Unfortunately, like gender, pronouns are based in
two separate categories (male or female): him or her; she or he.
A few prefer the use of 'hir' to express the spectrum of gender that
they feel while others prefer the use of the pronoun of the gender
they feel inside or are outwardly portraying. As a general
rule, it is recommended to use pronouns that reflect the gender the
individual is presenting.
Finally, it is important to note that gender and
sexuality are independent of each other--one does not dictate the
other. A simplified explanation of the two is that 'sexuality'
refers to what is between one's legs while 'gender' refers to what
is between one's ears. Hopefully the definitions below will
offer additional clarity of the two.
general use of being androgynous is a person that blends both
male and female gender characteristics into a single
presentation, or someone that lacks any specific gender
identification. An example of the first might be singers Annie
Lenox or David Bowie. An example of the second would be Hirjras
(of India ) who are often described as "neither man nor woman".
Autogynephilia: The love of oneself as a woman. A sexual behavior (or deviation)
proposed in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, who defined it as "a man's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image
of himself as a woman." It is part of a behavioral model for
transsexual sexuality informally known as the Blanchard, Baily, and
Lawrence theory; an attempt to explain transwomen.
person who lives a dual life, having one role as a man and
another role as a woman. Bi-gendered People spend significant
time in each role and Have separate names, pronouns, social
circles, and gender identities. Often one social circle is
unaware of the person's other identity. Sometimes called a
transgenderist. (4 on the Benjamin genderscale.)
process of flattening (and thereby "hiding") ones breasts to
present a flat look under their clothing.
Birth Sex (or Biological
Sex, Anatomical Sex): The
common, but imperfect, sorting of people as “male” or “female.”
Sorting people by sex typically begins at birth, when (usually)
a baby is declared to be either a boy or a girl. The
determination of sex as “male” or “female” is almost always
based on the physical structure of one’s reproductive organs
that is used to assign sex at birth. Biological
sex is determined by chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males);
hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for
males); and internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina
for assigned females, penis and testicles for assigned males). Given
the potential variation in all of these, biological sex must be seen
as a spectrum or range of possibilities rather than a binary set of
slang term sometimes used for biologically born women that
portray a male identity. Also used to describe a submissive
male, as in the term houseboi, someone subservient to a dominant
Butch: (1) A
female who crossdresses in men's clothing, has a masculine
haircut, and takes on the masculine gender role, but does not
try to pass as a man or change pronouns. (2) A term used within
the lesbian community associated with a masculine or tough
whose physical sex, gender role and gender identity are congruent.
Someone who is not Transgender. Refers to people whose
sex assignment at birth corresponds to their gender identity and
A person who enjoys dressing in clothes of the opposite
sex; this may or may not also include a degree of
exploration into gender identity.
Used to describe children who have
adopted attributes that transgress the usual socially assigned gender roles or expectation, or
who do not identify as either of the two sexes as currently defined.
Drag Queens or Drag Kings:
A person who performs femininity or masculinity
theatrically opposite their birth sex. They may or may not be
transgendered. Also, DRAG may stand for 'Dressed As a
Girl', while DRAB may stand for 'Dressed As a Guy'.
Doctors skilled in the study of endocrinology; the study of the
endocrine glands of the human body, the hormones produced by
them, and their related disorders. Endocrinologists are consulted before engaging in
and monitoring of sex reassignment
castrated human male.
Facial Feminization Surgery
(FFS): A surgical procedure that alters the structure
of the human face to present a more feminine appearance.
Female-to-Male (or FTM,
Transman, Transmasculine): A child or adult who was born
anatomically female but has a male gender identity. The word 'Transman'
is the more appropriate descriptor.
Men that strive to authentically impersonate women for a
living, to include surgically altering their bodies, for
performance purposes. Not to be confused with drag queens that
present more a caricature of a woman rather than an actual
woman. They may or may not be Transgender.
A socially constructed system of
classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and
femininity to people. A collection of traits, behaviors, and characteristics that
are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness.
Traits considered masculine or feminine can differ from
culture to culture or in different historical periods.
Examples of feminine and masculine cultural associations
include: the association of “gentleness” or the color pink
with the female sex, or the associations of “strength” or
the color blue with the male sex. Gender is often used
synonymously with sex, but this is inaccurate because sex refers
to physical/biological characteristics and gender refers to
social and emotional attributes. "Sex" is what you have
between your legs, "gender" is what you have between your ears.
Gender Bender: A
person who presents elements of both masculine and feminine
appearance without trying to pass as the opposite sex. Examples
include a man in a skirt, or with painted nails, styled hair, or
dangling earrings, a woman in jacket and tie, or in a tuxedo, or
a short masculine haircut or bound breasts. A gender bender is
expressing how they are most comfortable.
The physical attributes of a person, as they relate to
the traditional stereotypes of "man" or "woman" and
"male" or "female."
Gender characteristics include height, body
shape, deepness of voice, body hair, and also include
biological sex differentiations like genotype, hormonal
metabolism and genitals.
Refers to the ways in which people
externally communicate their gender identity to others through
behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of
presentation. Gender expression is how someone presents their
gender to the world. Everyone has a gender identity and a
gender expression. Gender expression should not be
viewed as an indication of sexual orientation.
Gender fluidity conveys a wider,
more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and
behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid
children do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of
stereotypical expectations of girls or boys. In other words, a child
may feel they are a girl some days and a boy on others, or possibly
feel that neither term describes them accurately.
Gender Girl (GG) or Gender
Woman (GW): A person who's birth gender and gender
identity are identically female.
