What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

Author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor

Transgender is an umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which the individual was assigned at birth and falls outside stereotypical gender definitions. It may include pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexual people; male and female cross-dressers; intersexed individuals; and any individuals regardless of sexual orientation who are gender atypical and do not comply with stereotypical gender norms.

The term transsexual often describes an individual who has undergone a sex change operation or who identifies with a gender that is inconsistent with his or her assigned sex at birth. It is an older term, and is less popular with those identifying with the word, than transgender.