Defining Terms: Transgendered, Transsexual, Transvestite, Crossdresser, Sissy
Many of the words used to describe alternative gender expressions are misunderstood and often used incorrectly. If you are just learning about this topic, it helps to begin by becoming familiar with basic terms.
A broad term applying to any person who feels that their inner gender identity (how one perceives his or her own gender) does not necessarily match their assigned gender (the genetic sex of their bodies). Transgendered does not imply any specific sexual preference.
Transexual refers to a person who feels that they are actually the opposite gender from which they were born. For instance, a man may feel oriented to the world as a woman even though he was born with the body of a man. Transexuals often seek to change their body in order to make it more aligned with their inner experience of gender, including gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, hair removal, and various cosmetic surgeries. Transexual does not imply any specific sexual preference.
The terms transgendered and transsexual are often used interchangeably, and there is much debate on the correct use of each term. In short, transsexual is associated with those who change or wish to change their physical sex. Transgendered describes one for whom the experience of gender is somehow ambiguous or does not fit into the strict social concepts of man or woman, but who does not necessarily wish to change their sex.
Transvestite, Crossdresser: (tv, cd, x-dresser)
These terms refer to people who wish to wear the clothing and cosmetics of the opposite gender. They seldom seek to change their physical bodies and often have no interest in taking on the mannerisms of the opposite sex. The majority are heterosexual.
Sexual arousal is not necessarily a part of crossdressing, though it may be. Transvestic fetish, or fetishist transvestite are terms used (often derogatorily) to describe one who derives sexual arousal from crossdressing. For this reason, many people who do not derive sexual arousal from crossdressing prefer to identify themselves as a crossdresser rather than transvestite.
Drag queens and drag kings fall into this category with the difference being that they crossdress in a highly exaggerated way and often for the purpose of public performance.
Sissy (sissy husband, sissy slave, sissy boi)
These terms all refer to men who wish to become feminized in not only their dress, but also their mannerisms and even their outlooks. They seek to become a feminized male; an effeminate man. While they often do not seek physical changes, they do seek to become womanly. There is often a component of submission (sexual or otherwise) for sissys and they often seek out dominant women to force or train them into feminization, or women with whom they can simply share the process of feminization.