The words Transvestite, Transsexual, Transgender, Gender Dysphoria and Intersexuality can be confusing terms and are often difficult to understand. I will attempt to explain, in very simple terms, the meaning of each of these conditions.
WHAT IS GENDER IDENTITY:
Gender identity is defined as an individual’s SELF-CONCEPTION of being a male or female. The importance of the previous sentence are the words SELF-CONCEPTION. Most of us are fortunate to have our gender identity and biological sexual characteristics match; but sometimes, individuals have LITTLE or NO connection between gender identity and their biological sexual characteristics. ‘Biological sexual characteristics’ mean the sexual organs you are born with.
A transsexual is an individual whose biological sexual characteristics are distinctively male or female but he or she believes they are–or out to be–the opposite sex. An example of this is the transsexual male. This individual was born with normal male sex organs but very early in life he felt he was really a female and identifies as a female, behaving in a way that is appropriate to the female sex. His sexual orientation is the same as a female and he feels attracted to men. He is nothomosexual, he is a transsexual male and desires to relate to men as a woman would and to be treated by them as if he were a normal female.
Transgender is a term used by individuals whose gender identity conflicts with their sexual anatomy (see above). These people generally choose to live the role of the gender they identify as being. They clearly identify their gender as the opposite of their biological sex. Many times these people choose to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, also known as GRS.
Sexual/gender reassignment surgery is a means of transitioning to another gender by surgical alterations to the body. The surgeries are either FTM (female to male changes) or MTF (male to female changes) and consist of a variety of surgeries. (Please see my upcoming article on Sexual/Gender Reassignment Surgery.)
This term refers to an individual who is born with sex organs that are not clearly male or female. The cause may be due to many things including chromosome syndromes and imbalances of hormones. This condition is known as ‘hermaphoroditism’ in medical terms. One in every two thousand births is an intersex child. It does not mean that the individual has all the parts of both sexes. That is physiologically impossible. A person with an intersex condition has some of the parts usually associated with a male and some of the parts usually associated with that of the female or some of the external parts appear ambiguous or ‘blended’.
Gender dysphoria is the medical term used for individuals who feel unhappy with their current gender. They are in conflict with their physical sexual gender. While most of us feel this way at some time in our lives, true gender dysphoria is when a person is tormented by his or her gender for years and years.
Transvestism is a desire to adopt the appearance and behavior of the opposite sex by the practice of wearing the clothes of the opposite sex for some kind of sexual pleasure. Transvestites may be either heterosexual or homosexual. Most transvestites are males who are comfortable in their male roles in society and are satisfied with their biological sex.
While each of these situations involve much more information than I have included in this brief article, I hope you have gained some additional knowledge and understanding of these often misunderstood conditions.