This glossary covers a wide range of terms and abbreviations used by or when talking about folks in the Trans* community. Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new. We are constantly creating new language to describe our life experiences and as such, there may be some terms missing from this glossary. If you would like to add a word to our glossary, please email

Glossary of Terms


Stands for "Assigned Female at Birth." May be used to describe someone whose sex was designated as female on their original birth certificate, typically based on their external genitalia. This term is sometimes used to provide context when discussing a person's transition. While some transgender and non-binary people may describe themselves as AFAB, it is best to only refer to others by their current gender identity.


A person who does not identify with or experience any gender. Agender individuals may use any pronouns and their ways of expressing their gender (or lack of it) vary widely by individual.


Working to end oppression for a group other than one's own. Allyship is an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person holding systemic power works in solidarity with a group of people who are systemically disempowered.  Being an ally is a lifelong process and is not self-defined. The work and efforts must be recognized by those you are allies with. (Source: Forbes “Allyship- The Key To Unlocking The Power of Diversity”)


Stands for “Assigned Male at Birth.” May be used to describe someone whose sex was designated as male on their original birth certificate, typically based on their external genitalia. This term is sometimes used to provide context when discussing a person’s transition. While some transgender and non-binary people may describe themselves as AMAB, it is best to only refer to others by their current gender identity. 



A group of masculinizing hormones (such as testosterone) that are either produced endogenously by a person’s body or administered exogenously via injections, tablets, topical gels, and/or subcutaneous implants. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Identifying and/or presenting as neither masculine nor feminine (Source: AACRAO “Glossary”)


A person’s outward gender expression that appears ambiguous or does not indicate a particular gender. May involve appearances that combine conventionally masculine and feminine traits, or gender presentations that fall outside of the binary.


Also known as “blockers.” A medication that inhibits the effects of endogenous androgens (such as testosterone) on the body by either blocking androgen receptors and/or suppressing androgen production. For example, Spironolactone is a medication with anti-androgenic properties that is often prescribed alongside estrogen as a part of feminizing Hormone Replacement Therapy. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Assigned Gender

The legally denoted gender assigned to newborn children based on external primary sex characteristics such as genitals. In modern-day western culture, a person’s assigned sex is typically conflated with their gender identity, which consequently defines a person’s gender role and its associated expectations. Assigned gender is not related to—or a reflection of—one’s gender identity, or internal sense of gender. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Attraction can be defined as an affinity or a liking for something or someone. Some, but not all types of attraction include: aesthetic, emotional, intellectual, physical/sensual, platonic, romantic, and sexual. 

Aesthetic Attraction: attraction that focuses on physical appearance or attributes; attraction towards the way someone presents themselves
Emotional Attraction: the desire to get to know and connect with someone; the desire to be emotionally present with someone
Intellectual Attraction: the desire to engage someone in an intellectual way; attraction focused on someone's mind, thoughts, and/or conversation
Physical/Sensual Attraction: the desire to give or receive touch in a physical (but not in a sexual) way; the desire to touch, hold, or cuddle someone
Platonic Attraction: the desire to be friends and have a close bond with someone; the desire to have relationships that are intimate and loving
Romantic Attraction: attraction that focuses on romantic contact or interest with other person(s)
Sexual Attraction: attraction that focuses on the desire for sexual contact or showing sexual interest for other person(s)
(Source: Verywell Mind "What Are the Types of Attraction")


A spring-loaded device used to inject oneself with medication. A common example of an auto-injecting medication is the Epi-pen, which administers a pre-loaded dose of epinephrine. Reusable autoinjectors, which do not come pre-filled, are also available for folks with self-administered injectable medications such as hormones. To use a reusable autoinjector, you fill your own syringe, lock it into the mechanism, push a button to release the needle into the injection site, and push the plunger manually to release the medication. This device can help ease the process of self-injecting for those with shakiness, limited strength, difficult injection sites, or a fear of needles.


Bigender refers to having a gender identity that encompasses two genders or is moving between two genders. Bigender individuals may exhibit cultural characteristics of masculine and feminine roles. Note that more than two genders exist; gender exists on a spectrum (Source: PFLAG “National Glossary of Terms”)


When two concepts or constructs are seen as diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive from one another (e.g. good and evil, old and young, man and woman). This worldview is an oversimplification of concepts that often exist on a spectrum. Among transgender communities, the term may refer to someone who transitions from one binary gender to the other binary gender. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Binder (aka: Chest Binder)

A compression undergarment used to flatten the appearance of the chest. Binders are the most common method of binding. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)


A practice used by people with breasts or excess chest tissue to temporarily compress or flatten their chest. This could be done using a binder, sports bra, compression top, or binding tape. Unsafe binding can leave lasting effects on one’s health so it is important to take accurate sizing measurements and research safety guidelines before starting. Some unsafe binding methods include binding for too long, binding too tightly, or binding with unsafe materials (gauze, duct tape, bandages, unsafe binders).

Binding Tape

A product, usually some form of skin-safe therapeutic tape, that can be used to bind or flatten one’s chest. 1-2 wide strips of tape (about 4-6 inches long) can be applied to each breast to create a more pec-like shape or to reduce the appearance of the chest. This method can be used instead of or in addition to a binder and is ideal for those with smaller chests who are active or do not want a binder showing under clothes. It is important to follow recommended guidelines for binding with tape. Always use nipple covers; do not apply tape directly on nipples. Additionally, binding tape, or any other tape, should NEVER be wrapped around the ribcage as this can cause permanent damage.

Biological Essentialism of Gender

The notion that men and women are naturally and categorically different from one another solely because of chromosomal, anatomical, endocrinological, and/or neurological variations related to birth assignment rather than socialization of upbringing. Biological essentialism reinforces the idea that only two sexes and genders exist and that the majority of differences between those groups are biologically predisposed. Biological essentialism is an inaccurate interpretation of gender and is often used to justify sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Bodily Autonomy

An ideology that supports a person’s fundamental right to self-governance over their body without external influence or coercion. The concept of bodily autonomy (or bodily integrity) is applicable to a wide range of scenarios, including the freedom to choose one’s own medical treatment, consensual sexual partners, and family planning options. The phrase “my body, my choice” is a feminist slogan that reflects one of the fundamental principles of bodily autonomy. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Body Dysmorphia

An anxiety disorder, currently listed in the DSM-V, that causes individuals suffering to worry about and have a preoccupation with a perceived flaw in their outer appearance. Individuals who experience body dysmorphia have a distorted view of themselves. Feelings of intense embarrassment, shame, and anxiety may lead people with body dysmorphia to avoid social situations. Body dysmorphia cannot be alleviated by physical changes alone. Body dysmorphia is different from body dysphoria but both can be experienced by the same person. (Source: Center for Discovery)

Body Dysphoria

A form of gender dysphoria in which one experiences distress and discomfort due to an incongruence between their body (physical characteristics) and their gender identity. Body dysphoria can relate to the body parts themselves or the way in which others associate those body parts with a particular gender. People who experience body dysphoria may pursue medical transition such as HRT or gender affirming surgery to better align their body with their felt sense of gender.

