try to use the terms trans feminine/masculine, which can also include nonbinary people.
How can I tell that I am trans?
That is a very difficult question, because every trans person realizes it at a different time in their lives. For example a lot of trans people don't know that they are trans during their childhood, a lot of them start to realize it in adolescence or when they become adults. There are several factors that go into this - access to information about transgender topics or even the ability to express what you feel inside. It is always about a feeling you have, deep down in your core. It definitely is not a trend nor a lifestyle - it is a part of us that is unchangeable. In short - if you feel like you are trans, then you are trans.
How can I tell if someone is trans?
You can't, because it's not possible. Gender identity is a feeling and something that a person can only decide for themselves, never for others. But there is a great chance that if you are friendly towards trans people, they will simply tell you.
How many trans people live in the Czech republic?
That is not possible to accurately tell yet. No official count exists, because there is no question about it in the census. Regardless the best guess is around 1% of the population that identify as transgender. It is a global average and may differ for each country due to factors like how safe it is to be open about their identity there.
Do I need surgery to be trans?
No, you do not need any kind of surgical procedure or even hormones for that matter to be trans. Being trans is about how you feel inside, about your identity. For some people a surgical procedure may be a very important or even a necessary step to feel validated in their identity. But it is also important to realize that many trans people don't need or want surgical procedures and that changes nothing about their identity. This matches the currently accepted medical definition of Gender Incongruence in ICD-11, which should be implemented in the Czech republic during 2023. The current version, ICD-10, included in the definition both hormonal replacement therapy and surgery of the genitals, but as we know today, such a definition doesn't really match reality and it was necessary to update it.
Should people younger than 18 be allowed to transition?
Yes. When puberty begins, a majority of the physical changes are irreversible. These changes are usually those that later in life cause the greatest amount of distress to trans people. That's why it is very important to consider puberty blockers for every person in the relevant age bracket who is unsure about their gender identity. This medication effectively stops puberty right in its tracks as long as the person keeps taking them. If such a person then decides that they aren't trans it is as simple as not taking the medication anymore and a normal puberty will occur. But if they decide that they are trans and want to transition, a delayed puberty will infinitely improve their quality of life. Puberty blockers are an extremely safe kind of medication, they don't cause permanent changes in one's body and the vast majority of their side effects are very minor. Besides, the vast majority of people who take puberty blockers decide to transition in the end. Only 1.9% of people who took them decided against transitioning. Source.
Is it true that a lot of people change their mind about transitioning or that they regret it?
No, it's not. There is a small percentage of people who can find themselves in such a situation, however it is mostly because of not being understood or experiences of hate within their families, between friends or at a workplace, that leads trans people to doubts of their decisions and pushes them back to their former identity. Only 3% of people will experience some sort of regret about their transition and only roughly 1% out of these 3% (in other words tens of people globally) actually regret their transition and do not align with the trans identity at all. Source 1. Source 2.
Should legal (assigned) gender be removed from documents?
Yes. Legal gender is a property on a document supposedly representing the gender identity of a person, which may change during their life and may not reflect the biological reality of the person, which is in some cases very important for doctors who will be taking care of you. This change would help trans people and wouldn't hurt cis people. Biological sex should be allowed, on very specific documents like patient documentation. It is very relevant for receiving accurate care and in some circumstances it may even save a live when it comes to medication like blood thinners. Though currently it may be doing more harm than good as most doctors are not educated about trans biology, which is an issue that needs fixing at a systemic level.
What do the terms deadnaming and misgendering mean?
Deadnaming is the usage of the name of a trans person before their name change. The vast majority of trans people have their old life connected with it along with a lot of bad feelings and memories, so using it would make them very uncomfortable. It is therefore very important to use the name they want you to use and do not ask about their previous one.
Misgendering is using the wrong pronoun when talking to the person. If we take the stereotypical trans feminine person, misgendering would be to use the pronouns he/him for her. In Czech it is even more difficult as verbs also have grammatical gender so there is a lot more space to make a mistake.
If either deadnaming or misgendering is intentional, it has severe negative consequences for trans people. Thankfully most of the time it is unintentional and something that may happen when people presume the wrong gender at first. Trans people can deal with it – but in such cases, it is important to apologize, correct yourself and let it be.
How to talk with trans people and about them?
Although human curiosity knows no bounds, there are some topics that are better not asked about since they are very sensitive and personal. Here we present the most common ones:
- What is your real name? / What is your former name? - Former names of trans people are connected with the life prior to transition, they do not correlate with their gender identity and therefore it is impolite to ask.
