Trans/trans*/transgender: Preferred term for a gender identity not fully congruent with sex assigned at birth 

Transvestite and transsexual: Rarely used now, commonly considered offensive

MTF/transwoman/transfeminine: Male-to-female, someone assigned male at birth but identifying as female 

FTM/transman/transmasculine: Female-to-male, someone assigned female at birth but identifying as male 

Sex: Assigned at birth based on genitalia; term “assigned sex” is more accurate than “biological sex” 

Gender: Social construct, how one identifies and presents oneself 

Cisgender: Non-transgender, i.e., having congruent sex and gender 

Gender identity/presentation: Different from sexual orientation, how one experiences/demonstrates gender 

Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, genderqueer, agender Intersex: Having chromosomes, genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics of both sexes Previously “hermaphrodite”, but this term is inaccurate and is considered offensive 

They/them/theirs: Commonly used gender-neutral pronoun 

Ze/zir/zirs: One example of an alternative gender-neutral pronoun 

HRT: Hormone replacement therapy (especially estrogen for MTF, testosterone for FTM) 

Gender confirmation surgery: Used instead of “sex change”, can apply to any relevant surgery

Transgender Ally Tips

If you’re unsure of someone’s pronoun, ask. 

* Recognize that sexual orientation is different from gender identity. 

* Do not ask what someone’s “real” name is. 

* Do not ask about medical treatments or surgeries they’ve had or plan to have. 

* Avoid backhanded compliments or giving tips to help someone “pass”. 

* Support gender-neutral bathroom options. 

* Speak up when you hear anti-transgender jokes or biases. 

More on Being an Ally



Training for Your Organization

Gender Pioneers offers education and training to help make your organization more friendly and accepting for transgender people.

Trans* 101

Our Tran* 101 presentation is aimed to be an introduction to the vocabulary used by transgender people,  brief explainations of what it means to be a transgender person, and how to make sure your organization, it’s members and representatives know how to be respectful  accepting for transgender people. The presentation is also open to questions.

Ally Training

Let us help you take your knowledge one step further with our ally training! Going beyond respectful, allies help positively defend the rights and humanity of transgender people.