THE GENDER GLOSSARY
Gender should be defined by the people who live it. Today, March 31st, marks the international Transgender day of Visibility. And as ourselves and society and culture become finally more aware, more sensitive and more accepting (we still got a very long way to go), LGBTQ terms – and the correct ones – are words in our everyday vocabulary. As we are not only wanting to stay woke but also to educate, we put together a little glossary where we defined the most important, must know terms.
Please pay high attention to when people express wrong terms and kindly correct them. Only this way we are moving towards an accepting and open relationship with people from who identify as LGBTQ+. Thank you.
Did we miss something? Please write to us, and we will add it.
Disclaimer: This is taken from Refinery29 gender glossary.
Someone who does not identify with any gender, or intentionally doesn’t follow expectations of gender.
Someone who defines their gender as “other” than a man or a woman. It was coined as a way to talk about a third gender without appropriating the term Third Gender from other cultures.
A straight and/or cisgender person who supports and advocates for LGBTQ people.
A gender identity in which a person feels their gender is between 'male' and 'female' and feels both masculine and feminine simultaneously. An androgyne person may feel more masculine than feminine, more feminine than masculine, or an equal amount of both at any given time. Presenting androgynously is not a requirement for this gender identity. Androgyny/masculinity sometimes is incorrectly associated with lesbianism. It can simply mean that someone who identifies as a woman wears unisex or male clothes or has short hair.
A person has both masculine and feminine qualities.
Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, and/or romantically attracted to masculinity.
An adjective used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction
An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction (e.g., asexual person). If you come across the world “Ace” it means the abbreviated version of the term.
The gender a person is assumed to be by society, based on their sex assigned at birth and/or their gender presentation.
Similar to questioning, bicurious people are exploring whether or not they’re attracted to people of the same gender as well as people of different genders.
Someone who identifies with two distinct genders, such as man/woman or woman/androgyne. Bigender people don’t necessarily identify with each gender 50% of the time, and unlike gender fluid people, they don’t exist on a spectrum, either.
Sometimes shortened to "bi." A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Bisexual people need not have had specific sexual experiences to be bisexual; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all to identify as bisexual.
Often used by butch lesbians and trans people of color to describe someone who presents and identifies as masculine, but not necessarily as a man.
Someone who identifies and presents as masculine. While it’s most often used to talk about masculine lesbians, butch can also describe masculine queer men or queer people of other genders.
Ahh, a term you have probably come across about it so many times. So here it goes. A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. "Cis-" is a Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as," and is therefore an antonym of "trans-." A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.
Describes a person who is not open about their sexual orientation. Better to simply refer to someone as "not out" about being LGBTQ.
A lifelong process of self-acceptance. People forge a LGBTQ identity first to themselves, and then they may reveal it to others. Publicly sharing one's identity may or may not be part of coming out.
While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term "transvestite."
The name given to a transgender person at birth, which they often change when they transition. It should not be used to refer to them. Use the person’s chosen name instead.
Similar to bigender, someone who identifies as a demiboy experiences their gender as partly boy and partly another gender.
Similar to bigender, someone who identifies as a demigirl experiences their gender as partly a girl and partly another gender.
People who do not experience romantic attraction until a strong emotional or sexual connection is formed with a partner.
People on the asexual spectrum who do experience some sexual attraction, but only in certain situations, like after they’ve formed a strong emotional or romantic connection with a partner.
A (usually cisgender) woman who performs as a man for an audience.
A (usually cisgender) man who performs as a woman for an audience.
Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer women. Some women have taken back the word, however, and use it for themselves. Do not call someone a dyke unless you know that they have reclaimed the word.
Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer men. Some men have reclaimed the word, but it should never be used to describe someone unless you know they’ve taken it back for themself.
Female to male
(female to male people, FTM people)
A term used to talk about transgender men, who were assigned female at birth and have since transitioned to male.
Used to describe people who feel, and often present, as feminine but may not identify as a woman. Feminine-of-center people may also identify as femme, submissive, transfeminine, etc.
Describes someone who expresses gender in a feminine way. Someone who is feminine-presenting might or might not also be feminine-of-center and vice versa.
The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions are to people of the same gender (e.g., gay man, gay people). Sometimes lesbian (n. or adj.) is the preferred term for women. Avoid identifying gay people as "homosexuals," an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.
People, usually children, who don’t conform to gender stereotypes but also don’t necessarily identify as transgender. They are sometimes also called gender non-conforming.
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which replaced the outdated entry "Gender Identity Disorder" with gender dysphoria, and changed the criteria for diagnosis. The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis remains controversial, as both psychiatric and medical authorities recommend individualized medical treatment through hormones and/or surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. Some transgender advocates believe the inclusion of gender dysphoria in the DSM is necessary in order to advocate for health insurance that covers the medically necessary treatment recommended for transgender people.
External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person's name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
A person's internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see non-binary and/or genderqueer). Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others.
A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.
Gender normative/gender straight
A synonym for cisgender, gender straight people are those whose gender identity matches up with expectations of their sex assigned at birth.
A person who is questioning their current gender identity and/or exploring other identities and presentations.
Like gender nonconforming, gender variant is an umbrella term used for anyone who is not cisgender. The term is sometimes considered problematic considering it implies that non-binary genders are deviations from the two “natural” genders.
Someone for whom gender identity and presentation is a spectrum. A gender-fluid person doesn’t confine themself to one gender, or even a few. Instead, they may fluctuate between presenting as feminine, masculine, neither, or both.
Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, and/or romantically attracted to femininity.
An adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attraction is to people of the opposite sex. Also straight.
Often used to describe a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman who presents and identifies firmly as feminine. While many people believe that high femme women are only interested in butch women, that is not true.
