Glossary of terms

As I am dealing with specific subjects from within the Trans and LGBT communities, there will be a number of words and expressions used that are not in regular use in muggle society. Some are quite self explanatory and are included for completeness, others can be quite obscure.

LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The acronym is often lengthened to include reference to Intersex, or general ‘queer’ identities, or sometimes supplemented as LGBT+. While the first three letters denote sexual preference, the ‘T’ denoted Gender Identity. It is important to note that the two things are NOT the same.

GSM – Gender and Sexual Minorities. Another acronym that, although much less widely used or recognised as LGBT, but has a more umbrella meaning, making it more accurate.

Sexual Orientation – A denotion of the sex(es) or gender(s) that one is sexually and romantically attracted to. It is not related to Gender Identity in any way.

Gender Identity – Which physical sex and social gender roles we identify ourselves as belonging to. It is not related to one’s sexual orientation.

Gender Dysphoria/Gender Identity Disorder – The condition where one feels that their innate gender identity is at odds with what we are assigned at birth, either in part or as a whole. This is the diagnosis that needs to be made by medical professionals in order for medical transition to proceed in the UK.

Transgender – When one’s gender identity is inconsistent with the identity assigned at birth based on sexual characteristics.

Cisgender – for one’s gender identity to be congruent with the identity assigned at birth based on sexual characteristics.

Transsexual – Someone who undergoes, or is planning medical treatment to physically alter one’s body to better match one’s gender identity.

Transwoman – Someone born male who is transitioning, or has transitioned to living in a female role.

Transman – Someone born female who is transitioning, or has transitioned to living in a male role.

Transition – To switch from one gender role to another.

FT or Full Time – Living entirely in one’s new gender role

RLE – Real life experience. The period of time where one officially begins their transition with medical supervision. In the UK it is a period of about two years from going full time (usually starting at the same time as one’s official change of name).

GIC – Gender Identity Clinic. Clinics that are there to help with Gender Identity issues and to supervise the care and treatment of patients in transition.

HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. Simply put, the suppressing on the predominant hormone (Testosterone for natal males, and estrogen for natal females) and replacing it with predominant hormone of the preferred sex. The various medications can be administered as pills, injections, patches, gels and implants depending on the patient’s preference or medical needs.

SRS or GRS – Sex Reassignment Surgery or Gender Reassignment Surgery. Also known as ‘Bottom’ surgery and Gender Confirmation Surgery, this the medical procedure that reconstructs the genitalia to better match the form and function of the genitals congruent with one’s gender identity.

Top Surgery – Usually a mastectomy for Transmen, or breast augmentaion for Transwomen.

Transvestite – Someone who identifies largely or wholly as one gender, yet dresses either part time or full time in the guise of the opposite gender. This can be for sexual, emotional or aesthetic reasons. The term is often used interchangeably with ‘Crossdresser’ but different people ascribe different definitions to both terms so they are easily muddled. The best action is to ask an individual which they prefer. The term is, however, not interchangeable with ‘Transsexual’ which is a common misconception, although Transvestites themselves may be on the Transgender spectrum.

Crossdresser – The term is often used interchangeably with ‘Transvestite’ but different people ascribe different definitions to both terms so they are easily muddled. The best action is to ask an individual which they prefer. The term is, however, not interchangeable with ‘Transsexual’ which is a common misconception, although crossdressers, like transvestites may be on the Transgender spectrum.

Trans – the preferred term by most Transpersons to refer to ourselves. However, unless it is absolutely relevant to the conversation, we would rather you just referred to us and addressed us as if we were any other man or woman.

Admirer – Someone who is not on the trans spectrum but is sexually and/or romantically attracted to trans people. While mostly male, there are some female admirers also.

Pronoun – simply put, ‘his, hers, he, she’ are pronouns. In English, as in many other languages they denote not only identity and posession, but also gender. It is important to make sure you use the correct pronouns as it is the quickest route to upset and offence. If you are unsure, as to which pronouns are preferred, then either use neutral pronouns like ‘They’ or ‘Theirs’, pay attention to how someone refers to themselves, or failing that, ask discreetly and politely. The effort is ALWAYS appreciated.

Tranny – Short for transistor radio, Ford Transit van and transvestites. Most Trans people do not identify with this word, and when we do use it, it is either ironically or self-deprecatingly. Many of us feel that this is a slur, as it is very rarely deployed in any other context than bigotry or ignorance. If you absolutely MUST refer to a Trans person as something, please use ‘Trans’. If someone prefers to be referred to in this way, please understand that most of us do not.

Shemale – A term made popular by pornography which is where the term should stay. It is also a commonly a slung insult or slur.

Ladyboy – Like ‘Shemale’ a derrogative term, usually applied to transwomen of east Asian origin, specifically in the sex industry.

HeShe – Another derogatory term often used for trans people.

Androgynous – Someone who does not identify with either gender role more than the other, or possibly with neither gender role at all.

Heterosexual – Someone who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to the opposite sex/gender to their own gender identity.

Homosexual – Someone who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to the same sex/gender as their own gender identity.

Bisexual – to be sexually and/or romantically attracted to both men and women.

Pansexual – to be sexually and/or romantically attracted to someone regardless of physical sex or gender identity.

Asexual – To have little or no sexual desires and attractions whatsoever. This does not preclude romantic attachments,, as love and sex can be mutually exclusive.

If you feel terms are missing, please feel free to request their addition.

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3 responses to “Glossary of terms

  1. Increasingly hearing SRS being referred to as “gender affirmation surgery”. Your opinion? Thinking of a double mastectomy to delete the one main thing that define what I was CAAB, because I finally came out as agender this past weekend. Who knows, maybe this is a stepping stone, maybe I’m a guy, but baby steps.

  2. Jane

    I don’t like your suggestion that because I’m a crossdresser I wear stuff for sexual gratification. That isn’t true. I know from you’re blog that you do not like assumptions like this so i dont know why you’ve made one yourself, swapping it with transvestite which is a fetish for crossdressing.

    • The fact that ‘Transvestite’ is latin for ‘Crossdresser’ means that there is very little difference between the literal definitions. Also I did not state that people cross dress for no reason other than sexual gratification, I actually stated that it could be for sexual OR emotional gratification. There does seem to be a lack of consensus over the definitions of the two, given that the words are so similar. I have been going by my own experiences, but thank you for sharing your opinion on the matter. x

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