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Transgenderism, transsexualism and gender identity

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

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We also have a glossary of other sexually related terms

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.

bullet 50% Rule: A common 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.
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.
bullet 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
bullet Between genders: Synonym of Androgyne.
bullet Bigendered: Synonym of Androgyne.
bullet Billyboy: A term used in the Philippines to refer to a MTF transgender person.

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.

The prefix "cis" is Latin for "on the same side."

bullet Core gender identity: Synonym for "gender identity"
bullet 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
bullet Disorder of Sexual Differentiation. This is an obsolete term, a.k.a. DSD, Gender Identity Disorder, GID, etc.) See Gender Dysphoria

bullet Drag king (a.k.a. DK): An entertainer -- generally a female bodied or female identified  -- who dress in clothing normally associated with men.
bullet Drag queen: An entertainer -- generally a gay man or transgender woman -- who dresses in clothing normally associated with women, often to an exaggerated degree.
bullet 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.
bullet 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 transition process.
bullet Faux queens (a.k.a. femme queens, femme performers, bio queens or Kittens): Women who dress in an exaggerated style to emulate drag queens.
bullet 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.
bullet Gender Confirmation Surgery: A recent and often preferred synonym for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS).

bullet Gender confusion: See Gender Identity Confusion.
bullet 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

bullet Gendered culture: A culture in which everyone is believed to be either male or female, typically sorted by their genetic gender.
bullet Gender expression (a.k.a. gender presentation): A person's appearance, mannerisms and behaviors which are frequently associated with a specific gender.
bullet Gender fluid: Synonym of Andrigyne.
bullet Gender 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: An obsolete term, that has been replaced by Gender Dysphoria. (see above)
bullet Genderneutral: 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. The term "Gender Confirmation Surgery" is replacing GRS among many transgender persons and groups.
bullet 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).

bullet 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
bullet 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
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)
bullet 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.
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.
bullet He-she: An extremely offensive term for a pre-op or non-op transsexual man who is biologically female.
bullet 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.
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.
bullet Intergendered: Synonym of Andrigyne.
bullet 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
bullet Kathoey (a.k.a. katoey): A term used in Tailand to refer to a MTF transgender person or an effeminate gay male.
bullet Ladyboy: Synonym for Kathoey ^
bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet 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 process.
bullet Mahuwahine: A recently coined Hawaiian term for a native Hawaiian male-to-female (MTF) transgender person.
bullet 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.
bullet Nongendered (a.k.a. agendered): A person who identifies themselves as having no gender.
bullet Nonoperative (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 belonging to a third gender.
bullet Postoperative (a.k.a. post-op) transsexual: A transsexual who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) procedures.
bullet Preoperative (a.k.a. pre-op) transsexual: A transsexual who plans to undergo sexual reassignment procedures in the future.
bullet 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.
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 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.

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

bullet 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).
bullet Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS): An older term, now replaced by "Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS).
bullet 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.
bullet Sinistrality: Left handedness. This occurs at almost twice the rate among MTF and FTM transsexuals than in the general population.
bullet SRS: 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:

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,", at:
  2. "Cross-dressing," Wikipedia, at:
  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:
  5. Vaughn Hambley and Carol Wilson, "What is XXY?" Klinefelter Syndrome, at:
  6. The Intersex Society of North America maintained a home page at: 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.
  7. "The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," Entry 302.3, 4th edition, (1994)

Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-JUN-08
Latest update and review: 2017-DEC-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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