The Transgender Language Primer
Gender is complicated, and no one has it completely figured out. Acknowledging this complexity was once the norm; many cultures - before colonization - had terms and expressions far beyond what we have available today. Vocabulary, especially in and around the transgender community, has exploded with a variety of words to express a countless number of genders and facets of gender experience. This explosion is a combination of reclamation and creation, but we have to be wary of creation under colonization. That's part of why we've created this primer, as an attempt to document the movement to express and identify the complexity of gender while acknowledging its history and intersections. There are some terms in this primer that are not directly related to gender, but are still defined in order to help set the context within which the rest of the primer is established.
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.
CN: This primer does include some terms that are generally considered offensive in order to educate folks on why these terms are not okay. This primer also includes somewhat graphic descriptions of common medical procedures in order to educate folks on what these procedures entail. We will designate these graphic descriptions with a Content Note (CN) in red text.
We try to include CN where necessary but if we have failed this on some level, please let us know so we can correct it! We want the people who use this guide to be able to avoid potentially triggering descriptions if we can help it. Connect with us!
The following are working definitions.
Assigned [Gender] At Birth or Designated [Gender] At Birth or InterSex. It is sometimes written as GAAB or GAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. AGAB is also used by many transgender people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be,” as many trans people never identified with their birth assigned gender. Sometimes seen as AGAB/IS to be inclusive of intersex people who are dealing with similar situations, but who do not identify with binary assignment labels. e.g. AFAB people should generally get pap smears as it can help find and treat issues before they become life threatening. AMAB people face high rates of harassment when outwardly expressing themselves in what is commonly seen as a feminine manner.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, agender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas, but they may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Sam, an agender individual, told vis friend that the neutral pronouns ve/ver/vis were the correct pronouns.
Someone who is not asexual. Someone who experiences sexual attraction irrelevant of whether or not they engage in any sexual behavior. e.g. An allosexual person experiences sexual attraction. Shepard is allosexual.
Related Link:Why I use “allosexual” | The Asexual Agenda
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 gender 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, androgyne people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. The androgyne person declined the invitation to the Transgender Gala.
See also: 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 an appearance that is beyond contextually feminine or masculinity traits or specifically blending contextually gendered traits. e.g. Sam sings androgynously by mixing a range that straddles both tenor and alto ranges. Sam prefers to wear androgynous clothing styles.
Aporagender people have a strong understanding of their own gender as being completely separate from the gender binary and spectrum. Aporagender does not include men or women, nor people who identify with femininity or masculinity in any way, such as nonbinary people who are bigender or genderfluid between wo/man. This can be hard to understand, as there is almost no language around gender that isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, and even aporagender people can struggle to further specify their experience of gender. That’s why this word exists, so that there can at least be a start to that conversation-- “I know my gender isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, but beyond that, I’m not entirely sure. But I know I’m at least aporagender.” Aporagender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, aporagender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. The aporagender individual liked to make nir own clothing.
Sometimes shortened to ‘ace’. A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexuality is a sexual orientation and is different from celibacy, in that celibacy is the choice to refrain from engaging in sexual behaviors and does not comment on one’s sexual attractions. An asexual individual may choose to engage in sexual behaviors for various reasons even while not experiencing sexual attraction. Asexuality is an identity and sexual orientation; it is not a medical condition. Sexual attraction is not necessary for a person to thrive. e.g. Tanya was invited to speak about asexuality due to her connections with the local asexual community.
See also: grey-asexual, demisexual.
Asexuality: The ‘X’ In A Sexual World | Huffington Post
There are many different types of attraction. All of these attractions are valid and may be independent from each other or interact with each other in a variety of ways. They can be present or absent in everything from friendships to life partners. Each relationship is a unique experience. This is why some people identify not only with their sexuality (heterosexual, bisexual, etc) but also with their romantic attraction using the suffix -romantic (panromantic, homoromantic). This is especially common in the asexual community where a focus on romantic relationships or platonic relationships is more visible. e.g. Kent experiences romantic attraction for femmes but has emotional platonic attraction to many other people.
Types of Attraction:
- Sexual attraction: attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or shows sexual interest in another person(s). This is different from a sexual drive, which is a biological instinct distinct from someone’s sexual attraction.
- Romantic attraction: attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person(s).
- Aesthetic attraction: occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person(s), disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.
- Sensual attraction: the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
- Emotional attraction: the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships including platonic friendships.
- Mental attraction: the desire to engage with another in a thoughtful manner, such as having deep conversations or engaging in thought provoking activities together. This has nothing to do with western ideas of “intelligence” as something measurable, but rather an attraction to how a person thinks, how they solve problems, or how they interpret and engage with the world.
People who are two (three, etc.) genders. Some bigender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some bigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Bigender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bigender people are considered under the polygender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as polygender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically. e.g. The presenter’s talk about bigender people included the story of Juri’s realization that Juri’s gender identity was simultaneously several different genders.
Related Link:What It Means to Be Multigender | The Body is Not an Apology
The erasing or antagonizing of people whose genders are outside of the gender binary in indigenous and colonized cultures. This is specifically the erasure of indigenous genders by colonialism as it is echoed in cultures worldwide today. e.g. Binarism has attempted to wipe out the respect for nonbinary individuals in the indigenous cultures of North America.
See also: cissexism, trans antagonism, and nonbinary erasure.
A garment used to flatten the chest often to decrease dysphoria or to adjust presentation. Often used by AFAB trans people as one of their first gender affirming pieces of clothing. e.g. Sam often binds with a binder made by this generic company.
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. It is also known as ‘gender assignment.’ e.g. Storm refuses to tell people their birth assignment.
A transgender person choosing to pass universally as a cisgender person of their birth assignment. Being birth stealth can be a freely made choice, but is often due to one or multiple forms of transition being inaccessible to the individual 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, a birth stealth nonbinary person passes as whatever cisgender person shares their birth assignment. It should be noted that birth stealth (as well as stealth) can sometimes be used in derogative ways, and therefore it’s best to not apply this label to others unless they self-identify with the term. e.g. Sam is birth stealth at school for safety purposes.See also: detransition
Someone who is sexually attracted to more than one / two or more genders, but not necessarily all possible genders. Bisexuality was historically understood as people who are sexually attracted to “both men and women,” but with our growing understanding of gender and its possible manifestations, the definition of bisexuality has grown to encompass not only its historical meaning, but also a wide range of experiences. e.g. Graham listed themself as bisexual on the dating site.
