Glossary of Appropriate Terms

 

Most of the terms on the list below are based on the GLAAD Media Reference Guide for the media industry, i.e., film, journalism, video etc. Links to GLAAD and other glossaries can be found on the TGP Resource Page. Other sources, noted with asterisks, are cited below.

 

 
 

SOFFA*

An acronym that stands for the Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies, of transsexual, transgender, or intersex persons.

 

Cis**

Regarding gender: Short for cisgender, as in "we do not make arbitrary distinctions between trans and cis women." Originates from Latin cis, meaning ‘on this side of.’

 

Transgender

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms - including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the individual. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.

 

Transsexual

An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed - or seek to change - their bodies through medical interventions (including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries). Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term… It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.

 

Transgender Man

People who were assigned female at birth but identify and live as a man may use this term to describe themselves. They may shorten it to trans man. (Note: trans man, not "transman.") Some may also use FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male. Some may prefer to simply be called men, without any modifier. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.

 

Transgender Woman

People who were assigned male at birth but identify and live as a woman may use this term to describe themselves. They may shorten to trans woman. (Note: trans woman, not "transwoman.") Some may also use MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female. Some may prefer to simply be called women, without any modifier. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.

 

Transition

Altering one's birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition includes some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one's family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one's name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person.

 

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)

Refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase "sex change operation." 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.

 

Gender Dysphoria ***

People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender.

 

*http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=SOFFA

**https://www.google.com/search?q=cis+definition&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

***https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria