The term transgender woman is not always interchangeable with transsexual woman, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people (including transsexual people).
Trans women face significant discrimination in many areas of life, including in employment and access to housing, and face physical and sexual violence and hate crimes, including from partners; in the United States, discrimination is particularly severe towards trans women who are members of a racial minority, who often face the intersection of transphobia and racism.
Trans women may experience gender dysphoria, distress brought upon by the discrepancy between their gender identity and the sex that was assigned to them at birth (and the associated gender role or primary and secondary sex characteristics).
Transfeminine (or transfemme) is a broader umbrella term for assigned-male trans individuals with a predominantly feminine identity and/or gender expression. This includes trans women, but is used especially for AMAB non-binary people, who may have a identity that is partially feminine, but not wholly female.
The spelling transwoman (written as a single word) is occasionally used interchangeably with trans woman (where trans is an adjective describing a kind of woman). However, this variant is often associated with views (notably gender-critical feminism) that exclude trans women from woman, and thus require a separate word to describe them. For this reason, many transgender people find the spelling offensive. Some prefer to omit trans, and be called simply women.
In several Latin American countries, the word travesti is sometimes used to designate people who have been assigned male sex at birth, but develop a female gender identity. The use of travesti precedes transgender in the region; its distinction from trans woman is controversial and can vary depending on the context, ranging from considering it a regional equivalent to a third gender.
Trans women may identify as heterosexual (or straight), bisexual, homosexual (or lesbian), asexual, or none of the above. A survey of roughly 3000 American trans women showed 31% of them identifying as bisexual, 29% as "gay/lesbian/same-gender", 23% as heterosexual, 7% as asexual, as well as 7% identifying as "queer" and 2% as "other".
In a 2008 study, no statistically significant difference in libido was detected between trans women and cisgender women. As in males, female libido is thought to correlate with serum testosterone levels (with some controversy) but the 2008 study found no such correlation in trans women. Another study, published in 2014, found that 62.4% of trans women reported their sexual desire had decreased after sexual reassignment therapy.
Trans women face a form of violence known as trans bashing. The Washington Blade reported that Global Rights, an international NGO, tracked the mistreatment of trans women in Brazil, including at the hands of the police. To commemorate those who have been murdered in hate crimes, an annual Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in various locations across the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, with details and sources for each murder provided at their website.
In 2015, a false statistic was widely reported in the United States media stating that the life expectancy of a trans woman of color is only 35 years. This appears to be based on a comment specifically about Latin America in a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which compiled data on the age at death of murdered trans women for all of the Americas (North, South, and Central), and does not disaggregate by race.
In 2016, 23 transgender people suffered fatal attacks in the United States. The Human Rights Campaign report found some of these deaths to be direct results of an anti-transgender bias, and some due to related factors such as homelessness.
One type of violence towards trans women is committed by perpetrators who learn that their sexual partner is transgender, and feel deceived ("trans panic"). Almost 95% of these crimes were committed by cisgender men towards trans women. According to a 2005 paper looking at HIV needs analysis in Houston, Texas, "50% of transgender people surveyed had been hit by a primary partner after coming out as transgender".
A survey of roughly 3000 trans women living in the United States, as summarized in the report "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey", found that trans women reported that:[specify]
60% of the trans women who have visited a homeless shelter reported incidents of harassment there.
When displaying identity documents incongruent with their gender identity/expression, 33% have been harassed and 3% have been physically assaulted.
20% reported harassment by police, with 6% reporting physical assault and 3% reporting sexual assault by an officer. 25% have been treated generally with disrespect by police officers.
Among jailed trans women, 40% have been harassed by inmates, 38% have been harassed by staff, 21% have been physically assaulted, and 20% have been sexually assaulted.
The American National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' report of 2010 anti-LGBTQ violence found that of the 27 people who were murdered because of their LGBTQ identity, 44% were trans women.
Discrimination is particularly severe towards non-white trans women, who experience the intersection of racism and transphobia. For example, a potential result of such discrimination is that multiracial, Latina, Black and Indigenous American trans women are twice to more than three times as likely as white trans women to be sexually assaulted in prison.
Discrimination against trans women has occurred at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival after the Festival set out a rule that it would only be a space for cisgender females. This led to protests by trans women and their allies, and a boycott of the Festival by Equality Michigan in 2014. The boycott was joined by the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National LGBTQ Task Force. The "womyn-born-womyn" intention first came to attention in 1991 after a transsexual festival-goer, Nancy Burkholder, was asked to leave the festival when several women recognized her as a trans woman and expressed discomfort with her presence in the space.
^Forsyth, Craig J.; Copes, Heith (2014). Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. Sage Publications. p. 740. ISBN978-1483364698. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016. Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identities, gender expressions, and/or behaviors are different from those culturally associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
^Bevan, Thomas E. (2015). The psychobiology of transsexualism and transgenderism : a new view based on scientific evidence. Santa Barbara, California. p. 42. ISBN978-1-4408-3126-3. OCLC881721443. The term transsexual was introduced by Cauldwell (1949) and popularized by Harry Benjamin (1966) ... . The term transgender was coined by John Oliven (1965) and popularized by various transgender people who pioneered the concept and practice of transgenderism. It is sometimes said that Virginia Prince (1976) popularized the term, but history shows that many transgender people advocated the use of this term much more than Prince. The adjective transgendered should not be used ... . Transsexuals constitute a subset of transgender people.
^Alegria, Christine Aramburu (22 March 2011). "Transgender identity and health care: Implications for psychosocial and physical evaluation". Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Wiley. 23 (4): 175–182. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7599.2010.00595.x. ISSN1041-2972. PMID21489011. S2CID205909330. Transgender, Umbrella term for persons who do not conform to gender norms in their identity and/or behavior (Meyerowitz, 2002). Transsexual, Subset of transgenderism; persons who feel discordance between natal sex and identity (Meyerowitz, 2002).
^DeCuypere G, T'Sjoen G, Beerten R, Selvaggi G, DeSutter P, Hoebeke P, Monstrey S, Vansteenwegen A, Rubens R (2005). "Sexual and physical health after sex reassignment surgery". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 34 (6): 679–690. doi:10.1007/s10508-005-7926-5. PMID16362252. S2CID42916543.
^Wierckx, Katrien; Elaut, Els; Van Hoorde, Birgit; Heylens, Gunter; De Cuypere, Griet; Monstrey, Stan; Weyers, Steven; Hoebeke, Piet; t'Sjoen, Guy (2014). "Sexual Desire in Trans Persons: Associations with Sex Reassignment Treatment". The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 11 (1): 107–118. doi:10.1111/jsm.12365. PMID24165564.
^McKinnon, Rachel. "Gender, Identity, and Society." Philosophy: Sex and Love, edited by James Petrik and Arthur Zucker, Macmillan Reference USA, 2016, pp. 175-198. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.