You will have seen that I throw the term ladyboy around a lot in my blog, and I do apologize if you find this in any way offensive. It’s commonly used in Thailand to describe transgender women, but I’ll concede that when it’s used by people who aren’t transgendered, it can be done in a derogatory way, much like Kathoey, the Thai language version of ladyboy. One reason I use the term is because I would like to live as one. I consider myself a woman in my heart and mind but physically I’m not, and I don’t think I would ever go through complete SRS.
Here is how I understand the various terms and how I use them when I write my blog:
CD = Cross Dresser. Someone who wears the clothes of the sex opposite to that of their usual gender identity. This could be a woman dressing as a man, or man as a woman. It can be an occasional thing, more regular, or even consistent. I suppose it could get confusing when it comes into the realms of a transsexual cross dresser, who has transitioned to live as the opposite sex, but still enjoys wearing clothes of the sex they were born as.
Transvestite, (often derisively shortened to tranny) means the same as CD.
Ladyboy is typically used to describe someone who wishes to present the outward appearance of being a woman, but who still has male sexual organs. That person could primarily identify as a man or a woman, but they present a female aesthetic to the world. They could have had no hormones or surgical procedures, or they could have had everything available done without the final nip and tuck. Basically, they appear female, but have male genitals
Transgender is anyone who identifies as the sex opposite to that which they were born, regardless of having had anything done towards transition, and regardless of the gender they outwardly live their life as. There are many transgender individuals who, for a multitude of reasons, are uncomfortable to transition or present the sex they identify as to the world, to their friends, and/or their loved ones, but it doesn’t make them any less of a transgendered person. It bears no relation to their physical appearance or mannerisms.
Kathoey in Thailand is used to describe both ladyboys and transgendered men to women. It’s even frequently used to describe effeminate gay men. I’ve never heard a Female-to-Male transgendered person being referred to as anything specific in Thailand, but maybe my Thai readers can set me straight? Thai women who dress in men’s clothes and adopt masculine mannerisms are referred to as Toms and most Thai society assumes them to be lesbians rather than transgendered. I’ll chat with all my Thai friends and if I find out more on this I’ll add a footnote!
And me? I’m not a CD or a transvestite; I am Transgender. I guess I’m also a part-time ladyboy. My hopes for the future? I don’t believe I’ll fully transition if I start down that route, but I might aspire to be a full time ladyboy and live as a woman at some point in my life. It’s a scary thing to do though and it won’t be without due consideration of how it will affect my work, my prospects and the people around me who I love. If it’s right, it will happen.