Posts Tagged ‘Words’

Terms You May Hear

Friday, April 2nd, 2010
An important thing to keep in mind when working with trans people is that there is unfortunately no standardized term usage. And usage has changed over time. Still, here are some guidelines. Sometimes the words don’t mean what you expect! A good example is ‘trans man’: this word (phrase) is use for a person who is female-bodied transitioning to the male gender, not a male-bodied man who is going to transition to the female gender.
  • FTM
    Female-to-male trans person; born in female body; changing to male gender.

  • Gender
    Understanding oneself as a man or a woman (among other possibilities). This can be understood as the internal understanding of a ‘social’ experience. Typically, but not always, a person with a male body will have the gender identity of a man.

  • Intersexed
    An intersexed person was born with ambiguous genitalia. Often, (especially in the past), a sex and gender is assigned by a doctor while the child is an infant. Sometimes, intersexed people realize the doctor chose incorrectly, and change their gender.

  • MTF
    Male-to-female trans person; born in male body, changing to female gender.

  • Sex
    Physical characteristics; male or female (many variations possible, even within common understandings).

  • Tranny
    1. A demeaning, sexualing term for a trans person; usually a trans woman. 2. Familiar form of ‘trans’; shorter than saying ‘transgendered’ or ‘transsexual’. Advice: Don’t use it, unless you are one (compare with ‘faggot’ and other reclaimed words).

  • Trans
    This is the most generic term; commonly used just as a shorter version of ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual”. It might be used by a person who is socially transitioning, but such is often not the case. A trans person may simply be saying “I refuse to self-identify according to old rules’. Gender carries a lot of weight, and choosing to be ‘trans’ points that out.

  • Trans man
    FTM, m2m, transguy, trannyboy, etc: use Male pronouns.

  • Trans woman
    MTF, f2f, trannygirl, etc.: use Female pronouns.

  • Transgendered/Transsexual
    A person who does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth; a person who is living as their selected gender. Some people use one word or the other to mean has taken hormones and/or undergone surgery (perhaps particularly ‘transsexual’, but it varies. There is no set usage. The basics remain the same.