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These terms have now been superseded by "trans man" and "trans woman", respectively, and the terms "trans-masculine" or "trans-feminine" are increasingly in use.

Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer or non-binary, including bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender).

The counterpart of transgender is cisgender, which describes persons whose gender identity or expression matches their assigned sex.

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.

There are also people who have had SRS but do not meet the definition of "transsexual", such as Gregory Hemingway.

In addition to trans men and trans women whose binary gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, and who form the core of the transgender umbrella, being included in even the narrowest definitions of it, several other groups are included in broader definitions of the term.

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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.