This is an article that I’ve actually wanted to right for a long time, it’s also something I wanted to write in a very specific style. I find that Transwomen can be incredibly hostile to men who use the wrong terms in reference even when there is no malice intended, just advocacy.
So let’s start with the basics and go through pretty much every term you have ever heard.
Women – This term is inclusive of genetic women, i.e. women who are female at birth genetically and Transgender women i.e. women who were genetically born male at birth but have since transitioned, are transitioning or even identify as female.
Trans-Woman or Transwoman – This term is what we call a sub-set when using something called set theory ( look-it up), Women would be the superset that Transwomen belonged to. A Transwoman is a woman who was born genetically male at birth but identifies as female, they may have transitioned; they might be currently transitioning or they might be pre transition, this is a broad and inclusive term.
Cis-Woman – Ciswoman, Cisgender or Cissexual, simply means female assigned female at birth or male assigned male at birth where their experiences of their gender match their genetically assigned sex at birth. Alternatively Cis-Female can be used but commonly used term Transwoman, Cis-Woman or Ciswoman is a good match.
I tend to think of the 3 above terms as a pyramid, Women is the parent of Trans-Women and Cis-Women. It’s important to use the correct terms when writing so we’re not accidentally exclusive of any sub-set and because it makes reading a lot easier.
Pre-Op – This is a term used to describe a transgender woman who hasn’t yet had Sexual Reassignment Surgery or SRS for short, this means she still has a penis.
Post-Op – This term describes a transgender woman who has undergone SRS and her penis has been reconstructed by a skillful surgeon into a vagina.
Non-Op – This term describes a transgender woman who has elected not to have SRS and intends to keep her penis.
Orchidectomy – There are a few different forms of this operation but the ultimate result is that the male testicles are removed from the body, this ultimately will reduce Testosterone production.
Shemale – This is a term used pretty much exclusively in the porn scene, the vast majority of transwomen find this term derogatory and will not appreciate you using it, find something nicer, even if they are a porn star.
Tranny – This term is another derogatory term, there isn’t a good reason to use it, again it’s often found on the porn scene and usually used by men who don’t know any better.
Transsexual – Is more commonly used as an adjective rather than a noun, for example transgender man or transgender woman, transsexual person is common too.
MtF – This is a short form version of “assigned-to-target” sex terms, so MtF is Male to Female and FtM is Female-to-Male. These terms are commonly found on dating sites and personals.
Gender Dysphoria – This terms describes pain or distress an individual would suffer because their birth sex doesn’t match their gender identity.
Active – This term describes someone who takes the active role during sex, this is the person who would actively use their penis to penetrate their partner.
Passive – This term describes someone who takes a passive role using sex, they don’t generally use their penis for penetration, they are usually penetrated.
Versatile – This term describes someone who can be both active and passive depending on their partners and their own preferences.
Top & Bottom – These terms are the gay equivalents of Active and Passive, transwomen and their admirers tend not to use these terms.
Admirers – This is one word for men who admire or have an attraction to transgender women, I personally don’t find the term hugely flattering.
Tranny-Chaser – A derogatory term for Men who objectify transgender women turning them into nothing more than sex object for personal gratification.