See also: pansexual
This term is used often by transgender people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness but who may not have a completely male identity, used predominantly by trans people who are AFAB. It has a long history both in TQPOC communities and in 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bois are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Graham considered themself a masculine of center boi.
A variety of gender-related surgeries dealing with genitalia. They include but are not limited to: vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, scrotoplasty, metoidioplasty, vaginectomy, hysterectomy, and orchiectomy. Asking someone about their bottom surgery is rude. Disclosing to a third party about someone else’s bottom surgery is rude. e.g. Kar had to have a very strong talk with vir mother, who had disclosed vir recent bottom surgery to one of vir coworkers without asking.See also: top surgery
Breast augmentation/reduction and breast enhancement refer to surgical procedures that alter the size and/or shape of the breast. Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that can create breasts where there are none, as well as to increase the size of the breast as desired through the use of silicone or saline implants, or through fat transfer. While this can be done at any point in a person’s medical transition, different options may be available depending on how much breast tissue is available. It often takes estrogen about 2 years to develop breasts and can take up to 6 to fully develop. Breast enhancement is used to describe breast lifting and areola/nipple size alterations. Breast reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of a person's chest as desired. While this can be done at any point in a person's transition, if a reduction is done prior to a full mastectomy, it can impact the results aesthetically in a negative way. e.g. Vic had a breast reduction because their insurance covered it.See also: top surgery, binder, breast forms
Prosthetics that some trans people, crossdressers, and drag performers use to alleviate dysphoria and adjust their presentation. Prosthetics like breast forms (basically what they sound like) and packers (soft penis) allow people to better fill out cisnormative clothing. They are usually made of silicone and can come in a variety of colors and sizes. Some are self-adhesive, some require adhesive such as double sided tape, and some require specific prosthetic undergarments designed to hold them in place. e.g. A trans man used a packer to fill out his pants.See also: binder, gaff, STP
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. e.g. The butch woman wore a leather jacket and pants with her hair slicked back in a ponytail. Being butch was part of Shauna’s lesbian identity.
Coercively assigned [gender] at birth. This term refers to what birth assignment is given to intersex people and reflect the specific way that intersex people are coerced medically into the gender binary. These are intersex specific terms. Dyadic people, until shown evidence otherwise, should use the related acronyms AFAB and AMAB. e.g. Kasey uses the term CAMAB because of the doctor’s decision made at her birth.
Associating genitalia and/or body parts with gender, usually in statements like “If only men knew what it was like to have a period!”. Assumptive gender attribution is a form of casual cissexism. e.g. Charlie called out his mother on her casual cissexism after she said “only women should have a valued opinion on birth control.
An acronym for crossdresser and transvestite, respectively. This is used often in international contexts where crossdresser or transvestite may or may not be regionally acceptable. Many transgender people explore their gender within the CD/TV community before coming out as trans more universally. Generally, CD/TV people are considered under the gender non-conforming and gender expansive umbrellas but may or may not identify as either of those terms specifically. e.g. The CD/TV community is often on the front lines of being attacked for defying gender norms.
A person who dates/hooks up with a certain “type” of person, like trans people, but who doesn't recognize their humanity beyond their “type.” Chasers are usually embarrassed of their attractions and have a hard time looking past the shame that society attaches to being attracted to anyone other than white cisgender gender conforming people. e.g. Tina sets up a pre-arranged check-in with a friend whenever she goes on dates because she’s had some scary run-ins with chasers.
Chosen family is the concept of a family made out of those who are unaffiliated by blood. Chosen families have been around since the beginning of time, especially in marginalized communities where biological families are broken up by both external and internal bigotry. e.g. Jeremy’s chosen family has been nothing but accepting of their nonbinary identity.
Related Link:Knowing Acceptance And Knowing Love Meant Finding My Chosen Family | Efniks
An alternative to “passing as cisgender”, as passing often is seen as being an intentional move to be read a certain way, whereas “assumed” refers to how others are assuming someone’s gender e.g. Strangers assume Carl is a cis man, but Carl is nonbinary. Carl describes themself as cis-assumed because it’s not their goal to pass as cisgender.
Someone who is not transgender. Cisgender people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. It is often shortened to cis, which comes from the Latin prefix meaning “on the same side of.” Cisgender should be used instead of inaccurate terms like ‘bio/logical,’ ‘genetic,’ ‘natal,’ ‘real,’ or ‘born’ when referring to people’s genders. e.g. Brenda, a cisgender person, never witnessed how her work treated transgender people and was surprised to hear her trans coworker’s stories.
The privileges cisgender people have because they identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. 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 expression to the point of additional scrutiny. They also generally have bodies that conform with society’s understanding of their gender, and if they don’t, they can voluntarily get surgery with relative ease, sometimes even as minors. There is generally little stigma attached to cisgender people getting a wide range of surgeries. It’s important for cisgender people to recognize these privileges so they can work to make sure that basic respect is no longer a privilege but a reality for everyone. e.g. Brenda admitted that her cisgender privilege made it hard for her to see the microaggressions her trans co-workers faced daily.
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. The denial of fan theories about pop culture characters’ trans status is an act of cisnormativity. e.g. The author created a trans character that fit the cisnormative beauty standards for a woman.
*A system of oppression that works on multiple levels to erase, antagonize, and produce social and physical barriers based on one’s gender, specifically individuals who are not cisgender and/or do not identify within the gender binary. Cissexism also depends on a binary of cisgender and transgender, erasing and invalidating the vast spectrum of gender expression and identity. An example of cissexism is legislation around who can and cannot use gender-specific bathrooms based on their gender expression, and/or medical or legal gender. e.g. Karen began to recognize her own internalized cissexism after her child came out as transgender.
* Credit to The Anti-Oppression Network
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 no intention to physically transition the most commonly gendered parts of their body.
Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. The extent of colonialism’s impact on indigenous understandings of gender and attraction will never be truly known due to the ways in which colonialism works to erase or otherwise destroy indigenous life and knowledge. e.g. The new textbooks heavily colonialized history.
The act of disclosing one's gender or orientation to someone who previously did not know. Coming out can be a scary stressful experience, but also a beautiful transformational one. e.g. Sam came out to friends when ve were a teenager.
