The most basic of basic Trans 101.
If you feel like a Neanderthal, or a two year old, or a two year old Neanderthal when it comes to understanding transgender identities, let me just break it right on down for ya.
A transgender male is a female-born individual who identifies as male and can be anywhere on the spectrum of medically transitioned – from no medical intervention at all to completely medically transitioned, including surgery and hormone replacement therapy.
Laymans terms: I identify as dude, therefor I am.
Another way of thinking of it:
Think of transitioning in terms of geographically relocating. Some guys are born male – these guys are the “locals,” this is who they’ve always been. Some guys “moved” here a long time ago and just fit right in, it’s as if they’ve never lived anywhere else. Some guys just moved here and are still trying to learn how to be a local. Be welcoming to the newbies, you have much more to offer them than you think.
If you have a guy friend who happens to be trans, you need not do anything other than treat him just as you would any other dude.
All of everything I just said is exactly the same for transwomen, except replace the words guy, dude, and man with chick, dudette, and woman. Ta-da.
For further consideration:
We live in a world where there are two predominantly socially-accepted genders: male and female. Think of it as Democrat and Republican. You know there are other parties out there, and chances are you don’t totally subscribe 100% to your chosen party. (And hell if you’re smart, you know it’s all just a sham anyway). Gender works similarly and there are people out there who have chosen to not conform to male or female and blaze their own path of gender identity. (Gender anarchy!!) These folks may identify as genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or they might ditch labels altogether. We won’t get too deeply into it since we don’t want to overwhelm your little toddler caveman brain, but these folks are out there and they are revolutionary and deserve equal amounts of respect.