Trans Guide @ UIS: Education
The following is helpful information regarding gender neutral pronoun usage, terminology, and problematic word usage. Additionally, you can request a workshop or presentation on transgender and gender identity from the LGBTQA Resource Office.
- inQUEERy – Students are trained to interact with their peers to combat homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism through innovative activities and workshops. The InQueery team of student peer educators provides workshops and other activities in residence halls, classrooms, athletic teams, and student organizations. Using their personal narrative, students share their stories while integrating contemporary issues. Click here (http://www.uis.edu/lgbtqa/programs/peer/) to learn more about inQUEERy and the presentations offered.
- Safe Zone – Safe Zone members are identified by this sign that they hang on their office door or living space, or by other Safe Zone visual indicators, and are trained to be better allies to LGBTQ students. Members agree that they work to provide a personal space that is free from homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia while serving as a resource to LGBTQ and allied students. All students, staff, and faculty are eligible to join. “This is a safe place to talk about LGBTQ and heterosexual issues and concerns.” Safe Zone provides the Transgender Advanced Session. Session description: Transgender people continue to be an invisible, often forgotten community. This session helps participants develop self-awareness and compassion and to think critically about their own assumptions and vulnerabilities as related to gender. Participants will learn about the gender binary, understand accurate terms, explore potential gender transition processes, and consider common concerns and challenges in higher education. This session is recommended for any person wanting to learn how to become a better ally to this population. Click here (http://www.uis.edu/lgbtqa/programs/safezone/) to learn more about Safe Zone, register for the session, and learn how to become a member!
Gender Neutral Pronouns
Gender Neutral: Ze/Hir/Hirs/Hirself
Gender Neutral: They/Them/Their/Themself
How to pronounce gender neutral pronouns:
Ze – zee
Hir – here
Hirs – heres
Hereself – hirself
E – ee
Em – em
Eir – air
Eirs – airs
Emself – emself
Examples of how to use these pronouns:
She went to her bedroom.
He went to his bedroom.
Ze went to hir bedroom.
They went to their bedroom.
E went to eir bedroom.
I am her sister.
I am his sister.
I am hir sister.
I am their sister.
I am eir sister.
She shaves herself.
He shaves himself.
Ze shaves hirself.
They shave themself.
E shaves emself.
A note about these definitions: Each of these definitions has been carefully researched and closely analyzed from theoretical and practical perspectives for cultural sensitivity, common usage, and general appropriateness. We have done our best to represent the most popular uses of the terms listed; however there may be some variation in definitions depending on location. Please note that each person who uses any or all of these terms does so in a unique way (especially terms that are used in the context of an identity label). If you do not understand the context in which a person is using one of these terms, it is always appropriate to ask. This is especially recommended when using terms that we have noted that can have a derogatory connotation.
Agendered – Person is internally ungendered.
Ally – Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.
Androgyne – Person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.
Berdache – A generic term used to refer to a third gender person (woman-living-man). The term ‘berdache’ is generally rejected as inappropriate and offensive by Native Peoples because it is a term that was assigned by European settlers to differently gendered Native Peoples. Appropriate terms vary by tribe and include: ‘one-spirit’, ‘twospirit’, and ‘wintke.
Bigendered – A person whose gender identity is a combination of male/man and female/woman.
Binding – The process of flattening one’s breasts to have a more masculine or flat appearing chest.
Bottom Surgery – Surgery on the genitals designed to create a body in harmony with a person’s preferred gender expression.
Butch – A person who identifies themselves as masculine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. ‘Butch’ is sometimes used as a derogatory term for lesbians, but it can also be claimed as an affirmative identity label.
Cisgender – describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.
Coming Out – May refer to the process by which one accepts one’s own sexuality, gender identity, or status as an intersexed person (to “come out” to oneself). May also refer to the process by which one shares one’s sexuality, gender identity, or intersexed status with others (to “come out” to friends, etc.). This can be a continual, life-long process for homosexual, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed individuals.
Cross-dresser – Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex.
Discrimination – Prejudice + power. It occurs when members of a more powerful social group behave unjustly or cruelly to members of a less powerful social group. Discrimination can take many forms, including both individual acts of hatred or injustice and institutional denials of privileges normally accorded to other groups. Ongoing discrimination creates a climate of oppression for the affected group.
Drag – The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically.
Drag King – A person who performs masculinity theatrically.
Drag Queen – A person who performs femininity theatrically.
