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Trans Definitions


Trans Definitions

Androgynous: This describes a person who chooses to live on the borderline between male and female, instead of living full-time in a culturally-accepted gender role. 

 Aromantic:  An aromantic person is someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. Being aromantic is not the same as being asexual, and it’s certainly not about smelling nice, which is being aromatic.

Bi-Gendered:  A 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. At times these persons are also referred to as ‘transgenderists’. (4 on the Benjamin gender scale.) 

Biological Sex: This can be considered our “packaging” and is determined by our chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); our hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for males); and our internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina for females, penis, and testes for males).

Cisgender:  is an adjective neologism that means non-transgender. In other words, a cisgender woman is someone who was physiologically female at birth, raised as a girl, and who identifies as a woman. In contrast, a transgender woman is someone who was physiologically male at birth, raised as a boy, and who identifies as a woman.

Coming Out:   (of the closet) to be “in the closet” means to hide one’s identity. Many LGBT people are “out” in some situations and “closeted” in others. To “come out” is to publicly declare one’s identity, sometimes to one person in conversation, sometimes to a group or in a public setting. Coming Out is a life-long process—in each new situation a person must decide whether or not to come out. Coming out can be difficult for some because reactions vary from complete acceptance and support to disapproval, rejection and violence.  

Cross-dresser:  (CD) This is a person who enjoys dressing in clothes appropriate to the “opposite” gender. This is different from a transsexual who has not completed transition to the point of being full-time. Cross-dressers have little or no interest in changing gender. Most people who self-identify as cross-dressers are comfortable with this part-time status; however, many transsexuals go through a stage of being “only” a cross-dresser until they are ready to accept all the implications of being a transsexual.  As with transsexuals, estimates about the number of cross-dressers vary considerably and many people experiment with cross-dressing. The key to this being repetition and the incorporation of cross-dressing into one’s lifestyle, mostly in private. 

Drag Queen:  A cross-dresser who dresses for more theatrical reasons, and who may also impersonate specific individuals. The difference between cross-dressers, transvestites, and drag queens although specific but often difficult to define.

Dressing: The act of wearing the clothes, makeup, accessories, etc., of one’s gender of choice- in other words being cross-dressed.

DSD. (difference of sexual development) is used to describe chromosomes, anatomy, or sex characteristics that can’t be categorized as exclusively male or female.

En Femme:  It is used in the transgender and crossdressing community to describe the act of wearing feminine clothing or expressing a stereotypically feminine personality. The term is borrowed from the modern French phrase en femme [citation needed] meaning “as a woman.”

F2M:  Female to male. A typical reference exclusively to transsexuals, as most other transgendered behavior is socially tolerated in the genetic female’s role. 

Full-time: This describes a person who is cross-living “full-time” in an adopted gender role, professionally, socially, and privately. This new role provides a practice period for the more critical–and risky–change in a professional role.

Genetic female:  (GF), a genetic woman (GW), or genetic girl (GG) A non-transgendered female. 

Genetic male:  (GM) A non-transgendered male. 

Gender: The role a person takes in social interactions, as in “man” or “woman”, “masculine” or “feminine”, “he” or “she”. Gender involves a person’s internal feelings of “gender identity” as well as external “gender role” or “gender expression”. Gender is not a synonym for “sex”, although the sex and gender of most people are congruent. “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 a tuxedo, or a short masculine haircut or bound breasts. Gender bender is expressing how they are most comfortable. 

Gender Characteristics: The physical attributes of a person, as they relate to the traditional stereotypes of “man” or “woman” and “male” or “female”, usually applied to intersexual persons. Gender characteristics include height, body shape, the deepness of voice, body hair, and also include biological sex differentiation like genotype, hormonal metabolism, and genitals. Protection of gender characteristics means that a person will not be treated differently if their gender characteristics do not match those traditions for their sex. Examples include a short man, a woman with facial hair, a person whose genotype does not match their assigned sex, (e.g. a woman who is not genetically XX,) or a person with ambiguous genitals. (See: intersexual) 

Gender Dysphoria: This is a clinical term for transgenderism, and it means “gender confusion.” Within the Transgender community, it is sometimes stated as gender euphoria or gender-gifted. Accepted as ‘we’re not confused; we just have more options”. Gender identity disorder is the currently favoured diagnostic terminology. 