Related Link:Coming Out Tips | TransActive Gender Center
Someone who dresses as and/or presents themselves as a gender other than the one with which they generally identify. Crossdressing may be aesthetic, sexual, an expression of someone’s gender, or have other meanings. Crossdresser (as opposed to transvestite) is the preferred term in the USA among the mainstream (white) community. There are many different populations, both in the USA and elsewhere and preference will naturally vary across those populations. The wide community of people who crossdress is often abbreviated as CD / TV . Crossdressers are generally considered under the gender non-conforming and gender expansive umbrellas, but they may or may not identify with those terms specifically. They also may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary, depending on their own relationship to gender and a variety of other factors. e.g. Karen first came out as a crossdresser before becoming more comfortable in her identity as a trans woman. Charlie crossdresses on the weekend, but isn’t trans, just loves a nice dress.
To call someone by a name that was assigned to them in the past which is not their current name. This should be avoided, even when you’re referring to that person from a time when they were using that name. Not only is it generally considered rude, but it can also contribute to a hostile atmosphere that leads directly to violence against trans people. e.g. Sam’s father often dead-named Sam in front of his buddies.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, demigender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Anna identifies as a demigirl.
Someone who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with another person first. Some may experience romantic attraction, but until the emotional connection is formed, they may not experience sexual attraction. Some individuals experience sexual attraction rarely and/or may have little interest in sex in general. Demisexuality is included under the grey-asexual umbrella, though demisexual people may or may not identify specifically as asexual for a variety of reasons. e.g. As a demisexual, Hera wished for more representation in TV shows.
Demisexual Masterpost | r/demisexuality
Detransition, sometimes called “desistance”, is the process of identifying as cisgender after having already come out as transgender. While detransition/desistance does happen, the rates of it are incredibly low compared to the many trans people who transition and feel confident in their choices. Many folks who are called “detransitioners” are actually going birth stealth due to stigma and not an actual desistance of their trans identity. e.g. Jenny told everyone she was detransitioning, but in reality, she needed to go birth stealth for work.
Reframing “Transgender Desistance” Debates | Julia Serano
I Detransitioned. But Not Because I Wasn't Trans. | Robyn Kanner
The Trans People Who Are Detransitioning To Stay Safe In Trump’s America | The Establishment
*Diamoric is an intentionally flexible, loose term that came out of recognizing the failure of binary terms like “straight” and “gay” to be useful or accurate for many nonbinary people. A diamoric relationship or attraction is one that involves at least one non-binary person. e.g. Kane was in a diamoric relationship with their partner, Troy, who is genderfluid.* Credit to Mal
Taking on the expression, characteristics, and stereotypes associated with gender, usually for entertainment purposes and often to expose the humorous and performative elements of gender. There is a long and divisive history of drag culture. Mainly formed in its current incarnation by Black queer folk, it has now been largely appropriated by mainstream (white) gay men. It's still heavily debated whether it's offensive or not. People who perform drag are generally called ‘drag queens/kings.’ Drag performers are often cisgender but not necessarily so. e.g. The drag community has often been both a safe place and a place of challenge for trans people. Kerry is a drag performer.
People who are not intersex. While genital configuration is most often used to assign gender at birth, by no means is it comprehensive, accurate, or even wholly relevant to actual variations in physiology, biology, etc. Many people are assigned a dyadic gender/sex at birth, and may find out later in life that their biological sex is not what they had expected based on their birth assignment. Endosex and perisex have been offered as alternatives, as dyadic linguistically refers to a binary whereas endosex and perisex do not. e.g. Dyadic people often assume things about their own bodies, like their hormone levels and genetic composition.
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 transgender, people in relationship to the commonly gendered parts of their body (physical dysphoria), and/or to the way people interact with them (social dysphoria), and/or to how they are legally required to fill out documentation (social dysphoria enforced by the legal system). Not all transgender people experience dysphoria. Some may not understand themselves as experiencing dysphoria but later recognize it as such. Transition is one way that folks manage their dysphoria. e.g. Dani didn’t realize that the discomfort they’ve felt since a young age was dysphoria.
See also: euphoria
Enbian is a subcategory of diamoric for nonbinary people attracted (exclusively or not) to other nonbinary people. It’s based on the word enby, which is based on how the letters “NB” are pronounced. e.g. Kit identifies as an enbian, and is in an enbian relationship with their partner Kai.
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 “nonbinary” can be. Some nonbinary people find this word diminutive and prefer other words. e.g. Bran identifies as enby because vir gender shifts around.
*The link between visibility and power by referring to absences as conspicuous or political. To remove from memory, history, or experience as if by erasing. Asserting that people or groups of people do not exist. For example, non-binary people are erased by a society that does not acknowledge anything outside the man/woman boxes. e.g. Laurel was tired of the erasure that happened daily in school, so ne took time to speak with their principal about getting a trans speaker in for an assembly.
* Credit to Anger is Justified.
An AMAB person who identifies as a eunuch and has been or aims to be castrated. While many eunuchs still identify as male, others identify as third gender, nonbinary, and/or transgender. Historically, many eunuchs were castrated without their consent. Eunuch has also historically been a slur against AMAB trans people who don’t identify as eunuchs, and therefore should only be used when referring to self-identified eunuchs. Eunuchs may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. e.g. Alex’s complicated relationship with gender and their body led to them identifying as a eunuch.
*An exclusive gender is any gender identity that has a certain prerequisite often unrelated to gender such as being Indigenous, disabled, intersex, etc. and is required before being allowed to use that identity. e.g. Two-Spirit is an exclusive gender to indigenous North Americans.
* Credit to Gender Wiki
Facial feminization is a broad term for a variety of surgeries that alter the facial structure so that it will conform more closely to (typically) white European standards of femininity. The procedures involved include hairline correction, brow lifting, forehead recontouring, orbital recontouring, rhinoplasty, chin and jaw contouring, lip lifting, Adam's apple reduction, and face/neck lifts.
It is fairly standard to see multiple of these surgeries done at the same time, or done in two different surgeries. While most are fairly common plastic surgeries, orbital recontouring and chin/jaw recontouring are specialized surgeries that generally require the shaving of bone, removal of bone sections, and alteration and removal of muscle systems. Those surgeries are more complex and come with larger risks of prolonged and permanent damage to the jaw, esophagus, eye, and face. As such, those surgeries require specialized and experienced surgeons. e.g. Audrey had FFS due to extreme dysphoria about her brow and chin line.
