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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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

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)