For example, Christine Jorgensen publicly rejected transsexual in 1979, and instead identified herself in newsprint as trans-gender, saying, "gender doesn't have to do with bed partners, it has to do with identity." The definitions of both terms have historically been variable.
In his 2007 book Transgender, an Ethnography of a Category, anthropologist David Valentine asserts that transgender was coined and used by activists to include many people who do not necessarily identify with the term and states that people who do not identify with the term transgender should not be included in the transgender spectrum.
However, these assertions are contested by the Transgender Health Program (THP) at Fenway Health in Boston.
It notes that there are no universally-accepted definitions, and terminology confusion is common because terms that were popular in at the turn of the 21st century may now be deemed offensive.
Nevertheless, there are drag artists of all genders and sexualities who perform for various reasons.
Some drag performers, transvestites, and people in the gay community have embraced the pornographically-derived term tranny to describe drag queens or people who engage in transvestism or cross-dressing; however this term is widely considered offensive if applied to transgender people.
The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their external appearance and accept their genuine identity has been called transgender congruence. Oliven of Columbia University coined the term transgender in his 1965 reference work Sexual Hygiene and Pathology, writing that the term which had previously been used, transsexualism, "is misleading; actually, 'transgenderism' is meant, because sexuality is not a major factor in primary transvestism." By 1992, the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy defined transgender as an expansive umbrella term including "transsexuals, transgenderists, cross dressers", and anyone transitioning.
The majority of cross-dressers identify as heterosexual.
Intersex people have genitalia or other physical sex characteristics that do not conform to strict definitions of male or female, but intersex people are not necessarily transgender because they do not necessarily disagree with their assigned sex.
Transgender and intersex issues often overlap, however, because they may both challenge rigid definitions of sex and gender.
Androgyne is also sometimes used as a medical synonym for an intersex person.
The term cross-dresser is not exactly defined in the relevant literature. Gilbert, professor at the Department of Philosophy, York University, Toronto, offers this definition: "[A cross-dresser] is a person who has an apparent gender identification with one sex, and who has and certainly has been birth-designated as belonging to [that] sex, but who wears the clothing of the opposite sex because it is that of the opposite sex." This definition excludes people "who wear opposite sex clothing for other reasons," such as "those female impersonators who look upon dressing as solely connected to their livelihood, actors undertaking roles, individual males and females enjoying a masquerade, and so on.