If our Google analytics are worth anything, we appear to get a fair amount of traffic from people who are curious about the trans community, but aren’t necessarily familiar with the terminology and what’s what in the world of trans dating. We’ve decided to put together a list of terms associated with the trans community. Keep in mind that the community is not monolithic, and there is a certain fluidity to the definitions as well as some controversy as to what is appropriate language both within and without the community.
1. Bigender, Bi-Gender
A person who feels they exhibit both gender characteristics. A bi-gender person may switch genders depending on what feels comfortable to them at any given time, depending on circumstance.
2. Cisgender, Cissexual
A person who’s self-perceived gender matches the sex which they were assigned at birth. In other words, not transgender.
A literal English translation of the Latin-derived word “transvestite,” cross-dressers are heterosexual men who enjoy dressing in women’s clothing.
4. Drag Queen
A drag queen is generally a homosexual male dressing as a female for performance or entertaining. Often comedic, dramatic or grotesque, these caricatures of women are a longstanding tradition within the gay community. Women who don male clothing and adapt stereotypical male traits for similar performances are called drag kings.
5. Gender Identity
Gender identity is the gender you internally perceive yourself to be: Male, Female, and in some cases “other” or “both.”
LGBT is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, and has entered the lexicon of the English-speaking world to identify the non-heterosexual and non-cisgender communities, which while diverse share many of the same societal challenges of non-acceptance and threats of violence. The grouping of sexual orientation and transgender communities is not without controversy however, as some see the groups as having distinct and separate agendas in their struggles for acceptance within society. As many transgendered individuals have been members of the gay and lesbian communities on their journeys of self-actualization, many in the transgender community maintain strong ties with the gay community, and the gay and lesbian community as a whole has historically been very supportive of the rights of the transgendered.
7. Sexual Orientation
The gender one is attracted to, heterosexuals are primarily sexually attracted to the opposite sex, homosexuals are primarily sexually attracted to those of their own sex, and bisexuals are sexually attracted to both their own and the opposite sex. In the context of transexuals, it can get muddied. Those who were identified as male at birth, may have had homosexual relationships with men as an expression of their womanhood, and after undergoing the necessary surgical steps to become female could go on to practice lesbianism, or the opposite with those undergoing a female to male transformation. The take away is that sexual orientation is separate and distinct from gender identity.
Shemales are generally those who portray transexuals in “chicks with dicks” pornography and/or are employed as sex workers. These people may or may not be actual transexuals. Generally speaking they are feminine in appearance with surgically enhanced breasts as well as fully functioning and often-utilized male genitalia. As the term is nearly exclusively associated with sex workers it is considered to be highly offensive to refer to a transexual woman as a she-male.
9. Tranny or Trannie
A slang pejorative for transgender, transexual and cross-dressers, many in the trans-community consider it to be the equivalent of “the N-word,” and like the N-word, some within the community controversially use it amongst themselves. Word to the wise: Don’t use it.
A person whose gender identification is different than that which was assigned to them at birth, but does not require that they make any moves to correct the dichotomy, or even to have desire to do so.
A person whose gender identification is different from that which was assigned to them at birth and has a desire to make physical changes to their body to make it match their internally perceived gender.
A person who habitually dresses in the clothes opposite their gender, this term in independent of transexual.
If you feel we’ve missed something, please let us know in the comments!