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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Two questions out of curiosity

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Author Topic: Two questions out of curiosity
Emilbee
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I wasn't sure where to post this, so I apologize if you have to move it.

I've had two completely unrelated questions on my mind for a bit and I just got around to posting, so here you are:
First, why is there blood in a period? I realize the uterus is shedding its lining, but what part of the myometrial contractions cause for there to be blood mixed in?
Second of all, could someone please elaborate on the difference between transgender and transsexual? I realize they are different terms, but I'm unsure which context in which to use them, and I'd like some clarification. Thanks very much. [Smile]

Once again, these are both just out of curiosity, so there's no urgency here.

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Heather
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Sure thing.

How people use transgender and transsexual varies, so when you're dealing with someone who is one or both, the best tactic is just to defer to that person's own definition, like we would with any other kind of self-assigned identity.

But in general, transgender is a larger umbrella term which usually means a person or people whose gender identity is different than the sex they were assigned at birth. Most often, that means, for instance, someone assigned female sex at birth identifies as a man, or vice-versa, but sometimes it can include genderqueer or agender people who simply identify differently.

Transsexual is a subset of that, and usually refers to a transgender person who has had sexual reassignment surgery.

With periods, the uterine lining, or endometrium, grows during the fertility cycle to become very rich with blood vessels. So, as I understand it, when that lining is shed, it includes blood.

[Edited because "transsensual" is not a word. I'd say "silly typos," but that's actually kind of a cool one.]

[ 11-27-2011, 07:16 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Starfire&Shadows
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Or Transsexual can also mean wants to/plans on having sexual reassignment surgery/hormones. Just because they finally have the desired surgery(although it's still awesome for them) it doesn't magically mean they're "transsexual" now and they weren't a day ago.

Another definition is someone who feels aligned with another sex/gender - right down to the physical parts, or someone who wants to go through some process to make their sex identity and their body match wholly.

Heck, I might have just made it more confusing. I'm not sure how good my explanation is. Sorry in advance guys, if you're scratching your heads.

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Heather
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Well, that's why we also have the terms pre-op and post-op (just like, say, we can talking about someone who is in menopause, but that's a process, so before someone is in it, we say they're peri-menopausal), but I hear you.

And again, this is fairly new language, and it's also language where there have sometimes been clashes between how transgender or transsexual people have used the terms themselves, and how the medical or other outside community has. So, it can be confusing. Which is why, ultimately, it tends to make the most sense to just defer to someone's own definitions and use who is either or both.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Saffron Raymie
Scarleteen Volunteer
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I identify as "transensual" now! [Big Grin]

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