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What is Transgender & What is a Shemale?

woman surrounded by question marks

It’s early days here at I Love TS. I have been recruiting a couple new writers for the blog and a question came up in one of our meetings regarding all the different words that are used to refer to Trans members at TSmeet.com and TS in general. As I went on to describe the often subtle differences of the words and their meanings I realized that this would make a great post for our readers. So let’s clear things up with some definitions from wikipedia, keeping in mind that perhaps not everyone agrees completely with these and there are always exceptions to every rule. Click on the terms in question to view the entire wikipedia article for each one.

Shemale: “..used primarily (but not exclusively) in sex work to describe trans women with male genitalia and augmented female breasts from breast augmentation and/or use of hormones.”  Some will definitely find this term offensive and it is best to reserve it’s use for those actually in the sex trade. However, I know from my experience with online dating that men use this term very often and generally do not mean any offense. Ignorance is more likely to blame for the general usage use of this word.

Transexual: “Simply put, it defines a person whose assigned sex at birth conflicts with their psychological gender.” The term is also often used to refer to someone who has undergone a sex change operation but this is not always the case. Hence, we have more specific descriptions such as post-op and pre-op transexuals. (post and pre operation)

Tranny: This is usually a slang term for transvestites and is often considered derogatory when applied to transexuals and transgenders. However, the term is used often in describing trans members in the porn industry and sex work. I think the overuse of this term is very much similar to that of shemale, in that it may be considered offensive but ignorance is the usual culprit.

Transgender: Wikipedia maintains that the exact definition of transgender remains in flux but that it could include the following definitions.. “Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.” “People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.” and “Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”

Transvestite: A transvestite is one who is cross dresses, “which is wearing clothing traditionally associated with the opposite sex.”  Applies more to this activity than sexual orientation or gender and is not to be confused with transgender. Lots of info on the history of transvestitism on the wiki page.

Crossdresser: Again, this “is the act of wearing clothing and other accoutrement commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. […] The term denotes an action or a behavior without attributing or proposing causes for that behavior. Some people automatically connect cross-dressing behavior to transgender identity or sexual, fetishist, and homosexual behavior, but the term cross-dressing itself does not imply any motives.”

Lesson over. Any questions?

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Tell us what you think! 2 Comments

  1. zena

    September 6, 2014 at 4:21 am

    This is an apology for earlier. If I offended any males or females, I didn’t mean anything by it. I still admire you people. I’m crossdresser, so I know what you are going through.

  2. tickled

    April 24, 2015 at 12:28 am

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    You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to_HaHa).
    You certainly put a new spin on a topic that’s been written about for years.

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