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Home » tvChix Articles » Transgender Glossary and Terminology

The Complete Guide to Transgender Terminology

Assigned Gender: When a child is born, western society assigns them a gender based on their genitalia. This is sometimes expressed as AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) and AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth).

Autogynephilia: Sexual arousal triggered by imagining oneself as female. Most transsexuals reject this theory if applied to their identity. On the other hand, there are many transvestites who feel it describes them very well.

Binary Gender: Splitting humanity into two mutually exclusive genders, male and female.

Bind: Binding the chest to hide breasts. This is typically done by trans men, but trans women who are on hormones and yet have need to present as male may do it as well.

Bottom Surgery: Usually applied to trans men, describing sex reassignment surgery on the genitalia.

Breast Forms/Breast Enhancers: A variety of prosthetics that may be used to make breasts appear larger.

CD/Cross Dresser: Someone who dresses in the clothes of the opposite gender.

Cis-: This is the Latin opposite of "trans", meaning "on the same side." Some people will use it for non-trans people during discussions of transgender issues.

Coming Out: Informing people of some aspect of identity or orientation that had been hidden before.

Drag: Cross dressing, often for theatrical purposes.

Female to Male/FtM: A female assigned at birth person who identifies as male.

Gaff: A panty-like clothing item which helps hide the bulge of male genitalia through clothing.

Gender Dysphoria: A negative response to ones assigned gender or sex characteristics. Severe cases may only be treated through surgical correction to make the body match ones gender identity.

Gender Identity: The gender with which one identifies. While this may develop and evolve over the course of a lifetime, it doesn't currently appear to be something subject to willful change.

Genderqueer: A broad category for those who do not readily or easily fall into a binary gender category. Some using this label may identify as a third gender.

Gender Reassignment Surgery/Sex Reassignment Surgery: This may cover any of the surgeries which a transsexual may have as part of their transition, though it's commonly used in reference to genital sculpting surgeries.

Gender Roles: The socially created norms for gendered behavior, which differ across cultures and time.

Gender Identity Disorder: A disorder in which the afflicted suffers from large amounts of gender dysphoria.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Any form of medical treatment in which the patient receives hormones. This is often the start of medical transition for transsexuals.

Intersex: A broad collection of conditions which cause ambiguous, intermediate or mixed sex characteristics. This is an alternative to the term "hermaphrodite", which is medically inaccurate and seen as offensive.

Male to Female/MtF: A male assigned at birth person who identifies as female.

Non-Op: A transsexual who has no plans to pursue SRS.

Pack: The practice of adding some object or material to create or enhance the appearance of a male bulge through clothing.

Passing: Being accepted as the presented gender.

Pre-Op: A transsexual who plans to have SRS, but has not yet had it.

Post-Op: A transsexual who has had SRS.

Presentation: Usually used to refer to ones gender presentation in public. This can cover hair, makeup, clothing, voice, mannerisms and more.

Primary Sex Characteristics: The organs associated with the reproductive system, both external and internal. The penis, testicles, labia, and vagina are common examples.

Real Life Test: A period of living as ones target gender for a set amount of time, which many transsexuals are required to do in order to gain access to hormones.

Secondary Sex Characteristics: Physical characteristics and organs associated with sex, but not directly involved in reproduction. Pubic hair and breasts are common examples.

Stealth: A transsexual who passes and does not disclose the gender they were assigned at birth.

Target Sex: The sex a transsexual is transitioning towards.

Top Surgery: A surgery for trans men to sculpt the chest.

Transgender: An umbrella term covering a wide spectrum of identities and behaviors. This may be used to refer to anyone who transgresses their assigned gender.

Transition: The process for a transgender person to socially/physically transition from living and being seen as one gender/sex to another.

Trans Man: A person who was assigned female at birth who identifies as male.

Transsexual: A person who identifies with a gender at odds with their biological sex. Often this identification goes beyond cultural trappings of gender and is associated with acute distress over their biological sex.

Transvestite: A cross dresser, especially someone who derives sexual pleasure from cross dressing. This term is often seen as offensive when applied to transsexuals, though cross dressers are not typically bothered by it.

Trans Woman: a person who was assigned male at birth who identifies as female.

Tucking: A method to hide male genitalia through clothing.



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