Definition of "Transgender"

Pronounced "trans-JEN-der.

Related terms include trans*, transsexual, MTF, FTM, transgendered, and T-word.

"Laverne Cox is one of the first transgender actresses to achieve mainstream success."The term transgender refers to someone whose gender identity does not match his or her sex assigned at birth. Usually, "transgender" refers specifically to someone who was assigned one gender at birth (and thus is an an AFAB or an AMAB) but self-identifies as the opposite gender. Appropriate terminology reflects the person's identified gender, and not his or her gender assigned at birth-- that is, an AFAB who identifies as a man is a transgender man (FTM), while an AMAB who identifies as a woman is a transgender woman (FTM).

There is some debate about the exact meaning of the term transgender and how it relates to other terms used within the LGBT community. Some people consider transgender to be an umbrella term for a number of identities including those that are nonbinary. Others consider "transgender" to refer exclusively to people who are FTM or MTF, and for nonbinary identities to be separate. Similarly, transvestites are sometimes classified as trangender, although the majority of trans* people consider transvestism to be a separate culture and need. The relationship between transgenderism and transsexualism is also a point of some debate, with some viewing transsexualism as a synonym, some viewing it as a form of transgenderism, and some finding the term wholly inappropriate.

The term transgender first appeared in print in 1970. Although "transsexual" was a more popular term for at least two decades, "transgender" eventually became the favored term since it de-emphasized the word "sex" and many saw it as inclusive toward related identities. The term "transgendered," ending in -ed, is one variation, but is considered grammatically incorrect.