Transsexual, transgender, shemale, ladyboy

There is a huge variety of terms and names for trans women. If you’ve been using dating sites for a while, you will have noticed that they have a variety of terms which often cause men some confusion. Even trans women themselves are uncertain of the meaning of some terms.

In the Philippines, a lot of trans women wrongly call themselves gay. In Thailand, the term Ladyboy is the most popular. Let’s explain these terms the best we can. Hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of what they mean after you read this guide.


A transgender person is a person whose gender identity doesn’t align with the role society is expecting of them. To better understand the transgender term, you have to be aware that society only recognizes two genders: male or female.

To make matters worse, you are expected to be your gender depending on your assigned sex at birth. If you are born with a penis, you are expected to be a man; if you are born with a vagina, you are expected to be a woman. Transgender people do not identify themselves with the gender they were born with.

Transgender is actually a general term that encapsulates many other labels such as: transsexuals, transvestites, genderqueers, drag queens and drag kings... We will detail each of them (and more) below.


Cisgender or cissexual is a term used for people who identify with their own gender. Contrary to transgender or transsexual, cisgender people identify themselves with the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people are cisgender.

Transsexual / trans woman / TS

A transsexual is a person whose gender identity is the opposite of her assigned sex and who undergoes transformations to make them match. We can talk of transsexual man (trans man) and transsexual woman (trans woman) depending on the case. In My Transgender Date, we focus on helping trans women to find love.

Trans women are born with male genitalia, but identify themselves as women. Thus they live as women and undergo transformations such as plastic surgery (facial, hips, breast, sex replacement...) and hormone replacement therapy.

Pre-op transsexual

A transsexual is called pre-op when she hasn’t undergone gender reassignment surgery yet, meaning she still has her male genitalia.

Post-op transsexual

A transsexual is called post-op when she has undergone gender reassignment surgery (post-op = post-operation).

Non-op transsexual

Recently, the term non-op has been employed for labeling a transsexual who hasn’t undergone gender reassignment surgery and doesn’t plan to do so. She feels comfortable with her male genitalia and wants to keep it that way.


Shemale is a term exclusively employed for the adult industry, for movies featuring pre-op transsexual women. Interestingly and unfortunately, it’s a very popular word, with substantially more results on Google than for any other related term. It is a negative and disrespectful term because of its connotation. Do not use it when addressing trans women.

For more information: What is a Shemale and why you should avoid this word?

Transvestite / tranny / tv / cross-dresser

Transvestites (or cross-dressers) are people who dress like the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean that transvestites identify themselves as women. They can have other reasons for dressing up as the opposite sex.

Most transvestites are gay, but some are straight men who like to cross-dress as a fetish (mostly in private). However, this can be the beginning of a transition to become a transsexual woman for those who realize they are more comfortable as the opposing sex. Tranny can be an offensive term because it insinuates that a transsexual doesn’t pass as a woman.

For more information: What is a Tranny and why you shouldn’t say the word?

Drag queen / drag king

Drag queens and drag kings like to dress like the opposite sex but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are homosexual. They do it mostly for fun or because they are employed in the entertainment industry. There are cases of straight married men who work as drag queens or get turned on by crossdressing but are still faithful to their wives.


Ladyboy was originally the English translation for Kathoey, a term used in Thailand to define transgender women. Ladyboy is used commonly in Asia (the Philippines, Malaysia, etc), but it has also become very popular in the adult industry. Ladyboy is generally okay when employed in Asia, but it is viewed negatively in the rest of the world and can be taken as an insult.

Nevertheless, we chose to use it on MyLadyboyDate, as a big part of our transsexual members actually come from Asia, Thailand being the country with the largest population of transgender women.

For more information:

Voila! Hopefully you see things more clearly now in terms of vocabulary and what you are looking for. We at My Transgender Date have the mission to build bridges between trans women and men who want to meet, date and fall in love with them. You can sign up for free and start dating now ;)
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