An outdated term that is often used synonymously with AFAB/AMAB. This term is viewed negatively by most of the transgender community as reinforcing ideas about what constitutes “fe/male” that are discriminatory. Wo/men have fe/male bodies, regardless of their trans status. The same can be applied to “biological wo/men” and “genetic wo/men”. Wo/men are both biologically and genetically wo/men, regardless of their trans status.
Femininity and masculinity are concepts that vary widely by culture. What is considered feminine in some places may be seen as neutral or even masculine in others. It also varies within cultures-- for example, cooking in the home is seen as feminine labor in many places, but most professional chefs are men who are seen as relatively masculine. The questions of who is and is not feminine or masculine are often deeply embedded into all sorts of social and cultural activities, and many times, the ideas that our cultures have about femininity/masculinity are toxic and negative. Limiting femininity or masculinity to any one thing, or even several things would be problematic because not all ‘markers’ of femininity or masculinity are accessible to people at various intersections of oppression and what any two people consider feminine or masculine could (and often does) vary widely. e.g. Mister Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was an example of healthy masculinity.
Who Can and Cannot be Feminine… | The Body is Not an Apology
Ain’t We Femme? | The Body is Not an Apology
Undoing the “Manly” Myth: 5 Steps to Healthy Masculinity | The Body is Not an Apology
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 culturally understood femininity, though it can be so much more. 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. e.g. Kasey occasionally has high femme days and rocks out with dresses.
See also: femininity
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.
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 people’s transition. e.g. Daniel lived full time as a man, and it still took nearly a year to get the hormone prescription.
A gaff is a garment worn under clothes in order to better cover the genitals of someone who was AMAB, as well as smooth the region so that clothing designed for AFAB people fit better.
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” transgender people from themselves, or requiring extra bureaucracy to prove that trans people are really sure of their own identity before providing transition treatment comparable to what a cisgender person could 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 would receive without said letters. e.g. The primary care doctor was known for gatekeeping trans folks from hormones until they socially presented in their target gender for at least a year.
Someone, who can be transgender or cisgender, who is generally attracted to someone of the same gender. Being gay is separate from the concept of gender identity, and so it is possible for a trans person to be both trans and gay. Also, it is generally understood that people who are trans and gay are attracted to people of the same broad category of gender, not necessarily of the same trans status. Colloquially, the term ‘gay’ has been used as a slur to mean 'stupid,' and there is an ongoing effort to reclaim the word 'gay' within the LGBTQ+ community. The term has also been adopted by more than just cis (or trans) men, and people of other gender identities may also use this term to describe their sexual or romantic orientation. e.g. Tony, as a gay man, loved going to gay bars as they felt safe to him.
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-- purposely, due to colonization-- into a binary or a spectrum, but neither fully encapsulates the whole of gender. The model that this primer endorses is the galaxy model.
The cisnormative act of categorizing people we come into contact with as specific genders with a variety of assumptions being made about their pronouns and identity in the process. Gender attribution can lead to misgendering people unintentionally because it is impossible to know a person’s gender and pronouns just by looking at them. The only way to know someone’s gender and pronouns is to ask them. Ideally, we should be asking what everyone’s pronouns are in everyday conversations. May also be known as “gender assumption.” e.g. In American society, beards are attributed to men only.
The pervasive social system, largely a product of colonialism, that tells us there can only be presumably cisgender men and women, 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, insofar as gender is much much more than a binary. The binary is an assumption that conceals a beautiful dynamic experience of gender and life.
The idea that men and women have inherent, unique, and natural attributes that qualify them as not only their separate genders, but oppositional in nature. 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 and gender variant individuals. Sometimes called “biological essentialism.”
The opposite of dysphoria. The strong feeling of joy when one’s gender is being respected and affirmed, whether through outward presentation that is being read correctly, or through inward acceptance of one’s own gender. Like dysphoria, it can come in many forms, and a trans person need not feel either euphoria nor dysphoria to be trans. Cisgender people can also feel gender euphoria, but it’s often overlooked as many cisgender people take their gender being affirmed for granted. Unfortunately, due to racism and colonialism, this is not accessible to all trans people equally. Black people are even more likely to be killed if they are trans, less likely to ‘pass’ as cisgender, and less likely to have the resources and support to access the things that would enable them to experience euphoria about their gender.
Gender that expands beyond the typical boundaries of the binary or 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, gender expansive people are considered under the gender non-conforming umbrella and may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
How one expresses their gender outwardly and/or the facets of a person’s expression which have gendered connotations in their culture. There is no right or wrong way to express your gender, though in imbalanced cultures masculinity and femininity are encouraged to be expressed in toxic, limited, and actively harmful ways while other expressions endanger those that are neither or other. Gendered expression has been and still is a tool that can be used to oppress people, especially Black or indigenous people. e.g. Max’s gender expression tended to mix traditionally masculine and feminine clothing to try for an androgynous style.
This term can be used as a specific identity or as a way of articulating the changing nature of one’s gender or expression. Genderfluid or genderflux 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, genderfluid people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. As a genderfluid individual, Kala struggled with explaining that pronouns depended on what gender Kala was that day.
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.
This is a model of gender to assist in visualizing the diversity of gender identities and expression within humanity. A galaxy is a three dimensional object in space that consists of billions of star systems, nebulae, dark matter, and other space objects, all interconnected by the force of gravity. Similarly, gender is an overarching term that consists of incredibly diverse identities that can be expressed in infinite ways. Like a galaxy, gender is an interconnected web between the relation of people's internal gender, which is unique to them, the expression of their gender, and its relation to the socialization and expectations both within their own societies and elsewhere. This model supersedes previous attempted models such as the gender binary and the gender spectrum, and we at the Primer feel it is one of the better models to begin understanding the vastness of gender.
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.
An individual’s internal sense of their own gender(s) or lack thereof. One’s gender identity may or may not align with their birth assignment, and one’s gender identity is not necessarily apparent to others. e.g. Rose’s gender identity was female, but her identity did not align with her birth assignment.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, genderless people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
Refers to any gender designation on official forms. Often seen in discussions around driver's licenses, state IDs, social security, and birth certificates.
