What does it mean to be transfeminine?

What does it mean to be transfeminine?
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Have you ever wrestled with thoughts of wanting to be a woman despite not being fully comfortable identifying as one? Have you ever wanted to express yourself more femininely but feel more or less okay with the idea of not transitioning medically? Perhaps you may find comfort in the term “transfeminine”.

Related: Am I nonbinary? A guide to what it means to identify outside the gender binary

Transfeminine: Meaning And Use Of The Term

A “transfeminine” person is typically someone who was assigned male at birth (AMAB) but identifies more closely with femininity than masculinity. Transfeminine people are oftentimes non-binary, genderfluid, or intersex people who do not identify completely with the binary genders of man or woman but feel a close affinity to femininity.

Transfeminine, also written as “trans feminine”, “trans fem”, or “trans femme”, is a term that can be used as both an adjective or a noun. Thus, you can identify as transfeminine or define yourself as a trans feminine non-binary person.


What Is The Difference Between A Trans Woman And A Trans Fem Person?

To better understand the difference between trans women and trans fem people, it’s best to understand what it means to be trans and non-binary first.

Transgender people are those who feel that their gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth. Many trans people (but not all) may experience gender dysphoria or a feeling of intense discomfort or distress from this disconnect. Thus, a transgender woman may undergo gender-affirming steps such as:

  • Undergoing top and bottom surgery or vocal feminization
  • Wearing feminine clothing and makeup
  • Changing pronouns to she/her/hers

Non-binary people, on the other hand, are people who do not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people don’t see their gender as existing within a binary, and instead, see gender as a spectrum in which they exist somewhere in the middle or even outside of it altogether.

Some non-binary people may consider themselves as falling under the trans umbrella, particularly because they also feel a disconnect between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. Non-binary people may experience gender dysphoria as well.

So, what does this all have to do with trans femmes? Unlike trans women who feel and want to be perceived as binary women, trans femmes often feel that their gender isn’t quite as absolute or fixed. They may not identify with masculinity at all, but it doesn’t mean that they identify 100% as women. Transfeminine people may also undergo certain steps to affirm their femininity to the capacity they so desire.


How Can You Tell You Might Be Trans Fem?

There is no right or wrong way to be transfeminine, as everyone has their own way of understanding, feeling, and interpreting their femininity. Trans femmes may explore their femininity through makeup, clothing, hair, shoes, accessories, etc. But they also aren’t required to make any outward changes to feel feminine.

The same goes for medical transitioning, be it through hormone therapy or surgery. For some transfeminine people, gender-affirming surgery is necessary for minimizing gender dysphoria. For others, these things aren’t as important.

Still confused? Look out for the following signs:

  • Being uncomfortable with your sex characteristics. This can include wanting to tuck, wearing a bra to give the appearance of having breasts, shaving your beard, and growing out your hair.
  • Not being a fan of traditional gender roles and norms
  • Not connecting wholly to traditionally female gender roles
  • Not wanting to be referred to as a woman, despite feeling more feminine than masculine

The Bottom Line

If you identify as trans fem, meaning you don’t completely identify as a woman but feel more feminine than masculine, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are plenty of transfeminine people out there, all with their own unique way of experiencing and expressing their gender.

Related: Nursing home rejects transgender elder & after years of discrimination she wants justice

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