Gender Euphoria: (see Gender Dysphoria

Gender Expression: Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and emphasizing, de-emphasizing, or changing their bodies’ characteristics. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex. Gender expression is not necessarily an indication of sexual orientation. 

Gender Gifted: (see Gender Dysphoria) 

 Gender Identity: Our innermost concept of self as “male” or “female”—what we perceive and call ourselves. Individuals are conscious of this between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex. For some, however, their gender identity is different from their biological sex. We sometimes call these people transsexuals, some of whom hormonally and/or surgically change their sex to more fully match their gender identity. 

Gender Role: This is the set of roles 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. Though transgender has increasingly become an umbrella term referring to people who cross gender/sex barriers, many people find an’ umbrella term problematic because it reduces different identities into one oversimplified category. 

Gender Surgery: Any other surgery required to enhance appearance in the new gender role. A M2F’s choice includes sex change, liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose), trachea shave (Adams apple), and breast augmentation (implants). 

Gender Variance: The degree to which a person’s gender expression, or gender identity, or gender characteristics is different from cultural expectations. A gender variant person is one whose gender variance is high enough for them to be harassed or discriminated against.

Getting clocked: (see: getting read) 

Getting Read: The act of being detected when cross-dressed. Transgendered people do not like to ‘get read’, but the reality is that passing requires extensive practice, and sometimes training, hormone therapy, electrolysis, and cosmetic surgery. Much of the practice of ‘coming out’ must be done in public, where the transgendered person will ‘get read’ from time to time or when he or she makes mistakes. 

Getting read can lead to occasional abuse. Transsexuals feel early attempts at passing need to be carefully planned. 

Harry S. Benjamin) Standards of Care: (HBSOC) The document that outlines the medical and psychiatric standards for working with transsexuals. Major points include (1) three months of therapy before being recommended for hormones; (2) one year of hormone therapy before surgery; (3) one year of cross-living before surgery. 

Hermaphrodite: Has physical characteristics of both male and female from birth. 

Heterosexism: Bias against non-heterosexuals based on a belief in the superiority of heterosexuality. Heterosexism does not imply the same fear and hatred as homophobia. It can describe seemingly innocent statements, such as “She’d drive any man wild” based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm. 

He, Him and His: The correct pronouns for referring to an F2M transsexual, or for a F2M cross-dresser who is presenting as male. The same rule of pronouns applies as for M2F transgendered people 

Homophobia: Refers to fear or hatred of homosexuality, especially in others, but also oneself (internalized homophobia). 

Hormones: Estrogen and progesterone (female sex hormones) for the M2F transsexual, and testosterone (male sex hormone) for the F2M transsexual. A major topic on its own, as a quick reference, there are a few points to mention. First, these are powerful drugs, and should only be used with medical supervision. This supervision is available for transsexuals who work within the framework of the ‘Standards of Care’. Major effects of hormones (breasts for M2F; lower voice, and facial and body hair for F2M) are not reversible. Significant side effects of long-term usage include sterility and impotence for genetic males. Hormone therapy is necessary for transition, but starting hormones is a decision that must not be made lightly. 

In drab: Wearing the clothes appropriate to one’s gender of birth. When a transsexual has reached a point in transition where this becomes psychologically uncomfortable, or where the person is unsure about being able to pass in the gender of birth, it may be referred to as being ‘in drag’ . 

In drag: (see above).

Intersexed: Born with a mixture of biological aspects of both sexes, to a varying degree. In actuality, there are more than two sexes. 

Intersexual: (see above)

M2F: Male to female, a direction of transition or cross-dressing. 

New man: Is a post-op F2M transsexual (see below) 

New woman: Is a post-op M2F transsexual – legally certified to be a woman. After surgery, the doctor gives the ‘new woman’ a letter which can be used to change the gender on legal documents such as birth certificates and drivers licenses. 

Passing: Being accepted in one’s gender of personal choice. 

Presentation: The totality of one’s appearance when dressing, including voice, behavior, appropriateness of clothing for the situation, etc. 

Queer: Historically a negative term used against people perceived to be LGBT, “queer” has more recently been reclaimed by some people as a positive term describing all those who do not conform to rigid notions of gender and sexuality. Queer is often used in a political context and in academic settings to challenge traditional ideas about identity (“queer theory”).

