Gender is complicated and no one has it completely figured out. This is part of the reason that transgender vocabulary has exploded with a variety of words to express a countless number of genders and facets of gender experience. Gender is extremely personal, and trying to express our understanding of gender is personal and complicated. These words help us express those things in ways that each other can understand. Our hope that this primer will help smooth that process.

Below are working definitions for many gender related terms:

  • AFAB: Assigned female at birth. It is sometimes written as FAAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of transgender (and cisgender) people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. For example: “AFAB people should all get pap smears as it can help find and treat issues before they become life threatening.”  AFAB is also used by many trans people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be”, as many transgender people never identified with their birth assigned gender.

 

  • Agender: Agender people define their gender in a variety of ways. Some agender people define their gender as being neither a man nor a woman while others understand themselves as not having any gender at all. Agender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, agender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but they may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • AMAB: Assigned male at birth. It is sometimes written as MAAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of transgender (and cisgender) people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. For example: “AMAB people face high rates of harassment when outwardly expressing themselves in what is commonly understood as a feminine manner”.  AMAB is also used by many trans people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be”, as many transgender people never identified with their birth assigned gender.

 

  • Androgyne:  Androgyne people define their gender in a variety of ways. Some androgyne people define their gender as being between men and women while others understand themselves as being outside of the binary spectrum altogether. Androgyne people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, androgyne people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Androgynous: This term is often used regarding outward gender expression, though it has been occasionally used as an identity term very similar to androgyne. In terms of expression, it is generally understood as having neither a clearly masculine or feminine appearance or specifically blending masculine and feminine traits.

 

  • Aporagender: People who have a strong understanding of their own gender as being completely separate from the binary spectrum of gender. This means aporagender doesn’t include people between male and female, or binary people, or people who generally identify with masculinity or femininity. Aporagender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, aporagender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Bigender / Trigender / Polygender / Pangender: People who are two, three, multiple, or all genders. Polygender and pangender may be used as umbrella terms for those who experience multiple genders. Some polygender people shift between genders while others are many simultaneously. Specific gender facets may or may not be binary. Some polygender people have a cisgender facet alongside transgender facets. Polygender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, polygender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Binarism: The erasing, ignoring or antagonizing of people whose genders are outside of the gender binary in indigenous cultures. This is specifically the erasure of indigenous genders by colonialism as it is echoed in cultures worldwide today. For more information on the general phenomena of nonbinary cultural exclusion, please refer to ‘nonbinary erasure’.

 

  • Birth Assignment: The gender we are assigned at birth, usually based on genitals alone. It is assumed that our identities should and will match this assignment but this isn’t the case for most transgender people. Also known as ‘gender assignment’.

 

  • Birth Stealth: A trans person choosing to pass universally as a cisgender person of their birth gender. This is often due to one or multiple forms of transition being inaccessible to them and a need to maintain familial, employment or housing stability. A birth stealth trans woman passes as a cisgender man; a birth stealth trans man passes as a cisgender woman. For more information on the original concept of stealth as it related to a transgender person passing as a cisgender person of their gender, please refer to ‘stealth’.

 

  • Boi: This term is used often by AFAB transgender people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness but who may not have a completely male identity. It is used frequently in TQPoC communities and has a long history in the BDSM/Leather communities, so it may be seen as appropriative in some contexts. Bois may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, bois are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Bottom surgery: A variety of gender-related surgeries dealing with genitalia. They include but are not limited to: vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, scrotoplasty, metoidioplasty, vaginectomy, hysterectomy, and orchiectomy.

 

  • Butch: This term is often used to describe outward gender expression, though it has been historically used as an identity term very similar to boi or transmasculine. Butch refers to traditional working class masculinity. It is often seen in lesbian communities. One variation is “soft butch” which refers to an expression that is masculine but is closer to neutrality than extreme masculinity.