Any pronoun can be gender neutral, but the ones that are most commonly seen as such are those that are neither ‘he’ nor ‘she.’ Some examples are: they, vi, sie, xe, ze, thon, it, ne, and per. There have been and will continue to be other terms, including those used by indigenous people, but many are lost to history or only locally known. e.g Soren had a slide of commonly used gender neutral pronouns.
Someone who does not fully conform to the expectations around their gender that their society enforces. This may be, but is not limited to: expression, roles, or some other aspect of gender. Being GNC is distinct from being transgender, though some trans people may consider themselves gender nonconforming. Gender nonconformity is generally apparent in people who identify as a binary gender, either cisgender or transgender. A femme trans man is just as nonconforming as a femme cis man. Some nonbinary people may also identify as gender nonconforming for a variety of reasons. e.g. Irial had been labeled a gender nonconforming child from a young age and only later in life determined zir gender to be nonbinary.
The fear and revulsion some people experience when presented with a person who does not meet their cultural expectations for gender, expression, identity or roles. This is often used in reference to ‘the gender/trans panic defense,’ where a cisgender person assaults or murders a transgender person claiming that they ‘panicked’ when they found out the victim was trans. California is currently the only state in the USA that bans the use of this defense with Illinois banning ‘gay panic’ defenses, which may also impact cases of trans assault and murder.
A mishmash of visual, verbal, and performative cultural signifiers that we are taught to interpret in specific ways related to gender. This largely involves the styling of one’s clothing, facial adornment, hair, verbal cues, and body language, and varies across cultures and time periods. While we can control much about our presentation, there is also a significant part of presentation that relies on the perception of another person, which is why presentation isn’t enough to accurately guess someone’s gender. e.g. Nhem often confounded strangers with zir ambiguous gender presentation.
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 a mix of genders, 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, genderqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
Cultural expectations for what people of certain genders 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.
The gender spectrum is an extension of the gender binary. The spectrum is a linear model, ranging from 100% man to 100% woman with various states in between. The gender galaxy is a further extension of this that includes space for all genders, including those left out of the gender spectrum.
Here’s A Great Way To Talk To Kids About The Gender Spectrum | Huffington Post
*Someone who is gendervague cannot separate their gender identity from their neurodivergence. It’s not that their gender is caused by their neurodivergence, but rather that it’s inextricably intertwined with their understanding of gender. Gendervague people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, gendervague people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
Someone who does not fully conform to the expectations around their gender that their society enforces. This may be, but is not limited to: expression, roles, or some other aspect of gender. Being gender variant is distinct from being transgender, though some trans people may consider themselves gender variant. Gender variance is generally apparent in people who identify as a binary gender, either cisgender or transgender. A femme trans man is just as variant as a femme cis man. Some nonbinary people may also identify as gender variant for multiple reasons.
This term is used by individuals who may identify strongly with asexuality but may rarely experience sexual desire and/or attraction and/or drive for a variety of reasons. Many see it as the grey area between asexual and sexual; however, this term is often included within the asexual spectrum. e.g. Sasha found it frustrating whenever she had to define grey-asexual when asked about her sexual orientation.
An acronym standing for gender and sexuality minorities. GSM can be a useful term as it is succinct and includes a wide range of people including those who are gay, queer, bisexual, intersex, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, transgender, gender non-conforming, kinky, polyamorous, and/or more, depending on context. However, it’s broad scope can also be a hindrance when talking about deeply nuanced situations that don’t affect all people equally. The term has also been seen as controversial due to the inclusion of various identities that are in themselves controversial:
"Critics of the term GSM argue that it is too inclusive. Sexual minority is ambiguous enough to possibly include fetishists or swingers. In fact, the man who coined the term in the 1960s, Swedish psychiatrist and medical doctor Lars Ullerstam, wrote about sexual minorities in a manner that included pedophiles and other sex criminals. Today, however, the term is specific to minority genders and sexual orientations rather than sex preferences." - GSM acronym better than LGBT alphabet soup.
Related Link:Behind the Weird Internet Scheme to Associate Pedophiles with the LGBTQ+ Community | them.
An outdated set of medical transition guidelines published by the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association concerning the care of patients with gender identity disorders. These have been replaced by ICATH and WPATH Standards of Care. This is the origin of the now-defunct ‘full time’ requirement.
Hormones are members of a class of signaling molecules produced by glands that are transported by the circulatory system to target distant organs to regulate physiology and behaviour. Hormones are used to communicate between organs and tissues for physiological regulation and behavioral activities, such as digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sensory perception, sleep, excretion, lactation, stress, growth and development, movement, reproduction, and mood. When the term “hormones” or HRT is used in reference to the trans community, we’re usually talking about estrogen and testosterone, which come in multiple forms.
The most effective are injections, which are most commonly taken either subcutaneous, which is right under the skin, or intramuscular which goes into the muscle, and are usually once a week or once every couple of weeks. There are also sustained-release injections that are available in some regions that can last up to 3 months at a time. Patches, pills, sustained-release implants (pellets), and topical solutions (cream/gel) are also available. It’s important to find whatever method is going to work for your life.
A hysterectomy is actually multiple surgical procedures performed on AFAB/IS people to remove some or all parts of the reproductive system that includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The full medical terms for removal of all parts are a hysterectomy (uterus) with salpingo (fallopian tubes) oopherectomy (ovaries). It is commonly referred to as a full or partial hysto within the trans community. While usually the full surgery is completed, some opt to only have ovaries removed as they are the part of the reproductive system that produces estrogen.
Formerly a major surgery, scientific advances have made this surgery less complex with the use of robots and lasers that allow for 4 minor incisions, a healing time of 2-12 weeks, and only a few nights in the hospital at most. Many of these surgeries are performed outpatient, allowing the patient to go home within 24 hours.
*When a person gives “Informed Consent,” it means that the individual possesses the cognitive ability to make an informed and independent decision about their health care and are choosing to do so without coercion. When giving informed consent, no therapist or letter is required, the patient is informed by the medical provider what a medication's effects (reversible, and irreversible) will be when administered. The patient, once informed, gives their consent to receive such treatment under the care of the provider.* Credit to ICATH.info
Specific to people of indigenous cultures with culture-specific gender identities. A gender that is related to, or adjacent to, a gender specific to one’s culture(s), but either lacking in specific language around that gender, or does not fit completely within the gender norm.
