Basic Terms to Know

  • Asexual -An asexual person (“ace”, for short) is simply someone who does not experience sexual attraction.  That’s all there is to it.  Aces can be any sex or gender or age or ethnic background or body type, can be rich or poor, can wear any clothing style, and can be any religion or political affiliation.

In short:  There is no asexual “type”. For more information on asexuality, please visit our friends at


  • Bisexual -Bisexuality is a diverse sexual orientation, because people within the bi+ community define it in various ways. Some identify as bisexual, while others use pansexual, queer, fluid, or no label at all to describe their attractions to more than one gender.  For more information on bisexuality please visit


  • 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.


  • Genderfluid – a person who feels more comfortable not identifying as male or female, but can move fluidly back and forth between genders.


  • Gender Dysphoria: In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-V), which replaced the outdated entry “Gender Identity Disorder” with gender dysphoria, and changed the criteria for diagnosis. The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis remains controversial.


  • Gender Expression: External manifestations of gender expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and or body characteristics.


  • Gender Identity: A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of a man or woman. For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two boxes (see non-binary).


  • Gender non-conforming: A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. (Sometimes called “Genderqueer”)


  • Gender Spectrum-While our gender may begin with the assignment of our sex, it doesn’t end there. A person’s gender is the complex interrelationship between three dimensions:– Body: our body, our experience of our own body, how society genders bodies, and how others interact with us based on our body. 

Intersex: An umbrella term describing people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or a chromosome pattern that can’t be classified as typically male or female. This used to fall under the term “hermaphrodite,” which is considered offensive and outdated. Intersex is not the same thing as transgender.

Misgender – To refer to someone by the wrong pronoun (such as calling someone who is FTM “she or her”.  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 and causing further embarrassment.


  • 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. Often associated with gender fluidity.


  • Pansexual: “Pan”, meaning “all-inclusive”, is an expression for a person’s attraction to multiple genders. Some pansexual people describe their attraction as being based on chemistry rather than gender, but everyone is different.
  • Passing – Typically someone who identifies outside of the binary system that looks to fit within the society’s accepted norms of their identified gender; despite where or not they have had HRT or SRS
  • Queer: An adjective used by some people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual. Typically, for those who only identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived as too limiting.


  • Safe Space – Places where patrons or visitors can be themselves without fear of harassment or bullying.  Sincere hosts, commit themselves to keeping their facility free from bullying in harassment.  It’s important that safe spaces not continue to allow abusers into these spaces no matter what.


  • Sex Assigned at Birth: Refers to the sex (usually male or female, but sometimes intersex) a doctor designated a person after examining their genitals at birth.


  • Sexual orientation: Describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer.


  • Sex reassignment surgery (SRS): Also called gender confirmation surgery (GCS), refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of a transition. Avoid the phrase “sex change operation,” and do not refer to someone as being “pre-op” or “post-op.” Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries.


  • Top surgery: A gender-affirming surgery for transgender people, often to either remove breasts or add breast implants.


  • 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 basically was applied to someone who was transgender, although it was most often 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.


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