 

  • CAFAB / CAMAB: Coercively assigned female at birth and coercively assigned male at birth respectively. These terms refer to what gender intersex people are assigned at birth and reflect the specific way that intersex people are coerced medically into one of two genders. These are intersex specific terms. Dyadic people (people who are not intersex) should use the related acronyms AFAB/AMAB.​

 

  • CD/TV: acronym for Crossdresser/Transvestite. This is used often in international contexts where crossdresser or transvestite may or may not be regionally acceptable.

 

  • Cisgender: Someone whose gender matches the gender they were assigned at birth. Someone who is not transgender.  It is often shortened to cis, the Latin prefix meaning “on the same side of.” Cisgender or AFAB/AMAB should be used instead of misleading terms like “biological,” “genetic,” “real,” or “born” when referring to people’s gender.

 

  • Cisgender Privilege: The privileges cisgender people have because their gender matches their birth assigned gender. Their gender is widely considered legitimate, both socially and legally. For example, cis people generally don’t have issues with their identifying documents not matching their outward presentation.

 

  • Cisnormative: The normalizing of being cisgender; regarding transgender as an abnormality. This concept applies to behaviors as well as bodies. For example, a trans man may not want a phalloplasty because the surgical results will not look cisnormative enough for his comfort. Alternatively, many trans men do not feel the need to have a surgically modified, cisnormative body in order to feel confident in their masculinity.

 

  • Cissexism: The erasing, ignoring or antagonizing of people who are not cisgender. This is most easily explained with the example of legislating of who can and cannot use gender-specific bathrooms based on their medical or legal gender status. See also ‘transantagonism’ and ‘transphobia’.

 

  • Cissexual: An outdated term that is usually used synonymously with cisgender. It may serve as the precise opposite of transsexual in referring to someone who has done nothing to physically alter the most commonly gendered parts of their body.

 

  • Crossdresser: Someone who dresses as and/or presents themselves as a gender other than the one with which they usually identify. Crossdressing may be aesthetic, sexual, a facet of someone’s gender, or have other meanings. Crossdresser is the preferred term in the USA. Crossdressers are generally considered under the gender nonconforming umbrella, and they may or may not identify as transgender and/or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Dead-naming: To call someone by a name that was assigned to them in the past which is not their current preferred name. This is generally considered rude and should be avoided.

 

  • Demigender: Someone who is a specific gender on some level but not completely. For example, someone who is a demigirl identifies at least partially with being a girl or woman but not completely. Demigender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, demigender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • DFAB / DMAB: Designated ‘fe/male at birth’. See also AFAB / AMAB.

 

  • Drag: Taking on the appearance and characteristics associated with a certain gender, usually for entertainment purposes and often to expose the humorous and performative elements of gender. People who perform drag are generally called ‘drag queens/kings’. Drag performers are often cis but not necessarily so.

 

  • Dyadic: People who were not born intersex. Many people would consider themselves dyadic, though there are many people who possess intersex characteristics without knowing it, as not all intersex characteristics are immediately visible.

 

  • Dysphoria: Everyone experiences dysphoria differently; therefore, it can be hard to explain. Dysphoria is often described as the discomfort, pain, and unhappiness that is experienced by many trans people in relationship to the commonly gendered parts of their body, and/or to the way people interact with them, and/or to how they are legally required to fill out documentation. Not all transgender people experience dysphoria specifically. Some may not understand themselves as experiencing dysphoria but later recognize it as such.

 

  • Enby: A word based on how the letters “NB” are pronounced, with NB being short for nonbinary. “Enby” can be employed in the same ways that “NB” can be: I’m an enby person. I’m enby. I’m an enby. See also nonbinary.

 

  • Eunuch: An AMAB person who has been or aims to be castrated. While many eunuchs still identify as male, others identify as third gender or nonbinary. Eunuchs may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world.

 

  • Female-bodied: An outdated term that is often used synonymously with AFAB. This term is viewed negatively by most of the transgender community as reinforcing ideas about what constitutes “female” that are discriminatory to our AMAB sisters. Women have female bodies, regardless of their trans status.