See also: exclusive gender
Those who were born intersex and feel their gender is strongly related to their being intersex. While there may be 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, intergender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
See also: ipsogender
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. Many intersex people are 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. Many other folks are assumed dyadic at birth due to a lack of visible apparent intersexuality and therefore don’t know their status until later, if ever. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, intersex people are not immediately considered transgender, and may or may not identify as transgender and/or nonbinary specifically, despite there being significant overlap between the two communities. e.g. Kasey found out she was intersex fairly young when she asked about scars that never faded.See also: intergender, ipsogender
The erasing, ignoring or antagonizing of people whose biological sex is outside of the binary. This is often seen in regards to medical paperwork and the language we use to talk about bodies, for example phrases like ‘opposite sex’ and implications about people’s hormone levels. While this may not seem like an issue to those who are dyadic (not intersex), not only does being on the receiving end of erasure on a regular basis lead to depression, anxiety, and other ill effects, but intersex erasure also affects cis and trans people’s images of themselves, of others, and of what certain things mean in relationship to gender.
See also: intergender.
* Credit to Dr. Cary Gabriel Costello
Someone, who can be transgender or cisgender, who generally considers themself a woman who is attracted to other women. Being a lesbian is separate from the concept of gender identity, and so it is possible for a trans person to be both trans and lesbian. Also, it is generally understood that people who are trans and lesbian are attracted to people of the same broad category of gender, not necessarily of the same trans status. e.g. Shauna proudly waved the lesbian flag at the Pride march.
An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and others. It refers to a population of people united by having gender identities or sexual orientations that differ from the heterosexual and cisgender majority.
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. e.g. Lor came out as a masculine of center boi to their friends.
This is the surgical procedure performed on those who have developed breasts to remove all breast tissue in what is commonly referred to as chest reconstruction or top surgery. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.
The breast tissue is removed surgically in an outpatient procedure, performed in one of five types of procedures depending on size of breast and surgeon. Those are Buttonhole Technique, Double Incision (which is the most common), Inverted T or T-Anchor, Keyhole, and Peri-Areolar. Depending on which of these surgeries are performed, you may have extensive scarring and may need drain tubes put in that are removed 3-10 days after surgery. Nipples are generally resized to fit the new chest, and are sometimes removed and grafted back into place. Standard healing time for this surgery is 8 weeks to 6 months, depending on the surgery, and surgical revision may need to be done after 6 months to complete the surgery.
Medicalization is the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus become the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. It also refers to the way which we refer to intrinsic things that have been medicalized as being somehow separate from ourselves. e.g. Trans people’s bodies are often medicalized by the healthcare community.
This procedure involves surgery to create a penis, which the following definition will describe in some detail. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.
The surgery, often called 'meta' for short, involves 'releasing' the clitoris (often enlarged from testosterone therapy) and covering the neophallus with neighboring skin. The average length of a phallus after metoidioplasty ranges from 4 to 8 centimeters. Options that can be included in this surgery are urethroplasty, where the urethra is moved and lengthened to reach the tip of the phallus; vaginectomy, which is the removal of the vagina, and scrotoplasty, which is the creation of a scrotum from the labia, though there are surgeons who will do a metoidioplasty without any of these options.
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. e.g. Sam was often misgendered by coworkers who refused to acknowledge gender neutral pronouns as valid.
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.
*Multigender is a term for anyone who experiences more than one gender. It can be used as a gender identity in its own right, or can be an umbrella term for other identities which fit this description. Some multigender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some multigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Multigender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, multigender people are considered under the polygender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as polygender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically. e.g. As a multigender person trying to navigate a binary society, Juri admitted it was stressful at times.
What It Means to Be Multigender | The Body is Not an Apology* Credit to Gender Wiki
* Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species. Neurodiversity consists of both neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals. Neurotypical, often abbreviated as NT, means having a style of neurocognitive functioning that falls within the dominant societal standards of 'normal.' Like ‘cisgender / transgender,’ ‘heterosexual / homosexual,’ ‘straight / gay,’ and ‘dyadic / intersex,’ ‘neurotypical / neurodivergent’ is purely descriptive and contains no judgment or prescription. Some examples of neurodivergence are autism, ADHD, bipolar, dyslexia/dyscalculia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). e.g. Toby considered himself a neurodivergent individual.* Credit to Nick Walker at NeuroCosmopolitanism
Neurogender is an umbrella term to describe when someone's gender is somehow linked to their neurodivergence. Neurogender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, neurogender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.See Also: gendervague * Credit to Gender Wiki
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, neutrois people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Mao was one of the first neutrois individuals to officially get the X as hir gender marker.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. 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. e.g. Storm wrote "nonbinary" in the gender field at the doctor’s office.
See Also: enby
Related Link:100 Ways to Make the World Better for Non-binary People | AC Dumlao - Broadly
The erasing, ignoring or antagonizing of 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 or phrases like “opposite gender.” While this may not seem like an issue to those who are not nonbinary, not only does being on the receiving end of erasure on a regular basis lead to depression, anxiety, and other ill effects, but nonbinary erasure also creates a hostile environment for anyone even slightly non-conforming. The effects extend beyond legal and linguistic ground, as everything from medical care to using the bathroom to hanging out to buying anything is a gendered activity. e.g. Nonbinary erasure is rampant within the medical community.
Normalization refers to social processes through which ideas and actions come to be seen as 'normal' and become taken-for-granted or 'natural' in everyday life. e.g. Sam hoped to normalize the use of gender neutral pronouns at ver office.
Castration refers to blocking the production or effects of testosterone in the body, either through chemical means, or through surgery. Surgical removal of a person’s testicles is more commonly referred to as an orchiectomy or ‘orchi’. Trans women who still have testicles use a drug like spironolactone to block T, in combination with estrogen. Orchiectomy is the surgical removal of the testicles, which the following definition will describe in some detail. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.
There are at least two types of orchi commonly performed. One uses an incision in the scrotum itself. The testicles are pulled down, cut off, and the cords tied. This leaves more of the cords behind. The other procedure makes two diagonal incisions in the abdomen above the groin. The cords and testicles are pulled up and out, cut off and tied off. This removes most or all of the cords along with the testicles.
To share with others, in public, etc., 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. e.g. A coworker accidentally outed Sam at work during a team meeting.
