Trans 101: Terms to Know

  • Asexual – Someone who typically doesn’t experience sexual feelings or desires
  • Bisexual – This used to refer to anyone who was attracted to all genders, but actually is a person attracted to 2 genders.
  • Cisgender – Someone who is Cisgener or “Cis”, is someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.
  • Dead name– This is also a person’s birth name.  For most trans people, once a new name has been chosen, their birth name becomes a “dead name”.  Meaning, it’s not in use, so DO NOT use it.
  • FTM– A person who was perceived to be female at birth, but actually identifies as a male.
  • Gender fluid – a person who feels more comfortable not identifying as male or female, but can move fluidly back and forth between genders.
  • Misgender – To refer to someone by the wrong pronoun.  Esp in situations where an individual has expressed their desire to be recognized as one gender, but gets called the opposite.  This can be incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassing, for everyone.  The best way to handle it though, is to correct yourself and keep going, without making a big deal out of it.
  • MTF – A person who was perceived to be male at birth, but actually identifies as a female.
  • Nonbinary –  A person whose gender identity/expression may not fit in with the male vs. female (binary) system.
  • Transgender– A person who’s perceived gender and personal identity do not align. Many of us just want to be comfortable in our own skin, so we can be our authentic selves.
  • Transitioning – This is the process that someone who is transgender will go through in order to feel more comfortable within their own skin.  For instance, someone who was assigned female at birth, but identifies as male, may begin hormone therapy and begin making changes to their outward appearance.  For some, this will include having surgery, a name change, and more.  For others, it’s a matter of changing how they dress.  Everyone’s process is 100% different and no one’s journey is less valid than any others.
  • Transexual– An outdated term that once meant someone who was transgender, although it was also used to signify someone who had actually completed sexual reassignment surgery.
  • Transphobic -Fear and or dislike of the transgender community, simply because of their gender expression.
  • Pansexual – A person whose attraction is based on the person and not the gender.
  • Passing – When someone looks like their authentic self, but may not have had full sexual reassignment surgery.
  • Queer – used to be a derogatory term, but has fairly recently been embraced by people to label both gender and sexuality for people who do not feel as they fit into any one category.
  • Safe Space – Places where patrons and visitors can be themselves without fear of harassment or bullying.