Transgender is an umbrella term used for those people whose gender can be different from their original gender at birth what is written in their birth certificate. Sometimes gender can refer only in the internal sense whether being either man or woman.
However, there is another type who doesn’t fit either of man or woman categories. Usually, gender can be expressed externally with their clothing, behaviour and body characteristics etc. The word transgender is often shortened and used as “trans”.
Gender is in fact different from individual’s sexual orientation. These transgender people are of any sexuality.
For a shemale in Paris, you may use this term, as few of them have permanently changed their bodies.
However, usually, few of them use hormones or surgery and those who go through such kind of process are called “transition” and can be simply called as transgender, and not transsexual. You can ask them what they prefer to call themselves.
This is someone who may not be transgender. As an example, someone who was boy during birth and continue to live as man will be cisgender. Majority of population will come under this category.
Those people who feel neither male nor female can be called as Non-binary. They may sometimes feel like both male and female or somebody in between. Usually, they have gender which changes over time and they never relate to their gender at all.
“He” or “she”
The use of appropriate pronouns while talking to someone like a transgender will work on the choice of that individual. Usually, the name that the person will choose will indicate their gender preference.
Hence, if a transgender person wants to be called as “Steve” will be recognized as “he”, but another who prefer to call as “Rachel” will become “she”. In case, you are unsure, then it will be best to ask that person politely about how they want to be known.
Transgender man or transgender woman
Those who were female during birth, but now living as man will be described as “transgender man”, while anyone assigned male during birth but now living as woman will call themselves as “transgender woman”.
This is a person who prefer to wear clothes usually are associated with “opposite “sex. This will be seen as form of their gender expression.
‘Ask, Listen and Respect’
According to a journalist and campaigner called Jane Fae, it does not have to be much complicated to deal with transgender terms.
She says, “People are individuals,” you need to just ask to them politely, and then listen what individuals will say and then respect what they prefer to tell you.
All the terms that are discussed above apply very widely in countries like the UK, though they may not totally cover for all situations. A transgender activist also acknowledges that, it is quite a complex area and is difficult for those who are less aware with all terms.
BBC Radio has compiled little more details about pronouns, while US pressure group called GLAAD has created fuller glossary.