Bottom Growth (aka: T-dick, Micropenis, Clit-dick)

The growth of the clitoris as a result of testosterone based hormone replacement therapy (HRT). May also be called a Micropenis, T-dick, or Clit-dick, referring to the new phallus-like appearance of the clitoris. The amount of growth and final length varies from person to person and depends on many factors (starting size, T dosage, length of time on T, etc.). Bottom growth is typically very sensitive while growing and will likely experience stimulus differently than a typical clitoris. For a more in-depth explanation of bottom growth, refer to this page.

Bottom Surgery (aka: Genital Reconstruction Surgery)

Any gender-affirming surgery for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals that alters the genitals and/or reproductive system. Examples include vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, metoidioplasty, hysterectomy, penectomy, oophorectomy, and many others. Not all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals choose to have surgery, and all individuals are valid in their transition process. Trans individuals have the right to not discuss their surgical history. (Source: NIH “Terms and Glossary”; Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Breast Augmentation

A surgical procedure intended to increase the size and/or change the shape of a person’s breasts, often using breast implants (informally known as a “boob job”). (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Breast Forms

Prosthetic breasts formed from silicone (or similar material) meant to simulate the weight, size, or shape of breast tissue. Breast forms can be worn either inside of a bra or attached to the body (adhesive, harness, silicone vest, etc.). (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A gender expression that fits the societal definitions of masculinity, often contrasted with the term "femme." Butch is commonly used by queer women, particularly lesbians, and some trans people to communicate gender presentation and, sometimes, gender identity. “Butch” is usually an empowering term, but can be used pejoratively. (Source: them. “InQueery: The REAL Meaning of the Word “Butch”)


Someone who dates/hooks up with a certain “type” of person or has a fetish for a specific identity group, such as trans people. Chasers typically focus on the characteristics tied to their “type” and don’t recognize the humanity of the people they are attracted to. Chasers are often embarrassed of their attractions or excited by the idea of hooking up with a “type” of person they consider to be taboo. Due to this moral contradiction, chasers can turn violent when they feel exposed or confronted about their attractions. Self-identifying as a “chaser” is generally seen by the trans community as a red flag.



Surgical reduction of the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple), also known as a “tracheal shave.”


A gender identity, or performance in a gender role, that matches one’s assigned sex at birth (not trans). Often just shortened to cis and placed before a person’s gender (i.e., cis man or cis woman). The prefix cis- means "on this side of" or "not across." Before the term cisgender was coined, our language did not have a term for people who are not transgender. They would use terms like "normal" or "regular," implying that trans people were abnormal or irregular. The term "cisgender" allows us to more accurately reference different gender experiences without invalidating any particular group. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary” | Trans Hub “What does cis mean?”)

Cisgender Privilege

A set of legal standards, social norms, institutions, and other contributing factors granting cisgender people superior civil protections, rights, and freedoms compared to their transgender counterparts. Cisgender privilege results from the belief that cisgender people are superior to transgender individuals. Cis privilege is perpetuated by incessant physical and political violence against transgender individuals. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A slang term used mostly within the transgender community to describe cisgender heterosexual individuals.


A set of lifestyle norms, practices, and institutions that promote binary alignment of biological sex, gender identity, and gender roles. The assumption that cisgender gender identities are a fundamental and natural norm and the subsequent privileging of cisgender gender identities above all other gender identities. (Source: LGBTQ+ Primary Hub “Heteronormativity & Cisnormativity”)


The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people whose gender and/or gender expression falls outside of cis-normative constructs. This system is founded on the belief that there are and should be only two genders and that one’s gender (or most aspects of it) are inevitably tied to their assigned sex. Within the cissexism, cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans/gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group.


Slang term for when a transgender person’s assigned sex at birth, and thus their transgender identity, is recognized by an outside observer, potentially posing a threat to the transgender individual’s safety. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Essentially means “not out.” Describes someone who has not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to others. One may be closeted for many reasons including safety, uncertainty, privacy, or personal preference. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Coming Out

Voluntarily sharing pieces of potentially stigmatized personal information with others, such as one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Coming out is a lifelong process, which often starts with coming out to oneself. There is no “right way” to come out. Coming out is an incredibly personal decision which should only be done when a person is comfortable and able to make that choice for themself. 


Cross-dresser (CD)

A term to describe a person who dresses, at least partially, as a member of a gender other than their own. While the term cross dresser is still used in some circles, it is best not to use it for others unless they explicitly state that they’re comfortable with the term. 



The act of wearing clothing and accessories traditionally or stereotypically associated with a gender other than one’s own. Cross-dressing carries no implications of sexual orientation or gender identity; anyone can cross-dress.


A name held by someone pre-transition or given to them at birth that is no longer used and is therefore “dead” to them. Never ask for or use someone’s deadname (except when given express permission) as it is no longer the name they would like to be called.


The act of referring to or calling a trans person by their deadname, a name that they no longer use. Deadnaming is harmful as it does not respect a person's name, gender identity, or expression. Always call someone by their current lived name, even if you are talking about them in the past. (Source: Uplift “Gender 101: How to Avoid Misgendering and Deadnaming”)


A person whose gender identity is partially male, and may consist of another non-binary gender identity.


A person whose gender identity is partially female, and may consist of another non-binary gender identity.


To stop, pause, or reverse some or all of the effects of transitioning, including social, legal, and medical transition. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Rounded, tubelike devices made of plastic or medical-grade silicone that are inserted into one’s vagina to gently stretch the vaginal tissue. Dilators are most often used after a vaginoplasty or by folks with vaginal atrophy, vaginal stenosis, vaginismus, etc. Dilators typically come in a range of sizes and are used gradually from the smallest to larger sizes. Instead of being inserted and removed repeatedly as a dildo or sex toy might be, dilators are intended to be inserted and left in the vaginal canal for a short duration (e.g., 20 minutes), usually while lying down.

Drag King

A person who wears extravagant, stereotypically masculine clothing and/or prosthetics for the sake of performance, self-expression and/or entertainment. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Drag Queen

A person who wears extravagant stereotypically feminine clothing and/or prosthetics for the sake of performance, self-expression and/or entertainment. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A person who is not intersex—i.e. does not possess variations of sex characteristics involving chromosomes, the reproductive system, and other aspects of one’s physiology. Dyadic people make up a majority of the global population, but non-dyadic (intersex) people also exist in large numbers throughout the world. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

E (aka: on E, being on E, taking E)

A common abbreviation or slang for Estrogen.


This suffix means "act of cutting out" and typically refers to the surgical removal of something, usually from the body. In the context of gender-affirming procedures, this suffix indicates that a surgery will involve the removal of a sexual organ or secondary sex characteristic (e.g., mastectomy, penectomy, hysterectomy).


Slang for a person who may be trans but has not yet realized or come to terms with it. Sometimes associated with someone in denial of their gender-related feelings. One’s eventual discovery of their trans identity may be referred to as their “egg cracking” or “hatching.”



