Note: Some of the definitions of these terms will indeed vary from source to source. My word on them is not final. Some of these terms are more genderqueer specific, others are more general. This is also not an exhaustive list of terms.
Cisgender: The state of having a gender that is congruent with the sex their society of origin has assumed of them.
Cisnormativity: A term coined by trans* academics and activists that describes a specific form of heternormativity involving sex and gender. It is the institutionalized idealization of the “normal” person fitting within the sex dyadic, identifying with, rather than disavowing, the gender binary, and being cisgender rather than transgender. Like heternormativity, cisnormativity is ever-present in institutions in subtle forms. For example, one institution that seemingly has nothing to do with sex the act, sex, or gender is the prison system which divides its inmates up by “legal/biological sex.” This has the de facto effect of oppressing trans* people by forcing them into prisons by their “anatomical” and/or “legal” sex, often withholding hormones.
Gender: Typically refered to as the sociocultural counterpart of sex. Gender includes gender identity, which is the innate feeling one has of ones gender or lack thereof, gender expression, which is the outward expression of gender that may or may not be labeled as congruent which one’s gender expression, and gender role, or the way one’s role is percieved as gendered in their culture of origin. There is evidence that gender identity has some biological explanations.
Gender Expression: The outward gendered production of a person, including, but not restricted to clothing, verbal inflection, and non-verbal language of a person. Can be quite different from gender identity.
Gender Identity: A person’s self-perception in gendered terms. It may be congruent with what society has assumed their sex is (cisgender) or may not be (transgender and/or genderqueer)
Gender Role: Gendered behavior of a person. Often refers strictly to the way the person’s culture of origin percieves that behavior.
Genderqueer: Broadly speaking, people whose gender is non-normative and/or non-gender dyadic (not man or woman). They may or may not consider themselves to be transgender.
GSRM: This stands for Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minority(s). It is an all-inclusive term for marginalized gender, sexual, and romantic identities that does not have the political connotations or the problematic aspects of the word “queer.”
Heteronormativity: The institutionalized of certain forms of hetersexuality in such a way to make them appear to be normal and morally superior to other forms of sexualities. Namely, this means the idealization of certain sexual acts and identities, and includes the idealization of, but is not limited to, the gender normative, monogamous, heterosexual married couple who have congruent non-sexual identity categories and have un-protected, non-kinky procreative sex in the missionary position. Heternormativity is implicated in many, if not all institutions and things, even those that prima facie have nothing to do with sexuality, such as taxation, education, insurance, life trajectory, and even city zoning. The internalization of some of heternormativity into the LGBT community has been coined as homonormativity by the queer theorist Lisa Duggan.
Intersex: People who have in-born physical or genetic characteristics that blur the boundaries between what is male and what is female, or is considered to be outside the norm for male or female. However, intersex is not exclusive of being male or female. Most intersex people are cisgender in regards to the sex they have been assigned.
Queer: A reclaimed term that refers to various non-heteronormative and non-cisnormative identities, practices, and behaviors. It includes, but is not limited to, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans* people. It implies, at some level, anti-assimilationalist politics. Can be problematic as it is not universally reclaimed and not every person that “could” be queer identifies as queer.
Sex: Broadly construed as the “biological” counterpart to gender, which is (supposedly) merely “sociocultural.” Typically, it is defined in terms of the male/female dichotomy and refers to things such as chromosomes, genitalia, reproductive organs, etc. However, some “third wave” feminists such as Judith Butler have argued sex is just as socially constructed as gender; the way we interpret what “female” and “male” differs over time, and many other cultures allow third or more sexes. Additionally, there are many ways in which our culture reinforces the male/female sex dichotomy by literally forcing people who are either not female or male into the sex dyad.
Transgender: The state of having a gender that is not congruent with the sex their society of origin has assumed of them. This term is generally used in the sense of an umbrella; there are many identities that fall under the category of transgender.
