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A trans woman (short for transgender woman) is a woman who was assigned male at birth. Trans women have a female gender identity and may experience gender dysphoria (distress brought upon by the discrepancy between a person's gender identity and their sex assigned at birth). Gender dysphoria may be treated with gender-affirming care.
Gender-affirming care may include social or medical transition. Social transition may involve changes such as adopting a new name, hairstyle, clothing, and pronoun associated with the individual's affirmed gender identity. A major component of medical transition for trans women is feminizing hormone therapy, which causes the development of female secondary sex characteristics (breasts, redistribution of body fat, lower waist–hip ratio, etc.). This, along with socially transitioning, and receiving desired gender-affirming surgeries can relieve the person of gender dysphoria. Like cisgender women, trans women may have any sexual orientation.
Trans women face significant discrimination in many areas of life—including in employment and access to housing—and face physical and sexual violence and hate crimes, including from partners. In the United States, discrimination is particularly severe towards trans women who are members of a racial minority, who often face the intersection of transphobia and racism.
The term transgender woman is not always interchangeable with transsexual woman, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people (including transsexual people).