A process by which hair follicles are damaged in order to prevent the regrowth of hair. Electrolysis uses shortwave radio frequencies via an epilator device to destroy hair follicles and is usually administered by a dermatologist. It is more permanent than laser hair removal, though it still requires multiple sessions. At-home versions of this method exist, but are not proven to be safe or effective. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


Colloquial term for a non-binary person (phoneticization of the letters N and B). (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A medical professional who specializes in the endocrine system and its secretions (hormones). Some transgender people who undergo medical transition may see an endocrinologist in order to access or adjust hormone replacement therapy (HRT). (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


People who are not intersex. While genital configuration is most often used to assign gender at birth, it is not comprehensive, accurate, or even relevant to actual variations in physiology, biology, etc. Many people are assigned an endosex gender/sex at birth. But some 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 to dyadic, as dyadic linguistically refers to a binary. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


An estrogenic steroid hormone that causes the development of secondary sex characteristics including breast development, increased pubic hair growth, and changes in fat distribution. When prescribed as medication, estradiol can be taken orally, transdermally (through the skin), or by injection into muscle or fat tissue. Estradiol is one of the most common forms of feminizing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A type of hormone responsible for the development of feminine secondary sex characteristics, including breast development, increased pubic hair growth, and changes in fat distribution. In some AMAB people, estrogen may cause diminished muscle tissue, softening of skin, reduction of erectile response, and enlargement of the areolas. Estrogen cannot eliminate body/facial hair or lighten one’s voice; these require electrolysis, surgery, or voice training. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Facial Reconstructive Surgery (aka: Facial Feminization Surgery, FFS; Facial Gender Surgery, FRG; or Facial Masculinization Surgery, FMS)

Facial Reconstructive Surgery is a combination of gender-affirming procedures for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to create a more gender-affirming facial appearance. Some procedures are surgical, while others are not. Not all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals choose to undergo facial reconstructive surgery, and all individuals are valid in their transition process. (Source: Johns Hopkins “FAQ: Facial Gender Surgery”)

Feminine (aka: Femme, Fem)

Characteristics or behaviors associated with women in a culture.


Adapting mannerisms or a phenotype deemed feminine in a culture.


An identity or presentation that leans towards femininity. Femme can be an adjective (“he’s a femme boy”), a verb (“she feels better when she ‘femmes up’”), or a noun (“they’re a femme”). Although commonly associated with feminine lesbian/queer women, it’s used by many to describe a distinct gender identity and/or expression. This term does not necessarily imply that one identifies as a woman. (Source: TSER “Definitions”).

FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery)

FFS is commonly used to refer to facial feminization surgery, a combination of procedures used by AMAB trans or nonbinary individuals to achieve a more feminine or gender-affirming facial appearance.

Free Nipple Grafts

A procedure often combined with double incision top surgery in which the nipples are completely removed from the body and reattached after excess chest tissue has been removed. The “free” indicates that the nipples are detached from the nipple stalk. This process allows for the nipples to be resized and placed in a desired location on the chest but may also result in a more difficult healing process and little-to-no nipple sensation.

Front Hole

An alternative term for vagina used by some trans men and nonbinary people. Terms like this can help alleviate dysphoria when talking about one’s anatomy by avoiding biology-based terminology.


Stands for “Female to Male”. Used to describe an individual assigned female at birth (AFAB) whose gender identity is male, man, or transmasculine. This term is most often used to describe binary transgender men in medical contexts and is sometimes considered outdated due to its reliance on sex assigned at birth. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gaff (aka: Tucking Underwear)

A fabric or material designed to tuck one’s genitals against their body, creating a flatter and less conspicuous appearance. Transfeminine or non-binary individuals may wear a gaff for comfort, safety, or appearance. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


In the context of identity, the practice of controlling or limiting who has access to certain identities, communities, groups, and resources. Gatekeeping can come from existing group members or external authority figures. It is typically rooted in the idea of resource scarcity and the subsequent need to limit who should have access to certain resources. Here are some examples of systemic gatekeeping tactics that limit transgender people’s access to transition:

  • Legal jurisdictions require a transgender individual to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria before they can change their name and/or gender marker.
  • Medical transitioning requires certain psychological evaluations to be passed in order to be considered “stable enough” to access gender-affirming surgeries. This is in addition to a  gender dysphoria diagnosis.


Often used as an umbrella term to describe a sexual and/or romantic orientation toward people of the same gender. It can also be used by a man who is sexually or romantically attracted to other men. This term is preferred over the terms "homosexual" or "homosexuality," which are outdated. (Source: We Are Family “LGBTQI+ Glossary of Terms”)



A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or another identity. Gender may be described as a felt sense of masculinity, femininity, or anywhere in between that informs the way one interacts with others and the society around them. Although one's gender may correlate with their sex assigned at birth, gender is fundamentally different from sex.

Gender Binary

The classification of gender into two distinct and opposite genders of man and woman. The gender binary is a social construct– there are many genders that extend beyond the gender binary. (Source: SexInfo Online “Gender Binary”)

Gender Dysphoria

The negative or uncomfortable emotions many trans people experience regarding their body, gender presentation, or gendered social role. Gender dysphoria could also be interpreted as an absence of gender euphoria or a feeling of disconnect with one’s assigned gender at birth. The experience of gender dysphoria varies from person to person. Not every trans person experiences dysphoria. (Source: Mayo Clinic “Gender dysphoria”)

Gender Euphoria

The positive or blissful emotions some transgender people feel regarding their body, appearance, or the way their gender is perceived by others. This is often felt when one’s gender expression aligns with their gender identity. Some people experience gender euphoria when they accept their gender identity, when others recognize their gender identity, or when their body aligns with their gender identity. Gender euphoria is the opposite of dysphoria, which is characterized by negative emotions. Not every transgender and gender non-conforming person experiences euphoria, and how it is experienced varies from person to person. (Source: Mayo Clinic “Gender dysphoria”)

Gender Expansive

An umbrella term for individuals whose gender expression or identity expands beyond societal gender norms. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)

Gender Expression

How an individual outwardly expresses their gender (or lack thereof) through voice, hair, clothing, behaviors, etc. One’s gender expression may not align with their gender identity, gender can be embodied in a multitude of ways.

Gender Identity

A felt and internal sense of gender as determined by an individual. What one’s gender is, which may or may not correspond with the sex one is assigned at birth, can only be determined by oneself. (Source: Stonewall “List of LGBTQ+ terms”)

Gender Marker

An abbreviation (usually M, F, or X) denoting a person’s gender on legal documents and government-issued identification forms. Gender markers can be changed from one binary gender to the other, or to a nonbinary option represented by the letter “X” in some United States jurisdictions. The process for changing a gender marker on an individual’s driver’s license, ID, birth certificate, or passport varies by state. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Neutral

Something that is not gendered or not designated for a particular gender. Gender neutral can refer to language (e.g. pronouns), spaces (e.g. bathrooms, dorms), items (e.g. clothing, accessories), and more (e.g. colors, professions, etc.). Gender neutral is not an identity and is not used to describe people. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender Non-conforming (GNC)

An umbrella term for people who do not conform to the social norms or expectations associated with their gender identity or sex assigned at birth. The term GNC may be used on its own or in addition to another gender identity (GNC trans woman). Gender non-conforming individuals can use any pronouns and be of any gender identity. Some GNC individuals also identify as trans, but not all. (Source: Verywell Mind “What Does Gender Nonconforming Mean?”)


Gender Norm

An arbitrary social standard or expectation based on an individual’s perceived gender. Gender norms can seem very potent in their time of relevance, but these norms are rarely static and often vary significantly over time and between cultures. Gender norms were vastly different in the early 1900s than they are today—for example, in the United States, male-assigned babies commonly wore pink clothing, while female-assigned babies wore blue. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Outlaw

A person who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of male and female.