Questioning: This refers to people who are uncertain as to their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are often seeking information and support during this stage of their identity development. 

Real-Life Test (RLT: This is carried out to satisfy a pre-requisite for surgery 

Sexual Identity: This is how we perceive and what we call ourselves. Such labels include “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual,” “bi,” “queer,” “questioning,” “heterosexual,” “straight,” and others. Sexual Identity evolves through a developmental process that varies depending on the individual. Our sexual behavior and how we define ourselves (identity) can be chosen. Though some people claim their sexual orientation is also a choice, for others this does not seem to be the case. 

Sexual Orientation: This is determined by our sexual and emotional attractions. Categories of sexual orientation include homosexuals—gay, lesbian—attracted to some members of the same sex; bisexuals attracted to some members of more than one sex; and heterosexuals attracted to some members of another sex. Orientation is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics and hormones, as well as unknown environmental factors. Though the origins of sexuality are not completely understood, it is generally believed to be established before the age of five. 

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS): The most common term for surgery that changes physiological gender. It is sometimes referred to as corrective surgery, reconciliation surgery, or simply surgery. F2M transsexuals have top surgery (double radical mastectomy) and bottom surgery (hysterectomy and reconstructive surgery). 

She, her, and hers: The correct pronoun for referring to any M2F transgendered person. These are always appropriate when the person is presenting as female, and are of correct usage when discussing gender issues related to that person. 

She-male: A genetic male who has physical characteristics of both male and female, in that the she-male has these characteristics by choice (due to hormones), The term accurately describes most M2F transsexuals during the transition, but it is also used (with different implications) for a genetic male working as a show-girl, or otherwise exploiting her physiology. 

“She-male” is often a loaded word; as it is most often used by non-transgendered males seeking out M2F transsexuals. However, many she-males working as escorts or prostitutes do so because it can at times be difficult for a transsexual in transition to finding employment.

Straight Ally: Any non-LGBT person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people 

Transgender: Refers to those whose gender expression at least sometimes runs contrary to what others in the same culture would normally expect. Transgender is a broad term that includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens/kings, and people who do not identify as either of the two sexes as currently defined. When referring to transgender people, use the pronoun they have designated as appropriate, or the one that is consistent with their presentation of themselves. 

Transgenderists: (TG) A person who is living full-time in a new gender role, but does not intend to have surgery. (see also bi-gendered) 

Transsexual: sometimes (transsexual) a person who establishes a permanent identity with the opposite gender to their assigned (usually at birth) sex. Transsexual men and women make or desire to make a transition from their birth sex to that of the opposite sex, with some type of medical alteration (gender reassignment therapy/surgery) to their body. The stereotypical explanation is of a “woman trapped in a man’s body” or vice versa, although many members of the transsexual community, as well as some outside the community, reject this formulation. For the exact wording of formal diagnosis, see gender identity disorder. 

The minimum requirements for a person to be considered transsexual are debated. Some feel that hormone-induced changes, without surgical changes, are sufficient to qualify for the label transsexual. Others, especially health care providers, believe there is a certain set of procedures that must always be completed. The general public often defines “a transsexual” as someone who has or plans to have a “sex change “sex reassignment surgery” (SRS)a term which reflects the belief that transsexual people do not consider themselves to be changing their sex, but to be correcting their bodies. 

In contrast, some transgender people often do not identify as being of or wanting to be the opposite sex, but as being of or wanting to be another gender 

Therefore, Transsexuals are individuals who do not identify with their birth-assigned genders and sometimes alter their bodies surgically and/or hormonally. The Transition (formerly called “sex change”) is a complicated, multi-step process that may take years and may include, but is not limited to, sex reassignment surgery. 

Transition: This is the process of changing gender roles, and also the time in which the change occurs. The time period starts, more or less, with the decision to change gender, and ends with surgery. The term is also used when a person begins working in the new gender role. 

Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people; transphobia is manifested in several ways, including violence, harassment, and discrimination. 

Transvestite: (TV):  This is the same as a cross-dresser. To others, it carries the connotation that the person cross-dresses for sexual stimulation. This is an emotionally loaded term, and it’s is not appropriate. 

Transvestic fetishism: –  Is diagnostic terminology for a person who cross-dresses for sexual stimulation. 

Tuck: The technique of hiding male genitals so that they do not cause an embarrassing bulge under female clothing.