Two old women in a coffee shop
Credit: Ugo Di Fenza,
If you were asked to guess what these two women were talking about during their coffee shop conversation, what would you say? Here are a few of mine: children, grandchildren, coupons, shopping, hair appointments. Stereotypical? Maybe.
I don’t actually know the topic of conversation at the time this photo was taken; however, I played this “guessing game” recently at a coffee shop, sitting near two women I’d guess were at least 70 years of age. My answer was the same: children, grandchildren, coupons, shopping, hair appointments. Boy, was I wrong!
The topic of conversation today? Transvestites. Yes, you read that right. The women were in a serious debate about the difference between a transvestite and a cross-dresser. When I got wind of this, I quickly lifted my coffee mug to shield my smile, as I held in a laugh. I listened closely, attempting to assess each argument as if my judgement would settle it.
I thought their debacle was a bit ridiculous until I realized I don’t know the difference, either (should I?). So, I did a little research to clear things up.
 By definition (at least according to
Transvestite, also known as transgender, refers to “a state of being in which the apparent or biological gender (usually determined at birth) does not match the person’s subjective gender — that is, the gender the person identifies as”.
Cross-dressing is”the act of wearing clothing typically associated with the opposite sex. Cross-dressers are not necessarily transgender”.
And, in case you were curious, I also learned when speaking with transgender people, it is “best practice” to use pronouns that match the gender of their dress.
So, now you know.