- Did you have the surgery? / Do you want the surgery? - Any surgical procedure is a very personal thing, even more so if it is about sex reassignment surgery. It is the same as asking people on the street what do they have between their legs or whether they perhaps underwent a plastic surgery.
- How does sex work for you? - Sex is something two consenting adults do. To ask anyone about such a personal part of their lives is impolite, including trans people. If we're talking about your partner, be patient and listen to them, they will tell you what they like. The bodies of trans people work differently and it is not exactly possible to match that experience to a cis woman or a cis man. Do not rely on the depiction of trans people in pornography. Oftentimes the performers are people who are not undergoing a hormone replacement therapy or the content is completely fabricated. Expect that some sexual practices or toys may cause dysphoria.
- When did you become trans? - A person does not become trans during their life and it is not a decision. A person is born trans. If instead you ask the question "When did you realize you're trans?", it will be much more sensitive and to the point. No one owes you their story; make sure the person is willing to talk about the topic with you before you ask.
- Aren't you just gay/lesbian? - Sexuality (to whom we are attracted) is independent from gender identity. A person can be trans and gay or trans and heterosexual and all other combinations.
- Won't you regret it? / Won't you change your mind? - Answered here.
- Should I call you he or she (or it)? - Rather than asking about some given options, a better question is: "How should I refer to you?" or "What are your pronouns?" Using the neuter gender (it) is problematic because it can imply we're talking about a thing and not a person. However there are people who may use neuter pronouns. In English one can use the gender neutral they/them. In Czech however, this is very difficult, as Czech is heavily gendered language.
Further we list some terms, which unfortunately are still present in society, but are inappropriate or derogatory:
- Transvestite – Refers either to a person who dresses as the opposite gender, or paraphilia, where the person is sexually aroused by wearing such clothes. At the same time that person doesn't wish for a different gender identity. Neither of these definitions refer to someone who wishes to change their gender identity. An updated word for people who dress as the opposite binary gender, but do not identify as transgender, is the English word "crossdresser".
- Tranny – This is a slur, even though it may not sound like that to some people.
- Transsexual – Historically, this was a medical term. Since the 1990s, this word is advised against. Historically this term used the Kinsey scale. The more homosexual (in regards to their assigned gender at birth) a person was, the more trans they were and the more they desired a sex reassignment surgery, the more they were trans. This idea still persists even among trans people and often serves to grade or segregate them.
- Trap – An all around inappropriate term. It describes a person who tries to lure others to engage in sexual activity without mentioning they're trans. This almost never happens, it is prejudice.
- Femboy (and alternatives) – Meaning a "feminine boy", a boy or a man who wants to look soft and feminine, either through clothing, make-up or other ways. They are however still boys/men and therefore it is inappropriate to use this term for trans feminine people. However, trans masculine people can still be femboys if they wish to be.
What restroom can trans people use?
The one they prefer. At the start of their transition, when trans people don't perfectly pass as their desired gender, it is common to be met with weird looks, questions and even outright hostility - either gendered restroom. People are using the toilet for a simple biological need and who uses which one shouldn't be gatekept that much. This especially applies to non-binary and gender non-conforming people, as they are the ones most likely to have issues no matter which restroom they pick.
Should trans feminine people be allowed in women's sports?
Yes, definitely. With hormone replacement therapy, the level of testosterone drops rather quickly and after two years it is at the level of cis women. This means that trans feminine people don't have a direct and obvious physical advantage. Their bodies may be different, in the same way like no two cis women are exactly alike. Sport is a very complicated topic, and it's on each sports organization to decide the rules for their own sport. But talking just about trans feminine people doesn't make much sense, when there are objective physical advantages such as increased testosterone that cis women born a certain way have. Source .
What can I do to help trans people?
There are a lot of options, from the little things like listening and trying to understand them, to the greater things like actively getting involved in activism and support for trans rights, publicly taking a stand against bigotry, spreading awareness about organizations that work in this space or even donating money as you are able.
What is internalized transphobia?
Internalized transphobia is a feeling that trans people can feel themselves. It involves internalizing negative stereotypes and feelings that are present in society. It can include feelings of worthlessness, hatred towards the very existence of trans people, and more. This can develop in any period of life and doesn't have to be connected with coming-out or other defining events. We can experience transphobia from childhood and at school, through growing up and even into adulthood. Social media also plays a significant role, as well as various authorities in our lives: parents, teachers, politicians, managers, etc. If we are exposed to such hatred, we can start to internalize these views, even subconsciously. As a result it can lead to relational problems, mental health issues (depression, anxiety, isolation), or perfectionism and comparing ourselves to others and much more. Uncovering such problems sooner rather than later - is an important step toward good mental health and in some cases therapy can help with self-acceptance.