I have to give credit to Aiza Seguerra for making me appreciate what a transgender is.
Philippine Star published excerpts of her (his?) interview where Aiza stated that she is a transgender.
“Lesbian kasi are women na ang preference nila ay women also. Ang transgender naman, kumbaga iba 'yong gender identity namin sa akin,” she explained. (Lesbians are women whose preference are women also. A transgender is a difference in gender identity)
That statement made me wonder. What's a transgender? Isn't it the same as being a transsexual? I did some research and realised that there is a difference between transgender and transsexual. Transgender is an “umbrella” category of which transsexual is a subset of.
This is transgender, according to GLAAD:
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. . . . Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.
And this is transsexual:
An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed – or seek to change – their bodies through medical interventions (including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries). Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.
People like Aiza should make society realize that we no longer live in a black-and-white world where gender roles are clearly delineated. We used to have just male and female roles. Then we had the so-called “third sex” – i.e., homosexuals. Now we have transgenders and transsexuals, and even within these categories we have grey areas and sub-categories.