 

  • Femme: This term is often used regarding outward gender expression, though it has been occasionally used as an identity term very similar to transfeminine. It often refers to an outward gender expression based on traditional femininity. Variations include “hard femme” which refers to an expression that is feminine in an edgy or hard-rock way, and “high femme” which refers to an expression that is femininity taken to an extreme.

 

  • FTM / F2M / Female to Male: These terms are usually synonymous with trans man but is sometimes used by other AFAB people to express a generalized version of their gender experience. While widely used, it is viewed by many trans people as being too focused on binary genders and reinforcing the medicalization of transgender bodies. Many trans men have never identified with being female, so using this term generally to mean trans men is discouraged.

 

  • Full Time: Living as your gender all of the time. This term comes from the older medical standards for transgender healthcare which required transgender people to live “full time” as their gender for a year before being able to receive hormones. This term is falling out of use as the medical standards have dropped this requirement. This phrase is generally viewed as focusing too much on “passing” as cisgender to be the main goal of many trans peoples’ transitions.

 

  • Gatekeeping: The practice of limiting access to services, particularly based on a set of assumptions that there is a certain way a person should behave or present themselves in order to truly need or deserve the care they’re seeking. Gatekeeping commonly occurs under the pretense of “protecting” trans people from themselves, or requiring extra bureaucracy to prove that trans people are really sure of their own identity before providing treatment comparable to what a cisgender person would reasonably expect to receive. For example, a doctor who requires several letters from mental health professionals before providing hormones to a transgender person– the same hormones that any cisgender person with abnormal hormone levels would receive without said letters.

 

  • Gender: A complex combination of roles, expression, aesthetics, identities, performances, social interactions, and more that are assigned certain meanings by society. Gender is both self-defined and society-defined. How gender is embodied and defined varies from culture to culture and from person to person.  Gender is often simplified to a binary or a spectrum, but neither fully encapsulates the whole of gender.

 

  • Gender Assignment: The gender we are assigned at birth, usually based on genitals alone. It is assumed that our identities should and will match this assignment but this isn’t the case for most trans people. See also ‘birth assignment’.

 

  • Gender Attribution: The act of categorizing people we come into contact with as male, female, or unknown. Gender attribution can lead to misgendering people unintentionally because it is impossible to know a person’s gender just by looking at them. The only way to know someone’s gender is to ask them.

 

  • Gender Binary: The pervasive social system that tells us there can only be men and women (and most often they are assumed cisgender), and that there can be no alternatives in terms of gender or expression. The binary exists in terms of the social systems that enforce it, but does not actually exist in the real experience of gender.

 

  • Gender Essentialism: The idea that men and women have inherent, unique, and natural attributes that qualify them as their separate genders. This outdated understanding of gender not only confuses gender with biological sex, but also assumes that gender and sex are binary-based and completely erases the existence of intersex individuals.

 

  • Gender Expansive: Gender that expands beyond the typical boundaries of the binary gender spectrum. Much like genderqueer, it is hard to specifically define because the possibilities are quite literally infinite. Gender expansive people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, gender expansive people are considered under the gender non-conforming umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Gender Expression: How one expresses their gender outwardly and/or the facets of a person’s expression which have gendered connotations in our culture. There is no right or wrong way to express your gender.

 

  • Genderfluid: This term can be used as a specific identity or as a way of articulating the changing nature of one’s gender identity or expression. Genderfluid people may have genders that shift in a pattern, shift constantly, or flip like a switch. Genderfluid people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, genderfluid people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Genderfuck: Someone who intentionally plays/messes around with gendered expectations; the intentional crossing, mixing, and blending of gender-specific signals. Drag performers may or may not also identify as genderfucks.

 

  • Gender Gifted: This term is used very broadly to include any and all transgender and/or gender non-conforming people. It is a celebratory word that highlights how amazing it can be to have a unique and/or non-normative gender.