A person’s internal self-awareness of being either male or
female, masculine or feminine, or something in-between. Gender
Identity is how individuals perceive themselves and what they
call themselves. Most people experience their gender identity as
conforming to their physical sex. That is, most people who are
born with female bodies also have a female gender identity (i.e., an internal sense that “I am a
woman”), and most people who are born with male
bodies have a male gender identity (i.e., an internal
sense that “I am a man”).
Some individuals experience their gender identity as not
conforming to their physical sex (i.e., a person who is
born female but does not have the internal sense that
they are a woman, or a person who is born male who
does not have the internal sense that they are a man).
These individuals may be described as “transgender.”
Individuals become conscious of this between the ages 18 months and 3 years. Most
people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex,
but transgendered individuals develop their gender identity
opposite to their birth sex. Some of these individuals choose to
socially, hormonally and/or surgically change their sex to more
fully match their gender identity.
Gender Identity Disorder (GID):
Previous psychological diagnosis found in the DSM IV. The
term has been removed from the DSM V and replaced with Gender
Gender Neutral: People
who dress so as to express no gender or ambiguous gender.
Gender Nonconforming: Refers to individuals whose behaviors
and/or interests fall outside what is considered typical for their
assigned sex at birth. Someone who identifies as “gender nonconforming” is not necessarily
transgender. While their expression of gender may fall outside of those considered typical for their
assigned birth gender, they nonetheless may identify as that gender nonetheless. Some distinguish between
these two terms by how an individual is perceived. That is, a “gender nonconforming”
individual may have their atypical expression experienced by others either neutrally or even
positively. “Gender variant” might be used to identify an individual whose gender expression is viewed
negatively by others.
GRS: Traditionally, an
acronym for Gender Reassignment Surgery--formerly know as Sex
Reassignment Surgery (SRS) or a 'sex change'. The GRS
acronym is evolving to to represent Gender Reconfirmation
Surgery or Genital Reconfiguration Surgery, both of which more
closely describe the intent of the surgical procedure rather
than the results of. For example, MTF GRS aims to alter
the body to create the appearance of and in some cases, the
functionality of, female genitals, but cannot create, nor
transplant, the female sexual organs themselves.
A set of roles, activities,
expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society.
Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles: Masculine (having the
qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities
attributed to females). People who step out of their socially
assigned gender roles are sometimes referred to as transgender.
Some cultures more readily embrace transgenderism and have
incorporated more than two gender roles in their society.
A gender-variant person whose gender identity is
neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders,
or is some combination of genders. This term represents a blurring of
the lines around gender identity and sexual orientation. Gender
Queer individuals typically
reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and sexual
The degree to which a person's gender expression, or
gender identity, or gender characteristics is different from
See Gender Nonconforming
romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult females, while Androphilia
is the romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult male.
These terms are increasingly used in the reference of
transgender people and their attractions to people of their same
birth gender. The terms homosexual, gay or lesbian to
describe a Transgender man's attraction to woman or Transgender woman's attraction to men
About 1% of children or at least one in every 2,000 children is born with a sexual
anatomy that is difficult to label as male or female (see
www.isna.org for more specific statistics).
They are born with chromosomes, hormones, genitalia and/or other
sex characteristics that are not exclusively male or female as
defined by the medical establishment in our society. They
may be born with genitals that look like most boys’ or girls’
genitals, but have internal reproductive organs usually
associated with the other sex. In most cases, these children are at no
medical risk, but most are assigned a biological sex (male or female) by their doctors and/or
families and are subjected to
numerous genital surgeries and hormone treatments in
order to conform their bodies to the standard of either
“male” or “female.” There is a growing movement to
prevent such surgeries in children. The outmoded term is
Male-to-Female (or MTF,
Transwoman, Transgirl): Abbreviation for “male to female”
transgender or transsexual persons. A child or adult who was born
anatomically male but has a female gender identity. The word
'Transwoman' is the more appropriate descriptor.
Significant Other (SO):
A wife, husband, fiance, girlfriend, boyfriend or life partner
of a Transgender individual.
Term that refers to being romantically
or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender. Our sexual
orientation and our gender identity are separate, distinct parts of
our overall identity. Although a child may not yet be aware of their
sexual orientation, they usually have a strong sense of their gender
Sometimes used as an umbrella to describe
anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical
gender norms. More narrowly defined, it refers to an individual
whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender.
Some Transgender individuals may identify with both sexes
(Gender Fluid). Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation
(attraction to people of a specific gender.) Therefore, transgender
people may additionally identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or
Having a gender identity or gender expression that differs, or
does not differ, from societal expectations based on gender
assigned at birth.
Transgenderist: Not to be confused with "transgender" or "transgendered".
A transgenderist is a person who lives fulltime
or nearly full-time in the opposite gender from
their birth sex, but does not desire surgery. Also
called a non-operative transsexual. Sometimes the
term "transgenderist" has been used to describe what this
glossary calls a bi-gendered person.
The process by which a transgender
individual strives to have physical presentation more closely align with
gender identity. Transition can
occur in three ways: social transition through nonpermanent changes in clothing, hairstyle, name and/or
transition through the use of medicines such as hormone “blockers” or cross
hormones to promote gender-based body changes; and/or surgical transition
in which an individual’s body
is modified through the addition or removal of gender-related physical traits.
term that refers mainly to MTFs rather than FTMs.
Fear or hatred of transgender people;
transphobia is manifested in a number of ways, including violence, harassment, and discrimination.
A person whose gender identity does not match
their birth sex and physically alter their bodies surgically and/or hormonally. This
physical transition is a multi-step process that may take years and may include, but is
not limited to, sex reassignment surgery, also referred to as GRS.
Outdated term for Crossdresser.
process of flattening (and thereby "hiding") the male genitals to
present a flat look under their clothing.
A term that refers to transgender traditions of some
Native American cultures; such traditions varied