*Pangender, sometimes seen as ‘Omnigender,’ is a non-binary gender experience which refers to a wide multiplicity of genders that can (or not) stretch to the infinite (meaning that this experience can go beyond the current knowledge of genders), but always within the person's own culture and life experience. This experience can be either simultaneously or over time. e.g. Hans, a pangender person, often described their gender as an expansive nebula that expands and contracts through various genders.* Credit to GenderWiki
Pansexual is a sexual orientation, where the individual has the capacity to be attracted to any person of any gender identity or sexual orientation. The "pan" is a Greek prefix that means "all" and is often used to be inclusive of all genders and gender fluidity. e.g. The boy listed pansexual on the form under sexual orientation.
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. It's important to note the original context for "passing" meant "to pass as white." It has very different connotations for Black people. The emphasis on "passing as cis" is very much a white-led movement that is harmful to Black people, while directly erasing their history and reality. e.g. Loreza disliked compliments that said she passed well, as that felt demeaning toward her gender identity.
Wikipedia entry for Passing (sociological concept)
This procedure involves surgery to create a penis, which the following definition will describe in some detail. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.Currently as of 2017, there are four main techniques, but all require donor tissue from another part of the body and lengthening of the urethra. Tissue is either taken from the upper thigh, groin, abdomen, back, or the forearm (but may be taken elsewhere depending on the person and the surgeon) and used to create the phallus. There can be a lot of complications, particularly around the area where the phallus conjoins with the rest of the body. Tissue dying in the areas where the tissue was taken is common and may require further skin grafts. Blockage in the urethra is also a common complication. The procedures can be broken up into several parts that can span months. Further surgeries may also be necessary to correct complications. Options that are often included in this surgery are urethroplasty, where the urethra is moved and lengthened to reach the tip of the phallus; vaginectomy, which is the removal of the vagina; and scrotoplasty, which is the creation of a scrotum from the labia, though there are surgeons who will do a phalloplasty without some of these options. A further extension of this surgery may be done approximately nine months after the completion of the phalloplasty, where an inflatable penile implant is inserted into the phallus to assist the individual with penetration. This optional part of the surgery can also include testicular implants as well.
Polygender is a term for anyone who experiences more than one gender identity. It can be used as a gender identity in its own right, or can be an umbrella term for other identities which fit this description. Some polygender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some multigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Polygender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, polygender people are considered under the multigender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as multigender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically.
Related Link:What It Means to Be Multigender | The Body is Not an Apology
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 transition surgery but has not yet. Post-op means they already have had some form of surgery and may or may not be pursuing more. Non-op refers to transgender 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. Due to the ways various oppressions work, access to transition can vary widely between individuals and between countries.
The words by which one is referred to, whether they be “he”, “she”, “they”, “it”, “ze”, “ey”, or any other. It is best 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. Anyone of any gender can use any pronouns they choose, though it’s important to remember that colonialism and binarism forced the abandonment of indigenous and cultural language around gender, including pronouns that are now lost. e.g. Hans’ pronouns are they/them/theirs, and they gently remind folks by quietly saying “they” every time a person slips up. “Hi, my name is Sara. My pronouns are ve/vir/vis. Who are you?” Sara said as ve held out vir hand expectantly.
This term is intentionally hard to define, much as is its gender counterpart genderqueer. It can generally be understood as an orientation that is neither straight nor gay, but definitely LGBTQ+ and possibly fluid. e.g. Tasha identified as queer.
A subset of other sign languages designed to describe the LGBTQ+ experience.Related Links:
Queer Sign Language (UK) | Jessica Out Of The Closet
The cultural process by which a group reclaims terms that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. This is often seen in the LGBTQ+ because of how we’ve been systematically deprived of the right to our own language, so we’ve been forced to reclaim the slurs and judgement-laden language of the cisgender people around us. This is how we’ve come to use words like fag/got, queer, and dyke.
Related Link:How -- And Why -- to Reclaim Your Slurs
Short for parent. Used by the kids of some nonbinary folks to describe their nonbinary parent. A gender-neutral replacement for mom/my and dad/dy. Renny, Rara, and Renren are just some possible derivatives. e.g. “My ren told us to treat ourselves!” Carlos said as he waved his friends over to his car.
Refers to the public visibility of marginalized people including on TV, in movies, in music, in the news, in government, etc. Representation is important for both the individual, in that they're seeing stories that could be their own, for the community, in that they're being acknowledged for existing, and for the greater society, in that they're recognizing that their stories aren't the only ones that exist. e.g. Maria likes to use the hashtag trans representation when discussing trans characters in fiction.
Related Links:Seeing is Believing: Why Media Representation Matters
A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. A binary system (wo/man) set by the medical establishment to reinforce white supremacy and gender oppression, usually based on genitals and sometimes chromosomes. Because this is usually divided into ‘male’ and ‘female,’ this category ignores the existence of intersex people and natural sexual variations within the two broader recognized categories.
Related Link:Biosex is Fake - a masterpost on the concept of 'biological sex', as many folks refer to 'biological sex' as if it is a simple thing, when it's very much not in actuality.
Refers to if and to whom one is sexually attracted. Gender and sexual orientation are not the same. Sexual orientation can be flexible or rigid and may change over time. Sexual orientation can also be hard to define, given that the two primary options are based solely on binary gender people, and recognizing the true expanse of gender and sexuality throws the whole standard of classification into question. e.g. Tasha often had to explain sexual orientation was not the same as gender identity. Greg’s sexual orientation was straight.
A transgender 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 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. e.g. Jason is stealth at work for safety reasons.
See also: birth stealth.
Short for ‘Stand To Pee,’ an STP is a prosthetic device used to allow people to stand while they urinate. Usually made of silicone or plastic, some are simply funnels shaped to allow a better urine flow, while some are medical grade prostheses. e.g. Johnny had to use a stall because he doesn’t STP. Derrick forgot his STP at home so he also opted for a stall.
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 the Black lesbian community, as it was used as a term for strong Black men during slavery, so it may be seen as appropriative or inappropriate 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, studs are not considered under the nonbinary or transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Grace viewed himself as a stud but was not interested in transitioning.
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.
* Trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF) is a subgroup of radical feminism characterized by transphobia, especially transmisogyny, and hostility to the third wave of feminism. They believe that the only real women are those born with a vagina and XX chromosomes. They wish to completely enforce the classic gender binary, supporting gender essentialism. The term was likely invented by Hoyden About Town writer Viv Smythe (aka TigTog) in 2008. e.g. The speaker was part of a well-known TERF group.* Credit to Rational Wiki.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, third gender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Varris uses the term “Third Gender” because indigenous genders are not well recalled in their culture, but are known to exist.
