Labels for transgendered conditions

I am not a big believer in using labels to classify people. However, one of the goals of this site is to educate. To that end, I offer this brief dictionary of terms to describe people who cross traditional gender roles. For a more exhaustive list, see my Transgender Glossary. For some thoughts on using labels, see "Why Do We Use Labels?" and "Three More Thoughts on Labels."

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also has their Transgender Glossary of Terms which differs slightly from my definitions here. That page also describes which terms are considered problematic.

Sex is an anatomical distinction which is generally governed by one's chromosomes. Because of the occasional genetic abnormalities, doctors do not always correctly assign this at birth. The preferred terms are: male and female.

Gender is a psychological distinction. For the purposes of this site, we pretty much limit its sub-definition to one's preferred social presentation (i.e. the way someone wants society to perceive them). Gender can also be defined in many other ways, such as sex partner choice or sex role preference. The preferred terms are masculine and feminine or, less so (as explained below), man and woman. You might often hear the catch-phrase of gender: "Gender is not between the legs, it's between the ears."

Transvestite (TV)
This is generally someone who wears clothes of the opposite sex. According to the medical community, this applies only to males, and typically includes sexual gratification as an underlying reason. Many transvestites will disagree with the latter suggestion. This term is rarely used today outside of the medical community. The term is often used, or taken, as offensive.
Transsexual (TS)
This label is used of someone who desires to live as a member of the opposite gender. This feeling is typically first exhibited at a very early age (usually before 5), but is often overlooked as a "phase." There are both males who want to live as women and females who want to live as men. (Obviously, the latter is more accepted at the present time.) You may see the abbreviations "M2F" (or "MtF" for Male to Female) or F2M (for Female to Male).

Some post-operative TS's will arrogantly argue that you are not a TS unless you have Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS). The pioneer of TS research, Dr. Harry Benjamin, disagrees with this and even defines two types of TS's: Type 6 is the traditional TS who usually pursues GRS (also called SRS); and Type 5 for whom GRS is not necessarily indicated.
Cross Dresser Crossdresser Cross-Dresser (CD)
This term is a little more vague because it is used in so many ways. In a basic form, it can be used of someone (again, a male) who likes to wear clothes of the opposite sex, but not for sexual gratification (like the TV). On this site, we use it as a more generic term for any male who, for any reason, prefers wearing what are traditionally considered women's clothes.
Drag Queen (DQ)
Generally, this term is used of a gay (homosexual) male who dresses up to gain attention or perform. They have little or no interest in having surgery to correct their physical structure, other than possibly breast augmentation.
Transgender (TG)
This is a more generic term used of anyone who exhibits traits generally accepted as belonging to the opposite sex (although these lines are blurring).
Intergender (IG)
Often used as a synonym for transgender, in my opinion this is more of a physical, or anatomical, description for someone who has some physical traits of both sexes.
This refers to someone who prefers to look and act "in between" the sexes. Many women enter this category unknowingly because they have the mistaken notion that men run the world.

As I mentioned above, I sense our Western society as using the terms man and woman differently than male and female. This is particularly true for "man," which I see us using more to describe a behavior - often characterized by macho behavior, or exaggerated masculinity. A "man" is typically into sports, physical activity, and generally being ignorant of what it takes to please a woman. He will often be said to have "too much testosterone."

A little soap box time here: when one adds "'s" to a word, it is supposed to indicate: 1) contraction (e.g. she's for she is) or 2) possession (e.g. Nancy's for something that belongs to Nancy).

So how do we treat "women's clothes?" Contraction is clearly not the point. Most CD's own their own clothes, so they don't belong to "women." So why do we pervert the English language with this improper term?