There are dozens of special terms used in the transgender “community” and their meanings are always in a state of flux. Here are some of the most-used ones. Note that there has never been, nor will there ever be, complete agreement on the meaning or appropriateness of some of these terms. Your comments are welcome.
Version 6. 12/15/2017 Beverly Cosgrove
AA – anti-androgen. This refers to Spironolactone, Cyproterone, or other drug used to directly suppress testosterone or its effects, as opposed to estrogens which suppress testosterone in a more natural way.
AUTOGYNEPHILIA – A discredited theory of transsexualism from the 60’s-70’s which seeks to prove that transsexualism results from fetishistic enjoyment of perceiving the self as female. There is no female-to-male equivalent term. This is one of several “sexuality causes transsexualism” theories from the 20th century. Also see PSYCHOSEXUAL INVERSION.
BA – Breast Augmentation. Breast Implants.
BINARY – short for Binary Gender. A philosophical view, widely held in Western Civilization, that gender can only be defined as male and female, and that the two genders cannot mix, blend, or balance. Also, the condition, expression, or identity which embodies mostly attributes of one gender. The opposite of NONBINARY.
BOYFRIEND NUMBER ONE and “BOYFRIEND NUMBER TWO” all the way up to number 4, 5 or 6. These are slang names of the post-SRS dilators, which come in various numbered sizes. A MTF post-op might say, “Tonight I have a date with boyfriend number three.”
CAFAB – Coercively Assigned Female at Birth – When used by an intersex person, refers to those whose ambiguous or male characteristics were ignored or altered at birth in order to force the infant into being designated a female. When used by a trans person, is synonymous to FAAB and carries with it a sense that the assignment was in error.
CAMAB – Coercively Assigned Male at Birth – When used by an intersex person, refers to those whose ambiguous or female characteristics were ignored or altered at birth in order to force the infant into being designated a male. When used by a trans person, is synonymous to MAAB and carries with it a sense that the assignment was in error.
CATFISH – a person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites—pretending to be someone more outwardly appealing than his/her true self, by using someone else’s pictures and false biographical information. Tactic frequently used by cisgender men known as “CHASERS” as a way to establish connections with trans folk.
CHASER or “T-CHASER” – a man who seeks sexual or voyeuristic experiences with trans women, either personally or online. The usual implication is that the man is not seriously seeking any kind of personal relationship, but is only interested in the trans woman’s appearance and willingness to indulge his desires.
CIS-GENDER – A person who is content with the biological gender they were born as. Used as the opposite meaning of transgender.
CWD – similar to WWAP. Pornography-derived acronym for “Chick With a Dick”. Probably pejorative unless applied to oneself.
DEAD NAME – the abandoned birth name of a transitioned transgender person. It is usually appropriate for the wrong gender, or is unwanted for other reasons. There is also a new verb, “to deadname” meaning to refer to a transgender person by their unwanted opposite-gender name. This is a social microaggression, or when published, indicates the writer’s hostility to transgender people or opposition to LGBT rights, recognition, or similar political bias.
DIY – “do it yourself” – in the transsexual context, refers to the act of obtaining hormonal treatment without prescription and self-medicating without medical supervision.
DRAB – Dressed As Boy (in other words, “male mode”). The opposite of DRAG.
DYADIC – possessing a complete set of either male or female genitalia and organs. In this sense, it means “Non-Intersex.” Used by intersex people to refer to people who are not intersex.
EC – Estradiol Cypionate. Usually this refers to the injectable form of the drug. Sometimes “EC&P” where P means Progesterone.
EGG – A transgender person who is not yet fully aware they are transgender, or not willing to admit it to themselves, or to take the first steps to reveal themselves. Also: “EGG MODE”, the stage of personal self awareness of a transgender person when they are still stuck being an EGG.
EV – Estradiol Valerate. Usually this refers to the injectable form of the drug. Sometimes “EV&P” where P means Progesterone.
FAAB – Female Assigned At Birth – A person assumed to be female because of the appearence of their genitalia at birth. Most, but not all, women are FAAB. Sometimes given as AFAB instead. Also see MAAB.
FFS – Facial Feminization Surgery. A set of plastic surgery procedures which seek to reverse the masculinizing of testosterone on the skull and facial features.
FTM – female to male. This term is used to indicate the direction of gender transition, and is the opposite of MTF. Sometimes written F2M.
GATEKEEPER – a therapist who prevents certain of their patients from starting or progressing or progressing quickly in their transition based on application of a set of diagnostic criteria. Sometimes strict interpretation of WPATH criteria are used, other times the therapist has a separate agenda.
