*Editor’s Note: My beloved “Andi Doll,” (as her friends call her) wrote me this quick dictionary of terms about the trans community, There are many things I love about her, but certainly one of them is that I know I can ask her anything and she will answer me with compassion and clarity, even if my questions are fumbled and stupid. She wrote this for me when I, slightly exasperated, first stumbled across the prefix “cis” and had no idea what it meant, except that it was yet another term I was going to have to remember to use so as not to get in trouble with someone. I needed this handy guide and love her for writing it for me. I figure that if I needed it, a lot of you probably do to.
An umbrella term used to describe someone who has exhibits a non-conforming gender identity. Someone who does not identify with the gender designation they were assigned based on their genitals at birth. It does not necessarily imply surgery, simply a person who was, for instance, born with male genitalia but considers themselves female.
Female to Male (FTM,) Male to Female (MTF,) Transsexual Female (TF), Transsexual Male (TM).
Someone who is also Transgender and has had surgery and/or hormonal treatment to make one’s body as congruent as possible with one’s gender identity. They may or may not have had SRS(sexual re-assignment surgery) otherwise known as “bottom surgery” to change their external genitalia.
Can mean either a Transsexual Man, Transgender Man, Transsexual Female, Transgender Female. This is very general language.
A male or female who occasionally dresses in the clothing of the opposite gender, but does not identify with the gender.
A male who wears typically female clothing, but identifies as male. A female who wears typically male clothing, but identifies as female. Both males and females can be crossdressers. This does not imply that they are trans, or homosexual, or anything else.
A male or female who dresses in the clothing of the opposite gender and is sexually excited by act of wearing the clothing.
They generally want to retain the gender identity designation they were assigned based on their genitals at birth. Both males and females can be transvestites.
Someone who does not identify with any gender identity. Neither typically male or typically female.
Cisgender: (cis male, cis female)
Individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity. Traditional male or female gender identities. The word has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis, meaning “to/this the near side,” which is opposite the Latin-derived prefix “trans”. (Andi, at this point, informed me that I am a cis female. I can remember that.)