Difference between Gay and Transgender

Key Difference: Gay is a term commonly used to refer to homosexuals. Transgender is the state in which a person’s gender identity does not match with his/her physical sex.

Gay is a term that is used instead of homosexuals. It is being used for people who are sexually attracted to others of their same gender. This was a word originally used to refer to feelings of ‘carefree’, ‘happy’, or ‘bright and showy’. By the last decade of the 20th century, this term was used with the meaning of homosexual. Since the end of the 19th century, there has been a global movement towards increased visibility, recognition and legal rights for homosexuals.

Transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. It does not imply to any specific form of sexual orientation. As per Wikipedia, transgender means:

  • "Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these."
  • "People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves."
  • "Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”

The following table shows some differences between gay and transgender:





A term with decidedly sociopolitical overtones that is about identifying oneself as a member of a community.

A state where a person identifies oneself by gender orientation and not as a member of community.


The people who get attracted to the same sex. Mainly used for males but includes females as well.

  • People who do not identify exclusively with either gender.
  • Cross-dressers.
  • Pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexuals who generally feel they were born into the wrong physical body.
  • Others who feel they do not fit our society’s usual expectations of gender behavior or appearance.
  • Intersex persons.

Applies to

Both, males and females.

Any sexual orientation; heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; and both the genders.


Some people do discriminate against gay people. However, stringent laws have been made in many countries to safeguard the rights of gay people.

As gender is so outwardly visible; transgender people who are transitioning may be vulnerable to discrimination, and will have a strong need for the support of family and friends.

Sexual Relations

With the people of same sex/gender. However, gay men were more likely to have had a steady male partner or lover.

As there is no particular sexual or gender orientation, sexual relations may be with any person. Generally, sexual relations are carried out with the original gender of the person. Example, a transgender male gets transformed to a female by the way of surgery. Now, the person being a female will have sexual relations with a male.

Image Courtesy: topnews.in, commons.wikimedia.org

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