Project Description

Gender Identity: An internal feeling of what gender one is, originates in the brain.

Sex: The “male” or “female” classification one is assigned at birth, based on visual examination.

Sexual Orientation: Who one is physically attracted to, expressed through physical arousal.

Romantic Orientation: Who one is romantically or emotionally attracted to.

Gender Expression: How one expresses the gender they identify as, in mannerisms and dress.


Cisgender: A person whose gender identity is aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender is not aligned completely or at all with their birth sex. No physical body alterations are required to consider one’s self transgender.  Medical or physical alterations are the choice of the individual, depending on what they feel they need in order to align their body and their gender expression with their gender identity.

Transsexual: A person whose gender identity is different or opposite of their birth sex.  They may or may not alter their body physically using hormones, surgery, or other treatments.  Whether or not they make these physical changes, the act of aligning their appearance to fit their gender identity is referred to as transition.  These people often experience extreme stress called Gender Dysphoria due to the misalignment of their sex and gender. (Many who meet the definition of transsexual prefer to use the newer blanket term transgender.)

FTM: A person who transitions from female to male. Assigned female at birth, identifies and lives as a male. Also known as a transgender man.

MTF: A person who transitions from male to female. Assigned male at birth, identifies and lives as a female. Also known as a transgender woman.

Intersex:  A person who was born with ambiguous genitalia or genitalia of both sexes, or has varied sex chromosomes (replaced the inappropriate term hermaphrodite).

Gender fluid:  A person who may move along the gender spectrum depending on how they are feeling at the time.

Genderqueer: A person who may identify closer to the middle of the gender spectrum or may feel more androgynous.

Agender: A person who feels no gender appropriately fits who they are.

Bigender:  A person who feels they are both genders at the same time.  How they express themselves depends on the person’s gender expression.

Two Spirit:  A Native American name for someone who has the body of one sex and the spirit of the other.  They are said to possess two spirits.

Cross Dresser:  Primarily heterosexual men who identify as men who like to dress as woman occasionally, replaces the term Transvestite.

Drag Queen/King:  Usually gay men/women who dress as the opposite sex to perform on stage.

GAS: Gender Affirming Surgery (also known as: SRS: Sex Reassignment Surgery)

HRT:  Hormone Replacement Therapy

SOFFA: Abbreviation for “significant others, family, friends and allies” of trans people/community

What to Do’s and What not to Do’s

If you’re not sure about someone’s desired name or pronouns, ask rather than assume.

Names and Pronouns to trans people are very important!  To show respect always use the person’s preferred name and pronouns!

Some people prefer “them” “they” “their” to his/him or she/her.  Sometimes people change which pronouns they prefer. Best rule of thumb is that if you don’t know then ask.

It is not ok to ask someone you don’t know well what their name used to be or what surgeries they have had.

If someone tells you they are a man or a woman, take them for their word that they know better than you who they are.

Calling someone derogatory names such as “tranny” “he-she” “she male”, “it”, or purposefully calling someone who identifies or expresses their gender as female “a man”, or visa-versa, is not only disrespectful, but also an act of violence.

Always treat trans people with the same respect you would like to be treated.

Check out the rest of our Resource Guide