FAQ - List of Terms


via http://lgbtcenter.ucdavis.edu/lgbt-education/lgbtqia-glossary

Please keep in mind that this list is rudimentary, and that what comes with language is its ability to adapt, mutate and change.  Terms are presented to you for the purpose of communication, and this list should hardly be considered an authoritative source.

ALLY: A person who confronts heterosexism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, heterosexual privilege, and so on, in themselves and others out of self-interest and a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other queer-related people, and who believes that heterosexism is a social injustice.

ANDROGYNE: A person with traits ascribed to males and females. Androgyny may be physical, presentational, or some combination.

ASEXUALITY: A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality. Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. Some asexuals do have sex. There are many diverse ways of being asexual.

BIGENDERED: Having two genders; exhibiting cultural characteristics of male and female roles.

BIPHOBIA: Fear or hatred of people who are bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, or nonmonosexual. Biphobia is closely linked with transphobia and homophobia.

BISEXUAL: A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and other genders, or towards people regardless of their gender.

CISGENDER: A gender identity that society considers to “match” the biological sex assigned at birth. The prefix cis- means “on this side of” or “not across from.” A term used to call attention to the privilege of people who are not transgendered.

COMING OUT: Describes voluntarily making public one’s sexual behaviors, or sexual or gender identity. Related terms include: “being out,” which means not concealing one’s sexual behaviors or preference or gender identity, and “outing,” a term used for making public the sexual behaviors or preference or gender identity of another who would prefer to keep this information secret.

CROSSDRESSER (CD): The most neutral word to describe a person who dresses, at least partially or part of the time, and for any number of reasons, in clothing associated with another gender within a particular society. Carries no implications of “usual” gender appearance, or sexual orientation. Has replaced “transvestite,” which is outdated, problematic, and generally offensive, since it was historically used to diagnose medical/mental health disorders.

DRAG KING: A woman who appears as a man on a temporary basis; she may or may not have any masculine expression in her usual life. Generally in reference to an act or performance. 

DRAG QUEEN: A man who appears as a woman on a temporary basis; he may or may not have any feminine expression in his usual life. Generally in reference to an act or performance. 

FTM (F2M): Female-to-male transsexual or transgender person. Someone assigned female at birth who identifies on the male spectrum.

GAY: A person (or adjective to describe a person) whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender; a commonly-used word for male homosexuals.

GENDER: A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.

GENDER EXPRESSION/PRESENTATION: How one expresses oneself, in terms of dress and/or behaviors that society characterizes as “masculine” or “feminine.” May also be androgynous or something else altogether.  Some people differentiate between the two terms.

GENDERFLUID: Being fluid in motion between two or more genders; shifting naturally in gender identity and/or gender expression/presentation. May be a gender identity itself. Refers to the fluidity of identity.

GENDERFUCK: A form of gender identity or expression, genderfuck is an intentional attempt to present a confusing gender identity that contributes to dismantling the perception of a gender binary.

GENDER IDENTITY: A person’s internal sense or self-conceptualization of their own gender. Used to call attention to the self-identification inherent in gender. Cisgender, transgender, man, woman, genderqueer, etc. are all gender identities.

GENDERISM: The belief that there are, and should be, only two genders and that one’s gender or most aspects of it are inevitably tied to the assigned sex.

GENDER NON-CONFORMING (GNC): A person who does not subscribe to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society.

GENDER OUTLAW: A person who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of men and women. A term popularized by Kate Bornstein in her book of the same name.

GENDERQUEER: 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 thereof.

GENDER VARIANT: A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression varies from the culturally-expected characteristics of their assigned sex. 

HETEROSEXISM: The assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual. Heterosexism excludes the needs, concerns, and life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other non-monosexual people as well as asexual, transgender, and intersex people, while it gives advantages to heterosexual people.  It is often a subtle form of oppression which reinforces realities of silence and invisibility.

HETEROSEXUALITY: A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of the “opposite” gender. 

