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Transgender Terms

In the beginning were Adam and Eve. Since then, things have become more complex. The following words are taken from a variety of sources and are sometimes cross-referenced. Some are emotionally- or politically-charged and will not please everyone.

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Age play: role playing involving pretending to be a child and often wearing children's clothing. Adult babies.
Androgyne: a person psychologically intermediate between male and female; or a person who rejects a specifically male or female gender role.

Androgynous: having elements of both a male and a female personality; may also refer to appearance and dress. Androgyny.

Berdache: male-to-female and female-to-male crossdressers who were accepted and performed a variety of roles in various North American Indian societies. The word in its original language is negative, so one sociologist writing about these individuals has used the the terms man-woman and woman-man.

Bisexual: a person sexually attracted to both sexes.

Bull dagger: an extremely masculine lesbian. The term is often used negatively.

Butch: a masculine-appearing person. Often used to describe an assertive, somewhat masculine lesbian.

Camp: an affectation usually done in humor which might involve a satirical or sarcastic depiction of the opposite sex.

CD: crossdresser, crossdressing.

Cherry: represents the Virgin Goddess, also used in the title of the book Cherry Single, which can be read on this web site (I'm shameless).

Closeted: hiding one's sexuality or gender predilection from others or the public. Closet case.

Come out: to tell others about one's hidden sexual or gender orientation. May involve only closest friends, or family members and employer.

Crossdresser: a person who occasionally dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex for sexual or emotional pleasure, or both. The most commonly-used term, having replaced transvestite. May be male or female, hetero- or homosexual, bi- or solosexual, and may partially or wholly cross-dress.

Depilation: removal of hair. Transsexuals often use electrolysis.

Domination: sexual role playing involving power over another. See also: masochism. Bondage and domination, or BD, B/D.

Dominatrix: the dominating female partner in a sadomasochistic relationship, sometimes a paid professional.

Drag: crossdressing, especially in public or in a performance. Drag queen, drag king.

Dyke: once used to indicate a butch (masculine role) lesbian, but now referring to any lesbian.

Effeminate: having the qualities of a woman, or a man having feminine mannerisms or personality. Effeminism.

Female impersonator: a man portraying a woman in a public performance.

Feminine: a highly subjective concept of the essential qualities of a woman.

Femme: a feminine-appearing person, usually used to describe a woman.

Fetish: a specific object or body part capable of creating sexual arousal; examples are high heels, leather, feet and certain fabrics. Fetishism, fetishistic.

FTM: female to male, as in crossdressing or a transsexual.

Gay: one who prefers sex with another of the same sex.

Gender: the social-cultural expression of a person's biological sex (or self-perception of one's sex, which may vary from the strictly biological). Sometimes used to mean expressly male or female.

Gender identity: the self-perception of being male or female, or a combination of the two.

Gender dysphoria: condition when one's perception of one's gender doesn't match one's biological sex ("I am a man in a woman's body").

Genderfuck: sending mixed gender messages, especially through appearance, such as wearing a prom dress, combat boots and a mustache.

Gender outlaw: a person who flouts the usual gender roles.

Gender role: culturally accepted behavior indicating a male or female.

Hermaphrodite: a person biologically between female and male, sometimes with genital and /or reproductive body parts of both sexes. More in favor: intersexual.

Homosexual: one who prefers sex with another of the same sex.

Intersexual: a person biologically between female and male, sometimes with genital and/or reproductive body parts of both sexes. Replaces hermaphrodite. At one time meant homosexual.

Lesbian: a woman or male-to-female post-operative transsexual preferring sex with a woman.

Macho: describing extreme masculinity which may involved the subordination of women. Machismo.

Masculine: a highly subjective concept of the essential qualities of a man.

MTF: male to female, as in crossdressing or a transsexual.

Pansexual: involving all gender variations, sexual orientations and activities.

Pansy: negative term for a boy or man having feminine qualities.

Passing: crossdressing well enough to be seen as a member of the opposite sex.

Queen: as distinct from a drag queen, a gay crossdresser often looked up to by other gay men as an organizer and social locus.

Petticoat discipline: punishing or humiliating a boy by dressing him as a girl.

Power exchange: sexual role-playing when one acts as the dominant and the other the submissive.

Sadomasochism: inflicting and receiving pain, often to produce sexual excitement. See also: domination. Masochism, SM, S&M, S/M.

Sex: other than having sex, one's biological assignment as male or female, or in between (see intersexual).

Sex hormones: substances produced by the testes, ovaries and adrenal glands in different quantities in females and males which promote bodily sexual characteristics. Certain hormones artificially taken by men can grow breasts. Other hormones taken by women can grow facial hair and lower the voice.

Sex reassignment surgery: surgery to change, within the limits of surgical possibility, a person's genitals to those of the other sex (and retain the possibility of sexual stimulation). In male-to-female conversion, the penis is converted to a vagina. In female-to-male conversion, the challenge has been to create a version of a penis.

Sexual identity: how one perceives oneself as male, female, or in between. A biological female may identify as a male and vice versa.

Sexual orientation: how a person chooses to have sex -- with the same or opposite sex, with both, with oneself, or not at all (asexual).

S/he: can be used in place of the generic "he," which has been used as a cover term for all males and females (similar to the usage "man's role on earth" to indicate everyone).

Sissy: a boy or man seen as having feminine qualities; often a negative term.

Solosexual: having a preference for sex with one's self (a term invented by Valory Gravois; please advise if there is a better existing word)

SRS: sex reassignment surgery.

TG: transgender

Tomboy: a girl who prefers the activities, privileges and dress of boys, and avoids female restrictions; sometimes used to describe adult women.

Transgender: a popular cover term designating those not traditionally male or female (i.e., between the genders), including crossdressers, transsexuals, intersexuals, gender dysphorics, and those for whom no label yet exists. Transgendered, transgenderism, transgenderist.

Transsexual: a person who feels his/her gender or identity doesn't match their biological sex ("I am a woman in a man's body" or vice versa). Most live in the desired role. A pre-op or preoperative transsexual is a TS preparing to have genital conversion surgery. A post-op or postoperative TS has had the surgery. Not all transsexuals desire surgery. Many take hormones to make their bodies look more masculine or feminine.

TS: transsexual.

Transvestite: one who occasionally dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex for sexual or emotional pleasure, or both. Can be male or female, hetero- or homosexual, bi- or solosexual, and may partially or wholly crossdress. Some have felt the word is a negative medical term; crossdresser and crossdressing are more commonly used today. Transvestism, tranny.

TV: a transvestite.

Unisex: not pertaining to one sex only. Unisex clothing can be worn by both traditional sexes. A unisex hair salon invites customers of both sexes. Unisexual.

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