Explanation of Diverse-Gender Labels

Gender Diversity: People who were assigned a gender, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.

Throughout this web site, Dave Wells prefers to use the term ‘Gender Diversity’ as he views the term as taking away any presumptions, and embraces all people who identify and live with a gender identity, outside of Sis-male or Sis-female. At the same time in stating this, Dave Wells respects the person’s choice of identity, but prefers to learn about the person and their individualities, rather than conforming to an identity label that is interpreted by a number of pre-requisites.

There are many descriptions and labels used to describe people who are gender diverse, they include;

‘Transgender’: a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

When referring to the two basic “directions” of transgender, the terms ‘transman’ for female-to-male (which may be further abbreviated to FtM) transgender people and ‘transwoman’ for male-to-female (which may be further abbreviated to MtF) transgender people may be used.

Transgender is sometimes also used specifically in an “in-between” sense for a person who intends on transitioning, rather than as an umbrella term.

‘Transsexual’ or ‘Tranny’: a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex and seek medical assistance to align their body with their identified sex or gender.

  Originally, the term transgender was coined in the 1970s by Virginia Prince in the USA, as a contrast with the term “transsexual,” to refer to someone who does not desire surgical intervention to “change sex,” and/or who considers that they fall “between” genders, not identifying strictly to one gender or the other, identifying themselves as neither fully male, nor female.  Some spell the term ‘transexual’ with one ‘s’, in order to reduce the association of their identity with psychiatry and medicine.

‘Gender Dysphoria’: This is a medical term to describe the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity to be at variance with one’s birth sex.

Dave Wells chooses not to use this term as he views diverse-gender as a human diversity, rather than a medical condition (with respect to a person’s own choice of identity).

‘Gender Identity Disorder’ (GID): A strong and lasting cross-gender identification and persistent discomfort with one’s biological gender (sex) role. Transsexual – A person with gender identity disorder who has an overwhelming desire to change anatomic sex; one who seeks hormonal or surgical treatment to change sex.

Again, Dave Wells chooses not to use this term as he views diverse-gender as a human diversity, rather than a disorder (with respect to a person’s own choice of identity).

The terms “gender dysphoria” and “gender identity disorder” are used in the medical community to explain these tendencies as a psychological condition and the reaction to its social consequences. Strictly speaking, gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder are considered to be mental illnesses, as recorded in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), the standard for mental healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, many mental healthcare providers know little about transgender life, and persons seeking help from these professionals often end up educating the professional rather than receiving help. Among those therapists, psychologists, etc. who do know about transgender issues, many believe that transitioning from one sex to another “the standard transsexual model” is the best or only solution. This usually works well for those who are transsexual, but often far less well for those cross-gender people who do not identify as plainly male or female.

Disorders of sex development (DSDs): are medical conditions involving the reproductive system. More specifically, these terms refer to “congenital conditions’ in which development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical.” Dave Wells prefers to explore the gender-diversities of the individual as a complete person, rather than view the narrow societal ‘Cis-male’ and ‘Cis-female’ view of gender.

Intersex: A person born with both male and female sex organs, or other sexual characteristics.

Non-binary: “not relating to, composed of, or involving just two things”.

“Denoting or relating to a gender or sexual identity that is not defined in terms of traditional binary oppositions such as male and female or homosexual and heterosexual.

Hermaphrodite: a person born with both male and female sex organs, and other sexual characteristics.

Genderqueer: relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions, but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

Transvestite: a person, typically a man, who derives pleasure from dressing in clothes primarily associated with the opposite sex.

A cross dresser: a person who largely identifies as heterosexual who on occasion enjoy presenting as female and usually does not have relationships with people who have penises.

Cisgender: identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Sistergirl & Brotherboy:  Are terms used by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities to describe being ‘transgendered’ in a way specific to Indigenous culture.

Please note: A ‘drag queen’ is a female impersonator and a ‘drag king’ is a male impersonator and neither is a gender diversity in itself.

Transgender in non-Western cultures:

Many other cultures have differences on how they define gender diversity:

  • Varied Native Americancommunities recognized gender-diversity as, a woman-living-man, not as a man who wants to be a woman. Different Native American ethnic groups had different names for the role, such as the winkte. The husband of such a person is not viewed as being gender-different them self, but as a normal male. In some societies there is a corresponding gender for man-living-women (amazons).
  • InThai culture, there is the kathoey, who is very similar to the English definition of transgender, but is sometimes broader, including effeminate gay males more so than “transgender” does.
  • South Asian cultures have hijra, usually genetic males who have been castrated and live as women.
  • Chinese cultures have a wide variety of transgender modes of existence.