With the transgender community ever seeking acceptance, here is an extensive glossary of terms that many may find themselves unfamiliar with. The sooner these terms become part of our everyday vernacular, the more accepting the world will be to those seeking it. Some of these terms are relatively new and will not be found in older editions of printed dictionaries like the ones found in many homes.
AGENDER – someone who does not identify as having a gender
ALLY – a non-LGBTQ person who supports and stands up for the LGBTQ community
ANDROGYNY – the combination of elements that are both masculine AND feminine
AROMANTIC – a person who does not experience emotional or romantic attraction.
ASEXUAL – a person who does not experience any sexual attraction, or a person who has a low or non existant sexual attraction, or desire for sexual activity
AFAB – assigned female at birth
AMAB – assigned male at birth
ASAB – assigned sex at birth
BIGENDER – a nonbinary identity used by those who identify with two or more genders
BINDER – technical term of apparatus used to constrict breasts, usually worn by trans men as a way to conceal a specific part of their body that they do not identify with.
BINDING – the act of binding down one’s breasts. Performed mainly by trans masculine individuals, typically to achieve both release from dysphoria and avoid misgendering by others.
BISEXUAL – a person who is capable of being emotionally, romantically, and/pr sexually attracted to more than one gender
CHASER – a cis person with a fetishistic attraction towards trans people.
CISGENDER – someone whose identity conforms to their sex assigned at birth. (also referred to as “cis”)
CISSEXISM – the assumption that everyone is cisgender and that cis people are inherently superior and prefereable to trans and non-binary people.
CISMAN – a man who was assigned male at birth
CISWOMAN – a woman who was assigned female at birth
COMING OUT – refers to the process that people who are LGBTQ go through as they work to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity and share that identity openly with other people.
CROSSDRESSER – individuals who enjoy dressing in ways that do not conform to expectations of their gender identity. This does not imply that the person identifies as that gender, nor does it imply anything about their sexuality. This term replaces outdated terminology “transvestite”.
DEAD NAME – the name a trans person was given at birth which they no longer use. This is extremely personal and private information. Socially, it is unacceptable to ask a trans person for, or refer to a trans person as their dead name. Sometimes referred to as BIRTH NAME
DEMI-BOY – someone who only partially identifies as a man, boy, or otherwise masculine, regardless of their assigned gender.
DEMIGENDER – someone who only partially identifies with one gender, regardless of their assigned gender. For example, a demi-boy (or demi-man) only partially identifies with masculinity. A demi-girl (demi-woman) only partially identifies with femininity.
DEMI-GIRL – someone who only partially identifies as a woman, girl, or otherwise feminine, regardless of their assigned gender.
DEMISEXUAL – a person who does not feel sexual interest towards others unless a strong emotional connection is formed first.
DRAG – a term used to describe exaggerated hyper-performance of gender presentation, usually involving crossdressing, often for entertainment purposes. Performing drag is not inherent of being transgender, though some drag performers are trans.
DRAG QUEEN – a person (usually male, but not always) who uses clothing and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Historically, drag queens are mostly men performing as women. In modern times, drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, though they can be of any gender or sexual identity.
DYSPHORIA – a state of unease, or generalized dissatisfaction with life. Antonym of euphoria. Term typically used amongst trans people as a way to refer to emotional difficulties, depression, and distress caused by their assigned sex being misgendered, but also often from how others interact with the trans person being misgendered.
FTM – Female to Male (reference for trans-males)
MTF – Male to Female (reference for trans-females)
*Both of the above terms are most often used by cisgender people, and older trans people.
FTX – Female to Non-Binary
MTX – Male to Non-Binary
*The use of X signifies this person is non-binary, identifiying as neither masculine or feminine, but adrogynist.
GAY MALE – a male who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to other men.
GENDER – either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.
GENDER DYSPHORIA - A concept designated in the DSM-5 as clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be of another gender, which may include desire to change primary and/or secondary sex characteristics. Not all transgender or gender diverse people experience dysphoria.
GENDER EXPANSIVE – a person who does not identify with gender norms, but broadens them instead by not being confined to one particular narrative or experience. While this term can apply to anyone, it is most often used to describe young children.
GENDER EXPRESSION – the expression of one’s gender through clothing, makeup, etc.
GENDER IDENTITY – an internal sense of what a person’s gender is. This does not always align to the gender they are assigned at birth. Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
GENDERFLUID – an individual who is highly flexible about their gender expression and presentations. They may fluctuate between presentations and identities, or in some cases, combine them.
GENDERQUEER – a person who identitifes outside of the normative gender binary. This term is used as both an umbrella term for a majority of the trans community, but also a specific term for those who experience gender fluidity on a regular basis.
GENDER NONCONFORMING / GENDER VARIANT – term used to describe those who do not conform to society’s expectations of their gender role. (example – men who wear make up, woman who appear as “TomBoys”)
GENDER NEUTRAL – the avoidance of distinction between genders. (Try using Chairperson instead of Chairman)
GENDER ROLES – socially constructed and culturally specific patterns of behavior, appearance, and presentation that is expected of and imposed upon people based largely around perceived gender.
