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A trans woman is a
woman A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, male gamete during sexual reproduction. A femal ...

woman
who was
assigned male at birth Sex assignment (sometimes known as gender assignment) is the discernment of an infant's sex at birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the proc ...
. Trans women have a female
gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behavior ...
, may experience
gender dysphoria Gender dysphoria (GD) is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. The diagnostic label gender identity disorder (GID) was used until 2013 with the release of the DSM-5. The con ...
, and may transition; this process commonly includes
hormone replacement therapy Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also known as menopausal hormone therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy, is a form of hormone therapy used to treat menopausal symptoms, symptoms associated with female menopause. These symptoms can include ho ...
and sometimes
sex reassignment surgery Sex reassignment surgery (SRS), also known as gender reassignment surgery (GRS) and several other names, is a surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work" ...
, which can bring relief and resolve feelings of gender dysphoria. Trans women may be
heterosexual Heterosexuality is romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** ...
,
bisexual A bisexual pride flag Bisexuality is romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic p ...
,
homosexual Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic ...
,
asexual
asexual
, or identify with other terms (such as
queer ''Queer'' is an for people who are not or are not . Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", ''queer'' came to be used ly against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer ac ...

queer
). The term ''
transgender Transgender people have a gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or ...

transgender
woman'' is not always interchangeable with ''
transsexual Transsexuals are people who experience a gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also calle ...

transsexual
woman'', although the terms are often used interchangeably. ''Transgender'' is an
umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the m ...
that includes different types of
gender variant Gender variance, or gender nonconformity, is behavior or gender expression Gender expression, or gender presentation, is a person's behavior, mannerisms, interests, and appearance that are associated with gender Gender is the range of chara ...
people (including transsexual people). Trans women face significant discrimination in many areas of life, including in employment and access to housing, and face physical and sexual violence and hate crimes, including from partners; in the United States, discrimination is particularly severe towards trans women who are members of a
racial minority A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are fewer in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, a ...
, who often face the
intersection The line (purple) in two points (red). The disk (yellow) intersects the line in the line segment between the two red points. In mathematics, the intersection of two or more objects is another, usually "smaller" object. Intuitively, the inter ...

intersection
of transphobia and
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
.


Overview

Both transsexual and transgender women may experience
gender dysphoria Gender dysphoria (GD) is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. The diagnostic label gender identity disorder (GID) was used until 2013 with the release of the DSM-5. The con ...
, distress brought upon by the discrepancy between their gender identity and the sex that was assigned to them at birth (and the associated gender role or primary and secondary sex characteristics). Both transsexual and transgender women may transition. A major component of medical transition for trans women is
estrogen Estrogens or oestrogens, are a class of natural or synthetic s responsible for the development and regulation of the female and s. There are three major estrogens that have estrogenic hormonal activity: (E1), (E2), and (E3). Estradiol, an ...

estrogen
hormone replacement therapy Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also known as menopausal hormone therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy, is a form of hormone therapy used to treat menopausal symptoms, symptoms associated with female menopause. These symptoms can include ho ...
, which causes the development of female
secondary sex characteristic Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear during puberty Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populo ...
s (
breast The breast is one of two prominences located on the upper ventral Standard anatomical terms of location deal unambiguously with the of s, including s. Terms used generally derive from or roots and used to describe something in its . Th ...

breast
s, redistribution of body fat, lower
waist–hip ratio The waist–hip ratio or waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the dimensionless In dimensional analysis In engineering and science, dimensional analysis is the analysis of the relationships between different physical quantities by identifying their bas ...
, etc.). This, along with
sex reassignment surgery Sex reassignment surgery (SRS), also known as gender reassignment surgery (GRS) and several other names, is a surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work" ...
can relieve the person of gender dysphoria.


