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 Some of these words are outdated terms and others are very new.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

Gaff (aka: Tucking Underwear)

A fabric or material designed to tuck one’s genitals against their body, creating a flatter and less conspicuous appearance. Transfeminine or non-binary individuals may wear a gaff for comfort, safety, or appearance. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)


In the context of identity, the practice of controlling or limiting who has access to certain identities, communities, groups, and resources. Gatekeeping can come from existing group members or external authority figures. It is typically rooted in the idea of resource scarcity and the subsequent need to limit who should have access to certain resources. Here are some examples of systemic gatekeeping tactics that limit transgender people’s access to transition:

  • Legal jurisdictions require a transgender individual to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria before they can change their name and/or gender marker.
  • Medical transitioning requires certain psychological evaluations to be passed in order to be considered “stable enough” to access gender-affirming surgeries. This is in addition to a  gender dysphoria diagnosis.


Often used as an umbrella term to describe a sexual and/or romantic orientation toward people of the same gender. It can also be used by a man who is sexually or romantically attracted to other men. This term is preferred over the terms "homosexual" or "homosexuality," which are outdated. (Source: We Are Family “LGBTQI+ Glossary of Terms”)



A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or another identity. Gender may be described as a felt sense of masculinity, femininity, or anywhere in between that informs the way one interacts with others and the society around them. Although one's gender may correlate with their sex assigned at birth, gender is fundamentally different from sex. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary”)

Gender Binary

The classification of gender into two distinct and opposite genders of man and woman. The gender binary is a social construct– there are many genders that extend beyond the gender binary. (Source: SexInfo Online “Gender Binary”)

Gender Dysphoria

The negative or uncomfortable emotions many trans people experience regarding their body, gender presentation, or gendered social role. Gender dysphoria could also be interpreted as an absence of gender euphoria or a feeling of disconnect with one’s assigned gender at birth. The experience of gender dysphoria varies from person to person. Not every trans person experiences dysphoria. (Source: Mayo Clinic “Gender dysphoria”)

Gender Euphoria

The positive or blissful emotions some transgender people feel regarding their body, appearance, or the way their gender is perceived by others. This is often felt when one’s gender expression aligns with their gender identity. Some people experience gender euphoria when they accept their gender identity, when others recognize their gender identity, or when their body aligns with their gender identity. Gender euphoria is the opposite of dysphoria, which is characterized by negative emotions. Not every transgender and gender non-conforming person experiences euphoria, and how it is experienced varies from person to person. (Source: Mayo Clinic “Gender dysphoria”)

Gender Expansive

An umbrella term for individuals whose gender expression or identity expands beyond societal gender norms. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)

Gender Expression

How an individual outwardly expresses their gender (or lack thereof) through voice, hair, clothing, behaviors, etc. One’s gender expression may not align with their gender identity, gender can be embodied in a multitude of ways. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary”)

Gender Identity

A felt and internal sense of gender as determined by an individual. What one’s gender is, which may or may not correspond with the sex one is assigned at birth, can only be determined by oneself. (Source: Stonewall “List of LGBTQ+ terms”)

Gender Marker

An abbreviation (usually M, F, or X) denoting a person’s gender on legal documents and government-issued identification forms. Gender markers can be changed from one binary gender to the other, or to a nonbinary option represented by the letter “X” in some United States jurisdictions. The process for changing a gender marker on an individual’s driver’s license, ID, birth certificate, or passport varies by state. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Neutral

Something that is not gendered or not designated for a particular gender. Gender neutral can refer to language (e.g. pronouns), spaces (e.g. bathrooms, dorms), items (e.g. clothing, accessories), and more (e.g. colors, professions, etc.). Gender neutral is not an identity and is not used to describe people. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender Non-conforming (GNC)

An umbrella term for people who do not conform to the social norms or expectations associated with their gender identity or sex assigned at birth. The term GNC may be used on its own or in addition to another gender identity (GNC trans woman). Gender non-conforming individuals can use any pronouns and be of any gender identity. Some GNC individuals also identify as trans, but not all. (Source: Verywell Mind “What Does Gender Nonconforming Mean?”)