 

  • Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of what gender they are. One’s gender identity may or may not align with their assigned gender, and one’s gender identity is not visible to others.

 

  • Genderless: A term very similar to agender but with a stronger emphasis on completely lacking a gender. Genderless people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, genderless people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Gender Neutral Pronouns: Pronouns other than he or she. Some examples are ze/hir/hirs and they/them/their, but there are many others.

 

  • Gender Nonconforming (GNC): Someone who does not fully conform to the expectations around gender that their society espouses. This may be, but is not limited to: expression, roles, or some other aspect of gender.

 

  • Gender Panic: The fear and revulsion some people experience when presented with a person who does not meet their expectations for gender performance, expression, identity or roles. This is often used in reference to “the gender panic defense” (which is related to “gay panic”), where a cisgender person assaults or murders a trans person claiming that they “panicked” when they found out the victim was transgender. California is currently the only state in the USA that bans the use of this defense.

 

  • Gender Roles: Cultural expectations for what certain gender people should do with their lives, including what activities they should enjoy or excel at, how they should behave, and how they should be treated by others.

 

  • Genderqueer: This term is intentionally hard to define, much as is its sexuality counterpart “queer.” It can generally be understood as a gender that is neither man nor woman, possibly in between the two, and possibly fluid. Genderqueer people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, genderqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Gender Variant (GV): Similar to ‘gender nonconforming’ but specifically including transgender and other gender minorities. Someone who does not fully conform to the expectations around gender that their society espouses. This may be, but is not limited to, regarding expression, roles, or some other aspect of gender.

 

  • GSM: An acronym standing for gender and sexuality minorities. GSM is a useful term as it is succinct and inclusive, including people who are gay, queer, bisexual, intersex, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, transgender, gender non-conforming, kinky, polyamorous, and/or more. GSM is a good alternative to LGBT, but many see it as too broad to be immediately useful.

 

  • Harry Benjamin Standards of Care: An outdated set of medical guidelines published by the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association concerning the care of patients with gender identity disorders. These have been replaced by WPATH Standards of Care. This is the origin of the aforementioned “full time” requirement.

 

  • Hermaphrodite: An outdated and offensive term for intersex people. Some intersex people may seek to reclaim this term, but it is generally unacceptable for outsider use.

 

  • Intergender: Those who were born intersex and feel their gender identity is in between man and woman or is both man and woman. While there are some dyadic people who use the term, it is commonly understood as being specifically for those who were born intersex. Intergender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, intergender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Intersex: A person born with any manner of supposed “ambiguity” in terms of gendered physical characteristics. This can include reproductive organs, genitals, hormones, chromosomes, or any combination thereof. They are often medically coerced as infants and children to better fit into a cisgender role and make their bodies cisnormative. Intersex people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, intersex people are not immediately considered transgender but may or may not identify as transgender and/or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • LGBT: A common acronym which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. There are other variations similar to this acronym (such as LGBTQIA) that include other GSM such as queer, questioning, asexual, and intersex, but many people understand LGBT as encompassing more than just the letters presented. Sometimes shown as LGBT+.

 

  • Male-bodied:  An outdated term that is often used synonymously with AMAB. This term is viewed negatively by most of the transgender community as reinforcing ideas about what constitutes “male” that are discriminatory to our AFAB brothers. Men have male bodies, regardless of their trans status.

 

  • Masculine of Center (MoC): an umbrella term coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project, that covers a range of both cisgender and transgender identities that inhabit the masculine side of the gender spectrum including but not limited to: boi, butch, stud, and trans masculine.

 

  • Misgendering: The act of attributing the wrong gender to a person, whether intentionally or not. Calling trans women “men” is misgendering. Calling someone “it” when they have asked you to use a different pronoun is misgendering. The best way to avoid misgendering people is to ask them what their gender is and what terms they prefer others to use when referring to them.

