Trans Glossary 101

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This glossary was developed by the LGBT Education and Support Services Office in the Office of the Dean of Students

Agender: A person without gender. An agender individual’s body does not necessarily correspond with their lack of gender identity. Often, agender individuals are not concerned with their assigned sex, but some may seek to look androgynous.

Ally: Anyone who associates, unites, or connects with another as a supporter for some common cause or purpose. An LGBTQIA+ ally can be anyone (within or outside of the LGBTQIA+ community) who works toward combating homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, cissexism and heterosexism, and is willing to explore and understand these forms of bias within themselves.

For example: An ally could identify as a heterosexual, cisgender woman who aligns with the queer community, or an ally could identify as a cisgender, gay man who aligns with and supports his transgender friends.

Aromantic: Someone who experiences little to no romantic attraction to anyone of any gender. There is considerable diversity among the aromantic community; each aromantic person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.

Asexual: Someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who someone is. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.

Assigned Sex: The declaration by a medical provider of an individual’s sex and gender is based on genitalia appearance at birth. After the assignment, the individual is expected to grow up and exist within a certain set of gender roles “appropriate” to their assigned gender. Commonly seen as “Female Assigned at Birth” (FAAB or AFAB) and “Male Assigned at Birth” (MAAB or AMAB). Also see Sex.)

Bisexual: An individual’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to two or more genders. Also see Pansexual.

Cisgender: A term used to describe a person’s gender identity; a person who’s gender identity corresponds with the one assigned to them at birth (e.g. “male” = “man” and “female” = “woman”). The word cisgender was coined to normalize transgender experiences.

Cisgender Privilege: The set of privileges conferred to people who are perceived to be cisgender. Examples: having one’s correct pronouns used, no harassment in public restrooms, no denial of access to health care, etc.

Cissexism: A pervasive and institutionalized system that “others” transgender people and treats their needs and identities as less important than cisgender people’s

Coming out: 1) The process of coming to terms with one’s sexual and/or gender identity or identities. Coming out to oneself can be an internal process describing the decisions to take on a sexual or gender identity. 2) Coming out to others can be an external process, describing the process of disclosing sexual and gender identity to friends, family, co-workers, etc. 3) It is an everyday, and ongoing lifetime process.

Gay: A person who identifies as male capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to other people who self-identify as male. The term sometimes is used to refer to both men and women; however, it historically refers to men. Not all men who engage in “homosexual behavior” identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution.

Gender Expression: How one presents oneself and one’s gender to the world via dress, mannerisms, hairstyle, vocal intonation, body language, etc. This may or may not coincide with, or indicate one’s gender identity. Many utilize gender expression in an attempt to determine the gender/sex of another individual. However, a person’s gender expression may not always match their gender identity.

Gender Identity: A person’s sense of their own gender. It may or may not conform to their assigned sex. It may include some combination of masculine and/or feminine characteristics.

Gender Role: The unfortunate, social expectation of how an individual should act, think, and feel based upon one’s perceived or assigned gender. The social expectation that an individual must be defined as man or woman. Gender roles include behavior characterized as feminine or masculine according to culturally prevalent or stereotypic standards. A person’s gender role can also break the traditional and stereotypical binary gender expectations.

Genderqueer: A gender identity and/or gender expression that does not fit within traditional cultural expectations of the gender binary system. Sometimes this includes a political agenda to challenge gender stereotypes and the gender binary system. Genderqueer individuals may or may not pursue any physical changes, such as hormonal or surgical intervention, and may not identify as transgender.

Heteronormative (heteronormativity): The assumption, in individuals or institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality, bisexuality or any sort of queer sexuality or sexual orientation.

Heterosexism: The concept that heterosexuality is natural, normal, superior, and required. A system of beliefs, actions, advantages, and assumptions of the superiority of heterosexuals or heterosexuality. It includes unrecognized privileges of heterosexual people and the exclusion of non-heterosexual people from policy, procedures, events, and decisions about what is important.

Heterosexual (straight): A way to identify an individual’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to a different gender than with which they identify, usually within a binary system of men and women.

Heterosexual Privilege: Those benefits derived automatically by being heterosexual or being perceived as heterosexual that are denied to homosexual and bisexual people. Also, the benefits homosexual and bisexual people receive as a result of claiming heterosexual identity or denying homosexual or bisexual identity.

