A person who exhibits the physical traits of one gender, but feels they are of the opposite sex, emotionally and internally.
This is a more generalized meaning, that includes various different groups, in which the person identified believes they are not of the sex, from which they were assigned to, at birth.
It does not imply any sexual orientation preference.
Transgender refers to those who believe they are a different sex.
The term, transgender, became popular in the 1970's though it was first introduced in the 1960's.
It was used as an umbrella type definition, for those who believed their gender was not as assigned, but who also were not enamored with the idea of sexual reassignment surgery to correct the imbalance.
During the 1990's the term took on political nuances, in order to battle discrimination and to aid in the fight for equal rights, for all people, who were different than the accepted norm, which included defining a person through their sexual orientation.
It continues to evolve, today to include additional meanings, or inclusion of groups that don't fit the narrowly defined terms of gender.
The actual definition is not set in stone, and is complicated due to the degree in which one may associate their gender.
In meaning, it can be that in some areas they identify with the role of their assigned gender, while also identify more strongly with aspects of the opposite gender, to which they are considered.
Additionally, they may feel that neither role fits their role, hence the term 'third gender'.
Many who fit this definition, may move from one gender to the other, depending on the role or their perception of the role they are seeking to portray.
In short, non conformist to any specific gender.
Practice (Associated Acts):
Unlike Transgender, Transsexual has a specific medical definition, which is why the term is more accepted to cover a wider range of people, who believe their gender is not solely as society defines it, based on the genitalia a person is born with.
Primarily, this difference, is based on the Benjamin Scale, which is accepted as the standard medical scale, to determine one's measure of transsexualism.
This is based on the desire for surgical correction, which is why many argue that having no such desire, does not alter their feelings for associating with opposite gender roles.
In addition, the work of Dr. Benjamin was more based on male to female transition, and that female to male was not taken into account, given that such surgery is far more risky, or even impractical.
While many who 'cross dress' do so for non sexual reasons, it is considered to also be a form of transgender.
This is due to their preference for clothing, that is not specific to their own physical attributes.
In many instances, true transsexuals, will cross dress, as part of the process to become comfortable with their upcoming surgical gender change.
However, many argue, that they do not desire such surgery, but still wish to experience as much of the opposite gender, as possible, so for them, cross dressing is a choice, to satisfy that need.
The GLBT community is in conflict, with many who identify as Transgender, due to the simple fact, that it does not imply any sexual orientation.
This has further spurred a change in how science looks at defining people, or in naming the various groups.
Androsexual and Gynosexual is gradually appearing to replace outdated definitions, such as heterosexual and homosexual, as it bases the definition on what attracts the person, and does not take into account the gender of the one who is making the preference.
Androsexual refers to the sexual attraction for males.
On this basis, a woman who prefers a male partner (currently defined as heterosexual), or a male who prefers another male (currently defined as being homosexual), would be defined as being 'androsexual'.
Gynosexual refers to the sexual attraction for females.
Thus a woman who prefers another woman (currently defined as Lesbian), or a man who prefers a woman, would be Gynosexual.
The complaint made, is that it is hard to define what a Transgender is in clear concise terms.
This is due to how it overlaps into other definitions, such as:
Gendergueer, Drag Queens, Drag Kings, Cross Gender, Cross Dresser, Transsexual, Transvestite.