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The Difference Between Transgender, Transsexual And Gender Identity

We need to keep the conversation going.

When Complex took to the streets to ask people what the term "transgender" meant, let's just say one too many were left overly perplexed. This, plus the fact that there are approximately 1.4 million trans people in the U.S. alone (previous estimates were more conservative at 700,000), proves that more conversation is needed surrounding the meaning of the word and how it affects those who identify as such.

So what exactly does "transgender" and other similar words mean exactly?

According to Glaad, transgender can be defined as "a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate," while gender identity is described as "one's private sense of being a man or a woman."

The terms "transsexual" and "transvestite" are often mixed up with "transgender," but the former actually refers to a person "who has undergone gender reassignment surgery," and the latter describes "a person who dresses in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex," according to Complex, as shown in the video above.

For trans people who undergo gender reassignment surgery, many have major concerns before going under the knife. In the video above, one woman named Marisol opened up about her worries.

"[I was scared of] not looking the part that I saw for myself," she confessed. "Even at the beginning of my transition, I even cried like 'Oh my god, I don't want to be the trans girl with the peach fuzz and the razor bumps on her face.' I don't want the girl that doesn't have what she needs to be passable."

Aside from appearance, pronouns that others use when referring to trans people can also be a pretty significant concern. But the best way for a cisgender person to navigate, another woman named Carmen told Complex, is to simply go with what the person says they are or what they present as.

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