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Transgender 101

Are you a trans person looking for resources and connections? Visit our Transgender Healthcare page.

This page is meant to be a resource to people who want to better understand what it means to be transgender. Have questions this page doesn't answer? Send a message to info@siouxfallspride.org


What does it mean to be trans? 

The following definitions are taken from the American Psychological Association webpage "Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression" found here.

What does "transgender" mean?

"Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth... “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person."

Is being trans a mental disorder?

"A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who experience intense, persistent gender incongruence can be given the diagnosis of "gender dysphoria." Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender noncongruence and should be eliminated. Others argue that it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is under revision and there may be changes to its current classification of intense persistent gender incongruence as "gender identity disorder."

What is "gender identity"?

"Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics... The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow."

What is the difference between "sex" and "gender"?

"Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

Various conditions that lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics are collectively referred to as intersex conditions."

Are Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation the same thing?

"Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person, whereas gender identity refers to one’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else."

Connect Locally! 

The Transformation Project & Transformation Project Advocacy Network are two local South Dakota organizations that focus on making our communities safer and happier for gender diverse people. The Transformation Project hosts monthly support groups for trans people and the people who support them, along with supplying resources and other opportunities. Learn about their mission and what they do at transformationprojectsd.org


The Transformation Project Advocacy Network fight for the rights of gender diverse individuals and against harmful legislation in South Dakota. They legal advocacy arm and sister organization of the Transformation Project. Get connected with them at transadvocacysd.org

Health Resources:

Zap That Electrolysis | Zap-that.com
(562) 641-8600 | 129 Main Ave, Hartford, SD 57033

Here at Zap That Electrolysis, we provide permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is the only FDA approved method, and recommended by physicians. We welcome all ages, genders and identities. My goal is to cater to the LGBTQ community and their needs. My office is a safe, non-judgmental, private area to bring the most comfort.

Hours: MONDAY: 5PM – 9PM
FRIDAY: 11AM – 6:30PM
SUNDAY: 10AM – 5:00PM

Keith Hansen, MD

Sanford Health Fertility and Reproductive Medicine
1500 W 22nd Street, Suite 102
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Get Directions 

Hours: M–F: 8:00 AM–5:00 PM
Phone: (605) 328-8800
Fax: (605) 328-8801

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Sioux Falls
6511 W 41st St
Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Visit their website to see service availability. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/south-dakota/sioux-falls/57106/sioux-falls-health-center-2738-90720

Phone: (605) 361-5100

Hours: Monday 9AM–5PM
Tuesday 10AM–4:30PM
Wednesday 10AM–6PM
Thursday 10AM–4:30PM
Friday 10AM–3PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Addiction Resources  

Sunshine Behavioral Health            Website

Even though transgender people make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, they make up a greater percentage of those with mental health and substance use disorders—a higher rate than the overall LGBTQ community.