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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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

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”)