Last night, I ventured over to the student union to watch TransAmerica and caught the tail-end of a panel about gender and sexuality. Having taken psychology in high school, I had some idea of the difference between the two, but I had never actually seen anyone who had gender dysphoria or issues of gender identity. There was one transexual girl on the panel who had been born a male, but had considered himself/herself a girl for many years. A few friends of mine came into the discussion even later than I had and began questioning me about the proceedings. So I tried to explain and I did... sort of... badly.
Where I got screwed up was which pronoun to use. I was trying to convey that this person had been a guy, but considered himself/herself a girl. From what I've read, many transexuals get very irritated when people use the wrong pronouns and I'm pretty sure that if that the person on the panel had been standing next to me when I was explaining, I would have gotten smacked upside the head. I don't mean to be insulting, but when you've experienced such a thing, it's hard to wrap your brain around it.
Oh yeah, if I've mortally wounded anyone reading this post, please forgive me. I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about.