Trans women are highly misunderstood. Whether it’s judgement or attitudes, this group have to deal with many misconceptions:
Trans women are just extremely gay men.
Gay men are gay men who want to be with other gay men. A trans woman is not necessarily a gay man trapped in the wrong body, nor someone who has suppressed her sexuality, nor is she defined by her genitalia. Gender identity and sexual orientation have nothing to do with one another. A T-girl can identify as, but is not limited to, straight, homosexual, gay, bisexual, or lesbian. I recently read how one can understand this misunderstanding:
“sexual orientation is about who you want to go to bed with, gender identity is about who you want to go to bed as.”
Now that you’re trans, you must be getting a sex change.
It’s not what’s between the legs that determines what one’s gender is. It’s about the feeling that cultivates inside, and how a TS defines herself from those feelings. Not all trans women decide to undergo SRS (sex reassignment surgery), nor can even undergo such a procedure. A TS does not have to take hormone replacement therapy, get genitalia or cosmetic surgery, or change their wardrobe. Again, gender identification comes from deep self-awareness followed by an acceptance of who you are inside.
Why can’t you just accept who you are and what sex you were born as?
If this was as easy as it sounds, our world wouldn’t be filled with the quest for the perfect weight loss program, the latest news on celebrity plastic surgery, or products to maintain thick lustrous hair. The process of identifying one’s gender goes way beyond body image problems. Transitioning is about coming to terms with who you are deep down, how you identify yourself, and then living your life to the fullest with the tools that are available.
Drag queens, cross-dressers, transvestites, and transgender are all the same.
The lines may blur at times, but there are specific differences. Let me explain:
Drag queen: a man who dresses like a woman, exaggerating certain characteristics of a woman for the purpose of entertainment and performance such as cabarets.
Cross-dresser: a man or woman who chooses to wear clothing that stereotypically defines the opposite sex. This could be done for comfort or style, to challenge social norms, to shock, or to disguise one’s physical sex (this can be true in the case of gender-exclusive professions.) Being a cross-dresser often has very little to do with sexual orientation or sexual preference.
Transvestite (transvestic fetishist): typically a male who gets sexual pleasure from cross-dressing.
Transgender: an umbrella term that includes drag queens, cross-dressers, transsexuals, T-girls, and transqueers. However, a trans woman identifies herself as the sex differing from the one she was born as. Often this includes the permanent transition of one sex to another which can be done via medical treatments, surgery, legal name change, outward appearance such as hair and clothing, and most importantly – through the acceptance of her true self.
In closing, it’s important to note that some trans women identify themselves as something other than what I’ve outlined here and may have undergone another process. This post is merely a brief guide to help you understand trans terms and to debunk myths which plague the trans community.