An outdated clinical term referring to queer people that is considered derogatory and offensive.
Someone who experiences their gender as in between other genders, such as someone whose gender falls somewhere between being a man or a woman.
An umbrella term describing people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or a chromosome pattern that can't be classified as typically male or female. Those variations are also sometimes referred to as Differences of Sex Development (DSD.) Avoid the outdated and derogatory term "hermaphrodite." While some people can have an intersex condition and also identify as transgender, the two are separate and should not be conflated.
Acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. LGBT and/or GLBT are also often used.
A gender-neutral term used to replace the gender-specific Latino or Latina. It can be used to refer to a group of people or to a single person of Latin-American descent.
A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay (adj.) or as gay women. Avoid identifying lesbians as "homosexuals," a derogatory term.
Similar to femme, “lipstick lesbian” is used to describe a lesbian who presents their gender in a feminine way. It is sometimes considered a derogatory term.
Male to female
A term used to talk about transgender women, who were assigned male at birth and have since transitioned to female. Also seen as (MTF).
Used to describe people who feel, and often present, as masculine but may not identify as a man. Masculine-of-center people may also identify as butch, stud, aggressive, boi, transmasculine, etc.
Describes someone who expresses gender in a masculine way. Someone who is masculine-presenting might or might not also be masculine-of-center and vice versa.
Usually used to describe a straight man — although some queer men may also use the term — who spends more time on his appearance than is considered normal for men.
When someone uses the wrong pronoun or term to refer to a person, such as calling a transgender boy “her” or a transgender girl “him.”
Used instead of Mr., Mrs., or Ms. for someone who does not identify as either a man or a woman. Example: Mx. Smith.
An umbrella term used for people who do not identify as either a man or a woman. Agender, gender-fluid, non-binary, and genderless people may all also identify as neutrois.
Non-binary and/or Genderqueer
Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer. Non-binary is sometimes shortened to enby or NB.
Often used on documents to indicate that someone is neither a man nor a woman. Should not be used to talk about people whose gender you do not know.
Refers to a person who self-identifies as LGBTQ in their personal, public, and/or professional lives. Preferred to openly gay.
A Non-binary gender identity, referring to people who experience all gender identities either simultaneously or over time.
A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity.
Refers to the ability of an LGBTQ person to go out into society and be assumed to be either straight or cisgender. Feminine queer women, for example, often pass for straight and transgender people may pass for cisgender at some point after their transition.
Like Latinx, Pilipinx is a gender-neutral term used to replace the gendered words Filipino or Filipina.
Describes people who have consensual relationships that involve multiple partners. Polyamorous people talk openly with their partners about having or having the desire to have sexual and/or emotional relationships with multiple people and often set ground rules for their relationships. Polyamorous people can be in relationships with monogamous people.
Someone who has more than one gender and either experiences all of their genders at once or is moving between genders at any given time.
An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g. queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who only identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don't apply to them. But many people identify as both queer and another sexual orientation (e.g. queer and a lesbian). Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBT people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term, even within the LGBT community. When Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it typically means queer and, less often, questioning.
The classification of a person as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy. (This is what is written on the birth certificate.) A person's sex, however, is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
Sex assigned at birth
Also seen as (SAAB). Refers to the sex (usually male or female, but sometimes intersex) a doctor designated a person as after examining their genitals.
Sex reassignment surgery
Sex reassignment surgery (SRS), also called gender confirmation surgery (GCS), refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition. Avoid the phrase "sex change operation." Do not refer to someone as being "pre-op" or "post-op." Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries.
Describes a person's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.
Being primarily sexually, romantically, and/or aesthetically attracted to genderqueer, transgender, and/or non-binary people.
Used to describe a queer woman who presents masculine, but also slightly feminine. A soft butch may dress in men’s clothing, but have long hair or wear makeup. “Futch” is sometimes also used, although less commonly.
Often used to describe a lesbian who presents and identifies firmly as masculine. Stone butch people might also identify as transgender or non-binary, but don’t always. They may also dislike having their genitals touched during sex, but don’t always.
The singular they can be used to describe someone who identifies as neither male nor female. It is increasingly common for people who have a non-binary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun. For example: "Jacob writes eloquently about their non-binary identity. They have also appeared frequently in the media to talk about their family's reaction to their gender expression." It can also be used when you don’t want to assign a gender to someone. For example: "Every individual should be able to express their gender in a way that is comfortable for them."
A term used in some cultures to describe someone who doesn’t identify as a man or a woman. Third sex is sometimes also used to talk about intersex people. Third gender can also mean many different things to people who use the term as a way to break the gender binary.
A gender-affirming surgery for transgender people, often to either remove breasts (for transgender men) or add breast implants (for transgender women).
Used as shorthand to mean transgender or transsexual — or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella. Because its meaning is not precise or widely understood, be careful when using it with audiences who may not understand what it means. Avoid unless used in a direct quote or in cases where you can clearly explain the term's meaning in the context of your story.
Someone who was assigned male at birth, but identifies and presents as feminine. This person may or may not identify totally as a woman or a transgender woman.
Transgender (transgender people (do not use transgenders))
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms — including transgender. Some of those terms are defined in this glossary. Use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.
Altering one's birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one's family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one's name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person. Avoid the phrase "sex change."
Someone who was assigned female at birth, but identifies and presents as masculine. This person may or may not identify totally as a man or a transgender man.
Transsexual (transsexual people (not transsexuals))
An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed — or seek to change — their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term a person uses.
Someone who experiences three distinct genders, either all at once or is moving between them.
Gender-inclusive pronouns that some transgender, gender fluid, and non-binary people choose to use instead of binary gendered pronouns, like she/her/hers and he/him/his.