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While this blog post attempts to clarify and explain various terms related to gender identity, we recognize that language can’t encompass the full richness and diversity of human experience. This guide is not exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with their gender identity is unique and deeply personal. If you feel a term has not been accurately represented or there’s a term you’d like to see included, please reach out to us. We value your input and your stories.
Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.Leslie Feinberg
Agender individuals do not identify with any gender. Often, they may describe themselves as being genderless or gender-neutral. While some agender people might feel they have no gender, others might feel that the concept of gender simply doesn’t apply to them.
Androgyny is a term that can refer to individuals who exhibit characteristics—be it in terms of physical appearance, clothing, or behavior—that aren’t stereotypically associated with their assigned sex. It is a combination of masculine and feminine traits, or a lack of both.
Cisgender refers to individuals whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who is assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman is cisgender. The term helps differentiate from those who are transgender.
Crossdressers are individuals who wear clothing and adopt a gender expression typically associated with the opposite sex. This can be done for various reasons, including comfort, self-expression, and sexual gratification. It’s crucial to understand that crossdressing doesn’t necessarily correlate with an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Drag Queen / Drag King
These terms refer to performers, usually in the context of LGBTQ+ culture, who dress as and perform gendered stereotypes for entertainment. Drag Queens perform exaggerated femininity, while Drag Kings perform exaggerated masculinity. It’s an art form centered around self-expression, performance, and often, critique of gender norms.
This term describes individuals whose gender identity varies over time. A genderfluid person may identify as a man at some times, a woman at others, both, or neither. They often feel a flexible shift in their gender identity that could be influenced by different factors, including mood, situation, or personal comfort.
This is another term for individuals who do not identify exclusively as male or female. It can be used interchangeably with the term ‘non-binary’. Genderqueer people may identify as a mix of different genders, a different gender entirely, or they might reject the concept of binary gender.
Intersex individuals are born with physical sex characteristics that do not fit typical definitions for male or female bodies. These characteristics could be chromosomal, hormonal, or physical. It’s important to note that intersex is about biological variations, whereas gender identity is about one’s internal sense of self.
MTF (Male-to-Female) / FTM (Female-to-Male)
These acronyms refer to transgender individuals who are transitioning or have transitioned from their assigned sex at birth to their true gender identity. MTF individuals were assigned male at birth but identify as female. Conversely, FTM individuals were assigned female at birth but identify as male.
Non-binary is an umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively male or female. Non-binary individuals may identify as having a gender that blends elements of both, exist outside of these binaries, or they may reject the concept of binary gender entirely.
This term is used to refer to individuals who are unsure about their own gender identity or are in the process of exploring it. It’s a crucial part of many people’s journey to self-discovery and understanding their identity.
Trans man / Trans woman
A trans man is an individual who was assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man. On the other hand, a trans woman is an individual who was assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman.
Transgender individuals have a gender identity that differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. For example, a person might be assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman. It’s vital to remember that being transgender is about gender identity, which is internal, rather than physical appearance.
Once commonly used, this term is similar to crossdresser, though it has fallen out of favor and is seen as derogatory by some. It’s always best to use the term that individuals use to refer to themselves.
Tgirl / Trans girl
Tgirl is a term for a transgender woman or a crossdressing man. Like many of these terms, its usage and acceptance varies within the transgender community.
This term is used within some Indigenous cultures to describe individuals who embody both masculine and feminine spirits. It’s a spiritual and cultural role that is recognized and honored among many Indigenous cultures.
At TransMakeover, we welcome and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness, no matter what your journey or where you find yourself on the gender spectrum. You may not see yourself reflected in the terms listed here – and that’s okay. Gender identity is a vast and varied landscape, with more shades and contours than we can possibly capture in words. Above all, we hope this guide serves as a starting point for understanding, acceptance, and dialogue. We are here to support and uplift you on your path to self-realization and transformation. You are seen, you are valid, and you are welcome here.
Embrace your authentic self and take a step towards self-discovery. Whether you’re seeking a transformative experience or personal coaching, our TransMakeover services and TransAcademy are here to support you. Book your session now.