Gender Norm

An arbitrary social standard or expectation based on an individual’s perceived gender. Gender norms can seem very potent in their time of relevance, but these norms are rarely static and often vary significantly over time and between cultures. Gender norms were vastly different in the early 1900s than they are today—for example, in the United States, male-assigned babies commonly wore pink clothing, while female-assigned babies wore blue. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Outlaw

A person who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of male and female. (Source: Portland Gov. “Glossary of LGBTQ+ and Gender Terms”)


Gender Presentation

A set of external gender-related cues (i.e. clothing, gender expression, name) intended to communicate the manner in which a person wants their gender to be perceived by others. Gender presentation may be masculine, feminine, androgynous, gender-neutral, etc. (Source: Trans Lifeline Glossary of Terms and Definitions)

Gender Questioning

A person that may be processing, questioning, or exploring their gender identity. Not all people who question their gender end up being trans. Gender questioning is an opportunity for one to explore their identities and reflect on how they want to be perceived by others. (Source: AACRAO “Term Glossary”)

Gender Roles

The expectations and behaviors deemed appropriate for a person’s gender. These roles are based on cultural norms and often reinforce the gender binary. Gender roles can be restrictive and harmful as they don’t account for variety in human identity and expression. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender Spectrum

The idea that gender exists on a spectrum. This spectrum includes men at one end, women on the other end, and all gender identities that exist between or outside of the gender spectrum. This term challenges the idea of the gender binary, the idea that gender can be classified into two distinct and opposite genders of man and woman. (Source: LGBT foundation “Gender spectrum”)


Gender Variant

A person who varies from the expected characteristics of their assigned gender. This term is often used in the medical community. Some individuals don’t identify with this term because the word "variant" can imply that these identities are abnormal. (Source: PFLAG “PFLAG National Glossary of Terms”)

Gender-Affirming Care

A variety of health care services which aim to affirm and support trans and gender-non-conforming individuals in their exploration of gender and transition. Gender-affirming care may include hormone therapy, surgeries, procedures, mental health support, counseling, and more. Gender-affirming care is known to improve the mental health and well-being of those who receive it. (Source: OASH “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People”)

Gender-Affirming Products

Any item that helps affirm one’s gender by creating an appearance associated with their desired gender presentation. Gender-affirming items may include makeup, wigs, bras, packers, binders, gaffs, breastforms, hip/butt pads, shapewear, prosthetics, strap-ons, and more. Some gender-affirming items are marketed solely to trans individuals while others are used by a wide range of individuals who perform gender. Some people will use gender-affirming products their whole lives while others may use them temporarily until they can access more permanent gender-affirming care such as surgery.

Gender-Affirming Surgeries (aka: Gender Confirmation Surgeries)

Surgeries that help trans and gender non-conforming individuals better align their body with their gender identity. Some common gender-affirming surgeries involve the chest (top surgery), face (facial reconstructive surgery), or reproductive organs (bottom surgery). Less common surgeries may involve the throat, vocal cords, butt, or body fat distribution. Each trans person approaches transition differently, with many choosing not to have surgery at all. Gender-affirming surgeries are less commonly referred to as “sex reassignment surgeries” (SRS) or “sex change operations.”


A person whose gender identification and/or presentation shifts periodically between two or more genders. Also defined as being fluid in motion between two or more genders. (Source: St. Lawrence University “Common Terms and Vocabulary”)


A gender identity where the gender that one identifies with varies in intensity. This might be gradual or rapid, depending on the individual. Genderflux may also be used as an umbrella term. Individuals may use -flux as a suffix with prefixes that define their gender identity. For example, they may use girlflux, agenderflux, boyflux, multiflux, and more! (Source: Queer in the World “What Does Genderflux Mean?”)


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 is inevitably tied to assigned sex. Within cissexism, cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans/gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary")



A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant societal norm for their assigned sex, is beyond genders, or is some combination of them. Can also refer to an interpretation of gender which heavily relies on one’s experience of queerness.