 

  • MTF / M2F / Male to Female: These terms are usually synonymous with trans women but may be used by other AMAB people to express a generalized version of their gender experience. While widely used, it is viewed by many trans people as being too focused on binary genders and reinforcing the medicalization of transgender bodies. Many trans women have never identified with being male, so using this term generally to mean trans women is discouraged.

 

  • Neutrois: A term very similar to agender but with a stronger emphasis on gender neutrality. Neutrois people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, neutrois people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Nonbinary (NB): Nonbinary is an umbrella term for people who identify as a gender other than wo/man and/or who are not wo/men exclusively. Nonbinary people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, nonbinary people are considered under the transgender umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender specifically. Nonbinary can also be used as an identity term by people who know they are not wo/men, but may be currently unable to find a term that fits their gender experience.

 

  • Nonbinary Erasure: The erasing, ignoring or of antagonizing people whose genders are outside of the gender binary. This is often seen in regards to legal paperwork and the language we use to gender others, for example “boys and girls” when talking to a group of children of varied genders. While this may not seem like an issue to those who are not nonbinary, being on the receiving end of erasure on a regular basis can lead to depression, anxiety, and other ill effects.

 

  • Outing: To share an identity that was previously unknown to people, usually referring to sexual orientation or gender. You should never out someone without their consent. Outing someone without their express and prior consent is dangerous, possibly even deadly.

 

  • Passing: It is often used to express being seen and treated as a cisgender person, but it can be used more widely to describe being seen as *any* gender. Example: Jayke passes as a cisgender man in public. Riley is passing as androgynous today.

 

  • Pre-op / Post-op / Non-op: These terms refer to what gender-related surgeries a person has had, plans to have, or does not want to have. Pre-op (pre-operative) means the person plans to or wants to have some form of gender-related surgery but has not yet. Post-op means they already have had some form of gender-related surgery and may or may not be pursuing more. Non-op refers to trans people who do not desire any gender-related surgeries. These terms should not be used to define a trans person nor should they be applied to trans people without their consent.

 

  • Pronouns: The pronouns one prefers to be called, whether they be he, she, they, it, ze, ey, or any other. It is preferable to always ask someone their pronouns if possible and to not make assumptions about a person’s pronouns. Always be sure to respect a person’s pronouns, use them, and apologize if you slip up. Everyone has preferred pronouns, not just trans people.

 

  • Sex: A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. A binary system (wo/man) set by the medical establishment, usually based on genitals and sometimes chromosomes. Because this is usually divided into ‘male’ and ‘female’, this category ignores the existence of intersex people.

 

  • Sexual orientation: Refers to whom one is sexually attracted to. Gender and sexual orientation are not the same.

 

  • Stealth: A trans person choosing to pass universally as a cisgender person of their gender without publicly acknowledging their transgender status or history. This often requires all forms of transition and is undertaken by binary-identified people who are at risk of violence, or lack of job and/or home security. A stealth trans woman passes as a cisgender woman; a stealth trans man passes as a cisgender man. See also ‘birth stealth’.

 

  • Stud: This term is used often by AFAB people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness, but who may not have a completely male identity. It is used predominantly in TQPoC communities, so it may be seen as appropriative depending on context. Studs may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, studs are not considered under the nonbinary or transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • T3: Shorthand for “Trans-er Than Thou” or the expression of ideas that marginalize trans people who do not conform to some esoteric standard of “trans-ness”, usually based on medical, legal, or social transition.

 

  • Third Gender: This term is most often used as an umbrella term for indigenous genders that are beyond the gender binary that may or may not be accepted in their respective cultures. While people in western cultures may identify as third gender, it may be seen as appropriative depending on context. Third gender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, third gender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Top surgery: This term can refer to any gender-related surgery dealing with a person’s chest, such as breast implants and reduction surgeries, but is most often understood as a mastectomy.

 

  • TQPoC: Shorthand for Transgender and/or Queer Person of Color. May also be expressed as TPoC or QPoC depending on context.

