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What is the Difference Between a Transsexual and a Transgender Person?

What is the Difference Between a Transsexual and a Transgender Person?

The world has started to become more understanding and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community now. Although we are making big steps in the movement, some people might still confuse the terms to describe one’s gender and sexuality, most especially with the terms transgender and transsexual.

We should always be careful with how we identify others, particularly with these two terms. There is a certain stigma that comes along with those terms. That is why it is important to know what is the difference between a transsexual and a transgender person, what do these two gender terms mean, and when can we properly use them.

What Does Transgender Mean?

Before knowing what’s the difference between a transsexual and a transgender person, we should first discuss what each term means. The definition of transgender or trans may differ from people to people.

It is most commonly used as an umbrella term. It is used by people who identify themselves as having a different gender compared to their biological sex. For example, a biologically born male that identifies to be a female (trans female) can be considered transgender. The same goes for a female who believes that he is male (trans male).

There are also people who are not just exclusively trans to their opposite sex, called trans nonbinary. Nonbinary means that they do not just strictly identify themselves as either male or female.

Most transgender people, early in their childhood, feel that their sense of self does not align with what they are identified with at birth. This might cause gender dysphoria or severe distress in their sexual identity. That is why it is important for them to grow in an environment that is accepting of who they are, no matter what gender they might identify themselves with.

When Does Transsexual Mean?

Many people now do not want to be called transsexual because of the stigma that comes along with that term. History tells us that this was used before to incorrectly label all transgender people as mentally ill. Because of this, many transgender people get offended if they are referred to as transsexual.

The term transsexual technically means someone who identifies themselves with a different sex than what they are biologically identified with. Closely similar to transgender, transsexual should not be used as an umbrella term for all transgender people. This is because it does not reflect/represent everyone under the trans community.

The term transsexual is also commonly used by people who underwent medical surgeries or therapies to fully represent the gender that they identify with. It is to note, however, that not all who had medical changes on their gender representation call themselves transsexual.

That is why it is important to never call someone transsexual unless they openly say so.

What is the Difference Between a Transsexual and a Transgender Person?

After understanding each term, the clear difference between the two terms is that transsexual is not an umbrella term and should not be used as such. Like what has explained above, a lot of stigmas and negative meanings come along with the term transsexual. And so one must be particularly sensitive when using the term.

Transsexual is under the scope of the transgender term. But not every trans person is comfortable with being called transsexual. Although transsexuals are also sometimes referred to as people who have had medical changes made to their body as part of their expression of their gender identity, we still should ask first what specific gender they want to be identified with.

Besides, no matter what it may be, we should still give them the equal respect that we all deserve from one another.

Key Takeaways

Knowing more about gender identities and everything that come in between like what’s the difference between a transsexual and a transgender person is just one of the many steps that we can do to educate ourselves and to know the LGBTQ+ community better.

If you are someone who is struggling with your gender and sexuality, do not hesitate to seek help from a medical professional such as a psychologist and open up to people whom you trust.

Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Transgender | Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/transgender, Accessed April 2, 2021

Transsexualism: A Different Viewpoint to Brain Changes (nih.gov), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5953012/, Accessed April 2, 2021

Trans and gender diverse people – Better Health Channel, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/Transgender-and-transsexuality, Accessed April 2, 2021

Transgender? Or TrueGender? | Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/laugh-cry-live/201507/transgender-or-truegender, Accessed April 2, 2021

Transgender facts, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/transgender-facts/art-20266812, Accessed April 2, 2021

 


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Written by Patrick Juanico Updated May 04
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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