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A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual or transgender person and the term trans woman is preferred by some individuals over various medical terms. Other non-medical terms include t-girl, tg-girl and ts-girl.[1][2] Transsexual is the more common term.[1]


See also: Transsexualism

"Transition" refers to the process of adopting a social and personal identity that corresponds to one's own sense of the gendered self, and may or may not include medical intervention (hormone treatment, surgery, etc.), changes in legal documents (name and/or sex indicated on identification, birth certificate, etc.), and personal expression (clothing, accessories, voice, body language).


Some trans women who feel that their gender transition is complete prefer to be called simply "women," considering "trans woman" or "male-to-female transsexual" to be terms that should only be used for people who are not fully transitioned. Likewise, many may not want to be seen as a "trans woman" owing to society's tendency to "Other" individuals who do not fit into the sex/gender binary, or have personal reasons beyond that not to wish to identify as transgender post-transition. For this reason, many see it as an important and appropriate distinction to include a space in the term, as in "trans woman", thus using "trans" as merely an adjective describing a particular type of woman; this is in contrast to the usage of "transwoman" as one word, implying a "third gender".[3]

Sexual orientationEdit

The stereotype of the effeminate boy who grows up to live as a woman has a very long history.[4] It is a common misconception and stereotype that all transgender and transsexual women are heterosexual (attracted to males). However, research on the sexual orientation of trans women in the past has been dubious at best. Many studies on this issue have suffered from reporting bias, since many transsexuals feel they must give the "correct" answers to such questions to increase their chances of obtaining hormone replacement therapy. Patrick Califia, author of Sex Changes and Public Sex, has indicated that this group has a clear awareness of what answers to give to survey questions to be considered eligible for hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery:

"None of the gender scientists seem to realize that they, themselves, are responsible for creating a situation where transsexual people must describe a fixed set of symptoms and recite a history that has been edited in clearly prescribed ways to get a doctor's approval for what should be their inalienable right."[5]


Studies indicate that trans women have a higher incidence of decreased libido (34%) than biological females (23%), but the difference was not statistically significant.[6] As in males, female libido is thought to correlate with serum testosterone levels[7][8][9][10] (with some controversy[11]) but there is no such correlation in transwomen[6] even though they do tend to have lower testosterone.[12]

Notable trans womenEdit

File:Andrea James and Calpernia Addams.jpg

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 Kenagy, Gretchen P. (2005). Transgender Health: Findings from Two Needs Assessment Studies in Philadelphia.. Health and Social Work, Vol. 30. URL accessed on 2008-03-29.
  2. Novic, Richard (2005). Alice In Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes Of Age, iUniverse, page 77, ISBN 0595315623. URL accessed 2008-03-29.
  3. Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl: a transsexual woman on sexism and the scapegoating of femininity, 29–30, Emeryville, CA: Seal Press.
  4. Julia, Dudek (April 20, 2003), Playing with Barbies:The Role of Female Stereotypes in the Male-to-Female Transition, Transgender Tapestry,, retrieved on January 2008 
  5. From Donald to Deirdre - Donald N. McCloskey sex change to Deirdre N. McCloskey
  6. 6.0 6.1 Elaut E; De Cuypere G; De Sutter P; Gijs L; Van Trotsenburg M; Heylens G; Kaufman JM; Rubens R; T'sjoen G (Mar 2008). Hypoactive sexual desire in transsexual women: prevalence and association with testosterone levels. European Journal Of Endocrinology 158: 393–9.
  7. Turna B, Apaydin E, Semerci B, Altay B, Cikili N, & Nazli O (2005). Women with low libido: correlation of decreased androgen levels with female sexual function index. International Journal of Impotence Research 17: 148–153.
  8. Santoro N, Torrens J, Crawford S, Allsworth JE, Finkelstein JS, Gold EB, Korenman S, Lasley WL, Luborsky JL, McConnell D, Sowers MF, & Weiss G (2005). Correlates of circulating androgens in mid-life women: the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 90: 4836–4845.
  9. Sherwin BB, Gelfand MM, Brender W (1985). Androgen enhances sexual motivation in females: a prospective, crossover study of sex steroid administration in the surgical menopause. Psychosomatic Medicine 47: 339–351.
  10. Sherwin, B (1985). Changes in sexual behavior as a function of plasma sex steroid levels in post-menopausal women. Maturitas 7: 225–233.
  11. Davis SR, Davison SL, Donath S, Bell RJ (2005). Circulating androgen levels and self-reported sexual function in women. Journal of the American Medical Association 294: 91–96.
  12. DeCuypere G, T’Sjoen G, Beerten R, Selvaggi G, DeSutter P, Hoebeke P, Monstrey S, Vansteenwegen A, Rubens R (2005). Sexual and physical health after sex reassignment surgery. Archives of Sexual Behavior 34: 679–690.

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