Bigender: To identify as both genders and/or to have a tendency to move between masculine and feminine gender-typed behavior depending on context, expressing a distinctly male persona and a distinctly female persona, two separate genders in one body.
Cisgender: A person who by nature or by choice conforms to gender based expectations of society. (Also Genderstraight or ‘Gender Normative’).
FTM or F2M (Female-to-Male): Term used to identify a person who was assigned a female gender at birth or is female bodied, and who identifies as male, lives as a man, or identifies as masculine. This includes a broad range of experiences, from those who identify as men or male to those who identify as transsexual, transmen, female men, new men, or FTM. Some reject this terminology, arguing that they have always been male internally and are now making that identity visible where others feel that such language reinforces an either/or gender system. Some individuals prefer the term MTM (male-to-male) to underscore the fact that though they were biologically female, they never had a feminine gender identity.
Gender Binary: The idea that there are only two genders, male/female or man/woman, and that a person must be strictly gendered as either/or.
Gender Confirming Surgery: Surgical procedures that change one’s body to conform to a person’s gender identity. These procedures may include “top surgery” (breast augmentation or removal) and/or “bottom surgery” (altering genitals). Preferred term to “sex change surgery” or “Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).”
Gender Dysphoria: A term of the psychiatric establishment which refers to a radical incongruence between an individual’s birth sex and their gender identity combined with dissociation from one’s physical body and mental sense of gender. Many in the transgender community find this term offensive or insulting as it often pathologizes transgender individuals due to its association with the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) and pathologization of gender non-conforming identities.
Gender Expression: How one chooses to express one’s gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice, body characteristics, etc.Gender expression may change over time and from day-to-day and may or may not conform with an individual’s gender identity.
Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
Gender Neutral: Used to denote a unisex or all-gender inclusive space, language, etc. Example: A gender neutral bathrooms is a bathroom open to people of any gender identity and expression.
Gender Role. The behaviors, attitudes, values, beliefs etc. that a cultural group considers appropriate for males and females on the basis of their biological sex.
Genderqueer: 1. A term which is used by some people who may or may not fit on the spectrum of trans or be labeled as trans but who identify their gender and sexual orientation to be outside of the binary gender system, or culturally proscribed gender roles. As with any other groups that may be aligned with transgender identities, the reasons for identifying as genderqueer vary. 2. People who identify as both transgender and queer, individuals who challenge both gender and sexuality regimes and see gender identity and sexual orientation as overlapping and interconnected
Heteronormativity: describes a binary gender system, in which only two sexes are accepted. Adherents of this normative concept maintain that one’s gender identity and one’s gender role ought to be congruent with one’s external genitalia, and that one ought to display a heterosexual sexual preference.
Hormone Therapy: Administration of hormones to affect the development of secondary sex characteristics of the opposite gender than the gender assigned at birth.
Intersex: One who is born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system that is not considered “standard” for either male or female. Approximately 1.7% of children are born with mixed sexual anatomy that makes it difficult to label them male or female. “Intersex” is the preferred term to hermaphrodite. Although many intersex people do not identify as transgender, many of the workplace issues relating to transgender people overlap with those that affect intersex people.
MTF or M2F (Male-to-Female): Term used to identify a person who was assigned a male gender at birth or is male bodied, and who identifies as female, lives as a woman, or identifies as feminine. This includes a broad range of experiences, from those who identify as women or female to those who identify as transsexual, transwomen, male women, new women, or as MTF as their gender identity. Some reject this terminology, arguing that they have always been female where others feel that such language reinforces an either/or gender system. Some individuals prefer the term FTF (female-to-female) to underscore the fact that though they were biologically male, they never had a masculine gender identity.
Packing: Wearing a phallic device or prosthesis on the groin and under clothing for any purpose.
Pronouns: There are several non-gender specific pronouns that some people opt to use to describe themselves. “Hir” is used to replace “her” and “him.” “S/he” or “ze” is used instead of “he” and “she.” If you are unsure of how a person identifies or what pronouns to use, it never hurts to ask politely.
Queer: 1. An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-monogamous majority. Queer includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transpeople, intersex people, the radical sex communities, and many other sexually transgressive (underworld) explorers. 2. This term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of “bisexual” as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to. 3. A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. “Queer” is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades “queer” was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold “queer” to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.
Read (Getting/Being Read): 1. How a person’s gender is perceived by a casual observer, based on gender cues/expression. 2. A transperson being perceived as transgender, another gender than what they wish to be perceived, or as their biological sex.
Sex: The physically biological, chromosomal, genetic, and anatomical features associated with maleness and femaleness in the human body defined within a socio-cultural concept of what physiology denotes within a given cultural space.
Sexual Orientation: The preferred term used when referring to an individual’s physical and/or emotional attraction to the same and/or different gender. Sexual orientation is not the same as a person’s gender identity. Sexual orientation refers to a person’s preference for the same or opposite sex partners, e.g., homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual. Even then there is a distinction between who one has sex with, which is more to do with one’s sex object, and who one can build a relationship with.
SOFFA: Acronym for Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies. Used to indicate those persons supportive relationship to a queer or gender non-conforming person.
Standards of Care: Also known as the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. A set of guidelines published by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) (formerly Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association) concerning the care of people labeled with gender identity disorders. Relates to meeting qualifications for gender non-conforming people to access methods of physical transition. The Standards of Care are highly controversial due to the negative pathologization and personal limitations it places on access to physical transition resources and medical care.
Top Surgery: This term usually refers to surgery for the construction of a male-type chest, but may also refer to breast augmentation.
Transgender (TG): 1. An umbrella term covering behaviors, expressions and identities that challenge the binary male/female gender system in a given culture. 2. Individuals who change their gender expression without physically or medically changing their body through hormones or surgery. 3. Anyone whotranscends the conventional definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and whose self-identification or expression challenges traditional notions of “male” and “female.” -Transgender people include transsexuals, crossdressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, masculine-identified females, feminine-identified males, two-spirit people, MtFs, FtMs, bearded women, transmen, transwomen, and others who cross or transgress traditional gender categories.
Transition: 1.The period of time in which a person begins to live in a gender role which is in accordance with their internal gender identity. 2. (v) To physically change one’s appearance, body, and life in accordance with their internal gender identity through clothing, behavior, legal documents, hormones, and/or surgery (also called physical transition).
Transphobia: 1. The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as transgender. 2. Fear and hatred of all those individuals who transgress, violate or blur the dominant gender categories in a given society.