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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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


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.)! (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary")


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.