But there are certain terms used in our community that is often confusing to outsiders or to newcomers to the scene. And that confusion only gets worse in online conversations where abbreviations are tossed around like panties at a lingerie party. These are abbreviations like CD, TV, TG, TS, and GG! GG seems to be the most confusing. And, omg, if you start throwing all of those deliciously androgynous people into the mix, the limits of language really become apparent and the whole thing just goes off the rails.
To be honest, I'm not even sure if I'm using the terms below correctly. But, if not, what the heck? Perhaps it will start a lively debate! In fact, if you disagree with any of my "definitions" below, please let me know! I stand by none of them. And I continue to do my best to embrace people of all genders - regardless of how they decide to present themselves...
CD is a cross dresser. To me, that's someone who was born male, but from time to time enjoys dressing in clothes typically associated with women. This can mean anything from heels to hosiery to wigs and makeup. Some guys enjoy nothing more than wearing girls' panties. Others go all the way to professional makeovers, manicures and pedicures, and custom tailored outfits. So the term CD or crossdresser covers a lot of territory.
TV is a transvestite. There's really not much difference between a CD and a TV. Both are born men and both dress to some degree in feminine attire. But TV's generally tend to go all out. Head to toe femininity. Shaved or waxed bodies. And usually, a more "polished" feminine presentation. The other difference for me is that many cd's never go out. That's where the term closet cross dresser comes from. (But I've never heard of a closet transvestite.) To me, TV's go out. They go to parties with other TV's, meet for dates, and hit the clubs and drag shows. CD's can and often do the same. But in my head, TV's are much more out and active in the scene.
TS people are going through some kind of transformation that includes outside influences such as hormones or surgery. To this group (both M2F and F2M), merely dressing in the attire of a man or woman isn't enough. TS people want to take on the physical characteristics of their desired gender. They may take hormones, undergo certain cosmetic surgeries, or go all the way to genital surgery that actually changes the physicality of their sex organs.
Trannies or cross dressers that have decided to live in girl mode full time are also often referred to as transsexuals. But they are usually called pre-op transsexuals. As you might expect, not all pre-op transsexuals ever make it to the "op" stage. They never go through with the surgery for either financial or emotional reasons. But they're still considered pre-op.
TG is a transgendered person. This is the broadest term for this entire category of people. TG can mean either a person born male who sometimes presents as a female. Or vice versa - a person born female who sometimes presents as male. So, by definition, this category includes TV, CD and TS people. Because it is so broad and all-encompassing, "transgender" is often the term used in groups and associations of social, cultural, and political significance... as in LBGT groups: Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgendered.
GG people are genetic girls. These are people who are born with the physical characteristics of girls or women and have remained so. The term is usually used in cd circles because sexual preferences are so varied in our world. Some cd girls prefer dating men, some prefer dating other cd's, and some prefer dating gg's (or genetic girls). You'll often find this abbreviation in chat rooms where dating is discussed, as in the following:
I was out with a really cute girl the other night.
Oh really? Was she TV or GG?
In this instance, Tgirl2 wants to know if TGirl 1 was out with a genetic girl or a transgendered girl.
M2F and F2M are abbreviations for transformative experiences. M2F people are transforming in some way from male to female. F2M people are transforming from women to men. This is a very broad category that includes the very casual crossdresser as well as the surgically altered transsexual. So the term doesn't indicate the degree of the transformation, it only communicates the direction.
Of course, many transgendered people don't agree with the idea that they were ever anything other than the gender they feel inside -- regardless of the physical characteristics that they were born with. So to them, these kinds of classifications (M2F or F2M) can be insulting or offensive.
I sat in on a panel discussion with a group of transgendered college students. And it's amazing how many every day things cause them great stress - from deciding which public restroom to use to checking off "gender" on any application or institutional form. Every form has two choices: M or F. But many of these kids don't identify as either. They want a third classification. Or at least an open box in which to check, "Other." To them, terms like M2F or F2M are far too limiting to truly express the fluid nature of their gender.
ME is the two-letter term I like to use to refer to myself. You can call me whatever you like. TG, TV, CD. I'm all of those things. You can also call me gay or straight or bi. I'm all of those things as well. (You can even call me a lesbian if you like.) But, in the end, I'm still ME. I always was ME. And I always will be ME.
Take care out there!
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.