Transgender VS Transsexual - The Difference

When someone says “I’m trans,” is the true meaning of the word coming across? Many people associate the term with horrible coming-out stories about people who are homeless because no one accepts them.

For me, those words hold a different meaning. When I hear the words, “I’m transsexual/transgender” it means that someone is comfortable enough with themselves to correct people's mistakes saying their name, gender and/or desired pronouns.

Transsexual? Transgender? What am I talking about? Don’t they mean the same thing? The answer is no, they don’t. There is a difference between them that is not always obvious.

TransSEXUAL has nothing to do with the act of sexual intercourse. It signifies that this individual has undergone intensive surgery to reconstruct their body into the opposite gender. Both transitions must use injected hormones before they are allowed to undergo surgery so that there is no rejection or complications with the potential removal of major organs. I have a very personal friend who is willing to share their experience so far with their transition from one gender to the other.

MTF (male to female) use injected estrogen to aid in the development of natural breasts and replacing the levels of testosterone. They occasionally undergo further surgery to gain more breast tissue.

FTM (female to male) inject themselves with testosterone to slow and eventually stop ovulation so that the uterus can be removed at a later date, usually within a year and a half to four years after they begin. It also helps with lowering the voice.

TransGENDER is an incredibly broad term with many different meanings to each person. Those who identify as transgender and who are not planning on injecting themselves and undergoing surgeries typically only go about changing their outward appearance to their own liking, just like every human being would. I myself have done this.

What most people must understand is that trans* people don’t do this for attention, they do it for themselves. They are not changing their personality, they are not changing who they are; all they are doing is correcting misconceptions about how they are viewed. 

Miranda “Andy” Tannahill is a second-year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College. She has a passion for editing, and is not afraid to ask questions until she understands. Sleeping the day away and reading are her hobbies.

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