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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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


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. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary”)


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.