Terms Specific to the Trans* and Genderqueer Communities
Gender Affirming Surgery/Gender Affirmation Surgery/etc.: The more preferred term to “sexual reassignment surgery” or “gender reassignment surgery” (which is far more incorrect than SRS). Refers to a number of surgeries that trans* and genderqueer people may undergo, including, but not limited to, vaginoplasty, metoidioplasty, and orchiectomy. It is also termed “bottom surgery” and is often required by states, provinces, and countries to be legally recognized as one’s gender.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Once a term to describe estrogen taken by menopausal women to relieve their symptoms, trans* and/or genderqueer people use that term to denote taking hormones that weren’t the primary drivers of their puberty. For example, HRT for a trans woman would be taking estrogen and possibly progesterone. HRT may or may not be used with hormone blockers to suppress the amount of hormones that were involved in their initial first puberty. HRT is part of transitioning for many, but not all trans* and/or genderqueer people.
Passing: Incorrectly used to describe those who are read as their desire gender by some trans* people, its use in sociology refers to being read as being a member of a social category who is in power. In this case, it would refer to being read as cisgender. Passing is not the same as being “stealth.” There is such thing as “passing privilege” where a transgender person may temporarily access cisgender privilege as long as they are read as cisgender.
Preferred Pronouns: The pronouns a person prefers to use. It may be the more common ones such as he/his/him/himself or she/hers/her/herself. It may also be singular they or other pronouns such as ze/hirs or zirs/hir or zir/hirself or zirself.
Stealth: A term used to describe transgender people who live their life as though they were a cisgender person of their gender, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes out of desire, sometimes both, though there are many other reasons as well. Stealth requires passing as cisgender, but passing is not the same as being “stealth.” Deep stealth was once a requirement, particularly for trans women, in order to get gender affirming surgery.
Transition: A trans* and/or genderqueer’s personal journey to have their gender recognized. It can entail only “socially transitioning,” such as adopting certain gender expressions, wearing a binder, tucking, legally changing their name, and asking people to use their preferred pronouns. It can also mean “medically transitioning” as well where a person may or may not take HRT and/or may or may not get surgeries. Often, the two go hand in hand, but not for all trans* and/or genderqueer people.
Specific Gender Identities/Expressions
Agender: A person who has no gender. Often included under the genderqueer umbrella.
Androgyne: A person whose gender is an intermediate between male and female, man and woman. They are often included under the genderqueer umbrella. Androgynous/Andro is the gender expression form.
Bi-gender: A person whose gender may one day be man and may be woman the next. Often included under the genderqueer umbrella.
Butch: Describes either someone who identifies with masculinity (but does not necessarily identify as a man) or can be used to describe a masculine gender expression. Often contrasted with femme. POC communities also use masculine of center and aggressive to describe similar phenomena.
Femme: Describes either someone who identifies with femininty (but does not necessarily identify as a woman) or can be used to describe a feminine gender expression. Often contrasted with butch.
Gender Fluid: Someone whose gender identity and/or gender expression is not fixed.
Intergender: Someone whose gender is a combination of genders or whose gender is “between” genders.
Non-binary: A non-binary gender identity is a gender identity in which a person does not identify as (strictly) male or female. They may not have a gender, may identify as some combination of the two, etc.
Neutrois: An identity in which a person either identifies outside of the gender binary or sees themselves as being without gender.
Pan-gender: A person who is all genders at once.
Third Gender: A specific type of non-binary identity in which a person’s gender identity falls completely outside of “man” and “woman”. Often included under the genderqueer umbrella. Alternatively can be “fourth” or even “fifth” gender.
Trans dyke: A transgender person who is a trans woman, transfeminine, or any genderqueer and/or transgender person who went through a testosterone-fueled puberty that are primarily attracted to women and/or identify with women (as opposed to as). This term can be problematic and derogatory.
Trans fag: A transgender person who is a trans man, transmasculine, or any genderqueer and/or transgender person who went through a estrogen and progesterone-fueled puberty that are primarily attracted to men and/or identify primarily with men (as oppossed to as). This term can be problematic and derogatory.
Transfeminine: A transgender person who went through a testosterone-fueled puberty that does not identify themselves exactly as a trans woman, but does have a feminine identity.
Transmasculine: A transgender person who went through an estrogen and progestrone-fueled puberty that does not identify themselves exactly as a trans man, but does have a masculine identity.
Specific Sexual Identities
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