Gender Presentation

A set of external gender-related cues (i.e. clothing, gender expression, name) intended to communicate the manner in which a person wants their gender to be perceived by others. Gender presentation may be masculine, feminine, androgynous, gender-neutral, etc. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Questioning

A person that may be processing, questioning, or exploring their gender identity. Not all people who question their gender end up being trans. Gender questioning is an opportunity for one to explore their identities and reflect on how they want to be perceived by others. (Source: AACRAO “Term Glossary”)

Gender Roles

The expectations and behaviors deemed appropriate for a person’s gender. These roles are based on cultural norms and often reinforce the gender binary. Gender roles can be restrictive and harmful as they don’t account for variety in human identity and expression. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender Spectrum

The idea that gender exists on a spectrum. This spectrum includes men at one end, women on the other end, and all gender identities that exist between or outside of the gender spectrum. This term challenges the idea of the gender binary, the idea that gender can be classified into two distinct and opposite genders of man and woman. (Source: LGBT foundation “Gender spectrum”)


Gender Variant

A person who varies from the expected characteristics of their assigned gender. This term is often used in the medical community. Some individuals don’t identify with this term because the word "variant" can imply that these identities are abnormal. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender-Affirming Care

A variety of health care services which aim to affirm and support trans and gender-non-conforming individuals in their exploration of gender and transition. Gender-affirming care may include hormone therapy, surgeries, procedures, mental health support, counseling, and more. Gender-affirming care is known to improve the mental health and well-being of those who receive it.

Gender-Affirming Products

Any item that helps affirm one’s gender by creating an appearance associated with their desired gender presentation. Gender-affirming items may include makeup, wigs, bras, packers, binders, gaffs, breastforms, hip/butt pads, shapewear, prosthetics, strap-ons, and more. Some gender-affirming items are marketed solely to trans individuals while others are used by a wide range of individuals who perform gender. Some people will use gender-affirming products their whole lives while others may use them temporarily until they can access more permanent gender-affirming care such as surgery.

Gender-Affirming Surgeries (aka: Gender Confirmation Surgeries)

Surgeries that help trans and gender non-conforming individuals better align their body with their gender identity. Some common gender-affirming surgeries involve the chest (top surgery), face (facial reconstructive surgery), or reproductive organs (bottom surgery). Less common surgeries may involve the throat, vocal cords, butt, or body fat distribution. Each trans person approaches transition differently, with many choosing not to have surgery at all. Gender-affirming surgeries are less commonly referred to as “sex reassignment surgeries” (SRS) or “sex change operations.”


A person whose gender identification and/or presentation shifts periodically between two or more genders. Also defined as being fluid in motion between two or more genders. (Source: St. Lawrence University “Common Terms and Vocabulary”)


A gender identity where the gender that one identifies with varies in intensity. This might be gradual or rapid, depending on the individual. Genderflux may also be used as an umbrella term. Individuals may use -flux as a suffix with prefixes that define their gender identity. For example, they may use girlflux, agenderflux, boyflux, multiflux, and more! (Source: Queer in the World “What Does Genderflux Mean?”)


The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people whose gender and/or gender expression falls outside of cis-normative constructs. This system is founded on the belief that there are, and should be, only two genders and that one’s gender is inevitably tied to assigned sex. Within cissexism, cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans/gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group.



A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant societal norm for their assigned sex, is beyond genders, or is some combination of them. Can also refer to an interpretation of gender which heavily relies on one’s experience of queerness.


Hormone Blockers (aka: Puberty Blockers)

A form of hormone therapy used to temporarily stop the body from releasing sex hormones, effectively delaying the onset of puberty. Puberty blockers are sometimes used by trans and gender non-conforming youth to pause the development of secondary sex characteristics until the child is more solid in their gender identity or is able to start hormone replacement therapy. The benefits of hormone blockers may include improved mental health, decreased gender dysphoria, and, in some cases, eliminate the need for future surgeries. Not all transgender and gender non-conforming youth have their parents' support to access blockers. Some may choose not to take blockers. (Source: Mayo Clinic “Pubertal Blockers”)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

The administration of synthetic sex hormones to create affirming changes to one’s body. There are two types of hormone therapy: Estrogen (feminizing hormones) which may decrease libido, increase breast growth, etc., and Testosterone (masculinizing hormones) which may increase facial/body hair, deepen one’s voice, etc. HRT is used by many people who have hormone imbalances, decreased sex hormone production (e.g. menopause), or gender dysphoria. Hormone replacement therapy can affirm one’s gender identity, decrease feelings of dysphoria, increase safety, and improve mental health. Individuals should consult their doctors before undergoing HRT. Not all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals choose to undergo hormone therapy. All individuals are valid in their transition process. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)


The surgical removal of the uterus. This procedure may also involve the removal of other parts of the reproductive system including the cervix, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. A hysterectomy may be performed on trans and gender non-conforming AFAB individuals to decrease dysphoria, stop one’s menstrual cycle, prevent pregnancy, or as part of a vaginectomy.

Identity Policing

Any statement or action that dictates how one should identify, express, or present their gender. Identity policing may come from cisgender people who seek to punish or “correct” a person’s gender-variant identity or expression, but may also be observed among some transgender people who believe other transgender individuals should conform to the gender binary. Identity policing ensures the persistence of gender roles and the gender binary. Ex: Telling a transgender woman to “dress more feminine”, as it suggests that women must adhere to standards of conventional femininity in order for their womanhood to be respected. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

In the Closet (aka: closeted)

Keeping one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity private. Someone who is “in the closet” may only share this personal information with partners and close friends, or not at all. Their decision to not disclose this information should be respected. (Source: VeryWell Mind “What Does It Mean to Be ‘In the Closet?’”)

Informed Consent

A model of medical care requiring physicians to disclose complete and accurate information regarding the known risks of pharmaceutical drugs, medical procedures, and tests before administering them to patients. The practice is intended to empower individuals with the information necessary to make evidence-based decisions regarding their medical care. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)



For some intersex people, their intersex identity can strongly affect their relationship to their gender identity. Some may identify as intergender, a non-binary gender that reflects this relationship. Intergender individuals may identify as between the genders of man and woman, or a combination of them. “Intergender” has been used by individuals who are not intersex, but many in the intersex community believe it should only be used by intersex people. (Source: LGBTQIA+ Wiki “Intergender”)

Internalized Oppression

The fear and self-hate of one’s own minority identities, usually stemming from hostile surroundings or the internalization of oppressive ideas. One form of internalized oppression is the acceptance of the myths and stereotypes applied to the oppressed group. Someone experiencing internalized oppression may believe they deserve the discrimination they experience and/or may lash out at others in their identity groups or participate in gatekeeping. Internalized oppression turns the oppressed into their own oppressors.

Internalized Transphobia

A form of internalized oppression where a trans person believes in or supports anti-trans attitudes. Internalized transphobia may result in negative emotions like shame, anger, and worthlessness. People struggling with internalized transphobia are likely unconscious of it. They may participate in self sabotaging practices, lash out at other trans people, practice gatekeeping, or generally enforce the idea that only particular trans experiences are valid.


