The terms covered on this page are related to gender. Although every effort has been made to make this as inclusive as possible there may still be mistakes and not everyone uses these definitions. Also, as is the beauty of language and human beings some people may have totally different definitions or understandings of these words.

When in doubt ask respectfully and in private.


AFAB: Assigned female at birth.

Agender: A person who is internally ungendered or does not have a felt sense of gender identity.

Aggressive (Ag): A term used to describe a female-identified person who prefers presenting as masculine. This term is most commonly used in urban communities of colour.

AMAB: Assigned male at birth.

Androgyne: A non-binary gender identity.

Androgyny: A gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity.


Bigender: A person whose gender identity encompasses two or more genders.

Binary Gender: An outdated view of gender, limiting possibilities to man and woman.

Binary Sex: An outdated view of biological sex, limiting possibilities to male and female.

Binding: The term binding refers to the process of flattening one’s breast tissue in order to create a male-appearing chest.

Biological sex: The physical anatomy and gendered hormones (such as oestrogen and testosterone) one is born with, generally described as male, female, or intersex, and often confused with gender.

Blockers: Blockers are drugs given to suppress the hormones of a trans persons’ assigned gender.

Bottom Surgery: Also known as gender confirmation surgery, genital reconstruction surgery or sex reassignment surgery. There are many different techniques and the cost varies.

For trans men, surgery can involve:

  • A hysterectomy (removal of the womb).
  • A salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries).
  • Construction of a penis using a phalloplasty or a metoidioplasty.
  • A phalloplasty uses the existing vaginal tissue and skin taken from the inner forearm to create a penis. A metoidioplasty involves creating a penis from the clitoris, which has been enlarged through hormone therapy. This type of surgery aims to create a functioning penis, which allows you to pass urine standing up and to retain sexual sensation. You may need to have more than one operation to achieve this.

For trans women, surgery can involve:

  • An orchidectomy (removal of the testes).
  • A penectomy (removal of the penis).
  • Construction of a vagina from the leftover tissue of the penis (known as a vaginoplasty). The vagina is created and lined with skin from the penis, and tissue from the scrotum (the sack that holds the testes) is used to create the labia. The urethra (urine tube) is shortened and repositioned. This type of surgery aims to create a functioning vagina with an acceptable appearance and retained sexual sensation.

Butch/Femme: Terms used to describe individual gender expressions in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and cross-dressing subcultures.

Butch: A term used about gender identities and expressions that lean towards the masculine.


Cisgender: A person whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth align. Often shortened to cis, the opposite of trans.

Cis-man: A person who identifies as a man and was assigned male at birth.

Cis-woman: A person who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth.

Cross-dressing: Wearing clothing that is associated with another gender (e.g., a man wearing a dress) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification; often conflated with being transgender.


Demigender: A gender identity that involves feeling a partial, but not full, connection to a particular gender identity. Often demigender people also identify as non-binary. Examples include demi-girl, demi-boy and demi-androgyne.

Doll/Masker: People who dress up as plastic dolls, usually including a rubber mask. A form of cross-dressing, being a doll is not an indicator of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dysphoria: A state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment, restlessness, dissatisfaction, malaise (general feeling of being unwell), depression, anxiety or indifference.


Enby: Based on the shortening of non-binary. Used by the genderqueer and non-binary communities as an alternative to girl/boy.

Enbyfriend: A gender-neutral version of girlfriend/boyfriend.


FAAB: Acronym standing for female assigned at birth.

Female: Biological term used to classify certain sexual characteristics in humans and other animals.

Femme: A term used about gender identities and expressions that lean towards the feminine.

Fluid(ity): Generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality, fluid(ity) describes identities that change and do not remain static for one’s lifetime. Not to be confused with transitioning.

FTM/MTF (Female To Male, or Male To Female): A person who has or is planning to undergo medical treatment(s) to change their body in order to align it with their gender identity.


Gender: A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or another identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.

Gender Affirmation Surgery: A group of surgical options that alter a person’s body to better match their gender identity.

Gender Bender: Refers to a person who actively transgresses, or bends expected gender roles. Gender-bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken in response to assumptions or over-generalisations about genders.

Gender Conformity: When your gender identity and gender expression match according to social norms.

Gender Confusion: The deliberate act of creating confusion in others with regard to your gender identity.

Gender Diverse: A person who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society. This term is preferable to gender variant because it does not imply a standard norm.

