Experiences of trans and gender diverse young people
Words and terms explained
On this page you will find explanations of some of the words and terms that are used on this website. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Agender - Identifies with no gender.
AFAB – Assigned female at birth.
AMAB – Assigned male at birth.
Bottom surgery – A way of referring to surgery that alters the genital region.
Ace – Abbreviation of Asexual.
ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Asexual – A variation in levels of romantic and/or sexual attraction, including a lack of attraction.
Binder/binding – Item of clothing worn by trans men and transmasculine people. Mermaids (2021) describe binding as “used by some (but not all) trans masculine people to compress their chests and create a more conventionally masculine shape.
Bigender – Identifies with more than one gender.
Bisexual - Romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender.
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
Cisgender - A cis/cisgender/cisperson, is a person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
Dead name – A previous name, such as a birth name, that a trans or gender diverse no longer goes by.
Deadnaming – The act of referring to a trans or gender diverse person by their previous name, such as a birth name, that they no longer go by.
DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Enby – Abbreviation of non-binary (a way of saying ‘nb’).
FFS - Facial feminisation surgery (surgery to make your face a more feminine shape).
FTM – Female to male.
Gay - Refers to men who have a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men..
Gender Diverse - This term may describe a group of individuals who do not identify as completely male or female and who may use descriptors such as non-binary, genderqueer, and/or transgender; individuals who express gender nonconformity but do not necessarily ascribe to a transgender identity; and/or individuals whose gender identities do not align with either the female/male binary.
Gender dysphoria/gender incongruence - describes the distress felt by trans and gender diverse people due to an incongruence [mismatch] between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
Gender euphoria – describes feelings of joy, comfort and satisfaction when trans and gender diverse people express and are affirmed in their gender identity.
Genderfluid – Describes a fluid conception of gender that shifts, changes or transforms over time.
Gender nonconformity – Not conforming to gender norms or roles.
Genderqueer – An umbrella term for people who identify with, embrace/reject multiple, none, any, both/neither gender, or moving in-between or outside of genders throughout time. Can align with the political challenge/subversion of gender norms. See also non-binary.
GIC – Gender Identity Clinic. Adult gender identity services based in different locations in England
GIDS – Gender Identity Development Service. Part of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
Hormone therapy - cross-sex hormone treatment; hormone therapy for adults means taking the hormones of your preferred gender: a trans man will take testosterone (masculinising hormones), a trans woman will take oestrogen (feminising hormones).
Hormone blockers - gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues. These are synthetic (human-made) hormones that suppress the hormones naturally produced by the body.
ICD - International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
Informed consent – Often described as a model/approach to transgender healthcare. a) promotes a departure from the use of the diagnosis of gender dysphoria as a prerequisite for accessing transition services and (b) attempts to impact the way that trans-gender individuals experience and access health care by removing the psycho-therapy/gatekeeping requirement (Shulz, 2018).
Intersex – A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary.
Lesbian - Refers to women who have a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women.
LGBTQ+/IA – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual.
Meme - a humorous video, image, GIF or text shared online through social media.
MTF – Male to Female.
Non-binary – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with binary concepts of gender such as man/woman, male/female. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely. See also genderqueer and gender-diverse.
Pass/ing - When a trans person is perceived as the gender they wish to be seen as.
Pronouns - gender pronouns (e.g. he/she/they) are used to refer to the sex and/or gender of a person. Changing and using different pronouns can be part of a trans or gender diverse person’s journey.
Queer – Refers both to ‘queer theory’ as a political movement in the late 80s/early 1990s, challenging and subverting gender and sexuality norms as well as an umbrella for wider LGBTQ+ identities.
Section 28 - Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 banned local authorities and schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ or ‘publishing material with the intention of promoting homosexuality’. It was repealed in England and Wales in September 2003. (Stonewall, 2021).
‘T’ – Abbreviation of Testosterone.
Tanner stage – Describes scale of measuring stages of puberty according to physical development and development of primary and secondary sex characteristics. First identified by paediatrician Prof. James Tanner.
Tavi – Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Home to GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service) and London GIC (Gender Identity Clinic).
TERF – stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist for more information see Vincent, B., Erikainen, S., & Pearce, R. (2020). TERF Wars: Feminism and the fight for transgender futures (Vol. 68, No. 4). Sage.
Top surgery – A way of referring to surgery that involves breast tissue removal and chest contouring, and/or breast implants.
Trans - an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, agender, two-spirit, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, transmasculine, and transfeminine.
Transfeminine – transfem/transfemme, fem/femme. Usually describes people assigned male at birth (AMAB) whose gender identity is partially or fully feminine or aligns with femininity.
Transmasculine – transmasc, masc. Usually describes people assigned female at birth (AFAB) whose gender identity is partially or fully masculine or aligns with masculinity.
Trans man/male - A term used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth but identifies as male and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male.
Trans woman/female - A term used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth but identifies as female and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female.
Transition - the term used to describe the process which someone goes through to live as a different gender from the gender that was ascribed to them at birth.
Two-spirit – A sacred and historical identity. A term created by and for Native American and indigenous people. Can be used by some indigenous people to refer to gender identities that are outside the binary or a ‘third gender’. Can refer to an indigenous person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit.
Mermaids (2021). Glossary. https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/glossary/
Schulz, S.L., 2018. The informed consent model of transgender care: an alternative to the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Journal of humanistic psychology, 58(1), pp.72-92.
Stonewall. 2021. Glossary of terms. https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/faqs-and-glossary/glossary-terms