People often feel that the terms ‘Ladyboy’ and ‘Shemale’ are the same and are often used interchangeably but in reality, it is not so. This is because they vary in a lot of ways and in this article we will be discussing each of the two terms in detail as well as draw out the differences between both of them.

So, what is the difference between ‘Ladyboy’ and ‘Shemale’? In a nutshell,’ Ladyboy’ is used for the transgender community that belongs to the far east countries, whereas ‘Shemale’ is referred to as the transgender community who has got male genitalia along with female organs.

Now that we have obtained a brief idea about ladyboys and shemales, let’s elaborate on each of the terms in detail.

What Does The Term ‘Ladyboy’ Mean?

The word ‘Ladyboy’ has its origin in Thailand and other South Asian countries.‘Ladyboy’ is a homosexual man that has got all the qualities of a female or when he adopts a feminine appearance. A ladyboy is inherently a born male who dresses as a woman and has undergone various surgeries like breast implants or reduction of Adam’s apple and silicone injections.

Although a ‘Ladyboy’ undergoes a lot of surgeries a very few of them actually undergo or alter their genitals. It is a very personal choice and at the same time, it is a very expensive surgery, and therefore, ladyboys do not prefer to get it done.

After understanding their physical characteristics let’s have a look at the occupation that they mostly work in. ‘Ladyboys’ usually work in predominantly female occupations like Salons, models, or even singers. It might take you by surprise but a lot of ‘Ladyboys’ are leading models in Thailand.

What Does The Term ‘Shemale’ Mean?

‘Shemale’ is used to describe trans women with male genitalia and female characteristics that have been obtained through surgery or by hormones produced by the body. Moreover, the term ‘Shemale’ is typically used in the pornography industry and is considered derogatory by the community.

Although ‘shemale’ has got a feminine physique, there are still certain qualities that are different from usual females. For example, they have got bigger feet as compared to the usual female foot size. Over and above,’ shemales’ have got a very artificial voice, this is because they will make an effort to speak softly which is very apparent. As male hormones dominate more in ‘shemales’ they tend to be taller than an average girl.

Furthermore, as per the statistical data of life expectancy, the ‘shemale’ usually tends to live shorter lives. However, there isn’t any scientific argument to support this assertion.

Differences Between ‘Ladyboy’ And ‘Shemale’

Meaning

‘Ladyboy’ is generally categorized as trans female but it is not so in each case. They can be gay men. 

Whereas,’ shemale’ are trans females with male genitalia and secondary female organs (i.e breasts)

Usage

‘Ladyboy’  is used in south Asian countries, especially in Thailand. However, the trans community of Thailand also prefers to call itself ‘Kathoey’ or ‘Phuying’.

‘Shemale’ is used most commonly in the pornography industry for trans women. They are also referred to as ‘aggressive women’ or ‘passive male homosexuals.

Comparison Chart: Ladyboy Vs Shemale

Point Of DifferenceLadyboyShemale
Origin‘Ladyboy’ is the English language equivalent of the word-Kathoey which has got a Thai origin‘Shemale’ has a relatively newer origin that is from the mid-nineteenth century.
Modern Culture‘Ladyboy’ is more used and accepted in Thai culture. However, the term is often looked down on and is termed as politically incorrect.The term shemale was coined with a hint of humor to it, but in today’s time, it is considered to be a very insulting as well as a derogatory term.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Find More ‘Ladyboy’ In Thailand Than Compared To Any Other Country?

Although the number of ' ‘ladyboys’’ is found more in Thailand it’s not that the countries have any fewer ladyboys. It’s just that Thailand is more accepting when it comes to the LGBT community. Moreover, Thailand has Buddhism as its most dominant religion. In Buddhism, they are considered as ‘third sex’ and that is not because of choice but because of the sins that they have committed in their past lives. Thus, Buddhism sympathizes with them and therefore is very empathetic towards them.

What Does The Term ‘Transphobic’ mean?

Now that being transgender is socially acceptable, there are some people who still consider it inappropriate. Such people are termed as ‘Transphobic’. Their opinion sometimes hinders a person of the transgender community from living their lives as per their will and can even lead to mental abuse.

The prejudice can be even subtle sometimes. For example, not hiring them for a position or recruiting them, or even calling out them with demeaning terms just for fun.

Do ‘ladyboys’ or ‘shemales’ face ‘Gender Dysphoria’?

Gender identity is who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Male and female are commonly accepted gender. But people sometimes feel that they do not fit into their biological identity. People with Gender Dysphoria generally have low-self esteem and they might be a victim of depression. It is generally observed that they are taking unnecessary risks to prove their worth.

Ladyboy belongs to the Thai community and according to their culture, they accept them wholeheartedly. Therefore,’ ladyboys’ usually do not suffer from ‘Gender Dysphoria’. Whereas, a ‘shemale’ is often mocked which might cause them to be a victim of ‘Gender Dysphoria’.

Conclusion 

The terms ‘Ladyboy’ and ‘Shemale’ have got their own definition but some people are still using the terms interchangeably. In this article, we have stated the difference so that the next time you use the terms properly.

However,  one should keep in mind that the people of the ‘trans’ community do not like the connotations and the names with which they are referred. They often find it offensive and hence it is better to refer to them with any unusual term or ask them for what they prefer to be addressed.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathoey