Monday, August 1, 2011

Transgendered or Transsexual?

I'm putting this out to my readers because, I'll be honest, I still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to the "T" in LGBT. So after reading all this, what say you?

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that the city, working with the Department of Code Enforcement, is cracking down on prostitution using the recent Brickyard 400 event as an attempt to prepare for the likely increase in prostitution during the 2012 Superbowl.

In the main story, there's a picture of the alleged prostitute getting arrested on the street by a Marion County Sheriff's Deputy. The caption on the picture identifies the person as a transsexual. The person is dressed as a woman, appears to have the physical features of a woman, and has a name typically associated with women. Sidenote: This picture also appeared on a TV news outlet's print version of their story as well, and their caption also identified the alleged prostitute as transsexual.

The Star's picture gallery has further pictures and more captions. Several of the captions in the picture gallery identify the alleged prostitute as a "transexual male".

Wikipedia has a page for trans man, which has the following:

A trans man, transman, trans guy, or FTM is a transgender or transsexual man: a person who was assigned female at birth, but who identifies as male.

The label of transgender male is not interchangeable with that of transsexual male although the two are often combined or mistaken for the same thing. The difference is that while transgender males identify with the male gender identity, transsexual males may intend to undergo physical changes to align their body with their gender identity. A transgender male is someone whose gender identity is male, but who does not necessarily change himself physically.

So readers, what are your thoughts? I'm initially inclined to say "transgender male" would be the most appropriate terminology with my secondary thoughts being "why identify the person's sexual orientation or gender identity at all?".

UPDATE: Somehow, Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana showing the alleged prostitute hanging around with Mayor Greg Ballard. I'd sure like some context on that.


  1. I cringed when I read those same captions in the Star today, but primarily because of the word "male" and not "transsexual." I do agree that "transgender" generally seems to be the more appropriate T-word to use, but after someone works THIS hard to express herself as a woman, it seems absurd for the Star to label her as male

    Ultimately, I think your final point is spot-on. I couldn't figure out how this person's gender identity or sexual orientation were germane to the content of the article.

  2. My baseless speculation is that it's probably the term the police report used.

    I think the reporter did an ace job on this story. His story, while it does name the alleged prostitute, doesn't try to identify the gender identity or sexual orientation. Whoever did the captions to the pictures (Typically, reporters don't do their own captions) made this mistake, not the reporter.

  3. Given the main story, the person's gender identity is important only in terms of appropriately gendering language used to describe the person. The polite thing is to refer to the person as the gender they appear to be presenting as. A person dressed as a woman, who has the physical features of a woman, should be referred to by feminine pronouns (unless they tell you they prefer masculine pronouns).

    The other issue - transgender or transsexual - is amusing because it is a huge nasty debate going on within the trans community this year. "Transgender" is used primarily now as an umbrella term for anyone not presenting as their birth gender - this is also the preferred term in the GLAAD Media Guide. And the term should be "transgender" (an adjective) not "transgendered" (not a verb) - you wouldn't call a gay person "gayed". The big controversy within the community is a very vocal group insisting that they not be umbrella-ed under "transgender" - they consider themselves only former transsexuals ("cured" of their birth defect) - and they get angry about being lumped with lesbian/gay/bi. We call them "separatists". The majority of transsexuals likely do not object to being called "transgender", nor do we reject LGB allies. (The "separatists" call us "the borg" or "gay, inc"). But the ultimate term I and many other trans people prefer, is just "trans person" "trans woman", or "woman of trans history"
    More than you ever wanted to know, probably.

  4. Transgender is just another way of being "politically correct." If the prostitute has "male parts" then he is a man, not transgender. Just because someone "FEELS" like not being the sex they were created to be, doesn't mean they should be a separate class of people. Unfortunately this can of worms has already been opened by the liberals in our country, and we are much worse off because of their political correctness and feelings.

  5. but if this person has female breast and on female hormones,then what Jedna ?

  6. but if this person has female breast and on female hormones,then what Jedna ?


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