The part I struggle with is someone saying they're a woman trapped in a man's body, or vice-versa. How is that possible, I ask myself? I don't feel like a man trapped in a man's body. I don't have a "Man Cave". I don't "hang out with the guys". I have male friends and female friends. I have strong and powerful female friends, and loving and nurturing male friends. It seems to me that someone who believes they're a woman trapped in a man's body (or vice-versa) is making some assumptions about what defines a man's personality, or a woman's, that I don't ascribe to. And these assumptions are actually pretty bizarre, teetering towards hurtful, as they seem to be based in stereotypes rather than in an openness towards both men and women each being capable of the full range of human intellect and emotion.
And you were gonna talk about science. Heh. *smirk*
Lolol joking aside, the current theory on this is that your brain has a blueprint in it to look at, so you feel comfortable with your body. For example, the blueprint says that you have two arms and two legs, and roughly tells you how they are "supposed" to work. This is why you can feel pain in a limb you've lost (phantom pain, I think its called?), because your body is still looking at that blueprint and expecting there to be a limb. Its this blueprint that has been mixed up, and your "male" brain (or simply, male blueprint, not the entire brain) is expecting a penis, but your female body does not have one. So you feel weird.
Simplified explanation, no sources, but yeah. That's what I've read. :)
Lots of trans people often become very stereotypical versions of their new/intended/real gender after the transition, and yeah, that's a bit odd to me as well.
I have a friend who said this: "There are no trans people, its just confused guys who want to wear dresses and stuff, and need an excuse to be accepted in society (and same thing for women but with other examples)." I think thats wrong. Then again, who REALLY knows? Life is complicated.
Wow, that's actually a very good explanation for people who struggle with understanding what being transgender meams or how transgender even "works". I've never heard someone use that way of explaining it before, but it's actually incredibly accurate.
In regards to trans people tending to lean toweards the stereotypes of their gender, consider this: society tends to tell us that men are the protectors, therefore stronger, more masculine. Men are supposed to act a certain way, the same way that women are supposed to be prettier, care more about their looks, be caregivers and compassionate and more emotional. So if, as you say, the blueprint tells you that you're supposed be a certain gender but your body doesn't align with that blueprint, you'll make the transition to be more masculine (for an ftm), stronger, etc., Or more feminine, prettier, passionate, etc. (For mtf)
That's not to say that every transperson follows stereotypes, for most transmen and women, it's not even a conscious choice, it's just them finally being able to be their gender, and being who they are. Everyone is different of course, whether they are trans or not. I've met trans people that don't follow typical stereotypes, but that doesn't make them any less of who they are.
I hope that explanation helped a bit. Also, it's very important for trans people to 'pass' socially to avoid potential risks for harm. For those who don't know, pass means that a transperson can go out in public without anyone suspecting them. :)