Gender Dysphoria: The term gender dysphoria refers to a diagnosis made by psychologists and physicians to describe a person who experiences significant discontent (dysphoria) with the sex they were assigned at birth and/or the gender roles associated with that sex.

Gender Euphoria: Extreme happiness or comfort experienced when one’s gender is affirmed.

Gender Expression: The external display of gender, through a combination of dress, demeanour, social behaviour, and other factors.

Gender Fluid: A non-binary gender identity, gender fluid people often feel like they fluctuate between genders.

Genderfuck: The idea of playing with gender cues to purposely confuse standard or stereotypical gender expressions, usually through clothing.

Gender Identity: The internal perception of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves

Gender Indifference: An indifference or apathy towards one’s own gender.

Genderism: The system of belief that there are only two genders (men and women) and that gender is inherently tied to one’s sex assigned at birth. It holds cisgender people as superior to transgender people and punishes or excludes those who don’t conform to society’s expectations of gender.

Genderless: A person who does not identify with any gender.

Gender Neutral: Inclusive language to describe relationships (spouse and partner instead of husband/boyfriend and wife/girlfriend), spaces (gender-neutral/inclusive restrooms are for use by all genders), pronouns (they and ze are examples of gender-neutral/inclusive pronouns) among other things.

Gender Nonconforming: A person who doesn’t conform to society’s expectations of gender.

Gender Outlaw: A person who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of male and female.

Genderqueer: An umbrella term used to describe people whose gender falls outside of the gender binary. Also, a person who identifies as both a man and a woman, or as neither a man nor a woman.

Gender Role: How masculine or feminine an individual should act according to social norms. Societies commonly have norms regarding how males and females should behave, expecting people to have personality characteristics and/or act a certain way based on their biological sex.

Graygender: Having a weak sense of gender and/or being apathetic to one’s own gender.


He She: Derogative term used to describe trans women.

Hermaphrodite: An outdated medical term used to describe someone who is intersex; not used today as it is considered to be medically stigmatizing, and also misleading as it means a person who is 100% male and female, a biological impossibility for humans.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Hormone replacement therapy for trans people introduces hormones associated with the gender of the patient (testosterone for trans men and oestrogen for trans women). Some intersex and cisgender people may also receive HRT.


IGM: An acronym that stands for infant or intersex genital mutilation. This often unnecessary and invasive medical procedure is done on many intersex babies in order to assign them one sex.

Intergender: A person whose gender identity is between or a mix of two genders.

Intersex: A person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the medical confines of female or male.

It: A pronoun used to refer to a thing; the use of “it” as a pronoun for a person is extremely offensive in its complete dehumanization of the subject.


Ladyboy (Kathoey): A male who dresses as and carries out the identity of a woman. Though the term is often translated as transgender, the term transgender is rarely used in Thailand, instead, they use the term Kathoey. This term can now also be used to refer to any male homosexual and was originally used to refer to intersex people. Due to this term becoming so broad many choose to use the English word to explain a gay man dressing as a woman as a ladyboy, this eliminates much of the confusion. The term can also be meant as an insult, especially to those who are transitioning.

Latinx: Gender-neutral way of referring to people of Latin American descent.


MAAB: Acronym standing for male assigned at birth.

Male: Biological term used to classify certain sexual characteristics in humans and other animals.

Man: A gender identity. Often conflated with biological sex, a man is anyone who identifies as such.

Man-woman: Derogatory term for a trans person.

Misgendering: Using the wrong pronouns. Misgendering can be accidental or a microaggression against trans people.

Mx: Gender-neutral alternative to Mr or Ms.


Neutrois: A gender identity similar to null gender or agender. Characterised by a lack of felt gender.

Nibling: Gender-neutral term for the child/children of a sibling.

Non-Binary: Identifying outside the gender binary.

Non-op: A trans person who chooses not to have Sex Reassignment Surgery/Sex Confirmation Surgery/Genital Reconstruction Surgery.


Oestrogen/Estrogen: The main hormone given in HRT for trans women.

Omnigender: Possessing all genders. The term is used specifically to refute the concept of only two genders.

On T: When a person takes the hormone testosterone.


Packing: Wearing padding or a phallic object in the front of pants or underwear to give the appearance of having a penis. Packing is commonly practised by trans men. People who cross-dress or perform in drag as males may also pack.

Pangender: Pan means all. A pangender person’s gender identity is comprised of all genders and may be static or fluid.

