Transwomen

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Drawing-Gay flag.png  This article about lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender issues
Also see the article on Sexual orientation

A transwoman (also spelled trans woman and trans-woman; MtF for male-to-female; slang t-girl) is a transsexual or transgender person who was biologically born or physically assigned as male at birth but feels that this is not an accurate or complete description of herself and identifies as a woman.

Overview

"Transition" refers to the process of adopting a social and personal identity that corresponds to one's own sense of their 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).

Transitioning

Similar to transmen, transwomen have a multitude of decisions and choices depending on what culture(s) they are presently in and what gender roles they and their supporters feel they should attain. Every case is unique and what options are available greatly depend on one's access to medical care providers and on financial support. Some people will want and need hair removal (depilation) and voice feminization although hormone replacement therapy for transwomen can mitigate those concerns. Likewise facial feminization surgery is not always required but can be seen as advantageous for providing a psychological basis of seeing oneself transform either in conjunction or as a step of genital reassignment surgery for transwomen.

Terminology

Transwomen who feel that their gender transition is complete often prefer to be called simply "women", considering "transwoman" or "male-to-female transsexual" to be terms that should only used for people who are not fully transitioned. Even after transitioning, transwomen have biological differences from cisgender women. For example, most have XY chromosomes. However, woman does not necessarily refer to biological sex; it can also refer to cultural gender role distinctions or, most importantly for many transpeople, a personal gender-identification choice. Some who still identify as transwomen after transitioning may describe themselves as "post-op" (post-operative; as distinguished from "pre-op") transwomen. Many transgender people consider that the shape of their genitalia is not relevant to how they interact with most people. Transwomen who do not want, cannot afford, or have medical reasons for not having sex reassignment surgery are sometimes described as "non-op". Many transwomen consider genital surgery as only a small part of a complete transition and some argue that transwomen should not be defined by their surgical status. Others dislike the term "transsexual" and prefer to call themselves transgender women, but furthermore some women with this condition prefer to use the word intergendered or intersexed. "Shemale", along with "tranny", "ladyboy" and similar terms, are often used in a derogatory manner to indicate a pre-op transwoman possessing both breasts and male genitalia. Like many potentially derogatory labels, some have adopted the term as an endearment or as a form of self-empowerment, for example San Francisco's club Trannyshack.

Sexual orientation

The stereotype of the effeminate boy who would grow up to live as woman as an adult has a very long history. Due to this history there is a deep seated notion that transwomen who are attracted to males are more genuine. This motivates many lesbian, bisexual, and asexual transsexuals to exaggerate any feminine qualities they have. Research on the sexual orientation of transwomen is compromised by this phenomenon. Many studies on this issue have suffered from reporting bias, since many transsexuals feel they must give the "correct" answers to such questions in order 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 in order to be considered eligible for hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery:

{{cquote|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 in order to get a doctor's approval for what should be their inalienable right.

In light of this lack of hard uncontroversial evidence it can be said that transwomen display every sexual orientation that non-transwomen do.

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