 

  • Tranny: A term that is widely considered derogatory and is used primarily against AMAB trans people. While there are some AMAB trans people who reclaim the “t-word”, it is not acceptable for outsiders to use this term.

 

  • Trans: The shortened form of transgender.

 

  • Transantagonism: The antagonizing of trans people for the sole reason that they are transgender. This is most easily seen in the massive amount of street harassment faced by those people who are visibly transgender. See also ‘cissexism’ and ‘transphobia’.

 

  • Transfeminine: This term is used often by AMAB trans people to express a relationship to femininity or femaleness, but who may not have a completely female identity. Transfeminine people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, transfeminine are considered under the transgender umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender and/or expression does not match their birth assignment. Transgender includes many of the terms in this list and may or may not include transsexuals, cross dressers, drag kings/queens, and others who defy what society tells them their gender should be. How people identify with this term depends on the individual and their relationship with their gender. ​

 

  • Transition: The process by which people affirm their transgender identity. This may include social, physical/medical, and/or mental/emotional transition. Specifically this may or may not include and is not limited to: changing one’s name legally or socially, taking hormones, having surgery, changing legal documents to reflect one’s gender, coming out to loved ones, dressing as one chooses, and accepting oneself among many other things. Transition is an individual process. No two transitions are the same.

 

  • Trans man: A man who was assigned female at birth. Trans men may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world.

 

  • Transmasculine: This term is used often by AFAB trans people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness, but who may not have a completely male identity. Transmasculine people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, transmasculine people are considered under the transgender umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Transmisogyny: Originally coined by the author Julia Serano, this term highlights the intersectionality of misogyny and transphobia and how they are often experienced as a dual form of oppression by trans women and other AMAB trans people. “Women born women only” spaces are transmisogynistic as they categorically exclude trans women.

 

  • Transphobia: The fear or hatred of trans people or those perceived as such. See also ‘cissexism’ and ‘transantagonism’.

 

  • Transqueer: This term is intentionally hard to define, much as is it’s sexuality counterpart “queer”. It can generally be understood as a gender that is neither man nor woman, possibly in between the two, and possibly fluid. Transqueer people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, transqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Transsexual: This term refers to (mostly binary) trans people who completely physically transition or want to do so. It can be used to be precise about a person’s medical transition status and goals, but is widely viewed as outdated and too focused on the medical aspects of transition for colloquial use. Transsexuals may or may not identify as transgender specifically.

 

  • Transvestite: Someone who dresses as and/or presents themselves as a gender other than the one with which they usually identify. Transvestitism may be aesthetic, sexual, a facet of someone’s gender, or have other meanings. Transvestite is the preferred term in the UK. Transvestites are generally considered under the gender nonconforming umbrella, and they may or may not identify as transgender and/or nonbinary specifically.

 

  • Trans woman: A woman who was assigned male at birth. Trans women may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world.

 

  • Two-Spirit (2spirit): These are LGBT+ people of North American indigenous descent. Two-Spirit identities are directly linked to indigenous spiritual and/or religious belief systems that vary from tribe to tribe. Two-Spirited individuals will not identify with either heterosexual orientation, cisgender identity, or both. Some tribes have spiritual and religious belief systems that do not support the idea of two-spirited identities. Two-Spirited people, historically, were respected spiritual leaders among their tribal nations up until the colonization of North America. Two-Spirit people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and the process of transitioning within their part of the world. Generally, people with two-spirit gender identities are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. This term should not be used by people who are not Indigenous/First Nations.

 

  • WPATH Standards of Care: A set of medical guidelines published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health concerning the care of patients with gender dysphoria. Essentially, the transgender healthcare guidebook. You can find them here.

 

Last Updated: 02 / 23 / 16

Transgender language is always evolving to help us express our lived experiences. We try to keep this primer updated with the latest acronyms and terms. If you have suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Special Thanks to A Zingler, B Liz MacKinnon, Oliver Robison, and Rhys Harper for their input and editing prowess.