Healthcare providers

Glossay of Terms

Adapted with permission from Rainbow Health Ontario

Binding: The process used by FTMs and other transgender people of flattening one’s breast tissue in order to create a male-appearing chest. Some FTMs and trans men don’t bind at all, some layer clothing to help hide their chests, some bind only on certain occasions and some bind all the time.

Butch: A person who identifies as masculine.

Cisgender: Having a non-transgender gender identity.  Acceptable terms include “cis”, “cisgender” or “non-trans.”

Cross dressing: Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex. The term “cross dresser” is most frequently used to describe a heterosexual male who dresses as a female some or all of the time, but does not typically desire gender transition.

Drag: The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically.

“E”: Slang for estrogen.

FTM: A female-to-male trans person, trans man.

Femme: Feminine-identified person of any gender/sex.

Gender dysphoria (distress): Also known as body dysphoria, the state of discomfort felt by some transgender people caused by the incongruity between one’s physical sex and one’s gender identity.

Gender identity: A person’s internal self-awareness of being either male or female, masculine or feminine, something in-between, or something other.

Genderqueer: A gender-variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.

Intersex: The condition of being born with genitalia that is difficult to label as male or female, and/or developing secondary sex characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both male and female sexes. The term “hermaphrodite” had been used in the past to refer to intersex persons, but that term is now considered negative and inaccurate. Some intersex people are also transgender, but intersex is not typically considered a subset of transgender, nor transgender a subset of intersex.

MTF: A male-to-female trans person, trans woman.

Packing: The process of creating a male-looking bulge in one’s crotch.

Pangender: A person whose gender identity is comprised of all or many gender expressions.

Passing: Being identified as your chosen gender regardless of birth/assigned sex. Some transsexual people object to the term “passing,” as it implies that one is being mistaken for something they are not. Also known as: “being read as a man” or “being read as a woman.”

Polyamory: The desire, practice or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Post-op (also post-operative): Trans individuals who have had one or more gender reassignment surgery procedures.

Queer: An umbrella term that embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, gender presentations and habits of those who may not identify as exclusively heterosexual, monogamous or gender normative, or who may be into “alternative” sexual choices or lifestyles. Queer might include; lesbians, dykes, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, intersex persons, radical sex communities and many other sexually transgressive people.

Real life experience/Real life test (RLE/RLT): A period of time in which a transsexual person is required to live full time in the role of the gender they identify with in order to demonstrate they can function in that role. Historically it was a prerequisite for access to hormone therapy.

Sex reassignment surgery (SRS): Also known as gender realignment surgery or gender affirming surgeries and commonly termed “sex change operation.” This term is somewhat inappropriate as it implies that there is only one surgical procedure for successful transition.

Sexual orientation: The desire for intimate emotional and/or sexual relationships with people of the same gender/sex, another gender/sex, or multiple genders/sexes.

She-male: A term, sometimes derogatory, used to describe some pre-operative transsexual women who have breasts and an intact penis. This loaded term is often used in the sex and porn industry by cisgender males seeking out transsexual women and/or men working as “show girls.”

Stealth: A transgender individual, once transitioned, may choose not to reveal his or her transgender status to others (for example, to coworkers, friends, neighbours, etc.). Doing so is referred to as “going stealth” or “being stealth.”

T”: Slang for Testosterone.

Transgender: Umbrella term for gender-variant individuals.

Transition: Process of moving (in presentation and/or lifestyle) from one gender to another.

Transphobia: Expression of aversive and oppressive behaviour towards trans people.

Tucking: The technique of hiding the penis and testicles.

Two Spirit (2S): A term used by some Native people who have attributes of both genders, and/or who may have distinct gender and social roles in their tribes.