I think about gender and terminology a lot. I think one of the biggest conversations we have is one concerning labels and how we identify. There tends to be a lot of qualifiers when we state how we identify as well. For example, when I state as transgender, I qualify that word with why I identify that way so I am not misunderstood. Being transgender does not always mean transitioning. I was never comfortable with identifying as a crossdresser as it felt rather… well, not quite right as to who I was.
There’s a fascinating article on Medium.com that discusses these terms better than I ever could. This paragraph in particular stuck out for me:
Rather they are distinct modes of expression. A trans feminine person may or may not consider themselves a woman but they will more likely not see themselves as their birth gender. They may opt out of gender categories altogether or see themselves as androgynous, genderqueer or any other means of identifying. For someone who is strictly a crossdresser or drag-inclined it’s difficult to generalize. The same options for self identifying that a trans* person has — i.e., as androgynous, genderqueer, or non-binary — are today open to them as well.
I also really, really like this definition of a crossdresser:
…crossdressers can inhabit both worlds, that of their assigned gender at birth and that of their alternate gender expression. Many, but certainly not all, crossdressers express their alternate personae in private.
The article closes with a wonderfully accurate and poignant paragraph:
It’s nice to (finally) have choices and be able to exercise our options. Our identities are shaped over time as we mature, grow, and learn about ourselves. Knowledge is power, and self-knowledge can be the most powerful tool in our arsenal. Our terminologies will change over time. We will find new meaning in terms and ideas that will shape the way we know ourselves and hopefully bring some understanding of who we are to others .
Take a look, I think you’ll take much from it.