Using and understanding the correct terminology is important, not only does this help you support the trans and non-binary community it helps promote respect, tolerance, and acceptance for gender diversity. It could be considered the first step in education and tackling stigma and oppression.
Click or hover over a phrase to see the definition:
Consists of interacting gender identity and gender expression. Gender is not a simple binary (man or woman) but rather a spectrum of identities. Gender is not directly related to sex.
A person’s inner and deep held sense of their gender. Man or woman is usually seen as the default; however, gender identity is a spectrum which encompasses a wide range of valid identities. For example, people can identify somewhere within the spectrum (i.e. non-binary) or outside it completely (i.e. agender).
This is the self-expression and presentation of an individual. For example: names, pronouns, clothing and styles, and behaviour. Expression is subjective, changing over time and within cultures. Society has previously identified these characteristics as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. However, these cultural manifestations of what constitutes gender ideals and what one person considers ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ could vary by individual.
This is an umbrella term for those people whose gender differs from assigned gender at birth. Transgender can also be shortened to ‘trans’. This term is used as an adjective.
This is NOT an umbrella term and can be offensive to some transgender people. This is a much older and typically outdated term. However; some individuals still use this term to identify themselves.
An umbrella term for people’s gender identity and/or gender expression that falls outside man or woman. There are a variety of non-binary identities, with differences and nuances to these gender identities. Many non-binary people use they/them pronouns or alternative neopronouns. Non-binary is a typically ‘western’ term, however there are cultural alternatives to gender identities, for example Hijra (third gender community in India) and two-spirt (used by some Indigenous North Americans). Finally, not all non-binary people identify as trans.
This the name previously assigned to a person who has since changed their name. A person should not ask or use a trans or non-binary persons dead name, as this is disrespectful.
This process is a personal journey that is different for many trans and non-binary people. Transitioning can include many different social, legal, or medical steps, depending on the person. For example: coming out, using a different name and pronouns, altering legal documents, hormone therapy, and surgery. Transitioning should not be focused on one or more of these processes as it is based on what an individual feels appropriate for them.
Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS)
This refers to medically supervised process of surgical changes to a person body. These surgeries can form part of someone’s medical transition, however this is not a requirement, some trans people will have some procedures and not others, while others might not feel they need GCS.
The feeling of discomfort and/or distress associated with a person whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.