- Transgender – a term that describes a person who does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Cisgender – a term that refers to a person who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Gender transition – any step(s) a person takes to affirm their gender identity; this may or may not include changes in one’s name, pronouns, physical appearance, taking hormones, undergoing surgery, among many other things. There is no one way to transition.
- Sex – usually refers to biology, but there is no one way to define biological sex. Most people attempt to define biological sex one way (usually with external genitalia or chromosomes), but the reality is there are five main major components of biological sex: chromosomes, hormones, expression of hormones, internal genitalia, and external genitalia. Most folks exist in within two binaries of classically ‘male’ and ‘female,’ but biological sex is a spectrum, and many people exist between the two main categories. These folks are called “intersex.” There is nothing wrong with their bodies, this is just a normal and natural expression of human biological diversity. See this page for more.
- Gender (Gender identity) – the gender that a person is born with; a part of who someone is. This does not have to match “biological sex,” though it often does as most people are not transgender.
- Gender expression – a societal box we check or don’t to try to communicate our gender with others. This is culturally, temporally, and geographically constrained and is best defined by social construct.
- Transman – a person who was assigned female at birth but identifies as male.
- Transwoman – a person who was assigned male at birth but identifies as female.
- Transvestite/crossdresser – a person who portrays the “opposite” gender expression, but who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Cisguy/man – a person who was assigned male at birth and identifies as male.
- Cisgirl/woman – a person who was assigned female at birth and identifies as female.
- (Gender) Dysphoria – a feeling of disconnection and disassociation with one’s body because it does not feel congruent with one’s gender identity.
- FTM – this stands for “Female to Male” and it refers to people assigned female at birth but who identify as male. I personally have grown to dislike this term because it implies that I was once female, which does not feel accurate. Of course, I was assigned female at birth, and haven’t always had the langauge or resources or safety to explain my identity as man, but I have always felt like a boy, like myself.
- Transmasculine (abv: transmasc) – a person who was assigned female at birth but identifies on the masculine end of gender expression (this is usually considered more a inclusive and less rigid term than “transman”/”transmale.”)
- MTF – this stands for “Male to Female” and it refers to people assigned male at birth but identify as female.
- Transfeminine (abv: transfemme) – a personal who was assigned male at birth but identifies on the feminine side of the gender spectrum (again, this is usually considered more a inclusive and less rigid term than “transwoman.”)
- Top surgery – a mastectomy for transmasculine folks, a “masculinization” of chest. Often includes nipple grafts. See page on top surgery for more information.
- Bottom surgery – surgery to change the genitalia of one’s body. Previously referred to as “sex reassignment surgery” or “genital reassignment surgery,” but bottom surgery is a more inclusive term that also doesn’t medicalize the experience quite as much. Many trans folks dislike the “sex-reassignment” terminology as well as this is an inaccurate representation of what ‘sex’ is. Biological sex is more than just one’s genitals.
- HRT – hormone replacement therapy — usually testosterone for transmasc folks, and estrogen for transfemme folks.
- T or E – common abbreviations for testosterone and estrogen, respectively.
This is from the following Instagram post–
View this post on Instagram
A reminder that language is incredibly important, especially when talking about marginalized folks. Words used incorrectly can have harsh impact, even with the best of intent. Of course, language changes rapidly as communities evolve, so it can be difficult to keep up! It’s okay to make mistakes. Apologize and then make concerted efforts to learn the most respectful terminology. Swipe for some common mistakes/accidental micro-aggressions and my suggested corrections! As always, note: These are my thoughts opinions drawn both from my own experience as a trans person and from listening to & learning from other trans folks around me! If you’re also trans and these don’t resonate for you, by all means, use what works for best you ❤️