HOMOPHOBIA:  The irrational hatred and fear of homosexuals or homosexuality.  In a broader sense, any disapproval of homosexuality at all, regardless of motive.  Homophobia includes prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence brought on by fear and hatred.  It occurs on personal, institutional, and societal levels, and is closely linked with transphobia, biphobia, and others.

HOMOSEXUALITY: A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. This term originated within the psychiatric community to label people with a mental illness, and still appears within the current discourse, but is generally thought to be outdated.

INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA: The fear and self-hate of one’s own homosexuality or non-monosexuality that occurs for many individuals who have learned negative ideas about homosexuality throughout childhood.  One form of internalized oppression is the acceptance of the myths and stereotypes applied to the oppressed group. 

INTERSEX: People who naturally (that is, without any medical interventions) develop primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society’s definitions of male or female. Many visibly intersex babis/children are surgically altered by doctors to make their sex characteristics conform to societal binary norm expectations. Intersex people are relatively common, although society’s denial of their existence has allowed very little room for intersex issues to be discussed publicly. Has replaced “hermaphrodite,” which is inaccurate, outdated, problematic, and generally offensive, since it means “having both sexes” and this is not necessarily true, as there are at least 16 different ways to be intersex.

LESBIAN: A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.

LGBT:  Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.  An umbrella term that is used to refer to the community as a whole.

MTF (M2F): Male-to-female transsexual or transgender person. Someone assigned male at birth who identifies on the female spectrum.

NON-MONOSEXUAL: People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for more than one gender. Bisexuality is the most well-known form of non-monosexuality.

OMNIGENDERED: Possessing all genders; exhibiting cultural characteristics of male and female. The term is specifically used to refute the concept of only two genders. 

PANSEXUAL, OMNISEXUAL: Terms used to describe people who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for people of all genders and sexes.  Used by many in place of “bisexual,” which implies that only two sexes or genders exist.

POLYGENDERED, PANGENDERED: Exhibiting characteristics of multiple genders; deliberately refuting the concept of only two genders.

QUEER: Anyone who chooses to identify as such. This can include, but is not limited to, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, intersex people, asexual people, allies, leather fetishists, freaks, etc. Not all the people in the above subcategories I.D. as queer, and many people NOT in the above groups DO.   This term has different meanings to different people.  Some still find it offensive, while others reclaim it to encompass the broader sense of history of the gay rights movement. Can also be used as an umbrella term like LGBT, as in “the queer community.”

SAME GENDER LOVING: A term used by some African-American people who love, date, and/or have attraction to people of the same gender.  Often used by those who prefer to distance themselves from the terms they see as associated with the “White-dominated” queer communities.

SEX: A categorization based on the appearance of genitalia at birth. Refers to the biological characteristics chosen to assign humans as male, female, or intersex.

SEXUALITY:  The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, etc.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION:  an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, and/or affectional attraction.  Terms include homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, non-monosexual, queer, and asexual, and may apply to varying degrees. Sexual orientation is fluid, and people use a variety of labels to describe their own.  Sometimes sexual preference is used but can be problematic as it implies choice.

STRAIGHT: A person (or adjective to describe a person) whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the “opposite” gender.

TRANSFAG: A trans male-identified person who is attracted to/loves other male-identified people.  

TRANSGENDER: Used most often as an umbrella term, and frequently abbreviated to “trans” or “trans*” (the asterisk indicates the option to fill in the appropriate label, ie. Transman). It describes a wide range of identities and experiences of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned biological birth sex. Some commonly held definitions:
  1. Someone whose behavior or expression does not “match” their assigned sex according to society.
  2. A gender outside of the man/woman binary.
  3. Having no gender or multiple genders.
  4. Some definitions also include people who perform gender or play with it.
  5. Historically, the term was coined to designate a transperson who was not undergoing medical transition (surgery or hormones).