Terminology

The term trans woman originates from the use of the Latin prefix ''trans-'' meaning "across, beyond, through, on the other side of, to go beyond" and ''woman''. The term was first used in
Leslie Feinberg Leslie Feinberg (September 1, 1949 – November 15, 2014) was an American butch lesbian, transgender activist, communist, and author. Feinberg authored ''Stone Butch Blues'' in 1993.
's 1996 book ''Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman''. The book describes a trans woman as "a male-to-female transgender or transsexual person."Feinberg, Leslie. ''Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman''. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005. 1996. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. This definition is widely accepted and used in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, she elaborates on it by saying that being a trans woman often has a negative connotation. She explains that people refer to trans women as "freaks" and that her gender expression has made her a "target." Heidi M. Levitt provides a simpler description of trans woman. She defines trans woman as "the sex of those who transition from one sex to the other."Levitt, Heidi M. "Transgender." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, edited by William A. Darity, Jr., 2nd ed., vol. 8, Macmillan Reference USA, 2008, pp. 431-432. ''Gale Virtual Reference Library.'' Web. 3 Apr. 2017 Levitt mentions how the abbreviation "MTF" is commonly used, meaning male-to-female. A final perspective by Rachel McKinnon explains how the term is complicated.McKinnon, Rachel. "Gender, Identity, and Society." ''Philosophy: Sex and Love'', edited by James Petrik and Arthur Zucker, Macmillan Reference USA, 2016, pp. 175-198. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. ''Gale Virtual Reference Library''. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. While some trans women have undergone sex reassignment surgery, many struggle in society to
pass Pass, PASS, The Pass or Passed may refer to: Places *Pass, County Meath, a townland in Ireland *Pass, Poland, a village in Poland *Pass (strait), Pass, an alternate term for a number of straits: see List of straits *Mountain pass, a lower place ...
as a woman and be accepted. This ability to pass can cause one who was considered a trans woman to be seen just as any other woman. She explains that this is controversial since trans women do not have the biological ability to reproduce and are missing a uterus and ovaries. However, she concludes that "trans women are women" who challenge socially constructed norms of what it means to be a woman. The
CDC CDC may refer to: Organizations Government * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous Unite ...
refers to the word "
transgender Transgender people have a gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or ...

transgender
" as "an umbrella term for persons whose
gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behavior ...
or expression (
masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of vari ...
,
feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mob ...

feminine
, other) is different from their
sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual r ...
(
male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sexually ...

male
,
female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of ...

female
) at birth". ''Trans woman'' is commonly interchanged with other terms such as ''transgender woman'' and ''transsexual woman''. According to OxfordDictionaries.com, ''transgender'' means "denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex." However, Heidi M Levitt describes transgender as "different ways in which people transgress the gender boundaries that are constituted within a society." She then describes how one must understand the difference between sex and gender in order to fully understand transgender. She argues that sex is biological whereas "gender is a social construct." Thus people who are transgender express themselves differently than their biological sex. In contrast, Levitt explains that "transsexual people have a sexual identity that does not match their physical sex" and that some desire sex-reassignment surgery. In addition, the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' refers to transsexual as "having physical characteristics of one sex and psychological characteristics of the other" and "one whose sex has been changed by surgery." These definitions show that someone who is transsexual expresses their gender differently than assigned at birth. In addition, they may want or undergo surgery to change their physical appearance. Thus trans women fall under the umbrella of being transgender because their gender was assigned male at birth but they identify as a woman. However, not all trans women are transsexual since they may or may not choose to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. Some trans women who feel that their
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

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," often owing to the societal otherization of trans individuals. Among those who do refer to themselves as trans women, 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 Third gender is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman. It is also a social category present in societies A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved ...
". In several
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
n countries, the word " travesti" is sometimes used to designate people who have been assigned male sex at birth, but develop a female gender identity. The use of the term "travesti" precedes that of "transgender" in the region and its differentiation from the notions of "transsexual" and "trans woman" is complex and can vary depending on the context, ranging from considering it a regional equivalent to a unique identity.


