The following terms refer to Gender Dysphoria (once called Gender Identity Disorder, GID, 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.
50% Rule: Acommon belief was once 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 (a.k.a. gender reassignment surgery) have a
very high success rate if proper protocols are followed. Most post-operative transsexuals are quite pleased with
their body modifications.
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.
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.
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.
Berdache: 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
Billyboy: A term used in the Philippines to refer to a MTF
Cisgender: An adjective referring to a person whose genetic gender matches their perceived gender
identity -- what they feel that their gender is.
This category includes about 99.4% of adults.That is, either:
a person whose DNA does contain a "Y" chromosome is considered a
genetic male. If that person also perceives themselves as a male then they are cisgender.
a person whose DNA does not contain a "Y" chromosome is considered a
genetic female. If that person also perceives themselves as a female then they are cisgender.
A large percentage of young children who identify themselves as transgender revert to being cisgender before puberty.
Cross 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
Disorder of Sexual Differentiation. This is an obsolete term, a.k.a. DSD, Gender Identity Disorder, GID, etc.) See Gender Dysphoria
Drag king (a.k.a. DK): An entertainer -- generally a female
bodied or female identified -- who dress in clothing normally associated with men.
Drag queen: An entertainer -- generally a gay man or
transgender woman -- who dresses in clothing normally associated with women,
often to an exaggerated degree.
Eonism: 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.
F2M (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
Faux queens (a.k.a. femme queens, femme performers, bio queens or
Kittens): Women who dress in an exaggerated style to emulate drag
Gender: 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.
Gender dysphoria: An individual whose gender identity
does not match their genetic gender. The American Psychiatric Association defines it as either "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
Gendered culture: A culture in which everyone is believed to be
either male or female, typically sorted by their genetic gender.
Gender expression (a.k.a. gender presentation): A person's
appearance, mannerisms and behaviors which are frequently associated with a
Gender identity: The gender that one perceives themselves to be:
male, female, ambivalent, or neutral.
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.
Gender Identity Disorder: An obsolete term, that has been replaced by Gender Dysphoria. (see above)
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.
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. The term "Gender Confirmation Surgery" is replacing GRS among many transgender persons and groups.
Gender 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.
Gender 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 This definition covers most transgender persons -- those who were identified as being of one sex at birth and now identify as the opposite gender. However, a minority of transgender persons regard themselves as now being neither female nor male, of as being of both genders (perhaps alternating).
Genetic 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
Genetic 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
GLBT: 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.
GNC: Gender non-conforming.
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.
He-she: An extremely offensive term for a pre-op or non-op
transsexual man who is biologically female.
Hermaphrodite: 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.
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.
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.
Intersexual: A person who was born with ambiguous genitalia
and/or secondary sexual characteristics that do not match the common male or
female shape. 6
Kathoey (a.k.a. katoey): A term used in Tailand to refer to a MTF
transgender person or an effeminate gay male.
Ladyboy: Synonym for Kathoey ^
LGBT: 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.
Lovemap: 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.
M2F (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
Mahuwahine: A recently coined Hawaiian term for a native Hawaiian male-to-female (MTF) transgender person.
MX: This is a new proposed honorific in English for transgender persons. (A honorific is a prefix used before a person's name as in Miss, Ms, Mr, Sir, Mrs, Dr, Lady or Lord.) Although most transgender persons use Mr. Ms, Miss, or Mrs to emphasize their gender identity, some are adopting Mx to indicated that they have transitioned from their birth identified gender to their adult identified gender. As of the mid 2010's it is not widely accepted. The UK has made "MX" avalaable for government documents. Staff at the Oxford English Dictionary are considering adding MX.
Nongendered (a.k.a. agendered): A person who
identifies themselves as having no gender.
Nonoperative (a.k.a. non-op or none-op) transsexual: A transsexual
who does not plan to undergo sexual reassignment procedures.
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 belonging to a third gender.
Postoperative (a.k.a. post-op) transsexual: A transsexual who has
undergone sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) procedures.
Preoperative (a.k.a. pre-op) transsexual: A transsexual who plans to
undergo sexual reassignment procedures in the future.
Queer: 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.
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 for a certain minimum time interval, either as a student, in a volunteer position or at work.
They must "out" themselves to friends and family and change their name.
Sexual 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).
Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS): An older term, now replaced by "Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS).
Shemale (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.
Sinistrality: Left handedness. This occurs at almost twice the rate
among MTF and FTM transsexuals than in the general population.
The Intersex Society of North
America maintained a home page at:
http://www.isna.org/ They have a FAQ,
which described their
newsletter and other materials on intersexuality. ISNA ended operations in 2008. A new non-profit organization, Accord Alliance, composed of health care and advocacy professionals, opened its doors in 2008-MAR. It will continue to lead national efforts to improve health care and outcomes for intersexual persons.
"The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders," Entry 302.3, 4th edition, (1994)