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Transvestite VS. Transgender: Understanding The Difference In Gender Identity

by subhasree nag

It is a common problem that people face to understand the difference between transgender and transvestite. Also, it can be an alien concept to some, but it is the reality for others. It might also happen that you fit into any of these categories, or it can also happen that you are putting yourself in the wrong category.

It is important to know about all the people we live with in our society. There is a lot of confusion, but we are going to help you out with this as well. Before we get deep into transvestite vs transgender, let’s start with the basics.

Sex And Gender – The Difference

Sex And Gender The Difference

Sex is something that is assigned after birth, which refers to the biological status as either female or male and is primarily associated with physical attributes like hormone prevalence, internal and external anatomy, and chromosomes. 

Gender is something that refers to the roles that society has constructed for us, the activities, the behavioral traits, and the attributes that our society considers to be appropriate for women and girls or men and boys. 

These mostly influence the ways in which a person interacts, acts as well as how they feel about themselves. Aspects like biological sex are similar across all cultures, but the gender aspects may differ.

Relationship Between Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity are two different things. Sexual orientation is something that attracts an individual toward another one romantically, physically, and emotionally. On the other hand, gender identity refers to the internal sense of being female, male, or something else.

Transgender people may be lesbian, gay, straight, asexual, or even bisexual, just like any other nontransgender person can be. During the transition period, their preference for choosing a partner might change. They generally label their sexual orientation based on their gender. 

For example, a transgender man, or a person who was assigned female during birth and transitions to make, who is attracted to another ale, would be identified as a gay man.

Transgender vs Transvestite

Transgender vs transvestite

Before we get to transvestite vs transgender, it is better to understand what these two terms mean in the first place. 



The term transgender is used by people who think their gender identity is different from the assigned sex. Their assigned sex does not match up to their expression, a general sense of self, or behavior along with their non-binary individuals. 

So transgender men are those people who were assigned as female during their birth but identify themselves and choose to live as men. Similarly, transgender women were assigned as males during their birth, but they have chosen to live as women.



The term transvestite is used to define the group o people who like to dress in clothes that would conventionally be worn by the opposite gender, as well as behave in that particular way. For instance, there can be heterosexual males who like to wear traditional feminine clothes and acquire their mannerisms as well.

This group of people can be identified as cross-dressers, and they identify themselves as heterosexual and do not associate with the LGBTQ community. But transvestite should not be confused with drag kings or drag queens.

Drag queens are men who dress as female and personify the female gender, whereas drag kings are women who dress up like men and personify the male gender. People who dress in drag are generally gay, but transvestite or cross-dressers are straight.

What Does The Term Transsexual Mean, Or Who Are The People That Are Identified As Transsexual?

The term transsexual is an outdated term that is used to refer to any transgender individual who has undergone some medical interventions. It can also mean someone who is about to or has undergone a medical transition. It can be in different forms, like gender confirmation surgery or hormonal change. This is something they go through to align with their gender identity. 

There s a difference between transsexual and transgender. The term transsexual does not reflect the experience of the transgender community. It should never be used to refer to someone if they have not specifically declared themselves as transgender.

Moreover, there are some transgender people who find the term stigmatizing and offensive. And the reason behind this is the roos and history behind the professional field of psychology and medicine that used the term incorrectly and labeled all transgender people as sexually deviant or mentally ill.

But now that medical science has evolved and they are more considerate and understand that a person with a transsexual or transgender identity is not mentally ill; they are naturally occurring and are as much a part of the human gender diversity as being a male or female.

The Old Thoughts

Our society, unfortunately, forces gender choices on people. Some of the parents choose more stereotypical colors and toys to match the traditional expectations of society of the assigned sex at that particular age.

There has been another outdated thought that transvestite or people who cross-dress gets sexual pleasure out of it. And now, we see them as people who like wearing clothes of the opposite sex.

Transvestive people are often confused with drag. Although it traces back to the history of cross-dressing, it involves exaggerating signifiers of gender roles and is mostly gay. 

Bottom Line

It is important to know the terms that define the people in our society with who we live. That is the minimum we can do to show them respect. It is time to get over the stereotypes and accept the people with open arms. We often come across questions like, “Is transvestite mean” or, “is transvestite a slur?” 

We have come a long way, and now it is time to genuinely stop asking questions like this. You may not be aware of the terms transgender and transvestite, but it is time you know the basic differences between Transvestite vs transgender. And we believe this article will give you a basic idea of it.

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