PFLAG UK - TRANSGENDER RESOURCES
People of any age may be transgender, transsexual or transvestite. This does necessarily mean they are homosexual. The information below aims to briefly explain these terms in clear language to provide a clearer understanding. For more detailed information we recommend "The Transgender Zone" website: www.transgenderzone.com
This refers to people who feel that the gender they were born with is not the gender they want to have. Transgender does not have any relation to the persons sexual orientation, they may be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.
Transsexual men and women (referred to as a trans man or trans woman respectively) desire to establish a permanent gender role as a member of the gender with which they identify, often pursuing medical interventions as part of the process. These physical alterations are collectively referred to as sex reassignment therapy and may include female-to-male/male-to-female hormone replacement therapy and/or various surgeries such as orchiectomy, facial feminization surgery, sex reassignment surgery, trachea shave and mastectomy. The entire process of switching from one physical sex and social gender presentation to the other is often referred to as transition, and usually takes several years.
A transvestite or cross-dresser is a person who occasionally wears clothes of the opposite sex. Unlike a transgender or transsexual person, they do not necessarily think themselves as being born as the wrong sex. A majority of transvestites are actually heterosexual.