A term coined popular by law professor Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s to describe the way that multiple systems of oppression interact in the lives of those with multiple marginalized identities. Intersectionality looks at the relationships between multiple marginalized identities and allows us to analyze social problems more fully, shape more effective interventions, and promote more inclusive advocacy amongst communities.


An adjective used to describe the experience of naturally (that is, without any medical intervention) occurring variations in reproductive or sex anatomy that do not fit neatly into society's definitions of male or female. Variations may appear in a person’s chromosomes, genitals, or internal organs. Intersex is an umbrella term, and there are around 30 variations of intersex that are included under this umbrella. Intersex people are relatively common, although society's denial of their existence has allowed very little room for intersex issues to be discussed publicly. Intersex advocates work to end unnecessary cosmetic and medical surgery on intersex youth. “Hermaphrodite” is an outdated and inaccurate term that has been used to describe intersex people in the past. (Source: interACT “Intersex Definitions”)

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal uses mild radiation via high-heat lasers to damage hair follicles. It tends to work best on people with fair skin and dark hair. While hair will grow back, it will grow back finer and lighter. Laser hair removal runs the risk of more side effects than electrolysis. At-home versions of both of these methods exist, but are not proven to be safe or effective. (Source: Trans Language Primer)

Legal Transition

The process of a person changing legal documents and records to accurately reflect their lived name and gender. This is the part of a person’s transition that is legally recognized by the state and/or federal government. Some states or countries may require a person to have undergone certain aspects of social or medical transition before they are eligible to legally change their gender marker.


The acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Aromantic/Agender. The “+” stands for all the folks whose specific identities may not be in the acronym, but are still part of the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many versions of this acronym that may be used interchangeably including LGBT+, LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIAP2S+. All of these are accurate ways to refer to the community, with the longer ones best suiting written materials and the shorter acronyms best suiting conversational use. The 2 or 2S in the latter acronym has come into use to recognize Two-Spirit people. (Source: NYT “The ABCs of LGBTQIA+”)

LGBTQIA+ Allyship

The practice of confronting heterosexism, sexism, cissexism, allosexism, and monosexism in oneself and others out of self-interest and a concern for the well-being of LGBTQIA+ people. Is founded on the belief that dismantling heterosexism, monosexism, trans oppression/trans misogyny/cissexism, and allosexism is a social justice issue.

Lived Names (aka: Chosen Names, Names in Use)

A chosen name other than one’s legal name that an individual uses. There are many reasons someone may use a lived name, such as to reflect their gender identity, as a nickname, or to go by an Americanized name. Lived names are often referred to as "preferred names," but one’s lived name is not a preference. It is a requirement to honor a person’s identity and to use the name by which they ask to be called. (Source: Johns Hopkins “Supporting Chosen Names and Pronouns”)

Masculine (aka: Masc)

Characteristics or behaviors associated with men in a culture.

Masculine of Center

A term, coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project, that recognizes the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer womxn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale and includes a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, dom, macha, tomboi, trans-masculine, etc.


Adapting mannerisms or a phenotype deemed masculine in a culture.


A procedure involving the removal of breast tissue from one or both sides of the chest. Mastectomies are commonly performed on breast cancer patients, AFAB trans people, and people with gynecomastia. For trans folks, double mastectomies are more often referred to as “top surgery.”

Medical Tattooing (aka: Cosmetic Tattooing, Medical Pigmentation)

A form of tattooing that uses natural tones to create permanent cosmetic adjustments to one’s appearance, including appearances that may affirm one’s gender. Medical tattooing may be used for color correction on one’s surgery scars, to create or correct the appearance of one’s nipples post top surgery, to add veins or color correction on someone’s genital region post gender-affirming surgery, to fill in one’s hairline, to add permanent makeup to someone’s face (eyebrows, etc.), and more. Medical tattooing is not as common as other gender-affirming procedures and is rarely covered by insurance, but those that pursue it may find that it helps to reduce dysphoria and increase confidence.

Medical Transition/Physical Transition

The process of a person changing their body to better reflect their gender. Common forms of medical transition include Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and a variety of gender-affirming surgeries. Not all trans people are interested in pursuing medical transition, and those that are might not be able to afford or access medical care.


Medicalization is when we take things that are a natural part of the human condition and begin defining them as medical conditions. Many modern cultures have taken things like being trans, intersex, or queer, and turned them into medical problems to be solved. The act of medicalization separates and sets up an antagonistic relationship between the person and whatever has been medicalized. For example, the medicalization of transgender identities in the U.S. has resulted in diagnosis requirements for people seeking gender-affirming care. (Source: Trans Language Primer)

Metoidioplasty (aka: Meta)

A surgery that involves ‘releasing’ the clitoris/bottom growth (often enlarged from testosterone) from surrounding skin to create a neophallus. 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/closing of the vagina, and scrotoplasty, which is the creation of a scrotum from the labia. (Source:Trans Language Primer)


Brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults about one’s marginalized identity/identities. Ex: “Can’t you just be a lesbian” said to a trans man.


Microdosing is an approach to medical transition involving taking smaller than average doses of hormones in order to achieve slower, more controllable effects. While microdosing is primarily used by the non-binary community, anyone undergoing medical transition can choose to microdose for a variety of reasons. It’s important that hormone therapy, including microdosing hormones, be overseen by a medical professional. (Source: Trans language Primer)



A label for a gender identity or sexual orientation that falls under, or otherwise overlaps with, a broader term. Microlabels tend to be described as "hyper specific," meaning that they describe a very specific experience of a gender/sexuality/etc. Ex: Agender is a microlabel that falls under the nonbinary umbrella, but more specifically refers to the absence of gender feelings. (Source: LGBTQIA+ Wiki)


Referring to someone using a word, pronoun, or form of address, that is not accurate to their gender identity. Misgendering people can be harmful, especially when done repeatedly and/or intentionally. If you misgender someone, quickly apologize, correct yourself, and move on.


The hatred of or prejudice against women. Misogyny can be expressed in different ways, such as demeaning comments. Misogyny primarily affects women and individuals perceived as feminine. (Source: Medium “What is Misogyny” | Merriam-Webster “Misogyny”)


An acronym that stands for “Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex.” It is used by some in a similar way to the umbrella acronym: LGBTQIA+. It is also used to refer to a subset of the LGBTQIA+ community that is vocal against gatekeeping and advocates for the use of microlabels. (Source: UW Milwaukee “Glossary of Terms”)


Stands for “Male to Female”. Used to describe an individual assigned male at birth (AMAB) whose gender identity is Female, woman, or transfeminine. This term is most often used to describe binary transgender women in medical contexts but may be considered outdated due to its reliance on sex assigned at birth. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Mx. (pronounced "Mix") is a gender inclusive salutation. Alternative to Mr. or Ms.

Name change/Legal name change

A name change is the process someone goes through to legally change their name. Requirements to do so vary by location. Generally the process involved filling out paperwork, paying a fee, and submitting it all to the courts. This process may be combined with legal change of gender. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


Prefixes to indicate whether someone was born with a body part/organ or had it surgically created. Neo means “new” and may be used when referring to a surgically-constructed neophallus or neovagina. Natal means “at birth” and may be used when referring to the genitals someone was born with, such as a cisgender woman’s natal vagina.


