Transsexualism is a condition in which a transsexual person self-identifies as a member of the gender opposite to the one assigned to them at birth. For example, a person who was identified as "female" at birth, raised as a girl, and has lived being perceived by others as a woman, may feel that their core sense of who they are is a closer fit with "male" or "man." If this sense is strong and persistent, this person may decide to take steps to ensure that others perceive them as a man. In other words, they may decide to transition to living as the sex that more closely matches their internal gender.
2 Many transsexual people desire various types of medical alterations to their bodies. These physical alterations are collectively referred to as sex reassignment therapy and often include hormones and sex reassignment surgery.
The entire process of switching from one physical and social gender presentation to the other is often referred to as transition, and usually takes several years.
To obtain sex reassignment therapy, transsexual people are usually required to receive psychological therapy and a diagnosis of gender identity disorder. They must also live as members of their target sex for at least one year prior to surgery, but this time may be longer if the psychotherapist has concerns about the transsexual person's readiness. This time is known as the Real-Life Test or Real-Life Experience, and is one of a number of requirements that a transsexual person must meet, which are specified by protocols known as Standards of Care. These requirements are intended to prevent those individuals, who are not genuinely transsexual persons, from transitioning and later regretting having done so.
These standards are however often criticized as being either ineffective or too strict. The intentions of the standard are to prevent people from transitioning when such a transition would be inappropriate (as a dramatic example, a person seeking to transition in order to veil their...