1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.



Competitors Take Part In Miss International Queen Beauty Pageant
Paula Bronstein/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Definition: A transwoman, shorthand for "transsexual woman," is a woman who was assigned a male gender that is not consistent with her sense of self, and who lives and identifies as female. This distinguishes her from ciswomen, shorthand for "cissexual women"--women who were assigned a female gender, and identify with it.

Status as a transwoman is contingent on gender identity, not surgery. There is, strictly speaking, no such thing as a "sex change operation"; there are cosmetic surgeries that one can choose to have to alter body appearance to match conventional norms associated with the gender with which one identifies, but anyone can have those procedures done. They are not limited to transsexual people--both transwomen and ciswomen, for example, sometimes choose to have breast augmentation surgery or genital plastic surgery, though most women in both categories do not.

Most transwomen in the United States do take hormone supplements which can promote breast growth, increase the vocal pitch, and contribute in other ways to a more traditionally feminine appearance.
Also Known As: male-to-female transsexual, MTF, transsexual woman, transgirl, tgirl; often incorrectly identified as "tranvestite" (a transvestite wears clothing belonging to the gender with whom he or she does not identify)

Antonyms: cisman
  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Civil Liberties
  4. Issues and Causes
  5. Equal Rights
  6. Gender & Sexuality
  7. Transwoman or Transsexual Woman - Definition

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.