The misuse of neuroscientific facts to support the sexist notion that women and men are categorically different by virtue of brain anatomy and neurological functioning. Common examples include the traditionalist assertion that cisgender men are neurologically predisposed to have superior spatial reasoning to cisgender women, or that cisgender women are naturally inclined to be more “verbal,” or linguistically oriented, than cisgender men. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer or transgender umbrellas. There is no one definition of neutrois, since each person that self-identifies as such experiences their gender differently. The most common ones are: Neutral-gender, Null-gender, Neither male nor female, Genderless, and/or Agender.


Trans* individuals who have not attained and don’t desire to attain gender-affirming surgery, specifically bottom surgery. For many individuals, self-identification and self-expression alone achieve harmony between one’s body and one’s gender identity. (Source: USC Transgender Terminology)


Nonbinary (aka: non-binary, non binary, enby, nb)

Gender is often misrepresented as a binary of man or woman. However, there are a lot more genders that fall outside of that binary. Nonbinary people have a gender that is different than “woman” or “man.” For some, nonbinary is their chosen label. Others feel more comfortable using small, more specific labels that fall under the nonbinary umbrella (agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, etc.) Some nonbinary people also identify as trans, but not all. (Source: Trans Equality “Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive”)


Nullification/Gender Nullification

A gender-affirming surgery that can be performed on AMAB individuals to create a smooth appearing crotch. Nullification procedures typically include a complete penectomy, orchiectomy, reduction of the scrotal sac, and shortening of the urethra. The goal is to leave the area as a smooth unbroken transition from the abdomen to the groin.


Possessing all genders. The term is used specifically to refute the concept of only two genders. This falls under the nonbinary umbrella


Surgical removal of the ovaries. Sometimes combined with hysterectomy (removal of uterus) or salpingectomy (removal of fallopian tubes).


Surgical removal of the testes. Sometimes performed before or in combination with vaginoplasty (surgical creation of a vagina).

Orientation (aka: sexual orientation, romantic orientation, etc.)

One’s attraction or non-attraction to other people. An individual’s orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their orientation. Some, but not all types of attraction include: aesthetic, emotional, intellectual, physical/sensual, platonic, romantic, and sexual. (Source: UNC-Chapel Hill “Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation” | Healthline “What are the Different Types of Attraction”)

Out (“being out”)

"Being out" means not concealing one's sexual orientation or gender identity. Not all LGBTQIA+ folks are out, for a variety of reasons. Their decisions to "be out" or not to "be out" should be respected.


Revealing a person’s sexual or gender identity, HIV status, or immigration status without the person’s express consent or permission. Outing someone is a violation of privacy and an inherently harmful act. It removes the person’s choice to come out and potentially puts their safety at risk. (Source: LGBTQ and ALL “What is Outing and Why is it Harmful?”)


A prosthetic phallus or phallic object used for packing, which may include a scrotum and/or testicles. Packers range from low-tech, improvised pieces, such as rolled-up socks or gel-filled condoms, to high-quality devices that closely resemble dyadic male-assigned genitalia. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


The process of wearing padding or a phallic object in the front of a person’s pants or underwear to create the appearance of genitals. Most often used by trans men, non-binary folks, and drag kings. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Exhibiting characteristics of multiple genders, deliberately refuting the concept of only two genders.


Refers to a trans person’s ability to be perceived as a cis member of their gender identity. Passing is a subjective measurement that varies depending on people, environment, and culture as well as one’s physical attributes, mannerisms, and gender presentation. Reasons for wanting to pass may include safety, comfort, gender euphoria, and social ease. Not every trans person’s goal is to pass.


Full or partial surgical removal of one’s penis. May be performed on its own or as part of another gender-affirming surgery. After the penis is removed, the urethra is relocated so the patient can pee freely.


Several procedures, often performed in tandem, for the purpose of constructing a penis. This process utilizes a flap of donor skin, usually from the patient’s thigh or forearm, to create a neophallus. Other aspects of the procedure may include a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, a vaginectomy to close the vagina, a scrotoplasty to turn the labia majora into a scrotum, a urethroplasty to lengthen and hook up the urethra inside the new phallus, a glansplasty to sculpt the appearance of an uncircumcised penis tip, and a penile implant to allow for erection. Not all of these procedures are necessary in a phalloplasty, but some are recommended. Phalloplasties have a significant recovery time and often require a multi surgery approach to complete all steps and ensure sufficient healing. (Source: Johns Hopkins Glossary of Transgender Terms)


In terms of mental/emotional wellness - a phobia is a marked and persistent fear “out of proportion” to the actual threat or danger the situation poses after taking into account all the factors of the environment and situation. Historically this term has been used to inaccurately refer to systems of oppression (i.e. homophobia has been used to refer to heterosexism).


This suffix means “repair” or “molding and shaping” and typically refers to the surgical construction or reconstruction of a body part. In the context of gender-affirming procedures, this suffix indicates that a surgery will involve the creation or reshaping of a sex characteristic or organ (e.g., vaginoplasty, metoidioplasty, mammoplasty).

Post-op (post-operative)

A term meaning after surgery which may be used by a medical professional when explaining what to expect after an operation. May also be used to describe trans* individuals who have undergone a gender-affirming surgery, sometimes referring specifically to bottom surgery.

Pre-op (pre-operative)

A term meaning before surgery which may be used by a medical professional when explaining what to expect before an operation. May also be used to describe trans* individuals who have not yet undergone any particular gender-affirming surgery but who desire to and are seeking that as an option.


A hormone taken by some transgender individuals to enhance dyadic feminine characteristics such as larger hips, rounder chest, and generally “curvier” appearance. Also a key ingredient in many birth control medications. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


Used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. Some common pronouns include he, she, they, I, you, and it, though there are many others. 

Example: Naomi transferred to UCSB this year. They are excited to get involved on campus!

We frequently use pronouns without thinking about it. Some pronouns have a gender implication. It is important to remember that you cannot tell what pronouns someone uses by the way they look, it’s always best to ask. A person’s pronouns are not a preference, they are mandatory.


Puberty is the process of physical changes through which an adolescent reaches sexual maturity and becomes capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is associated with emotional and hormonal changes, as well as physical changes such as breast development, pubic hair development, genital changes, voice changes, an increase in height, and the onset of menstruation. It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads (ovaries or testes).


An acronym standing for “Queer and/or Trans Black, Indigenous, People of Color,” which may refer to groups or individuals who occupy marginalized gender/sexual identities as well as marginalized racial identities.


Abnormal or strange. It may also be used as an umbrella term for members of  the LGBTQIA+ community. Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression, and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self identify as such. For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into norms, a radical and anti-assimilationist stance that captures multiple aspects of identities. In it’s reclamation, queer is used as an adjective (e.g. “queer people,” “queer community”) instead of a noun.


The process of exploring one’s own gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. Some people may also use this term to name their identity within the LGBTQIA+ community.


Short for parent. Used by the kids of some non-binary people to describe their non-binary parent. A gender-neutral replacement for mom/my and dad/dy. Renny, Rara, and Renren are some possible derivatives. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


A medical procedure intended to remove one’s scrotum/scrotal skin, sometimes done in combination with an orchiectomy. Since the scrotal skin is often used in other bottom surgeries, a scrotectomy is not always needed.


A medical procedure intended to create a scrotum and testicles from one’s labia, sometimes in combination with phalloplasty (creation of a phallus).