Sexual orientation

Trans women may identify as
heterosexual Heterosexuality is romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** ...
(or straight),
bisexual A bisexual pride flag Bisexuality is romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic p ...
,
homosexual Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic ...
(or lesbian), , or none of the above. A survey of roughly 3000 American trans women showed 31% of them identifying as bisexual, 29% as "gay/lesbian/same-gender", 23% as heterosexual, 7% as asexual, as well as 7% identifying as "queer" and 2% as "other".


Libido

In a 2008 study, no
statistically significant Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sens ...
difference in
libido Libido (; colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation ...
was detected between trans women and
cisgender Cisgender (sometimes cissexual or shortened to cis) describes a person whose gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between f ...
women. As in males, female libido is thought to correlate with serum
testosterone Testosterone is the primary sex hormone Sex hormones, also known as sex steroids, gonadocorticoids and gonadal steroids, are steroid hormone A steroid hormone is a steroid that acts as a hormone. Steroid hormones can be grouped into two cl ...
levels (with some controversy) but the 2008 study found no such correlation in trans women. Another study, published in 2014, found that 62.4% of trans women reported their sexual desire had decreased after sexual reassignment therapy.


Violence towards trans women

Trans women face a form of violence known as trans bashing. The ''
Washington Blade The ''Washington Blade'' is a lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, ...
'' reported that
Global Rights Global Rights is an international human rights Human rights are moral principles or normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Ret ...
, an international NGO, tracked the mistreatment of trans women in Brazil, including at the hands of the police. To commemorate those who have been murdered in
hate crimes A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime) is a prejudice Prejudice can be an affective Affect, in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, c ...
, an annual
Transgender Day of Remembrance The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), also known as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, has been observed annually (from its inception) on November 20 as a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transph ...
is held in various locations across Europe, America, Australia, and New Zealand, with details and sources for each murder provided at their website.


United States

According to a 2009 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, quoted by the Office for Victims of Crime, 11% of all hate crimes towards members of the LGBTQ community were directed towards trans women. In 2015 a false statistic was widely reported in the United States media stating that the life expectancy of a trans woman of color is only 35 years. This appears to be based on a comment specifically about Latin America in a report by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the IACHR or, in the three other official languages Spanish, French, and Portuguese language, Portuguese CIDH, ''Comisión Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos'', ''Commission Interaméricaine des D ...
, which compiled data on the age at death of murdered trans women for all of the Americas (North, South, and Central), and does not disaggregate by race. In 2016, 23 transgender people suffered fatal attacks in the United States. The
Human Rights Campaign The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest LGBTQ ' is an that stands for , , , and . In use since the 1990s, the initialism, as well as some of its common variants, functions as an for . It may refer to anyone who is or non-, instea ...
report found some of these deaths to be direct results of an anti-transgender
bias Bias is a disproportionate weight ''in favor of'' or ''against'' an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded Open-mindedness is receptiveness to new ideas. Open-mindedness relates to the way in which people approach the views and kn ...

bias
, and some due to related factors such as homelessness. One type of violence towards trans women is committed by perpetrators who learn that their sexual partner is transgender and feel deceived. Almost 95% of these crimes were committed by cisgender men towards trans women. According to a 2005 paper looking at HIV needs analysis in Houston, Texas, "50% of transgender people surveyed had been hit by a primary partner after coming out as transgender".


