In the time I have been active in this endeavor, I have always been fascinated by one very pervasive idea that those who are impacted by the whole transgender condition are theorized as being "engrossed in the self". it is persistently theorized that for instance a trans woman is "a man who thinks he is a woman", or thinks of herself with thoughts of "I was borm a man but i am a woman". While it is a pretty simple surmise to simply leave it at that it leaves too many unanswered questions. While it is a simple matter to simply make the statement "he believes he is a woman" or "she believes she is a man", it's not enough. gender cannot be defined simply by what one "thinks of self" Look at the picture carefully. How many people are involved in the relationship you see in the picture. is there one single person? the easy answer would be "well, Errol, I see a baby looking in the mirror" We must think deeper than that. When you walk into the bathroom, and you think you are all alone, you are not. There is always another in that bathroom with you. when you look in the mirror, you just related to the person looking back at you. There are always two people in that bathroom and they are relating to each other. To make the supposition that a transgender person comes to that realization all alone is the product of shallow and off the cuff thinking and rationalization. There is never one person involved in the determination of the status of gender, there are always two. How many of you realized you were transgender without first looking in the mirror? The significance is that the person looking back at you, the person you just related to, is not the same gender you are. Trans woman looked in the mirror and saw a man. Trans men looked into the mirror and a woman was looking back. One very significant point is that they formed a very fundamental relationship that was not of the conscious mind. That correlation is as fundamental as breathing. With no conscious effort, they formed a relationship. The very innate relationship formed is that of "I see someone in the mirror, and that person is not the same gender as I am." Because the person looking back at them is not the same gender they were, they had to change that. they had to seek congruency in order to properly relate to the second person, the person looking back at them. Without that most fundamental congruency, the relationship is incorrect. With congruency that person looking in the mirror, and the person looking back at them form a firmly ground relationship between two people of the same gender. Which leads us to the second part of this summation. the statement that "he belives he is a woman" or "she believes she is a man" leaves out one simple but very significant factor; every body else. As we go on with our lives, we relate to every other person we encounter. Whether we speak to them or not, whether we are drawn toward them or away, there must first be the relating. a trans woman encountering a woman instantly relates to that person as "the same gender as I am" Would that work if the trans woman presented as a man? no, the would be incongruence because the woman would make the relationship of "this person who I look at is not the same gender as I am". In the same manner if a trans man presented as a woman, and approached a cis woman, the trans man would make the relation that "i see a woman and she is not the same gender as I am". this would create an incongruence in that the cis woman would make the relation "I see a woman and she is the same gender as I am." The incongruence leads to a fundamental failure in the relating. How significant is relating? it is so significant that one method of discipline in prison is confinement to a single person cell. The isolation and lack of relating to others is the disciplinary measure. Any inmate can tell you the worst experience in prison is being locked into a cell where they cannot relate to others. So what do we do with all this diatribe I just wrote? try it out below. As you relate to the other posters, capture in your mind how you related to that person, what gender that person was, and if he or she is the same gender you are. I tend to think this will give greater explanation of the phenomenon of gender, why it is inportant, and why it is that the TIME movement is so dedicated to preserving the true gender of all humans, be they female or male, cis or trans. Relate to your brothers and sisters and always continue to love them for who they are and for why they are who they are.