Transgender vs. Transvestite

Certain terms are used incorrectly all the time, but because they have become part of the popular lexicon, we don’t question their meaning anymore. Two terms that fall into this category are transgender and transvestite.

While people often use these two terms interchangeably, they have very different meanings and should not be confused with one another. Here is what you need to know about the difference between transgender and transvestite, so you can be sure to use them correctly in your everyday conversations.

Main Difference

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the terms “transgender” and “transvestite.” While the two are often used interchangeably, they actually have different meanings. Transgender refers to someone who identifies as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth. Transvestite, on the other hand, is a term used to describe someone who dresses in clothing of the opposite sex for pleasure.

Some people argue that transgender and transvestite should be considered completely separate groups, while others believe that they are essentially the same thing. In reality, there is no right or wrong answer – it is up to each individual to decide what term they feel best describes them.

What is Transgender?

The transgender community is a diverse group of individuals whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. This may involve cross-dressing, taking hormones, undergoing surgery, or any number of other procedures.

There are many different types of transgender people, including transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, androgynes, intersexes, and others. Some want to live as members of the opposite sex; some don’t; some change aspects of themselves that don’t necessarily conform to social norms (like wearing clothes associated with a different gender).

What is Transvestite?

A transvestite is a person who dresses in clothing typically associated with the opposite sex. This can be done for aesthetic reasons, sexual gratification, or as a form of self-expression. Transvestites are not necessarily transgender, and vice versa. Some transvestites may undergo hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery as part of their transition, while others do not. Transitioning does not always include physical changes.

For example, some people change their names, pronoun, and other aspects of social gender without altering their bodies. When someone says they are transgendered, it refers to those who want to make a physical transition from one sex to another by undergoing medical treatments such as hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery.

Differences Between Transgender and Transvestite?

A transgender person identifies with their gender identity and feels comfortable expressing themselves through clothing, hairstyle, makeup, etc. A transvestite is someone who wears clothes from the opposite sex. They may wear women’s clothing but feel they are men.

Gender Identity: Transgender vs. Transvestite

A transgender person’s gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. A transvestite is someone who dresses in clothing typically associated with the opposite sex. For example, a man who likes to dress in women’s clothing is a transvestite, not a transgender woman.

Sexual Orientation: Transgender vs. Transvestite

One of the most significant ways that transgender and transvestite differ is in their sexual orientation. For transgender individuals, their gender identity does not match their assigned sex at birth, which means they may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. On the other hand, transvestites are almost exclusively heterosexual. They dress in clothes typically associated with the opposite sex for sexual gratification and do not typically experience any sort of gender dysphoria.

Legal Rights: Transgender vs. Transvestite

In many places, transgender people are not legally recognized as their preferred gender. This can make it difficult to obtain driver’s licenses, passports, and other forms of identification. Transvestites, on the other hand, are usually able to obtain these documents without issue.

Socially Accepted Roles: Transgender vs. Transvestite

In general, transgender people seek to change their social roles to match their gender identity, while transvestites typically maintain traditional gender roles. For example, a transgender woman may dress in women’s clothing and take on a feminine persona in public, while a transvestite man may dress in men’s clothing and adopt a masculine persona. In some cases, transvestites may undergo hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery to physically transition to the opposite gender.

Physical Appearance: Transgender vs. Transvestite

For the most part, transvestites will dress in a way that is associated with the opposite sex. This means that a man who is a transvestite will dress up as a woman. He may wear dresses, skirts, high heels, and makeup. On the other hand, transgender people will dress in a way that they feel comfortable. This could be any type of clothing.

Comparison Chart Transgender and Transvestite

Transgender Transvestite
Involves a partial or full reversal of gender and is used to refer to individuals who transgress the gender norms. Someone who adopts the dress, manner, or sexual role of the opposite sex.
Strictly the explanation of the type of people. Generally, the way of expression by people.
English language (Time era not known) Latin language with the word trans meaning across and vesture meaning clothes.
Class Included
homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and asexual males and females. Heterosexual male.
The common trend of changing gender. Less trend of getting operated.


Though both transgender and transvestite individuals may dress and behave in ways that are traditionally associated with the opposite sex, there is a key distinction between the two terms. Transgender people identify as a gender different from their birth sex, while transvestites simply enjoy dressing and behaving in ways typically associated with the opposite sex. This difference is significant, as transgender people often seek to undergo hormone therapy or sexual reassignment surgery to align their physical appearance with their inner identity, while transvestites do not necessarily desire any physical changes.