Discrimination

Trans women, like all gender variant people, often face
discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People may be discriminated on the basis of Racial discrimination, r ...
and
transphobia Transphobia is a collection of ideas and phenomena that encompass a range of negative attitudes, feelings or actions towards transgender people or transness in general. Transphobia can include fear, aversion, hatred, violence, anger, or dis ...
. A 2015 survey from The Williams Institute found that, of 27,715 transgender respondents, 52% whose families had rejected them attempted suicide, as did 64.9% of those who were physically attacked in the past year. A survey of roughly 3000 trans women living in the United States, as summarized in the report "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey", found that trans women reported that: * 36% have lost their job due to their gender. * 55% have been discriminated against in hiring. * 29% have been denied a promotion. * 25% have been refused
medical care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World ...

medical care
. * 60% of the trans women who have visited a
homeless shelter Homeless shelters are a type of homeless service agency which provide temporary residence for homelessness, homeless individuals and families. Shelters exist to provide residents with safety and protection from exposure to the weather while simu ...
reported incidents of harassment there. * When displaying identity documents incongruent with their gender identity/expression, 33% have been harassed and 3% have been physically assaulted. * 20% reported harassment by police, with 6% reporting physical assault and 3% reporting sexual assault by an officer. 25% have been treated generally with disrespect by police officers. * Among jailed trans women, 40% have been harassed by inmates, 38% have been harassed by staff, 21% have been physically assaulted, and 20% have been sexually assaulted. The American National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' report of 2010 anti-LGBTQ violence found that of the 27 people who were murdered because of their LGBTQ identity, 44% were trans women. Discrimination is particularly severe towards non-white trans women, who experience the intersection of
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
and transphobia. For example, a potential result of such discrimination is that multiracial, Latina, Black and
Indigenous American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
trans women are twice to more than three times as likely as white trans women to be sexually assaulted in prison. In her book '''', trans woman
Julia Serano Julia Michelle Serano (; born 1967) is an American writer, musician, spoken-word performer, trans– bi activist, and biologist. She is known for her transfeminist books '' Whipping Girl'' (2007), ''Excluded'' (2013), and ''Outspoken'' (2016). ...
refers to the unique discrimination trans women experience as "
transmisogyny Transmisogyny (sometimes trans-misogyny) is the intersection The line (purple) in two points (red). The disk (yellow) intersects the line in the line segment between the two red points. In mathematics, the intersection of two or more object ...
". Discrimination against trans women has occurred at the
Michigan Womyn's Music Festival The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, often referred to as MWMF or Michfest, was a feminist women's music festival held annually from 1976 to 2015 in Oceana County, Michigan Michigan () is a U.S. state, state in the Great Lakes region, ...
after the Festival set out a rule that it would only be a space for cisgender females. This led to protests by trans women and their allies, and a boycott of the Festival by Equality Michigan in 2014. The boycott was joined by the Human Rights Campaign,
GLAAD GLAAD is an American non-governmental media monitoring organization, founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of LGBT people. Its agenda has since extended to the entertainment industry and its portrayal of these groups. The movement is ...

GLAAD
, the
National Center for Lesbian Rights The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, ...
, and the
National LGBTQ Task Force The National LGBTQ Task Force is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known a ...
. The "womyn-born-womyn" intention first came to attention in 1991 after a
transsexual Transsexuals are people who experience a gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also calle ...

transsexual
festival-goer, Nancy Burkholder, was asked to leave the festival when several women recognized her as a trans woman and expressed discomfort with her presence in the space.


See also

*
Trans man A trans man is a man who was assigned female at birth. The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way. ''Transgender'' is an umbrella term that inclu ...
*
Transfeminism Transfeminism, also written trans feminism, has been defined by scholar and activist Emi Koyama as "a movement by and for trans women A trans woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth. Trans women may experience gender dysphoria an ...
*
List of transgender-related topics The following outline offers an overview and guide to transgender topics. The term " transgender" is multi-faceted and complex, especially where consensual and precise definitions have not yet been reached. While often the best way to find out h ...
*
List of transgender people This list consists of many notable people who are transgender Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth. Some transgender people who desire medical assistan ...
*
Transgender sexuality Sexuality in transgender individuals encompasses all the issues of sexuality of other groups, including establishing a sexual identity, learning to deal with one's sexual needs, and finding a partner, but may be complicated by issues of gender dys ...


References

{{Authority control Terms for women Transgender identities