Difference between Transgender and Transvestite

Key Difference: A transgender is a person who wishes to be considered as a member of the opposite sex. Whereas, a transvestite is a person who dresses and acts in the manner of opposite sex.

Transgender is a state in which a person’s gender identity does not match with his/her physical sex. It is a state in which a person has a strong desire to get transformed into the opposite sex. It implies to all the categories of sexual orientation; heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. 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.”

Transvestite is a person who cross-dresses i.e. dresses in the style and manner of the opposite sex. Especially, males cross-dress to look and act like a female. Transvestite is a person who seeks sexual pleasure from wearing the clothes of the opposite sex. They have less or no desire to permanently change their sex. They simply enjoy cross-dressing. Transvestites should not be confused with people who cross-dress specifically for public performances.

The following table shows some differences between a transgender and a transvestite:





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

A person who dresses and acts in the style and manner of the opposite sex.


  • 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.

Cross-dressers who have less or no desire for permanent change of sex.

Applies to

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

Males and females both, however, the proportion of male transvestites is more than female.


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.

It is not permanent change of sex; however, transvestites face discrimination because it is sometimes referred to as mental illness or disorder.

Sexual Relations

There is no particular sexual or gender orientation, so they can have sexual relationships with any person of their desire. Generally, sexual relationships are carried out with the original gender of the person. Example, a transgender male gets transformed into a female by the way of surgery. Now, the person being a female will have sexual relations with a male.

A transvestite derives sexual pleasure by wearing the clothes of the opposite sex. However, they may have sexual relationships with the opposite sex, same-sex people or both.


Like the rest of the population, there is a range of sexual orientations within the transgender community; and conceiving depends on the sexual orientation of a couple that can be natural or medical.

Conceiving depends upon the person; if the person has sexual relations with opposite sex then it is easier to have their own children. Otherwise, alternatives like adoption of children, opting for some medical treatment, etc. are available.


Transformation of transgender people is legalized in many countries but still there are a number of countries that don’t allow transformation of genders.

Transvestitism is not related to law by any means. This is because a person can dress however he/she wants to be dressed-up. It is only the society that does not accept people who cross-dress.

Image Courtesy: gendertrender.wordpress.com, popsugar.co.uk

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I think this is very informative and cleared up for me the science between the two. I came here having been identified as Transgender by medical professionals who are expert in this area. I had seen conflicting definitions and thought maybe I was a Transvestite. I'm not, the Docs were right and the definitions in this article are spot on.Thank you for confirming my understanding with your informative article.

Don't forget the female cosplayers that dress up as male characters for conventions .I dought they get sexual gratification from it too.

To me its the same dressing up as a woman is wanting to be a woman and feeling happiness from it

This article is so wrong and needs to be ammended. I for one am a crossdresser (transvestite) I dress because I enjoy being and feeling feminine , there is no sexual gratification whatsoever. And I think you'll find this is the same as probably 95% of all crossdresser.

Amen, I couldn't agree more. I feel complete, whole, myself when dress in the manner of how I feel, a women!

Poorly researched article. Makes no mention of those that cross dress occasionally and with no sexual element

Well said I am a crossdresser and do not get any sexual gratification from it .

Transgender, transvestite same thing. Many Transvestites dress as women, because they want to be accepted as women, but thanks for the political PC crap.

not the same thing at all. Do some research. Amazing what you find out by doing a Google to start with.

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