Femme – Feminine identified person of any gender/sex.
FTM / F2M – Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person.
Gender Binary – The idea that there are only two genders – male/female or man/woman and that a person must be strictly gendered as either/or. (See also ‘Identity Sphere.’)
Gender Confirming Surgery – Medical surgeries used to modify one’s body to be more congruent with one’s gender identity. See “Sex Reassignment Surgery.”
Gender Cues – What human beings use to attempt to tell the gender/sex of another person. Examples include hairstyle, gait, vocal inflection, body shape, facial hair, etc. Cues vary by culture.
Gender Identity – A person’s sense of being masculine, feminine, or other gendered.
Gender Normative – A person who by nature or by choice conforms to gender based expectations of society. (Also referred to as ‘Genderstraight’.)
Gender Oppression – The societal, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that privilege cisgender (gender-typical people) and subordinate and disparage transgender or gender variant people. Also known as “genderism.”
Gender Variant – A person who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society (e.g. transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dresser, etc.).
Genderism – see “Gender Oppression.”
Genderfuck – The idea of playing with ‘gender cues’ to purposely confuse “standard” or stereotypical gender expressions, usually through clothing.
Genderqueer – A gender variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. Often
includes a political agenda to challenge gender stereotypes and the gender binary system.
Genderstraight — See ‘Gender Normative.’
Hermaphrodite — An out-of-date and offensive term for an intersexed person. (See ‘Intersexed Person’.)
Identity Sphere – The idea that gender identities and expressions do not fit on a linear scale, but rather on a sphere that allows room for all expression without weighting any one expression as better than another.
In the Closet – Refers to a homosexual, bisexual, transperson or intersex person who will not or cannot disclose their sex, sexuality, sexual orientation or gender identity to their friends, family, co-workers, or society. An intersex person may be closeted due to ignorance about their status since standard medical practice is to “correct,” whenever possible, intersex conditions early in childhood and to hide the medical history from the patient. There are varying degrees of being “in the closet”; for example, a person can be out in their social life, but in the closet at work, or with their family. Also known as ‘Downlow” or ‘D/L.’
Intergender – A person whose gender identity is between genders or a combination of genders.
Institutional Oppression – Arrangements of a society used to benefit one group at the expense of another through the use of language, media, education, religion, economics, etc.
Internalized Oppression – The process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate stereotypes applied to the oppressed group.
Intersexed Person — Someone whose sex a doctor has a difficult time categorizing as either male or female. A person whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, gonads, and/or genitals differs from one of the two expected patterns.
LGBTQI – A common abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed community.
MTF / M2F – Abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual person.
Oppression – The systematic subjugation of a group of people by another group with access to social power, the result of which benefits one group over the other and is maintained by social beliefs and practices.
Outing – Involuntary disclosure of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.
Packing – Wearing a phallic device on the groin and under clothing for any purposes including: (for someone without a biological penis) the validation or confirmation of one’s masculine gender identity; seduction; and/or sexual readiness (for one who likes to penetrate another during sexual intercourse).
Pangendered – A person whose gender identity is comprised of all or many gender expressions.
Passing – Describes a person’s ability to be accepted as their preferred gender/sex or race/ethnic identity or to be seen as heterosexual.
Prejudice – A conscious or unconscious negative belief about a whole group of people and its individual members.
1. An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-monogamous majority. Queer includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transpeople, intersex persons, the radical sex communities, and many other sexually transgressive (underworld) explorers.
2. This term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of ‘bisexual’ as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to.
3. A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been
semantically overturned by members of the marginalized group, who use it as a term of
defiant pride. ‘Queer’ is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades
‘queer’ was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the
1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of selfidentification.
Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men,
lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of
people to whom this term might apply still hold ‘queer’ to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are
usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be
taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.
Sex – A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. Because usually subdivided into ‘male’ and ‘female’, this category does not recognize the existence of intersexed bodies.
Sex Identity – How a person identifies physically: female, male, in between, beyond, or neither.
Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) – A term used by some medical professionals to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s “sex”. In most states, one or multiple surgeries are required to achieve legal recognition of gender variance. Also known as “Gender Confirming Surgery.” Some examples of SRS surgeries include vaginoplasty and/or breast augmentation, for trans women, and phalloplasty and/or mastectomy, for trans men.
