What does it mean to be Transgender? “Assigned Sex” vs. Gender

The term “assigned sex” has biological roots, meaning a person is labeled by another as male or female based on the characteristics of their chromosomes, anatomy, and hormones. Typically this label is given to us by a doctor within the first few minutes our life based on what biology has “assigned” to us.

“Gender” is a person’s inner sense of being male or female, and this inner sense does not always match a person’s “assigned sex.”  Though popular culture frequently suggests that being transgender involves surgery, how a person dresses, or sexual orientation, a divergence between assigned sex and gender reflects the true nature of the word Transgender.

Some transgender individuals say that their gender and assigned sex are opposite, while others say they identify with both genders in contrast with their singular assigned sex. In addition, some individuals don’t identify with either gender. These “non-binary” gender identifications have shown us that gender, like many other attributes, exists on a continuum rather than strictly exclusive.


“Transitioning” is the process of making changes in order to match the way we feel inside. For a transgender individual, transitioning can involve changing clothing and hair, changing names, or using hormone therapy or surgery to feel and look different.  Each transition process is unique to the individual, and no two journeys are the same.

Many times someone who is transgender will ask people in their lives to use different pronouns to refer to them by or make other social and legal changes. Transitioning can begin at any age; in fact, some children begin transitioning before they can even pronounce the word.


It takes courage to explore one’s gender identity.  Several of Synergy’s therapists specialize in working with transgender topics and transitioning individuals as well as friends, family members, and significant others. You can expect safe, affirming, and supportive interactions from your therapists as well as every staff member at Synergy.

Please contact our office for availability.