GCS – one of the many acronyms for genital surgery, standing for “Gender Confirmation Surgery”. The oldest is SRS – Sex Reassignment Surgery. Common is GRS – Gender Reassignment Surgery, or Genital Reconstruction Surgery, Genital Reassignment Surgery. The term “bottom surgery” is becoming more popular for FTM’s, to distinguish from “top surgery”. However, “top surgery” is also used by MTF’s to mean breast augmentation, instead of mastectomy.
GENDER NON-CONFORMING (GNC)” – A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional — that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.
THE GIRLS – one’s breasts. This term is slang used by all women today, but it might be unfamiliar to a new MTF. Similarly, “GIRL PARTS” = vulva/vagina.
GIRL-TIME – the portion of one’s life spent by a pre-transitioned MTF presenting as female. The opposite would be “boy time”.
HBSer – referring to the Harry Benjamin Syndrome, is a transsexual who adheres strictly to traditional binary role and accepts as transsexual only others with GRS, androphilic sexuality only, early transition efforts, etc based on Harry Benjamin criteria. This term is somewhat antiquated now. See TRUSCUM instead.
HON – A third-person direct-object pronoun used when the gender of a person is unknown or when the person expresses a blend of gender traits and may be GNC.
IC – Informed Consent. This is the medical protocol which permits medical providers to render transgender health care, including HRT or surgeries, based on the patient’s ability to understand and consent to the procedure or treatment only, without “gatekeeping”.
MAAB – Male Assigned At Birth – A person assumed to be male because of the appearance of their genitalia at birth. Most, but not all, men are MAAB. Sometimes given as AMAB instead.
MALE-FAIL – That point in one’s MTF transition where it is futile to try to pass as a normal male anymore. This is often boob related, but can be due to general carriage or hair or clothing choice.
MISGENDER – to refer to a transgender person using a pronoun inappropriate for their gender identity. In social situations, this is considered to be a hostile microaggression. In news and social media, it often indicates the writer’s hostility to transgender people, or LGBT people in general.
MISPRONOUN – To use an incorrectly gendered set of pronouns for someone. Sometimes performed as a conscious intentional statement for purpose of insult.
MTF – male to female. This term is used to indicate the direction of gender transition, and is the opposite of FTM. Sometimes written M2F.
NONBINARY – short for nonbinary gender. A condition, identity or expression in which attributes of male and female are mixed, blended, or balanced.
NON-OP – refers to people who don’t plan to undergo any surgery related to their trans status. There are a variety of reasons for this decision, ranging from pervasive medical difficulties to discontent with the surgical results to simple lack of desire.
POST-OP – refers to trans people who have completed all the sex reassignment surgery that they plan to undergo, and usually implies that they have received some kind of genital surgery.
PRE-OP – Refers to transsexual people who wish/plan to have genital surgery (SRS/GCS/GRS), but who have not yet undergone it.
PRE-PRE — a term used to describe a transsexual who is both pre-op (pre-SRS/GRS) and pre-HRT.
PSYCHOSEXUAL INVERSION – The prevailing term for “transsexualism” used in the mid-60’s, alluding to Freudian “sexual inversion” (homosexuality) having a key role in causing transsexualism. It is one of several debunked “sex causes transgenderism” theories from the 20th century. See also AUTOGYNEPHILIA.
REAL LIFE – This refers to living in the new gender role at work, in public, among friends, etc. “IRL” – “In Real Life”, “RLT” = “Real Life Test” which is a deprecated requirement that patients must live as the new gender for a period of time before they may advance in their medical treatment (HRT, BA, etc).
SANTORUM – The “frothy” mixture of lubricant and fecal matter, sometimes a by-product of anal sex. Used in a sentence : “Wow, that was great, but we got santorum all over the mattress”. “Ewww, that’s squicky”. Coined by “Spreading Santorum.com” in 2003 due to Rick Santorum’s ant-Gay political stance, and to infect Google searches containing Santorum’s name.
SJW – social justice warrior. An acronym apparently used pejoratively to label those seen as engaging in social reform in social media.
SPIRO BELLY – a protruding belly, caused by visceral fat, sometimes associated with MTF trans people who have taken Spironolactone at high doses for long periods of time.
SQUICK – a reaction of disgust. Something which is “squicky” is revolting. To get “squicked” is to experience a squicky moment. Not a trans only word, but often used.
