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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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


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”)