TRANSITION: An individualized process by which transsexual and transgender people ‘switch’ from one gender presentation to another. There are three general aspects to transitioning: social (i.e. name, pronouns, interactions, etc.), medical (i.e. hormones, surgery, etc.), and legal (i.e. gender marker and name change, etc.). A trans* individual may transition in any combination, or none, of these aspects.

TRANSSEXUAL (TS):  A person who perceives themselves as a member of a gender that does not “match” the sex they were assigned at birth. Many pursue hormones and/or surgery. Sometimes used to specifically refer to trans* people pursuing gender or sex reassignment.

TRANS MAN: Also referred to as FTM.

TRANSPHOBIA: A reaction of fear, loathing, and discriminatory treatment of people whose identity or gender presentation (or perceived gender or gender identity) does not “match,” in the societally accepted way, the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgendered people, intersex people, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and other non-monosexuals are typically the target of transphobia.

TRANS WOMAN: Also referred to as MTF.

TRYKE: A trans female-identified person who is attracted to/loves other female-identified people.

TWO SPIRIT: These terms describe indigenous people who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations indigenous groups. These roles included wearing the clothing and performing the work that is traditional for both men and women. Dual-gendered, or “two-spirited,” people are viewed differently in different Native communities.  Sometimes they are seen without stigma and are considered emissaries from the creator, treated with deference and respect, or even considered sacred, but other times this is not the case. “Two-spirit” is the closest thing to an appropriate umbrella term in referring to these gender traditions among Native peoples.  However, even “two-spirit” is contested in modern usage.

WOMYN: Some people spell the word with a “y” as a form of empowerment to move away from the word “men” contained in the “traditional” spelling of women.

I’d like to add:

MTM (Male-to-Male): an FTM-vectored or intersex person who considers himself transitioning from male to male, as he has always been male, though not in the way it is traditionally defined. [quoted from urban dictionary] i.e. He has always been male and is simply transitioning to make his male identity visible to other people.

FTF (Female-to-Female): an MTF-vectored or intersex person who considers herself transitioning from female to female, as she has always been female and is simply transitioning to make her female identity visible to other people.

FTF (Female-to-Femme): a gender queer identity that lies in the creation of a femme identity from a person’s previous or assigned female identity.

& this seems like a good time to share a link that ihatethismess shared with me.


First, I’m going to claim a difference between cisgender & cissexual. Cisgender, the problem seems to me, is not the easy opposite of transgender. Cisgender implies, or means, or could mean (depending on who you talk to), that someone’s sex and gender are concordant. So your average butch woman, who is not trans, or is, depending on how she feels about it (see Bear Bergman), is now somehow cisgender. So is someone like me. So is a femme-y gay man who maybe performs a more gender normative masculinity for his job. That is, those of us who have variable genders, who maybe are gender fluid or gender neutral but who don’t identify as trans, are now somehow cisgender.

I’m not sure where I stand on this, but I thought I would share it with you and let you all form yr own opinions. I will say that I disagree with the author that “cisgender seems to get used a lot in place of ‘ignorant or unsympathetic to trans issues’,” and I disagree that “not trans” also means outside the trans community, but the point I quoted definitely makes me reconsider my use of the the term cisgender.

Everything you need to change yr gender marker in Massachusetts.


Includes legal, health, employment, support, etc.

Tags: resource

This is a LiveJournal community recommended by LeoTron. It is for trans and genderqueer people who elect not to physically transition for whatever reason. It is very interesting and a UNIQUE resource as most trans sites and blogs (mine included) are dominated by stories of transition.