GRAY-A(SEXUAL) – term used to describe an individual who experiences sexual desires very rarely.
HETEROSEXUALITY – the quality and characteristics of being attracted only to members of the opposite sex.
HETEROSEXISM – the institutionalized assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is inherently superior, and preferable to homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.
HOMOPHOBIA – the irrational fear of, hatred of, or discrimination against people who are attracted to people of the same sex.
INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA – the experience of shame, aversion, or self-hatred in relation to one’s own attractions to a person of the same sex.
INTERSEX – those borm with ambiguous genetalia, chromosomal combinations other than XY, or XX, or certain hormonal conditions that cause differences in the development of sexual organs. Those with ambiguous genitalia are often surgically altered at birth – a practice that is increasingly being spoken out against. Intersex people are not always trans, though some may be.
LESBIAN – A woman who is attracted physically, emotionally, and/or sexually to other women
MISGENDERING – referring to someone with terms and pronouns that do not match their gender identity.
MSM/MLM – Man Loving Man – term used to describe men of all sexualities who are attracted in some way to other men
NON-BINARY – individuals who do not identify as either male of female, but rather outside of the gender binary. Term is used as a self identifier and to encompass any other identities that do not fit in the binary genders. Non-binary people may or may not identify as trans.
NON-LABELING – someone who does not wish to identify with any existing labels.
OUTING – the act of disclosing an LGBTQ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent.
PACKING – the wearing of a prosthetic to emulate the appearance of having a penis.
PANGENDER – A non-binary identity. Someone who identifies as pangender may identify with two or more genders, with any/all genders, or as a separate, third gender.
PANSEXUAL – Someone who is capable of being attracted physically, emotionally, or sexually to any gender.
PASSING – being perceived by straight/cisgender people as one of them. Referred to as “passing as straight”. In the trans community, it is used to refer specifically to being recognized as one’s gender (when a trans woman is recognized as a woman). This term has fallen out of favor as it bears negative inflictions of social acceptance.
POC – Person of color
WOC – Woman of color
QPOC – Queer Person of color
TPOC – Transperson of color
POLY – short for polyamorous. Describes someone who is open to the idea of being in a relationship with multiple partners regardless of their current relationship status.
QUEER – An umbrella term for gender and sexual minorities who are not cis, not straight, or both. Due to the fact that the term is a reclaimed slur (with most of society using it as a derogatory term for anything outside of what society thinks is “normal) it is HIGHLY SUGGESTED that this term not be used on others until THEY identify themselves as such.
QUESTIONING – An individual who may be trying to understand or figure out their gender identity and/or sexuality
SEXUAL ORIENTATION – defined by whom a person is attracted to emotionally, physically, sexually. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender.
STEALTH – when a trans person chooses not to be openly trans in their social life.
STP – device that allows the wearer to use bathroom facilities in a standing position, referred to as Stand To Pee
STRAIGHT – refers to men that are attracted to women and women who are attracted to men. Attraction between men and women is heterosexual regardless of either person being trans.
TRANS AFFIRMATIVE – Being aware, respectful, and supportive of the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals
TRANS FEMININE – Someone assigned male at birth whose identity has moved away from masculinity. Used for trans women and AMAB non-binary people.
TRANSGENDER – People whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. Acceptable abbreviation – “trans”.
Unacceptable term: “transgendered”
TRANSITION – The process of shifting toward a gender role different from that assigned at birth, which can include social transition, such as new names, pronouns and clothing, and medical transition, such as hormone therapy or surgery.
TRANS MAN – A man who was assigned female at birth
TRANS MASCULINE – Someone assigned female at birth whose identity has moved away from femininity. Used for trans men and AFAB non-binary people.
TRANSMISOGYNY – Refers to the ways in which misogyny and transphobia can intersect, as well as the specific forms of oppression faced by trans women.
TRANSPHOBIA – The irrational fear, hatred of, or discrimination against people who are trans.
TRANSSEXUAL – Similar to transgender, this is a more specific term typically referring to trans people who are hormonally and/or surgically transitioning from one binary gender to the other. This term has largely fallen out of use as it can be considered by some to be offensive. It is only acceptable to use this term as a way to describe someone IF THEY DO SO FIRST.
TRANS WOMAN – A woman who was assigned male at birth.
TWO-SPIRIT – An umbrella term referring to various forms of gender identity and sexuality specific to culture of the indigenous people of North America.
TUCKING – A technique used to bind and minimize the appearance of the penis and testicles, often used by trans feminine people to relieve dysphoria and avoid misgendering, in some cases for simple aesthetic reasons.
WLW – Woman Loving Woman/women. Used to refer to women of all sexualities who are attracted in some way to other women.