In the past, the terms ‘MTF’ (male-to-female) and ‘FTM’ (female-to-male) were commonly used instead of ‘trans women’ and ‘trans men’. Occasionally, they are still used today. 

However, these terms have been criticised because they imply that trans men used to be women – and vice versa. For most trans people, this is not the case. On the contrary, they were rather assigned an incorrect gender at birth due to their sex characteristics and, before their coming out, their actual gender would not be externally perceived by other people. That being the case, a term like ‘trans woman’ adopts the perspective of the person (as it applies the correct gender, woman), whereas MTF assumes an external perspective by referring to a “sex change”.