Passing: The ability to be regarded as the gender you identify with or are trying to convey. It is also used for LGBQ+ people who can pass as heterosexual.

Polygender: Poly means many. A person whose gender identity is comprised of many genders.

Post-Op: A trans-identified person who has received Sexual Reassignment Surgery/Sex Confirmation Surgery.

Pre-Op: A trans-identified person who has not received Sexual Reassignment Surgery.

Pronouns: Linguistic tools used to refer to someone in the third person, for example, he/him, she/her and they/them.


Queer: Historically, this was a derogatory slang term used to identify LGBTQ+ people. It has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality norms.

Questioning: The process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation or gender identity.


RLE: Short for “Real Life Experience” and is also sometimes called “RLT- Real Life Test” or social transition. It is the process whereby a transgender person lives in their preferred gender role for a period of time to show they can function and are happy within that role. This process has historically been a requirement by the medical establishment before any hormone treatment can be administered or an individual can go through sex reassignment surgery.


Sex: A medical term for a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. Common terms are male, female and intersex.

She-Male: An offensive term used to refer to MTF trans individuals by the sex/porn industries to objectify, exotify and eroticize the trans body.

STP (Stand To Pee): A device used to urinate while standing for trans men and cis women. It can be part of a packer or made or bought separately.

Strap On: A term for a dildo and harness to be worn during sex. Some trans men use strap-ons and in this context, it may be called packing hard.


Testosterone: The main hormone for trans men given during HRT. Testosterone has many effects including deepening of voice pitch, decrease in body fat and increase in muscle and the development of facial and body hair.

They/Them: A pronoun used by some non-binary people. Singular they had fallen out of popular use but can be traced back as far as the fourteenth century.

Third Gender: A person who is not a man or woman. Third gender is a gender category available in societies that recognize three or more genders.

Top Surgery: The surgical procedures on the chest of trans patients.

  • Breast Augmentation Surgery: A breast implant is a prosthesis used to correct the size, form, and texture of a woman’s breast. In surgical practice, for the reconstruction of a breast, the tissue expander device is a temporary breast prosthesis used to form and establish an implant pocket for placing the permanent breast implant.
  • Mastectomy: The medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.
  • Male Chest Reconstruction: Usually done alongside a double mastectomy, making incisions that will fade into the contours of a male chest and relocation and resizing of the nipples. If the breasts are small enough then the procedure can be done by keyhole surgery where the incision is made at the nipple and liposuction is used to remove breast tissue.

Tranny: A derogatory term for a trans person. Sometimes a term reclaimed by trans people for empowerment.

Tranny Chaser: A derogatory term for people who are attracted to trans people. The term tranny chaser was originally (and is still predominantly) used to describe men sexually interested in pre-operative trans women, but it is now being used by some trans men as well. More recently, less pejorative terms such as trans-oriented and trans-attracted have emerged.

Trans: An umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.

Transbian/Tryke: A trans-female-identified person who is attracted to/loves other women.

Transgender: A person whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not match.

Transitioning: A term used to describe the process of moving from one sex/gender to another, sometimes this is done by hormone or surgical treatments

Trans man: A person who has or intends to transition from female to male. Not all men who transition use the term trans man, some prefer to use the term man.

Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people; transphobia is manifested in a number of ways, including violence, harassment and discrimination.

Transsexual: A person who has undergone/is going to undergo medical treatments to change their biological sex to align it with their gender identity; often confused with trans man/trans woman. Transsexual is an outdated term, many now prefer the term transgender.

Transvestite: Outdated term for a person who cross-dresses.

Trans woman: A person who has or intends to transition from male to female. Not all women who transition use the term trans woman, some prefer to use the term woman. It is also worth noting that when trans woman is spelt transwoman without the space between them it is often a transphobic dog whistle indicating that the person writing does not see trans women as women.

Tucking: Refers to the practice of hiding genitalia so that they are not visible through tight clothing. The most effective way of tucking involves pushing the testicles up into the inguinal canal; most people can do this without any pain. Once this is done the penis is pulled back between the person’s legs and a tight pair of panties or a gaff is then worn over the top to hold everything in place.

Two-Spirit: A term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfil roles of two genders.


Woman: A gender identity. Often conflated with biological sex, a woman is anyone who identifies as such.


Ze/Hir: Gender-neutral pronouns that can be used instead of he/she and his/hers. Some trans people use singular they instead of zie/hir.

© Gillian McInerney and Alphabet Soup, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gillian McInerney and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.