This term can refer to any gender-related surgery dealing with a person’s chest, such as breast augmentation/enhancement and reduction surgeries, but is most often understood as a mastectomy due to both the imbalances in how we prioritize masculinity over femininity, and that mastectomy is the most accessible and sought after surgery for AFAB trans people pursuing surgery. e.g. Francis had to take it easy for almost a month because they had top surgery.
See also: bottom surgery
Shorthand for Transgender and/or Queer Person of Color. May also be expressed as TPOC or QPOC depending on context. e.g. Jerrick’s is hosting an event for TQPOC so they can have a space where they don’t have to worry about most of the microaggressions common to mixed spaces.
This is a surgical procedure used to reduce the size of an Adam's apple of AMAB/IS folks. This is the most common surgery performed among transgender people. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.
The procedure, while simple, is also delicate as the Adam's apple sits on the vocal cords. There is one minor incision which is generally hidden under the mandible, and scarring is usually non-visible. Recovery time usually only requires vocal cord rest for 3 weeks following surgery. This surgery is often completed as a part of Facial Feminization Surgery.
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’ or ‘t-slur,’ it is not acceptable for outsiders to use this term, ever.
A word useful for highlighting not only self-identified trans folks, but also crossdressers, drag performers, GNC folks, and close associates of trans folks like family of trans people who may be actively engaged in the movement for trans and gender liberation. e.g. Mike sometimes called himself a trans-adjacent guy because of his gender nonconformity and drag queen acts.
* A tool used by cissexism to enforce strict gender roles on transgender, gender expansive, and gender nonconforming individuals, or individuals that are assumed to be trans or GNC. It directs concentrated violence and involves active hostility and/or opposition towards trans people resulting in disproportionate rates of verbal / emotional / sexual / physical harassment, homelessness, poverty, suicide and death by murder. e.g. One of the candidates for mayor had a history of trans antagonism.*Credit to The Anti-Oppression Network .
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, transfeminine are considered under the transgender umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Zaniya introduced xyrself as transfeminine at an LGBT panel.
Often shortened as ‘trans’. 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. e.g. Lia was a trans person. The transgender flag was created by a trans woman in 1999.
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. e.g. Bill started transitioning at age 32 when he started testosterone and began research for top surgery.
A man who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly 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 their access to transitioning within their culture.
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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, transmasculine people are considered under the transgender umbrella but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. e.g. Tory identified as transmasculine nonbinary and didn’t mind he/him pronouns.
Used as a replacement for transphobia, to avoid the connotation of fear associated with the -phobia suffix and deflect statements like, "I'm not transphobic -- I'm not afraid of trans people, I just think they're [gross | mentally ill | whatever]." The suffix -misia means hatred, and is the opposite of the suffix -philia. Unfortunately, the suffix -misia is often co-opted by fascist groups, so many people stay away from using this term due to that association.
* Transmisogynoir (or trans-misogynoir) is the oppression of trans women of color, and transfeminine people of color, more generally. It exists at the intersection between transphobia, misogyny, and anti-blackness. e.g. The article about the trans community was called out as transmisogynoir due to the author’s negative attitudes toward black trans women.* Credit to SJ Wiki
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. e.g. When a talk show had radical feminists on it claiming trans women weren’t women, Sonya had to explain to her friend how this was transmisogyny at its core.See also cissexism, trans antagonism.
An attempt at more accurately describing the experiences of people based on whether they are targeted by transmisogyny instead of relying on assumptions around birth assignment. Unfortunately, many folks still use these terms as a 1:1 replacement for birth assignment, which erases or ignores the experiences of intersex and nonbinary people, whose experiences often are not as simple as "was seen as a woman, is now seen as a man," and vice versa.
The fear or hatred of trans people or those perceived as such.
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 a mix of genders, 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, transqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.
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 sometimes viewed as outdated and too focused on the medical aspects of transition. Transsexuals may or may not identify as transgender specifically, but categorically fall under the transgender umbrella. eg. Tammy identifies as a transsexual because she is a trans woman who intends to undergo vaginoplasty, as well as breast augmentation and hormones.
Whether someone identifies as transgender or not. Only an individual can determine their own trans status or determine when or how to disclose their status. e.g. When Oloua got asked her trans status by a reporter, she angrily told them that was not okay to do.
Someone who dresses as and/or presents themselves as a gender other than the one with which they usually identify. Transvestism 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.See also: CD/TV, crossdresser
A woman who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. e.g. Quinn was a trans woman, who had just started HRT.
Related Link:Trans Women Are Women. This Isn’t a Debate. | The Root
Tucking is defined by the Transgender Health Information Program as ways in which one can conceal the penis and testes, sometimes assisted by a gaff.
Related Link:How does tucking work and is it safe? | Healthline
These are LGBTQ+ 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-Spirit individuals do 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-spirit identities. Two-Spirit 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 their access to transitioning within their culture. 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 of Turtle Island.
See also: exclusive gender
8 Things You Should Know About Two Spirit People | Indian Country Today
A Letter to White People Using the Term “Two Spirit” | Conspire for Change
Two-Spirit Resources Directory | Native Youth Sexual Health Network
This is the surgical procedure that converts penile and scrotum tissue into a vagina, clitoris, and labia. It is generally done along with a labiaplasty that gives a more refined appearance to the external genitalia. The two most commonly used surgical techniques are Penile Inversion and Rectosigmoid method, though a third technique, the peritoneum method, is being researched and will likely become more common in the near future. Content warning for somewhat graphic nature.
In penile inversion, the penile tissue is turned inside out to create a vaginal cavity. In rectosigmoid methods, a portion of the sigmoid colon is used to create a vaginal cavity. In the peritoneum method, the peritoneum (a membrane that lines the organ cavity in the abdomen) is used to make the vaginal cavity. All surgical procedures use surrounding tissue to create a functional clitoris, labia majora and labia minora, and come with benefits and risks. But, it should be noted that rectosigmoid methods have a higher risk due to two major surgical sites, and a longer healing time due to this as well, and the peritoneum method is still in development.
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. Read the guidebook. e.g. Jackson is thankful that his doctor follows the WPATH Standards of Care.
See also: Harry Benjamin Standards of Care