Trans vs Trans*


After a recent post on my “Michelle” Facebook page, in which I included a picture of my homemade wrist band

IMG_0731plus in the colours of the Canadian Transgender flag (my little way of showing my support to the community), I was asked by a FB friend if I considered myself trans.

Well, this was a fairly timely question as I had been thinking recently about the term transgender and how it is being used.

Over the last number of months I have continued to search for local resources that could be of assistance to crossdressers (and their spouces/families) in Nova Scotia. What I have found is that groups often offer services and help to, or are championing the cause of the “trans community”.

There are not that many organizations or groups on the Canadian east coast, but I do know of one, NSRAP, who have indeed done wonders for the promotion of equality.

Now I may be being a bit oversensitive here, but when I read through all the great things that have been accomplished over the years or the help programmes that are offered, I don’t get the feeling that there is anything that I, as a hetero crossdresser, could find useful. This saddens me, but again, rightly or wrongly, my perception is that crossdressers are not really part of this group, part of the “trans community”. This could actually be of our (cd’ers) own making, as, unlike those who have been brave enough and have been able to express themselves openly, becoming visible to the greater masses and have become far more accepted in the public realm, crossdressers and crossdressing are/is still very much frowned upon by society and for the most part still hidden in the proverbial closet.

 Terms; use and interpretation of.

Now, getting back to the question of “if I consider myself trans”.

I had briefly touch upon the subject of cd’ers belonging under the umbrella term transgender back in November 2012, but at that time had not considered the shortened form, trans.

Although the term transgender is supposed to be an all-inclusive term (the wiki site has a good page on the definition), there is still a vast majority of people who are not familiar with all the differing categories and terms fall under the term transgender. Maybe over time and with some education things will change. But in the meantime, I fear that, thanks to mass media and the internet, transgender, is becoming synonymous or confused with transsexual. Think for a moment of any media coverage from The View to some trashy tabloid, the “news” item (I use the term news loosely these days) is more often than not dealing with transsexual issues. So too, the term trans, I feared was being hijacked and used incorrectly.

Then while searching the internet for other peoples take on the word trans, I came across a great post on the website “It’s pronounced Metrosexual”.

Although it is a post from mid 2012, I had never before seen any reference to the use of the * asterisk. I think it is a great way to reclaim the inclusivity of the word transgender in its shortened form. If you haven’t clicked the link and read the post yet, in a nutshell ”trans is best applied to trans men and trans women, while trans* makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer,” etc. Now, we just need to get the rest of the world to use these two words correctly

So, no, I don’t consider myself Trans. I consider myself Trans*.

Here is also the link to an excellent comprehensive list of terms and definitions and a beautiful simple diagram “The Gingerbread Person” that I would hope anybody could understand.




  1. It is hard to find an organization or group that truly supports the entire spectrum of the trans* community. I’ve been fortunate enough to find a monthly meeting/support group locally that welcomes everybody from the occasional crossdresser to post-op transsexuals. Unfortunately, it’s become mired down in politics, so we’ll see where it goes.

    • Thanks for dropping by Sally. I have a friend on FB that has been good enough to recently start a local (hour and a half drive to the city for me) club for CD’ers to get together in a social atmosphere. Just a few casual members at the moment as I understand it, Don’t know when I’ll get the chance to attend one. Hopefully not too long.

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