Second Puberty

Used as an informal/slang term in some communities of transgender people to describe the experience of undergoing hormone replacement therapy, especially during its initial phases. Note that not all transgender people who opt for HRT experience a second puberty, as some begin taking hormone blockers during adolescence. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Secondary Sex Characteristics

Various physiological features that appear in dyadic and some non-dyadic people during puberty (or as a result of hormone replacement therapy) but lack a direct reproductive function, including the development of breasts and facial hair, muscularity, distribution of fat tissue, growth of pubic hair, and change in voice pitch. Secondary sex characteristics play a large role in how one’s gender is perceived by others. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions) 



A biological category based on reproductive, anatomical, and genetic characteristics, generally defined as male, female, or intersex. Sex is used when describing anatomical, chromosomal, hormonal, cellular, and basic biological phenomena in animals. In humans, sex is typically determined/assigned at birth based on a baby’s external genitalia and appears on legal documentation as a form of identification. Sex is NOT the same as gender.

Sex Assigned at Birth

A medically constructed categorization that assigns and classifies people as male, female, or intersex. Sex assigned at birth is often assigned based on the appearance of the genitalia only either in ultrasound or at birth. This language is more appropriate and more respectful to those whose assigned sex does not align with their gender instead of just “sex” on its own.


The cultural, institutional, and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and devalue ways of being that are associated with women.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation is attraction (or non-attraction) to other people characterized by interest or desire for sexual contact. Sexual orientation can be fluid and people may use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation. Individuals may use -sexual as a suffix with prefixes that define their sexual orientation (e.g. pansexual, bisexual, asexual, etc.)!


May be used as another word for sexual orientation. Typically refers to the ways in which someone experiences sexual and/or romantic attraction including who they are most likely to be attracted to. This term may also refer to the components of a person’s sexual identity that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, etc.


Describes an attraction to people who are transgender or nonbinary. This term is not used often in LGBTQIA+ spaces as it implies the fetishization of trans people. Trans people vary widely in gender identity, appearance, presentation, and social role. Creating a term for the attraction to trans* people generalizes all trans* people into a single category, highlights transness as the focus of attraction, and implies that loving a trans* person is inherently different from loving a cis person. This term is NOT the same as T4T or Trans4Trans which is used by trans* individuals who prefer to date other trans* individuals for comfort or safety reasons. 

Social Construct

The conceptualization or interpretation of an idea based on a collective perspective established within a group of people or society, which may or may not reflect objective reality. The idea of the gender binary is a social construct since different gender configurations exist in various societies throughout the world. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Social Dysphoria

Distress and discomfort experienced as a result of how one’s gender is viewed by society. Some causes of social dysphoria include: deadnaming, misgendering, incorrect pronoun usage, being forced into a particular gender role, being perceived as the incorrect gender, and other social interactions involving gendered assumptions.

Social Transition

An act or process of transition in which a person changes the way they interact with or are viewed by others in order to more closely match their true gender identity. This can involve coming out and/or changing one’s name, gender marker, pronouns, or gender presentation. Social transition is the most common form of gender transition as it only involves social aspects and is reversible.

Spironolactone (aka: “Spiro”)

A common steroidal anti-androgen (aka hormone blocker, T-blocker, or androgen blocker) used to suppress the effects of testosterone in people undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Spiro is sometimes taken in conjunction with other hormones, such as estradiol (estrogen).

Standards of Care

A set of guidelines and procedures established by WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health), to maintain quality assurance as well as establish a degree of legal protection for both clients and physicians. Some of these guidelines, however, may present barriers to accessing medical transition as they require proof or certification of gender dysphoria for some forms of medical transition. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


The act of living full-time as one’s true gender without revealing one’s transgender status or history to others, sometimes for safety purposes. Being stealth may require multiple forms of transition to reach a passing status. This is most often undertaken by trans people who are at risk of violence, unemployment, or displacement due to their trans history. A stealth trans woman would pass as a cisgender woman; a stealth trans man would pass as a cisgender man. (Source: Trans Language Primer; Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

STP (Stand To Pee)

A prosthetic device sometimes used by trans masc or AFAB nonbinary individuals allowing them to urinate from a standing position (use a urinal, etc.). Some packers may double as STP devices.

T (aka: on T, being on T, taking T)

A common abbreviation or slang for Testosterone.


Refers to the transphobic slur, “Tr*nny.” The T-slur is an offensive and derogatory slur for a transgender individual.


An abbreviation of “Trans for Trans.” Originated in early 2000’s dating classifieds as a way for trans people to indicate that they were looking to date/hook up with other trans people. T4T may also be used to describe a relationship made up of only trans and/or nonbinary people. T4T is a dating preference that does not imply any particular sexual orientation. Trans people may seek T4T relationships for safety, comfort, understanding, or simply preference.


Acronym for “transgender-exclusionary radical feminist.” TERFs deny the existence of gender identity and subscribe to the unsubstantiated notion that transgender women are co-opting or appropriating womanhood in order to gain access to cisgender women’s spaces. TERFs weaponize biological essentialism disguised as a form of “feminism”. TERFs participate in horizontal oppression, in which people from one targeted group believe, act on, or enforce dominant systems of oppression against members of another targeted group. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


A hormone responsible for the development of masculine secondary sex characteristics, typically including the growth of body and/or facial hair, increased muscularity, fat redistribution, and thickening of the vocal cords (deepening of voice). Testosterone may cause clitoral growth and cessation of the menstrual cycle in some AFAB individuals. Testosterone hormone therapy can be administered via injection, gel, patch, pellet, or cream. The pill form is rarely used.

Top Surgery

Top surgery is a Gender-Affirming Surgery for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals that changes the appearance of the chest. Some individuals may remove breast tissue for a more masculine appearance while some may increase breast size and alter shape for a more feminine appearance. While “top surgery” can be used to describe any gender-affirming surgery involving chest tissue, it is most often used to refer to a double mastectomy (removal of breasts). (Source: NIH “Terms and Glossary”)

Tracheal Shave (aka: Chondrolaryngoplasty)

A surgical procedure used to reduce the size of one’s Adam's apple.

Trans Chaser

A cis person who seeks sexual relationships with trans people for the sake of fetish fulfillment. Some chasers may develop patterns of stalking, pursuing, or sexually harassing transgender individuals. Chasers are usually seen as a threat to the trans community though some trans people feel validated by engaging with them. Fetishizing trans people is harmful and not a healthy way to show support to the community. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Trans* (aka: Trans+)

Used as a shorthand for “trans-adjacent” and refers to trans, nonbinary, and gender-non-conforming individuals who may or may not identify as trans.

Transfeminine (aka: Trans Femme, Transfem)

A term used to describe trans people who were assigned male at birth and have moved away from that gender and towards femininity. Their gender may or may not be binary (woman), but their gender expression might be more feminine than masculine.

Transgender Man (aka: Trans Man)

A man who was assigned female at birth. A person may choose to identify this way to capture their gender identity as well as their lived experience as a transgender person. Some trans men may also use the term FTM (Female to Male) or F2M (Female to Male) to describe their identity.

Transgender Woman (aka: Trans Woman)

A woman who was assigned male at birth. A person may choose to identify this way to capture their gender identity as well as their lived experience as a transgender person. Some trans women may also use MTF (Male to Female) or M2F (Male to Female) to describe their identity.


