Not being one I can't speak with 100% certainty, but it appears from a lot of my reading that when the term "trans" is used it is in conjunction with someone who either has undergone or is undergoing the reassignment process. As there are different stages of the process (which can take several years to complete) it is possible for someone to still have the genitalia of the pre-op sex but be living as the post-op sex. That is very different from a transvestite (or cross-dresser) for whom the term "trans" is rarely if ever used.
Hope that helps.
Wanda J | March 9, 2011 4:05 PM
Good question, Darren. The definition of transsexual is contested and somewhat ambiguous. As an academic in the field, I would say that 'transsexual' refers to someone who lives in a gender role different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned at birth, or strongly and persistently desires to. This may or may not involve surgery or medical intervention. 'Transgender' is usually used in a broader sense of nontraditional gender expression or identity, which could include crossdressers. As a rule of thumb, it is considered best practice to refer to someone who is clearly trying for a female gender presentation in the female gender. Of course, this is culturally contested and not writ in stone.
Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 9, 2011 4:16 PM
Darren, the PC term these days is 'transgender' That term basically captures the message, "I do not identify with my biological gender" but doesn't denote the stage of transition. It can refer to someone who just started dressing as the appropriate sex, someone who uses hormones for the desired secondary sexual characteristics, or someone who has gone through full transition and had surgery. Actually, many people who identify as transgender don't get surgery either because they are happy with the effect of the hormones or the cost of the surgery is prohibitive.
Marco | March 9, 2011 4:17 PM
No one who is not a part of the investigation needs to know details about the victim's genitals and her surgical status. Cis murder victims do not routinely have details about the shape of their genitals reported to the public, and the fact that this always happens to trans victims is morbid and gross and disrespectful. Saying that she is a trans woman is enough, the reporters should just stay out of her pants.
Sas | March 9, 2011 4:46 PM
Darren, in reply to your question, Gender is not physical, it is our brain sex. What is between our legs is our physical sex. I am a transsexual and I identify as female and all legal documents is female under gender.
I will be having gender reassignment surgery soon but the fact is, just because I still have the remnants of male physicality does not mean i "am a man in a dress". A transvestite is a man who enjoys wearing women's clothing for pleasure for transsexuals, its not a sexual thrill, we are just being whom we are.
Gender reassignment is a long and costly process, both emotionally costly and surgery is financially out of reach for some. Despite this it doesnt change whom we are as we were born this way.
Amanda | March 10, 2011 3:41 AM
The sheriff called her a crossdresser, the person who knew her referred to her as he but said she identified as transgender.Does anyone know for sure if she lived fulltime or intended to? From the way the sheriff was talking I wasn't under the impression that he was trying to be deliberately disrespectful to the victim instead he was just putting the information he knew out there.A person is dead and people are squabbling over the persons gender identity leaves me wondering what is more important the gender identity or the death?
Aside from this person's death how can anyone expect the media to get right the pronouns when the word transgender is nothing more than a loosely defined umbrella term. That was supposed to include crossdressers as that is originally who it was intended to cover.If a married heterosexual crossdresser is murdered are you really supposed to refer to him as her simply because of what they were wearing at the time of their death? If I get murdered I can assure you my spirit will be extremely pissed off if someone refers to me as transgender or thinks its there right to hold a candle for me on the transgender day of remembrance. I solely identify as a woman born transsexual. But I can totally forgive media confusion because it's those who claim to represent me causing the confusion by using a loosely defined term meant for crossdressers.
amym440 | March 10, 2011 10:30 AM
I am a woman born transsexual who does not identify as transgender, and I would be far more angry if the police and news called me a "man in a dress" than if they used a vague term like transgender.
Sas | March 10, 2011 11:41 AM
To me with as loosely defined as the word transgender is would be the same as implying I'm a man in a dress. Listen to what the person who new her said " I knew him, he idenfitied as transgender." Male pronouns means she thought of the word transgender and of Marcal as a men in a dress.
amym440 | March 10, 2011 4:34 PM
Except that for mainstream people who know of the term "transgender" they usually think it is just a gentler word for "transsexual". They don't know there IS any other type of transgender person. They don't think of transsexual women as "men in dresses" because of the association with the TG word; they just think that anyway. I know I got that accusation years before anyone was using the word "transgender".
As for Marcal's friend, I've seen several articles (including, you know, the one we're commenting on) that said Marcal was transitioned and identified as a woman. Her friend's unwillingness to honor that was between them.
Sas | March 10, 2011 6:31 PM
That's not been my experience with heterosexual friends and family they have all watched enough tv shows to know that Transgender is an LGB(T?) umbrella term.I think in part because of that after I told my mother I transitioned she asked me if I was going to go out with a gay man, another transgender, or a lesbian.Not one of them a heterosexual man. My moms 67 years old it freaked me out that she could think up such a crazy question like that. After prodding her to find out what her source was she claimed Oprah. I'm pissed about it to this day and tempted to go on tv just to bitch Oprah out about it. I would have expected her to find out something like that from a Springer rerun but Oprah WTF.Seriously I have no use for the word transgender or the new PC term transwoman they're both junk terms meant to cause more confusion.Ts woman or Transsexual woman works for me and I'm not offended because it has the word sex in it. Some people just need to grow up and crawl out from that oppressive PC umbrella known as transgender.As for Marcal finding out who committed the murder and ensuring they get sentenced equally too if they murdered a woman or man should be a priority.Nobody should be denied justice according to race, gender status, sexual orientation or any of the other excuses that have been used to avoid or lighten sentences in the past.
amym440 | March 10, 2011 7:43 PM
Hmmm...ya know what Amy? I've noticed a lot of unity among Gay and Lesbian people(Bisexuals are the invisible middle child,IMHO), and maybe this is because they spend less time in a circular firing squad defining who is a "true" Gay or Lesbian person.
I don't want to start an HBS flame war, but I just gotta speak up.
There's a lot of ways to be trans, and the press just need to find a way to respect that;AP has figured it out.
Darya | March 13, 2011 12:09 PM