A glossary of transgender terminology

by DGO Web Administrator

Transgender: The current overarching term describing a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transsexual: An older, more clinical term describing a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an overarching term . Many transgender people prefer the word transgender over transsexual.

Trans: a shortened form of the word transgender or transsexual.

Cis-gender: A person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their assigned sex at birth, i.e., not transgender.

Assigned sex: At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on their external genitalia. Categories include: Male, female, and intersex (formerly, hermaphrodite).

Gender identity: A person’s internal sense of their gender. For a transgender person, their gender identity does not match to their assigned sex at birth.

Gender expression: A person’s external manifestation of gender. This includes their name, clothing, voice, haircut, etc.

Sexual orientation: A person’s physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person.

Cross-dresser: A term for people who dress in clothing not traditionally worn by their assigned sex. Formerly known as “transvestitism.”

Drag: Exaggerated, theatrical, and/or performative gender presentation.

For an extended terminology list, visit www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.

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