Transgender is an umbrella term applied to people and behaviors which diverge from those of normative two-gender roles (male and female), usually assigned at birth. Transgender refers to the state of one's gender identity (male, female, or various other identities) and not to sexual identities, a common misunderstanding.
Transgender identities and expression have been a fixture of culture since antiquity. One example is South Asian, where Hijras (pictured at right) are considered members of a third gender.
The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders.
The state of being neither male nor female may be understood in relation to the individual's biological sex, gender role, gender identity, or sexual orientation. To different cultures or individuals, a third sex or gender may represent an intermediate state between men and women, a state of being both (such as "the spirit of a man in the body of a woman"), the state of being neither (neuter), the ability to cross or swap genders, or another category altogether independent of male and female. This last definition is favored by those who argue for a strict interpretation of the "third gender" concept.
The second child of George William Jorgensen Sr., a carpenter and contractor, and his wife, the former Florence Davis Hansen, Jorgensen grew up in the Bronx and later described herself as having been a "frail, tow-headed, introverted little boy who ran from fistfights and rough-and-tumble games".