After marriage equality, many people said the transgender community is the next step in the gay rights movement. Last year, 271 transgender and gender non conforming individuals were victims of homicide. In my opinion, one of the best ways to stop the violence and hate is to educate. Here are 8 facts about the transgender community:

1. The definition: To make sure we're all on the same page, the definition of a transgender individual is: a person whose gender identity does not match with that assigned for their physical sex.

2. With that basic definition in mind, transgender is an umbrella term for many different identities, which include, among others: transmen, transwomen, genderqueer people, crossdressers, and drag queens/kings. In its general sense, it refers to anyone whose behaviors or identity falls outside of stereotypical expectation for their gender.

3. Transvestite is a dated term. The preferred term is crossdresser. A transsexual is different, in that it is specific to trans people who have transitioned their sex through hormones and/or surgery.

4. Not all transgender individuals are gay. The "T" is LGBTQ stands for transgender, but they are completely separate identities. One is gender and the others are sexual orientations. Transgender individuals, just like cisgender (or those who feel their biological sex matches their gender identity), may identify with any sexual and romantic orientations.

5. Not all trans individuals identify with binary pronouns. We live in a binary society of men and women. Pronouns are the words people use when talking in the third person. A majority of people use she, her, hers or he, him, his. However, some people, including transgender people use other pronouns outside the binary such as they, them, theirs.

6. "I never would've guessed you were trans" is not a compliment. While it may be important for someone's appearance to match their gender identity, let's stop focusing on looks. Instead, just use their gender pronouns and be an ally to the community.

7. Not all trans individuals get surgery and/or use hormones. Transitions are no all alike. Some trans individuals may choose to take hormones and physically change their appearance through surgery, but some may not. It is all a personal choice and these choices don't make one's identity invalid.

8. Transgender people do not go to the bathroom to harass others. With the movement of gender inclusive bathrooms in different locations, there is a belief that this will cause violence or even assault of little kids. However, this is far from the truth. Transgender individuals go to the bathroom to do exactly what everyone else uses them for. That's it.

While sexuality may be gaining more acceptance, gender identity and transgender individuals are still a mystery to many people. I hope this clears up some misconceptions.

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