Guidelines for Schools Working with Gender-Variant and Transgender Students || Independent School Journal

  • Engage in professional development programs for faculty and staff in the area of Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD). Ideally this work is begun before there is a particular student or family that necessitates it.
  • Create and enforce nondiscrimination and anti-bullying/harassment policies that explicitly protect gender identity and sexual identity.
  • Emphasize school rules and policies that address the emotional and physical safety of all students. Data indicates that those students who are able to be open about their gender identity and sexual identity in a safe environment feel more part of the school community and do better academically.
  • Provide educational programs about GSD for parents and students. Creating an informed, inclusive environment is a community-wide effort.
  • Be mindful that standard bullying prevention programs often do not explicitly address GSD as an area of concern.
  • Use school forms and applications that are inclusive of all gender and sexual identities and family structures. Make sure language that refers to identities and families is inclusive in all written materials.
  • Ensure that your academic and social curriculum regularly integrates history, information, and events that recognize GSD.
  • Consider a gender-neutral or flexible dress code. Permit students to comply with the dress code in their affirmed gender.
  • Honor preferred names and pronouns. There are ways to comply with record-keeping regulations and also allow a student to identify in her/his affirmed gender.
  • Avoid gender-segregated activities for P.E., lining up, etc., or create groupings that allow for flexibility.
  • Provide gender-neutral options for bathrooms, changing areas, locker rooms.
  • Develop clear guidelines for gender variant and transgender students regarding athletic teams participation, overnight trips, same-sex activities and clubs, etc. These students need clear rules and expectations just like all students do.
  • Respect students’ right to be “out” about particular aspects of their gender and sexuality identity, as well as their rights to privacy. Not all students, or families want to be spokespeople or activists for these issues.
  • Recognize that the needs of gender variant children and transgender teens are similar to and different from students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
  • Provide GSD resources to ail community members. Make sure your library has accessible information and that your Internet filters do not prevent students, faculty, or parents from finding relevant information.
  • If you have a gender variant child in your school, put together a team, including a professional therapist and/or consultant, to create plans and approaches on a case-by-case basis. Each child and school community has particular needs that can best be addressed with a collaborative consultation model.
  • Understand that for gender variant children, transgender teens, and their families, a private school may be seen as their best option. These schools have the ability to create community, policy, programs, and curricula that reflect an independent vision of inclusion and equity.
  • Remember that helping your school community examine unhealthy gender-role stereotyping is a benefit to all, not just those students who are gender variant.


  • Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. C, and Diaz, E. M. (2009). Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. New York: GLSEN.
  • Brill, S. and Pepper, R. (2008) The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, San Francisco: Cleis Press, Inc.
  • Lee, S. When It Counts: Talking About Transgender Identity and Gender Fluidity in Elementary School. Available at: www.genderspectrum.org/pdfs/susanlee.pdf

Guidelines for Parents of Gender-Variant Children || Lynne Michelle Howard, co-founder of Trans Youth Education and Support Colorado, Independent School Journal

Five years ago my now-13-year-old daughter transitioned to being the girl she always said she was. After having worked with many families with transgender kids and co-founding a support group in Colorado, here is my advice.

  • Don’t be afraid to let kids explore gender differences. It’s normal and healthy. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Parents can’t make their kids gender variant.
  • If a child tells you s/he is a different gender or that s/he hates her/his body parts, don’t scoff. Kids going through a “phase” rarely use these words.
  • Not all children have words for explaining to adults that their brain and spirit do not match their body. Don’t assume they aren’t gender variant if they don’t actually tell you they are.
  • Support gender variant kids from an early age. Understand that gender variance is not the same thing as sexual orientation. It is about who people are, not about sexual attraction.
  • Studies show that some humans “understand” if they are boys or girls as early as 18 months.
  • Don’t let your fears of being judged affect how you decide to support your child. More people than you think are aware of transgender issues, and they are more supportive than you might assume.
  • Reach out for those who have been on this path. Croups like TYFA (www.imatyfa.org) and PFLAC (www.pflag.org) can help you find professionals who can help as well.
  • Make sure your professional is qualified. Therapists without experience in gender issues can hurt more than they help.
  • Your child has more rights than you think. Don’t let one negative school administrator or teacher be the last word. The groups above can help.
  • Educate, love, and support. These kids have the highest suicide rates of any youth group. They need support and understanding from everyone.