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What’s The Difference Between A Transvestite, A Transgender, A Transexual, And A Gender Non-Conforming Person? (Revealed)

What’s The Difference Between A Transvestite, A Transgender, A Transexual, And A Gender Non-Conforming Person? (Revealed)

The concept of gender identity has existed for centuries, but it’s only recently become a topic of public discourse.

It’s a concept that is often misunderstood. While most people think of gender as the sex they were assigned at birth, there are many different genders or ways to identify your gender.

It’s not just two options, man and woman. You can identify yourself as a gender in so many different ways.

There are many concepts in gender identity. Some include transvestite, transgender, transexual and gender non-conformity, etc.

The most significant difference between these concepts is that a transvestite wears clothing of the opposite gender for sexual arousal. A transgender person identifies as a different gender from their birth sex. A transexual has undergone medical procedures to change their physical sex characteristics to match their gender identity.

A gender non-conforming person does not identify with the male or female binary. They may identify as transgender, but they may also identify as something else entirely—or they may not identify as anything. Their gender expression can be atypical (e.g., cross-dressing) or typical (e.g., masculine women), but it’s always unique and theirs alone.

Let’s discuss these concepts in detail.

What Is Meant By A Transvestite Person?

A transvestite is a person who prefers to dress in clothing usually worn by the opposite gender.

Transvestism is the act of wearing clothing of the opposite gender and typically refers to men dressing like women, though many women also enjoy dressing as men.

Image of a transvestite man.
Transvestites are also known as “cross-dressers.”

Transvestites often describe themselves as “cross-dressers,” “transvestites,” or “TVs.” They may be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual. Transvestism does not mean that a person has undergone sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), though some do.

Transvestism can be practiced for many reasons: for sexual arousal, pleasure, fun, attention, self-confidence, performance, a rite of passage into adulthood, and as a way to explore gender identity and sexual orientation.

What Is Meant By A Transgender Person?

Many different terms can be used to refer to transgender people, and there is no one correct way to identify someone.

The word “transgender” describes a person who does not belong to the gender they have been assigned from birth. This means a transgender person may have been born male but identifies as female or vice versa.

Many people feel that their gender identity or expression doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth, but not all choose to transition socially and medically. Some transgender individuals decide to transition fully, which can involve taking hormones and undergoing surgery to change their appearance and feel more comfortable in their bodies.

While someone assigned female at birth (AFAB) can identify as male, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will want to transition medically or socially. Some AFAB individuals prefer masculine clothing or hairstyles, while others may decide to take testosterone or undergo surgery without changing how they dress or wear their hair.

What Is Meant By A Transsexual Person?

A transsexual person has a strong and persistent identification with the gender opposite their birth gender. Transsexuals are often called “transgender,” but this term is inaccurate, implying that they aren’t the gender they identify as.

An image of a vivid description of transsexualism.
Transsexual tends to align with the opposite gender.

People who are transsexual often feel alienated from their bodies and want to change their bodies so that they will be more like their ideal selves. They may take hormones or undergo surgery to achieve this goal.

Transsexualism differs from other forms of transgenderism because it involves a strong biological drive toward specific gender identity and expression. Some trans people may also identify as gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual; some may consider themselves “other.”

What is Meant By Gender Non-Conforming Person?

A gender non-conforming person does not conform to the gender norms associated with their assigned birth sex.

The term is sometimes used interchangeably with “transgender.” Still, it can also refer to those who do not identify as males or females and those who do not identify as transgenders.

Image of LGBT and transsexuality symbol.
Gender non-conforming persons tend to express themselves in different ways.

Gender non-conformity can be expressed in many ways, including clothing, behavior, hairstyles, and makeup choices. For example, someone assigned a female at birth who wears a masculine dress and acts more traditionally masculinely might be considered gender non-conforming.

Likewise, someone assigned male at birth who wears feminine clothing and has feminine mannerisms might also be regarded as gender non-conforming.

Being gender non-conforming isn’t limited to those who are transgender; others may feel uncomfortable identifying with their birth gender because of their personal preferences or expressions of identity.

In this sense, gender non-conforming isn’t necessarily about how one feels about their body; instead, it’s about how one expresses themselves through appearance or behavior about societal norms around masculinity or femininity.

Know The Difference

Transvestite, transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming person are terms used to describe people with a gender identity different from their anatomical sex at birth. The times are often used interchangeably in popular culture, although they have distinct meanings.

  • Transvestite: Someone who dresses as the opposite sex for personal pleasure or entertainment.
  • Transgender: Having a different gender identity than their anatomical sex. This may or may not involve any medical treatment or surgery. Transgender people may identify as male, female, or non-binary (neither male nor female); they may also identify as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
  • Transsexual:  Someone who had their body changed so they could live as the gender they identified with internally. Transsexuals are sometimes referred to as transvestites if they engage in cross-dressing regularly but don’t consider themselves part of the transgender community—or if they haven’t yet undergone surgery but intend to do so in the future.
  • Gender NonConforming Person: An individual who doesn’t conform to the gendered society expects based on physical characteristics (e.g., someone who identifies as male but wears women’s clothing).
  • A transvestite is a person who cross-dresses, while a transgender person has the desire to live as a member of the opposite sex.
  • Transvestite don’t necessarily want to change their biological sex, while transsexual people do want to change their biological sex.
  • Transvestites may be heterosexual or homosexual and may or may not be monogamous.
  • Transsexuals are typically heterosexual and monogamous.
  • Transgender people may identify as having an internal sense of being male or female. Still, for transsexual people, their cross-gender identification can be so strong that they feel they must undergo medical procedures such as hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to live authentically with full acceptance in society.
  • Transsexuals may also identify as transgender if they feel like they don’t fit into either of those categories.
  • Transvestites may identify as transgender to avoid being perceived as male or female.
  • Gender-nonconforming people may identify as transgender if they feel they need medical treatment.

You can understand these terms through a glance at this table.

Gender IdentitiesDifferences
TransgenderA term for people whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth sex.
TranssexualA person who strongly desires to live or be treated as a member of the opposite sex.
TransvestiteA person who dresses and acts in a traditionally feminine manner for sexual gratification or to make money.
Gender NonConformityA person whose gender identity, presentation, or behavior does not conform to traditional gender roles.
Difference Between Different Gender Identities

What Is The Medical Term For Transwoman?

The medical term for a transwoman is a transgender woman. Transwomen are people born with male bodies who identify as female and sometimes take hormones or have surgery to affirm their gender identity.

A graphical image of over lapping gender symbols.
Gender identity is all about your perception of gender.

What Is An Example Of Transwomen?

Transwomen are people who were born male but identified as women. They might take hormones or have surgery to become more feminine.

Transwomen can be lesbians, straight, bisexual, or asexual. Transwomen are not men and should be treated as such by anyone they encounter.

An example of a transwoman is Caitlyn Jenner.

Final Thoughts

  • Gender identity describes how a person perceives or feels about their gender.
  •  An individual with a transgender identity identifies with a different gender than their biological sex.
  • Transsexuals have undergone medical treatments to become male or female.
  • Transvestites dress as the opposite gender for fun or sexual gratification (this does not mean that all transvestites are transgender).
  • Gender-nonconforming people do not conform to society’s expectations for their gender identity.

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