Glossary of Terms

Learn all the things!
(Okay, a very small subset of things specifically related to trans issues. The nerve...)

Active Support

A level of support characterized by a significant quantity and quality of actions, presence, and effort by an individual on behalf of another, exhibited without that individual having to outwardly ask for it.

Ex.: To provide active support is to become educated about the challenges one is facing, familiar with their experiences facing those challenges, and, to the extent it is welcome, a consistent presence in that individual's life during the course of their hardship. 


AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth)

A person who, based on the initial appearance of their external sex organs immediately after birth, was legally recorded as being female.

Infants are typically AFAB when their external sex organ resembles a vulva at the time of their birth.


Ally*

As it relates to trans issues, typically a cisgender person who fully supports the rights of trans people, respects their genders, and actively works to progress trans rights and equality. Allies are educated about trans issues and willing to speak up against discrimination and ignorance.

As related to a specific trans person, typically a cisgender person who provides active support.


AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth)

A person who, based on the initial appearance of their external sex organs immediately after birth, was legally recorded as being male.

Infants are typically AMAB when their external sex organ resembles a penis at the time of their birth.


Androgynous^

Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably male or female.


Birth Sex

The designation given a person at the time of their birth which if applicable dictates the sex listed on one's official birth certificate, and in traditional Western culture, also defines one's expected gender role.

Birth sex is most often based on the appearance of an infant's visible reproductive organs.


Cisgender

A term describing a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Cisgender is the opposite of transgender


Coming Out

The process of revealing one's true identity—in this context as it refers to gender—to others.

The process of coming out is unique to each individual. A person may come out publicly once, or to small groups or individuals exclusively. 


Crossdress

To wear fashion items intended for one gender while identifying as another.

Ex.: A cisgender female wearing an outfit consisting of traditionally male clothing is crossdressing. The inverse is also true.


Deadname

To refer to a trans person who has explicitly begun identifying by a new name by their former name.

Tip: This is a painful thing to have happen, especially in public. It's also disrespectful. Changing associations between names/words and individuals can be uncomfortable and difficult at first, but deadnaming a person is not insignificant. It can also be an unintended means of outing them.


Drag

A performance art characterized by exaggerated portrayals of one gender by a person who identifies as another. Drag is often performed by gay cisgender males in elaborate feminine presentations.


FTM (Female to Male)

A trans person who was assigned female at birth (AFAB) and who identifies as male.


GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery)/SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery)*

A blanket term for several types of operations; it is typically used to describe vaginoplasty (the creation of a vagina), metoidioplasty and phalloplasty (two ways to create a penis), and mastectomy (removal of the breasts, typically in a trans man). Certain other surgeries, involving removal of various parts of the internal reproductive system, are also often considered forms of SRS.


Gender Binary

The social construct that insists all human beings are either 100% male or 100% female. This idea tends to be correlated with the belief that gender identity is restricted to birth sex.


Gender Dysphoria

Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. In many cases, the recommended remedy is for the afflicted individual to undergo gender transition.


Gender Expression/Gender Presentation^

External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, hairstyle and/or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.


Genderfluid

A gender designation that indicates a person does not identify with a single fixed gender. Instead their gender is variable, and may fluctuate on the spectrum between female and male.


Gender Identity*

One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.


Gender-Nonconforming

Refers to a person whose gender expression does not fit the accepted standards for their birth sex and/or gender identity.


Gender Role

The combined behaviors, mannerisms and forms of expression expected by society to be exhibited by a person of a certain gender.


Gender Transition

The process of adjusting one's physical features, behavioral characteristics, personal expression and/or legal designation(s) through a variety of methods in order to become more closely aligned with the gender role associated with one's identifying gender.

Gender transition is often multifaceted and always entirely personal. The extent to which one undergoes gender transition may affect how closely their gender expression conforms to society's expectations of their gender identity, but it has no bearing on gender identity itself.


Genderqueer

An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not cleanly align with typically male or female gender roles.


Homophobia

The fear or hatred of people who do not identify as heterosexual.

Homophobia often manifests as hateful rhetoric online or in public, refusal to acknowledge the validity of one's sexual orientation, acts of discrimination, or violence toward people who identify as homosexual, bisexual or pansexual.


HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

The medical process of adjusting one's hormone levels to be in line with medically-accepted target ranges for their identifying gender. HRT is often the core aspect of gender transition and consists of a medicinal regimen that effectively reprograms the body—altering both its internal chemistry and physical characteristics—to be more in line with one's identifying gender.


Intersex

A term used to describe a person whose sex organs are neither 100% male or 100% female.

Since both male and female sex organs originate from the same parts of a sexless zygote, many people are born with sex organs that fall somewhere on the spectrum between typically female and male. 


LGBT+/LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual)

The acronym representing the ever-growing community of people who defy heteronormative and/or cisgender standards via their sexual orientation, gender identity, or both. 

The LGBT+ community encompasses everyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual, as well as their allies and loved ones.


Misgender

The act of referring to a person as a gender they do not identify with, or using language such as pronouns that contradict their gender identity.

Ex. 1: Referring to a cisgender man as "she" or "her".
Ex. 2: Referring to a transgender woman as "he" or "him."

Being misgendered is a painful experience, similar to being deadnamed. This too is disrespectful, and if done in public, can be a form of outing someone.


MTF (Male-To-Female)

A trans person who was assigned male at birth (AMAB) and identifies as female.


Non-Binary

Similar to genderqueer, a gender identity that indicates a person does not conform to society's expectations of how a person of either male or female gender should express. They defy the gender binary.


Non-Op

The term used to describe a trans person who has not had, and does not plan to have gender confirmation surgery to more closely align their externally visible sex organs with those of their identifying gender's biological counterparts.

Ex.: A trans woman born with biologically male sex organs who chooses not to undergo GCS is a non-operative or non-op trans woman.


Outing

The act of disclosing, without a person's knowledge or consent, that they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual.

At best, outing someone is likely to cause significant distress for that person, especially if done in public. At worst, it can pose an immediate or unpredictable threat to their physical wellbeing.

Outing can be intentional or unintentional and is never okay under any circumstances.


Passing

The ability of a trans person, based on their observable expression, to register to others as the gender they identify and/or express as.


Passive Support

A form of support typically characterized by an expression of love and encouragement, wherein a supporter offers to play a more active role in some form if the recipient wishes them to.


Post-Op

The term used to describe a trans person who has undergone gender confirmation surgery to more closely align their externally visible sex organs with those of their identifying gender's biological counterparts.

Ex.: A trans woman who has had vigonoplasty surgery is a post-operative, or post-op, trans woman.


Pre-Op

The term used to describe a trans person who has not had, but has not entirely ruled out the possibility of having, gender confirmation surgery to more closely align their externally visible sex organs with those of their identifying gender's biological counterparts.

Ex.: A trans woman born with biologically male sex organs who has not undergone gender confirmation surgery, but who either plans to in the future or has not yet made a decision on the topic is a pre-operative, or pre-op trans woman. 


 Queer

The term applying either to a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or both, when said orientation or identity does not cleanly fit into an established category. 


TGNC (Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming)

A loose umbrella term covering all people who identify as transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, intersex, gender non-conforming, or who regardless of label do not cleanly fit within the society's expectations of either male or female gender roles.


Transgender

An adjective describing a person whose gender identity does not cleanly align with the sex they were assigned at birth (birth sex).

Transgender is the opposite of cisgender. However, transgender is an umbrella term that covers a broad spectrum of gender identities.

Note: Transgender should never be used as a noun (Ex.: "A transgender"). 


Transphobia

The fear or hatred of trans people.

Transphobia often manifests as hateful rhetoric online or in public, refusal to acknowledge the validity of one's gender identity, acts of discrimination, or violence toward people who identify as transgender, genderfluid, or genderqueer.


Transsexual

An outdated term for a trans person who has undergone some form of physical transition to better align themselves with their identifying gender.

While there are some individuals who still use this term to describe themselves, it is considered offensive and inaccurate by many, and should be avoided in general discussion about trans issues or trans people.

The accepted term to describe a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not match their birth sex is trans person.

Notice an important term is missing? Send it to me along with its accepted definition and your source using the 'contact me' button in the left-hand menu. Let's build this page together!

 
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I love this so much