I searched this site and can't find a word that expresses my sense that I have always thought I would have been better suited as female, and I am attracted to the opposite sex (so would switch if I was a woman). I am in the US, so I don't want a foreign language term that people would not be familiar with. Thank you.

EDIT: I was asked to indicate how the word would be used. As one commenter said, I will not go around introducing myself that way, but if there was a term that made me feel more like it was normative, then I would feel better. After all, we talk with ourselves as well. How many people in distress have said, "I am so glad there is a name for what I am experiencing"? So, words can categorize as well as communicate.

closed as off-topic by tchrist, Misti, FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth, Matt Gutting Jan 22 '15 at 20:40

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    I’m not sure what you mean by “so would switch if I was a woman”. Do you mean you think you would become attracted to men if you ended up biologically female yourself? It sounds like you’re transgender, but it also sounds like you’re getting sexuality and gender identity mixed up into one, which they are not, though it’s a common misconception that they are. I don’t believe there is a single term that encompasses both your gender identity (cis- or transgender) and your sexuality (gay, straight, bi, pan, queer, what have you). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 22 '15 at 13:06
  • For attraction, I go with my body, but my thoughts are more from a female perspective. If body and mind were in harmony, it would look "normal" to everyone. Mind wishes it were in a different body, but body is not in conflict. I am literally surprised when I see myself in the mirror. The face I imagine others seeing is female, but I have no interest in men. Awkward. – user126158 Jan 22 '15 at 13:11
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    I know someone who was in this situation. Born a male he presented for a time as female whilst retaining a male heterosexual orientation with his female partner. But this is a highly complex area of psycho-sexuality and one in which you need proper professional counselling. Language considerations would seem of a much lower priority, and will almost certainly be inconclusive. – WS2 Jan 22 '15 at 13:27
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    It couldn't possibly be lumberjack ... – Edwin Ashworth Jan 22 '15 at 16:54
  • @Edwin: oh, gosh, I hadn't thought of that one. Thanks for reminding me, and for the earworm... :) – user126158 Jan 23 '15 at 13:05

You would describe yourself as "transgender":

Your private sense of gender does not match your socially assigned gender (aka. "what's in your pants"). This term is independent of your sexual orientaion.

This term would be widely recognized in the US, although it's a technical term; the discussion about sexual orientation, legal rights of homosexuals and gender assignment within the last years made the term quite known.

  • OK, I don't like this word because it was recently made up. Also, I don't want people making assumptions about my sexual orientation: I want it to be crystal clear. Apparently there is not a particular word that fits my situation. – user126158 Jan 22 '15 at 13:13
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    If people know anything about the topic at all, they’ll not make any assumptions about your sexual orientation if you describe yourself as transgender. You can specify that you’re transgender and straight. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 22 '15 at 13:15
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    @user107076 - Don't know what you mean by "recently made up". The term has been around for 40 years or so, and is well-recognized. Prior to that there was no (polite) word -- "fairy" would likely be the closest you could come. – Hot Licks Jan 22 '15 at 13:18
  • It seems to divide life into personal and public, but I guess there is no way to prevent that. I don't wear sandals to work. My friends know, and understand me. – user126158 Jan 22 '15 at 13:19
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    This is the correct, accepted, standard and well-understood (although not uncontroversial) term in America for your situation. For comparison and contrast, cross-dresser is an older term, less used now, that means a person, often but not exclusively homosexual, who dresses as the other gender (such as heterosexual cross-dressing actor Eddie Izzard) and transsexual typically describes persons whose identification with the opposite gender is closely tied to their sexual orientation. Transgender is the term that focuses most on gender identity independent of sexual orientation. – Chris Sunami Jan 22 '15 at 13:40

I believe the word you're looking for is "transgender".

  • +1..The key to this word is the Latin prefix trans, which means "across," but also "beyond." – Misti Jan 22 '15 at 13:11
  • If people really associate the meaning "beyond" with it and make no further assumptions, then fine. But I think they are not so open-minded as that. – user126158 Jan 22 '15 at 13:14
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    @user107076 - There are people who will not be open-minded about this regardless of what words you use. – Hot Licks Jan 22 '15 at 13:20
  • But if there was a specific widely understood word, they would have to know that it is accepted in some sense. If the only words are derogatory, they can think it is "wrong". Gosh, I just joined the 20th century... :^) – user126158 Jan 22 '15 at 13:23
  • People will judge others. Whether you conform to social standards or not. Whenever you deviate from the norm - and there are far more ways to do this than just sexual identity - there will be someone who feels entitled to have an opinion. And as far as the definition of what is the norm is concerned, that's an entirely different question... – Stephie Jan 22 '15 at 15:00

I think transsexual also fits the description you are making:

  • a person who permanently acts the part of and completely identifies with the opposite sex.

  • a person who has undergone medical and surgical procedures to alter external sexual characteristics to those of the opposite sex

(from Collins English Dictionary )

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    The second of those definitions is in the process of completely ousting the first, to the extent that it’s being used at all anymore, particularly within the LGBTQ community itself. I would not suggest using transsexual in the asker’s situation. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 22 '15 at 14:38
  • I think the word has actually been used for years to indicate both situations described. Actually the source is a reliable one. – user66974 Jan 22 '15 at 14:41
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    It has been, yes; that’s why I said it is in the process of changing. The word is increasingly likely to cause offence, especially if used of people who have not undergone gender reassignment procedures. Less than a decade ago, it was the default word for many; now many shun it altogether. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 22 '15 at 14:42
  • I see,...I don't mean any offence to anyone of course!! – user66974 Jan 22 '15 at 14:44