Speaks to a gendered experience of moving away from the gender associated with one’s sex assigned at birth. Often just shortened to trans and placed before a person’s gender (i.e., trans man, trans woman, trans nonbinary). It is also used as an umbrella term to describe a wide range of identities and experiences of people whose gender and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is not a noun! Never say “transgenders” or “a transgender,” say “transgender people,” or “trans person,” instead!

Transition (aka: gender transition)

The process of a person taking their internal identity and outwardly expressing it in their life socially, emotionally, or medically. There are multiple forms of transition which may include emotionally exploring one’s identity, changing one’s name, using different pronouns, coming out to peers, changing one’s gender expression, legally changing one’s gender/name, taking hormones, undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, and more. A trans individual may transition using any combination, or none, of these aspects. Transitioning is not mandatory and looks different for every trans person.

Transmasculine (aka: Trans-masc)

A term used to describe trans people who were assigned female at birth and have moved away from that gender and towards masculinity. Their gender may or may not be binary (man), but their gender expression might be more masculine than feminine.


A belief that buys into both biological essentialism and the medicalization of transgender people. Transmedicalists believe that in order to be trans, one has to not only experience dysphoria, but also pursue medical intervention to reduce that dysphoria. Some even go so far as to say that someone who hasn’t had surgery cannot be trans. These gatekeeping tactics are categorically false and harmful both to the transmedicalists themselves and the trans community. There is no one right way to be trans and gatekeeping resources will only further harm people in need. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


Similar to transmisogyny, but with an added identity. Transmisogynoir highlights the intersection between transphobia, misogyny, and anti-Blackness. It stems from the term “misogynoir.” (Source: Transgender Law Center "Black Trans Women and Black Trans Femmes: Leading & Living Fiercely")


The intersecting oppressions and discriminations of transphobia and misogyny that primarily affects trans women, transfeminine people, and folks who may be perceived as transfeminine. Transmisogyny portrays trans women and transfeminine people as less than, questions and devalues their gender identity, and sexualizes their femininity. Transmisogyny exemplifies the intersectionality of oppression. (Source: Carey Sokja "Transmisogyny" | BWSS "Transmisogyny 101")


A term used primarily by trans people to describe their trans status or experience of being trans. There is still debate over whether this term should be used widely, but some communities find it useful to describe the state of being transgender.


The discrimination and oppression of trans people for their gender expression. This includes subtle and overt forms of discrimination which are fueled by the fear, hatred, disbelief, and distrust of trans people. Transphobia primarily affects trans people, but it may also affect individuals who are thought to be transgender, who do not conform to traditional gender roles, or who are under the gender non-conforming umbrella. (Source: Planned Parenthood "What's Transphobia?")


This term refers to (mostly binary) trans people who live full-time in a gender different from their assigned birth sex, often with the use of hormones and/or surgery. Transsexuals may or may not identify as transgender specifically, but categorically are under the transgender umbrella. Not all people who identify as transsexual are transmedicalists, but there is significant overlap due to the term’s focus on the medical aspects of transition. This term is becoming outdated and should not be used for a trans person unless they specifically use the term to describe themselves.


A person who dresses in clothes primarily associated with a gender other than their own. This is an outdated and problematic term due to its historical use as a diagnosis for medical/mental health disorders. This term is still used in other languages but has been replaced with “crossdresser” in english.

Truscum (aka: Transmedicalist, Transfundamentalist)

Pronounced "true scum". Internet slang for trans people who claim that someone can't truly be transgender unless they experience gender dysphoria, specifically body dysphoria. Truscum often place emphasis on medical diagnosis as an essential form of identity validation. Truscum are known to delegitimize the gender of other trans people, especially those with non-binary identities that don’t fit neatly into cis-normative medical definitions of gender dysphoria, in an attempt to confirm or validate their own binary identities. They may use the term Tucute to describe those who disagree with them.


The act of concealing or flattening one’s bulge by sliding the testes upwards into the inguinal canals and tucking the phallus back between the legs. This is often assisted by a gaff, tucking underwear, or tape, or a variety of diy tucking methods. Tucking is most commonly practiced by trans women, AMAB nonbinary people, and drag queens. (Source: Trans Language Primer)


Internet slang for a (usually trans) person who believes that gender dysphoria is not essential to be transgender. Tucute is primarily used by Truscum groups as a derogatory term for people whose gender identities or gender expressions don’t conform to binary, transmedicalist ideals.

Two Spirit (aka: 2S)

A term for American indigenous people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit. As an umbrella term it may encompass same-sex attraction and gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as part of  the LGBTQIA+ community. The creation of the term “two-spirit” is attributed to Elder Myra Laramee, who proposed its use during the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference, held in Winnipeg in 1990. This term stems from the Ojibwe phrase “niizh manidoowag” and replaces the outdated, oversimplified term “berdache”. There are a variety of definitions and feelings about the term “two spirit” from various Native American communities and this term does not resonate for everyone. (Source: Re:Searching for LGBTQ2S+ Health)


A surgery to repair one’s urethra, the tube that transports urine out of the body. A urethroplasty is often performed in tandem with a phalloplasty to extend the urethra, allowing the patient to pee through the tip of their new phallus.


A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the vagina. A vaginectomy may be performed alone or in combination with a metoidioplasty/phalloplasty. In gender-affirming contexts, a vaginectomy typically involves the removal of and smooth closure of the vaginal canal.


A surgical procedure intended to surgically construct a vagina from one’s phallus and scrotum. Vaginoplasty is typically performed as a single surgical technique, but some may seek follow-up surgeries—such as labiaplasty—to enhance certain physical characteristics. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Voice Training (aka: Voice Therapy)

A process of training one’s voice to achieve a pitch that is more in line with their gender identity and/or presentation. Some people seek professional assistance from a speech therapist to get started while others train themselves using video tutorials or tips from fellow trans folks. Voice training is most commonly used by transfeminine individuals as estrogenic HRT does not change the pitch of one’s voice.


Refers to the female external genitalia, or the genitalia of those assigned female at birth (AFAB). The components of the vulva are the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vestibular bulbs, vulva vestibule, Bartholin's glands, Skene's glands, urethra, and vaginal opening. 


Womxn (aka: Womyn, Wombyn)

Some people spell this word with an “x” or a “y” as a form of empowerment to move away from the “men” in the traditional spelling of women. This term recognizes that in the past, the history of feminism has included racism, transphobia, and has adhered to the gender binary. Unfortunately, some people use these terms in ways that exclude or invalidate trans people. Some feel that using “womxn” to refer to trans women implies that they aren’t actually women. Similar alterations of the word such as “wombyn” are used to intentionally alienate trans women by implying that all women must have “wombs”. Additionally, using “womxn” to refer to nonbinary people conflates nonbinary identities with womanhood and ignores large groups of nonbinary people who are AMAB or who do not associate with womanhood. While it has some genuine applications, womxn is often a meaningless gesture when used without a call to action. Always check in with someone about their preferred language practices before using this term. (Source: UCI “Why Womxn with a ‘X’)


The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is a non-profit organization intended to establish professional education and health standards for the treatment of transgender individuals. Their intention is to gather professionally educated and socially understanding individuals to establish a high standard for the quality of care that transgender and non-binary individuals receive worldwide. (