With all of the diversity in the world, it’s confusing to some people what the difference is between Transgender and Transsexual.
It is a fact that some individuals will use the two words interchangeably, but that is wrong because the two are completely different.
Transsexual is a ‘sex’, meaning it describes a person’s physical and reproductive roles. What we know as Male, Female, or Intersex (both male and female physical features) are the basic types of sex.
Transgender refers to a person’s gender, identity, to which there are tons.
Fun Fact: the term was first used in 1974.
Bear with me because there is a fine, fragile line between the two. When a male is born with all of the proper male parts he is considered a boy. When a female is born with all of the proper female parts, she is considered a girl. This is where the gender identity comes in. Gender identity is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: “a person’s internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female.”
When a male does not identify with the masculine gender but instead identifies with the female gender, he is considered to be a Transgender person. So, if you are a man or woman, with all of the correct parts because you were born that way, but you do not conform to typical behaviour expected of your sex, and identify with the opposite gender of the sex you were born into, then you would be considered a Transgender person.
Cross-dressers and drag queens or drag kings are NOT transgender. Sure some might be, but as a whole they are not. If you still have questions, look up transgender teenager, Jazz Jennings or even cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard.
Not only do Transsexuals not feel comfortable in the body they were born with, they actually want to change from their body to that of the opposite sex, the one they feel more comfortable with. In other words, a male wants to actually be a female with all the female parts and same with female wanting to be a male. The term that is used for this is sex change or sex reassignment. Those such individuals that have transitioned entirely from one sex to the other include: Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as a transgender before transitioning into a woman ultimately becoming a trans woman. Other celebrities include Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox, to name a couple. One of the reasons society is unsure of the differences between Transgender and Transsexual is because most of the celebrities that have transitioned still use the word Transgender to describe themselves, because Transsexual seems offensive.
So, if you take what I have explained here to heart, you will know that a cross-dresser could be a Transgender person but not always necessarily, and a female that was born a male, is a Transsexual, even though they don’t often use that term. Hopefully, this helps you understand the differences a lot better. Dr. Frank-n-Furter would be proud!