Homophobia: The fear or hatred of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people; homosexuality; or any behavior, belief, or attitude (of self or others), which does not conform to rigid sex and gender-role stereotypes. Homophobia includes prejudice, discrimination ,intolerance, bigotry, harassment, and acts of violence against anyone not acting within heterosexual norms. Homophobic behavior can range from telling gay jokes, to verbal abuse, to acts of violence.

Homosexual: A way to identify an individual’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to individuals of the same gender as their own, usually within a binary system of men and women. Many people view this term as offensive in that it is excessively clinical and sexualizes members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Intersex/Intersex Person(s): A person both with anatomy or physiology that differs from cultural ideals of male and female. Intersex individuals maybe born with “ambiguous genitals,” and/or experience hormone production levels that vary from those of culturally ‘ideal’ female and male. Many intersex individuals are subjected to “corrective surgeries, often without their consent. Also called “Disorders” of Sex Development (DSD) by the medical community. “Differences” of Sex Development is preferred.

Lesbian: A person who self-identifies as a woman’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to other people who identify as women.

LGBTQIA+: An acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (trans), queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual/aromantic individuals; usually referring to the community as a whole. At times other letters maybe added, such as TS for ‘Two Spirit,’ P for pansexual and/or polyamorous, and A for ally.

Oppression: A system of exploitation, imbalance of power, and control in which one social group benefits over another. Oppressed groups are often made to feel invisible, devalued, disempowered, unimportant, and abnormal, and are systematically denied legal rights and the socioeconomic access and privilege given toand maintained by groups with greater power.

Pansexual: An individual’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to multiple genders. The potential to be attracted to all or many gender identities and expressions. Also see Bisexual.

Prejudice: A conscious or unconscious negative belief about a group of people and its individual members. Anyone can be prejudiced toward another individual or group.

Privilege: A right, advantage, or immunity granted to certain people beyond the common advantage of all others. A person can enjoy certain privileges based on race, ethnicity, ability, class, body size, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

Queer: An alternative term used to reference LGBTQIA+ people. Queer is a reclaimed term and may still have negative connotations for some. As with any identity, but especially reclaimed terms, one should only refer to someone as queer if they know that a person self-identifies with this word and are comfortable with this word being used to describe them. This term is sometimes used as asexual orientation label or gender identity label used to denote a non-heterosexual or cisgender identity without have to define specifics.

Questioning: An individual who is unsure of or exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

Sex: 1. A term used historically and within the medical field to identify genetic, hormonal, physical characteristics, including genitalia, which are used to classify an individual as female, male, or intersex. 2. (Also sexuality, sexual behavior) Activity engaged in by an individual with one or more partners to express attractions and arousal.

Sex Identity: A person’s sense of their own sex. It may or may not conform to their assigned sex. See also: Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation: An individual’s capacity to be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to individuals of a same, another, or multiple genders, expressions, and identities.

Tokenize: The policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort to include a marginalized identity. For example, one person is the only (out) LGBTQIA+ student in an English class. The professor, to create the illusion of a diverse discussion, asks that student to fill in the gay parts of a discussion on Oscar Wilde.

Trans: Shorthand for “transgender,” can be used as an umbrella term for transgender, transsexual, gender queer, or any sort of nonconformity with in the gender binary. Trans may suggest identities such as transgender, transsexual, trans man, trans woman, genderqueer, etc. Trans* is used on other campus and communities. The * was added to create an all-inclusive term, however some individuals feel that itis limiting and exclusionary.

Transgender: Someone who identifies as a gender other than the one assigned at birth. Can be used as an identity or an umbrella term. Also see Trans.

Transition: The process a transgender individual may go through in order to present in a way that better aligns with their gender identity and/or to be in harmony with their gender identity. This process may include coming out, hormone therapy, surgery, other procedures, or none of these.

Transphobia: Irrational fear or hatred of transgender people or any behavior, belief, or attitude (of self or others) which does not conform to sex and gender role stereotypes. Transphobia includes prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, bigotry, harassment, and acts of violence against anyone not acting within gender binary norms. Transphobia exists in queer spaces and communities as well as straight and cisgender communities.Top of Form