Stealth – This term refers to when a person chooses to be secretive in the public sphere about their gender history, either after transitioning or while successful passing. (Also referred to as ‘going stealth’ or ‘living in stealth mode’.)
Stereotype – A preconceived or oversimplified generalization about an entire group of people without regard for their individual differences. Though often negative, can also be complimentary. Even positive stereotypes can have a negative impact, however, simply because they involve broad generalizations that ignore individual realities.
Stone Butch – A person who may or may not desire sexual penetration and/or contact with the genitals or breasts. (See also ‘Butch’).
Stud — An African-American and/or Latina masculine lesbian. Also known as ‘butch’ or ‘aggressive’.
Top Surgery – This term usually refers to surgery for the construction of a male-type chest, but may also refer to breast augmentation.
Trans – An abbreviation that is sometimes used to refer to a gender variant person. This use allows a person to state a gender variant identity without having to disclose hormonal or surgical status/intentions. This term is sometimes used to refer to the gender variant community as a whole.
Transactivism – The political and social movement to create equality for gender variant persons.
Transgender – A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.
Transgender (Trans) Community – A loose category of people who transcend gender norms in a wide variety of ways. The central ethic of this community is
unconditional acceptance of individual exercise of freedoms including gender and
sexual identity and orientation.
Transhate – The irrational hatred of those who are gender variant, usually expressed through violent and often deadly means.
Tranny Chaser – A term primarily used to describe people who prefer or actively seek transpeople for sexual or romantic relations. While this term is claimed in an affirmative manner by some, it is largely regarded as derogatory.
Transition – This term is primarily used to refer to the process a gender variant person undergoes when changing their bodily appearance either to be more congruent with the gender/sex they feel themselves to be and/or to be in harmony with their preferred gender expression.
Transman — An identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transsexuals to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as females. Also referred to as ‘transguy(s).’
Transphobia – The irrational fear of those who are gender variant and/or the inability to deal with gender ambiguity.
Transsexual – A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex.
Transvestite – Someone who dresses in clothing generally identified with the opposite gender/sex. While the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘transvestite’ have been used synonymously, they are in fact signify two different groups. The majority of transvestites are heterosexual males who derive pleasure from dressing in “women’s clothing”. (The preferred term is ‘cross-dresser,’ but the term ‘transvestite’ is still used in a positive sense in England.)
Transwoman – An identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transsexuals to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as males.
Two-Spirited – Native persons who have attributes of both genders, have distinct gender and social roles in their tribes, and are often involved with mystical rituals (shamans). Their dress is usually mixture of male and female articles and they are seen as a separate or third gender. The term ‘two-spirit’ is usually considered to specific to the Zuni tribe. Similar identity labels vary by tribe and include ‘one-spirit’ and ‘wintke’.
Ze / Hir – Alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some gender variant persons. Pronounced /zee/ and /here,/ they replace “he”/”she” and “his”/”hers” respectively.
*This terminology sheet was created by Eli R. Green (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eric N. Peterson at the LGBT Resource Center at UC Riverside ® 2003-2004
Problematic: “transgenders,” “a transgender”
Preferred: “transgender people,” “a transgender person”
Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Do not say, “Tony is a transgender,” or “The parade included many transgenders.” Instead say, “Tony is a transgender man,” or “The parade included many transgender people.”
The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. For example, it is grammatically incorrect to turn transgender into a participle, as it is an adjective, not a verb, and only verbs can be used as participles by adding an “-ed” suffix.
Problematic: “sex change,” “pre-operative,” “post-operative”
Referring to a sex change operation, or using terms such as pre- or post-operative, inaccurately suggests that one must have surgery in order to transition. Avoid overemphasizing surgery when discussing transgender people or the process of transition.
Defamatory: “deceptive,” “fooling,” “pretending,” “posing” or “masquerading”
- Gender identity is an integral part of a person’s identity. Do not characterize transgender people as “deceptive,” as “fooling” other people, or as “pretending” to be, “posing” or “masquerading” as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are defamatory and insulting.
Defamatory: “she-male,” “he-she,” “it,” “trannie,” “tranny,” “shim,” “gender-bender”
- These words only serve to dehumanize transgender people and should not be used.
Defamatory: “bathroom bill”
- A new term created and used by far-right extremists to oppose non-discrimination laws that protect transgender people. The term is geared to incite fear and panic at the thought of encountering transgender people in public restrooms. Use non-discrimination law/ordinance instead.
* This problematic term reference was created by GLAAD http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender