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Transgenderism, transsexualism and gender identity

Glossary of terms starting with the letter "A" to "S"

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Our glossary of religious and spiritual terms is located elsewhere

We also have a glossary of other sexually related terms

Gender Identity Disorder (a.k.a. GID, Gender Dysphoria, Disorder of Sexual Differentiation, or DSD)

As mentioned elsewhere, it is impossible to obtain agreement on the precise meaning of terms concerning these topics. A consensus is rare. Most glossaries give only a single definition each term. We will try to explain the full range of meanings in common use.

bullet50% Rule: A common belief that 50% of all transsexuals die before the age of 30, usually by suicide. The number is probably greatly exaggerated today. This is a depressing term to start off a glossary. On the bright side, sexual reassignment procedures have a very high success rate if proper protocols are followed. Many post-operative transsexuals are quite pleased with their body modifications.
 
bullet Agendered: Synonym of Androgyne.
 
bullet Ambigendered: Synonym of Androgyne.
 
bullet Androgyne: A person who does not self-identify as male or female. Some regard themselves as being between male and female; others identify themselves as being without gender.
 
bullet Androphilia, Androphiliac: From two Greek words for "lover of males." A youth or adult who is sexually attracted only to men. It is used to describe a person's sexual orientation without reference to their own gender. It is a particularly useful term among transgender persons.

bullet Autogynephilia: A term created by Ray Blanchard concerning male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals who are not sexually attracted to men but who are sexually aroused by the thought or image of themselves as a woman. This is a controversial concept rejected by many researchers.
 
bulletBerdache: A term created by anthropologists to refer to Two-Spirit persons. It is now considered an offensive and inappropriate term by Native North Americans. 1
 
bullet Between genders: Synonym of Androgyne.
 
bullet Bigendered: Synonym of Androgyne.
 
bulletBillyboy: A term used in the Philippines to refer to a MTF transgender person.
 
bullet Cisgendered: An individual whose genetic gender matches their gender identity. That is, a person who perceives themselves as a female and who is a genetic female is cisgendered. The prefix "cis" is Latin for "on the same side." This category includes over 99% of adults.
 
bulletCore gender identity: Synonym for "gender identity"
 
bulletCross dresser: A person who wears the clothing of the opposite gender, for any reason. One of the most serious charges against Joan of Arc, who was convicted by a religious court and burned at the stake, was that she dressed in men's clothing. She seems to have worn men's clothing to protect herself from rape while in the prison. 2
 
bullet Disorder of Sexual Differentiation (a.k.a. DSD, Gender Dysphoria, GID, etc.) See Gender Identity Disorder
 
bulletDrag king (a.k.a. DK): An entertainer -- generally a female bodied or female identified  -- who dress in clothing normally associated with men.
 
bulletDrag queen: An entertainer -- generally a gay man or transgender woman -- who dresses in clothing normally associated with women, often to an exaggerated degree.
 
bulletEonism: An early synonym for cross dresser, now defunct. It was derived from the name of Charles Eon de Beaumont, (1728-1810), who for many years dressed as a woman.
 
bulletF2M (a.k.a. FTM, FtM, F to M, F-M): Acronym for "Female to Male." It refers to a transsexual person who now identifies himself as male. The use of the term is sometimes restricted to individuals who are at least partly through the transition process.
 
bulletFaux queens (a.k.a. femme queens, femme performers, bio queens or Kittens): Women who dress in an exaggerated style to emulate drag queens.
 
bulletGender: The definition of a person as male or female. It is sometimes based on the shape of their sexual organs. Other times, it is based on the presence of X and/or Y chromosomes in each cell of the body. Sometimes it is based on the individual's own gender identity -- what the person believes themselves to be.
 
bulletGender confusion: See Gender Identity Confusion.
 
bullet Gender dysphoria: See Gender Identity Disorder.
 
bulletGendered culture: A culture in which everyone is believed to be either male or female, typically sorted by their genetic gender.
 
bulletGender expression (a.k.a. gender presentation): A person's appearance, mannerisms and behaviors which are frequently associated with a specific gender.
 
bulletGender fluid: Synonym of Andrigyne.
 
bulletGender identity: The gender that one perceives themselves to be: male, female, ambivalent, or neutral.
 
bullet Gender Identity Confusion (a.k.a. gender confusion): A term used mainly by religious and social conservatives to refer to an transgender person. The term implies that the individual is merely confused about their gender identity. That is, with therapy, they can change so that their perceived gender matches their physical or chromosomal gender. In reality, the vast majority of transgender adults are quite certain of their gender, quite certain that their gender is different from their genetic gender, and totally unable to change.
 
bullet Gender Identity Disorder: (a.k.a. GID, Gender Dysphoria, Disorder of Sexual Differentiation, or DSD) An individual whose gender identity does not match their genetic gender. The American Psychiatric Association defines it as "persistent discomfort about one's assigned sex or a sense of belonging to the other sex . . . [and] . . . a desire to be . . . of the other sex." 3
 
bulletGenderneutral: Synonym of Andrigyne.
 
bullet Genderqueer (GQ): A very inclusive term that includes persons who do not identify themselves as having a specific gender. Some identify themselves as both a man and a woman, neither a man nor a woman, gender fluid (alternating genders over time), not recognizing themselves as having a gender, or belonging to a third gender.
 
bullet Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS): Surgical procedures intended to make the physical appearance of an individual more closely match the gender with which they identify. For MTF transexuals, this typically includes the creation of a vagina. For FTM transsexuals, GRS may include some combination of: a mastectomy (removal of the breasts), a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), the creation of a penis and scrotum, an oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries), electrology (removal of hair), reduction in size of the "Adam's apple), and facial surgery to feminize the appearance of the face.
 
bulletGender role: Two different sets of activities, thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors traditionally considered normal for men or women within a culture. Examples are: women do the cooking in the family; men are sexually attracted to women.
 
bulletGender transition: A process by which transgender persons begin "living their lives in genders that are congruent with their self-identity, which are opposite their birth sexes." 4
 
bulletGenetic gender: A person's gender according to the sex chromosomes in each cell of their body. In the vast majority of cases, females have XX chromosomes; males have XY. Other combinations of chromosomes are possible, such as XXY, XXXY, XXXXY, XXYY. 5
 
bulletGenetic gender, genetic sex: Using the presence or absence of the X and Y chromosomes in the cells of a person's body to define a person as either male or female
 
bullet Genital Corrective Surgery (GCS): A synonym of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)
 
bullet Genital Reassignment Surgery (GRS): A synonym of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)
 
bullet Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS): Another synonym of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)
 
bulletGLBT: An acronym for Gay Lesbian Bisexual and either Transgender or Transsexual. It is more often expressed LGBT. Sometimes, the letter "Q" is added to represent "queer;" sometimes "I" is added to represent intersexual.
 
bullet GNC: Gender non-conforming.
 
bullet Gynephilia, gynephiliac: From two Greek words for "lover of females." A youth or adult who is sexually attracted only to women. It is used to describe a person's sexual orientation without reference to their own gender. It is a particularly useful term among transgender persons.
 
bulletHe-she: An extremely offensive term for a pre-op or non-op transsexual man who is biologically female.
 
bulletHermaphrodite: An obsolete and now pejorative term that refers to a person who has portions of both male and female sexual characteristics and organs. The term has been replaced by intersexual.
 
bullet Heteronormative, heteronormativity: A cultural concept in which heterosexuality is considered the normal and expected behavior of everyone, according to one's birth gender. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, intersexual persons, transgender persons and transsexuals are consider deviant. The concept often leads to discrimination against these minorities in marriage laws, hate-crimes laws, tax codes, employment, treatment by police and government agencies, child custody, medical decisions, etc.
 
bullet Higras: A term used in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to describe transgender persons who were assigned a male gender at birth and who take on a feminine gender orsexual role.
 
bulletIntergendered: Synonym of Andrigyne.
 
bulletIntersexual: A person who was born with ambiguous genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics that do not match the common male or female shape. 6
 
bulletKathoey (a.k.a. katoey): A term used in Tailand to refer to a MTF transgender person or an effeminate gay male.
 
bulletLadyboy: Synonym for Kathoey ^
 
bulletLGBT: An acronym for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and either Transgender or Transsexual. Less often expressed "LGBT." Sometimes the letter "Q" is added to represent "queer;" sometimes "I" is added to represent intersexual.
 
bulletLovemap: A type of picture or template that a person develops over time that describes their idealized love object. It might include gender, body shape, personality attributes, etc.
 
bulletM2F (a.k.a. MTF, MtF, M to F, M-F): Acronym for "Male to Female." It refers to a transsexual person who is a genetic male and now identifies herself as female. The use of the term is sometimes restricted to individuals who are at least partly through the transition process.
 
bullet Mahuwahine: A recently coined Hawaiian term for a native Hawaiian male-to-female (MTF) transgender person.
 
bulletNongendered (a.k.a. agendered): A person who identifies themselves as having no gender.
 
bulletNonoperative (a.k.a. non-op or none-op) transsexual: A transsexual who does not plan to undergo sexual reassignment procedures.
 
bullet Pangender: A description for persons who do not identify themselves as having either a male or female gender. They may regard themselves as both male and female, neither male nor female, or as third gendered.
 
bullet Postoperative (a.k.a. post-op) transsexual: A transsexual who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) procedures.
 
bulletPreoperative (a.k.a. pre-op) transsexual: A transsexual who plans to undergo sexual reassignment procedures in the future.
 
bulletQueer: This most often refers to something that is strange or odd. It is also often used in reference to gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, and asexual communities. It is also used as a synonym for GLBT and LGBT. Antonym: heteronormative.
 
bullet Real Life Test (RLT) or Real Life Experience (RLE): This is a prerequisite for gender reassignment surgery. A patient must live in their perceived gender role either as a student, in a volunteer position or at work. They must "out" themselves to friends and family and change their name.
 
bullet

Sex-change Operation: A synonym of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)
 

bulletSexual identity: an individual's overall sexual understanding including their sexual orientation (heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual), their genetic gender (male, female, intersexual), gender role (masculine or feminine), and their gender identity (transgender or cisgendered).
 
bullet Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS): An older term, now replaced by "Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS).
 
bulletShemale (a.k.a. she-male, she male) An extremely offensive term for a pre-op or non-op transsexual woman who is biologically a male.
 
bulletSinistrality: Left handedness. This occurs at almost twice the rate among MTF and FTM transsexuals than in the general population.
 
bulletSRS: See Sex Reassignment Surgery.

This list continues with words beginning with T to Z

Additional definitions:

The FTM resource guide has a glossary of primary interest to female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals at: http://www.ftmguide.org/

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1.  Kathy Belge, "Berdache," About.com, at: http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/
  2. "Cross-dressing," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. "The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," Entry 302.3, 4th edition, (1994)
  4. "Discrimination against transgender people in American, International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. Online at: http://www.ibiblio.org/
  5. Vaughn Hambley and Carol Wilson, "What is XXY?" Klinefelter Syndrome, at:  http://www.47xxy.org/
  6. The Intersex Society of North America maintains a home page at: http://www.isna.org/ They have a FAQ, which describes their newsletter and other materials on intersexuality.
  7. "The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," Entry 302.3, 4th edition, (1994)

Copyright © 2007 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-JUN-08
Latest update and review: 2011-DEC-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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