STEALTH It’s important to observe that Stealth has two definitions, and it can be difficult from context to know which is meant. Definition 1: hiding the fact that you intend to transition, or have begun to transition. Possibly the effects of secretly taken HRT are also hidden. Definition 2: Hiding that you have already transitioned — concealing the fact that your birth gender is not the gender you live as today. There is also “DEEP STEALTH” – same as definition 2, except that the number of people who know the birth gender of the trans person is zero or close to zero, and often requires moving to a location in which the previous identity is unknown locally.
STEPFORD WIFE – a MTF transsexual who seeks a life consisting of a conventional marriage to a conventional husband to whom she may be submissive, and who may also affect an ultra conservative image with skirts, heels, coiffed hair, etc. The term can be an insult.
T3 (or “TTT“) = “Trannier Than Thou”. A pejorative aimed at trans people who advocate categories, classifications, or distinctions which raise their self-perceived status relative to other trans people. Also an adjective. Example: transsexuals who advocate the concept of autogynephilia as a way to separate “true transsexuals” from “autogynephiles” and then classify themselves as “true”, might be accused of being “T3”. Also see TRANS SEPARATIST or TRUSCUM.
TERF – “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists” – a subdivision of a radical feminists ideological group which seeks to define trans women as men, to legislate for making SRS/GRS illegal, and to remove trans women from all normal female social status and recognition.
THE TRINIDAD EXPERIENCE — a term from the 80’s and 90’s, no longer used, which was a euphemism for SRS with Dr. Stanley Biber in Trinidad, Colorado.
TMI – acronym for “Too Much Information” referring to details that are too personal to hear comfortably or which have a high SQUICK factor. What is TMI may vary from person to person.
TRANSGENDER – The most general and inclusive category of gender transitioning and nonconforming people. In general, it includes everyone who can answer “No” to this question: “Do you feel that the gender you were assigned at birth is a complete and accurate description of your experience of your own gender?” Contrast to TRANSSEXUAL.
TRANS SEPARATIST – Equivalent to the term TRUSCUM but more polite.
TRANSSEXUAL – a transgender person who wishes to use all available means – medical, legal, cosmetic, social – to transition to become a member of the gender opposite to that assigned to them at birth. A person is considered to be transsexual when the journey begins, not when it ends, (if ever.) A transsexual person seeks a mostly binary gender expression. This is an older term which is now in disfavor in some groups.
TRANSTRENDER – is a pejorative used by self-identified trans people against other self-identified trans people. It refers to a person who identifies as transgender because they think it’s cool or stylish to do so.
TRAP – Defamatory term applied to trans women, implying that they seek to entrap straight men into sex with them; comes from a character named Bridget from the Japanese anime “Guilty Gear”. Usage: YOU ARE NOT ADMIRAL ACHBAR AND I AM NOT A TRAP.
TRUSCUM (pronounced “true scum”), also known as TRANSMEDICALIST and TRANSFUNDAMENTALIST, are TRANSSEXUAL people who consider that gender dysphoria and genital dysphoria, plus a desire for genital surgery, are required for a legitimate claim of being transgender, because of the biological basis of transgenderism. They generally imply that non-binary trans people are TRANSTRENDERS. TRUSCUM is a derogatory equivalent to the term TRANS SEPARATIST.
THE TWINS – Same as “THE GIRLS” if you happened to be blessed with (or are able to afford) symmetry.
TUCUTE – A derogatory term for a transgender person who is not a transsexual, generally used by TRUSCUM. It generally refers to nonbinary trans people or “NONOPs” and carries some of the same meaning as TRANSTRENDER. Not in wide use.
UP-TALK – a rising inflection to the voice, typically feminine, which is made a matter of vocal habit by some MTF’s to help feminize their voice.
WALKING PAPERS — a letter from a doctor, therapist, or other recognized authority which identifies a person as transitioning. It was often the practice in the 80’s and 90’s for transitioning persons to carry this to show to police in case they were detained. It would say something like “To whom it may concern: The bearer of this is under medical care and is transitioning from male to female, and is required to live as a woman in every respect as part of that transition.”
WEENIE ROAST – A celebration traditionally given for a trans woman after genital surgery, in which frankfurters are cooked over an open grill and served to guests, as a rite of passage. There may also be Barbequed oysters.
WORD POLICE – a term for those going around making it their business to tell other people what words mean. No reference to government police officers.
WWAP (Woman With A Penis) – Neither affirmative nor pejorative, but simply the state of living completely as a woman, though with male genitalia. It is a condition-of-life whether wanted or not, and may be temporary or permanent. It includes the sense of paradoxical-coexistence, even if it must be grudgingly loved, hated, accepted, tolerated.