Transgender Terminology: As Clear as Mud?

A friend was asking me about the difference between the words “transgender” and “transsexual.” Are they interchangeable terms?

Well, it depends on who you ask. Many transsexual people don’t consider themselves to be transgender folks — both words are adjectives, by the way.

The word “transgender” is an umbrella term covering just about everyone who blurs gender lines. It can include transsexual people, but many disagree — including me (who used to be a transsexual but am now simply a female).

The word “transsexual,” in my opinion and that of others, covers people who identify as the opposite of their birth sex, regardless of whether they will transition or not.

And, of course, once people have officially transitioned — from male to female, or from female to male — through sexual reassignment surgery and have changed all their official documentation, they are considered to be females or males. They are not “transsexuals” any longer, but many still refer to themselves as “transsexuals,” and some still refer to themselves as “transgender” people.

Or, as I often do in this blog (given its subject matter), as a “transitioned” woman. When I am out and about in the world, though, I am simply a woman, a female.

And a spirit in the material world.



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