Sex: Biological characteristics including
chromosomes, genes, anatomy, gonads, hormones, etc.
Intersex (IS): Those born with atypical sex
characteristics. Avoid hermaphrodite, an outdated clinical
Gender: Socially constructed roles, behaviors,
and attributes considered by the general public to be
"appropriate" for one's sex as assigned
at birth. Gender roles vary among cultures and along
Gender identity: One's personal sense of his
or her correct gender, which may be reflected as gender
Transgender (TG): This has become an umbrella
term for nonconforming gender identity and expression.
Cross-dressing (CD): Occasionally adopting the
clothes or appearance commonly associated with another
gender. Avoid transvestite, an outdated clinical term.
performance of gender, usually by female-bodied drag kings
or male-bodied drag queens.
Trans woman or trans man: Informal descriptors
used relative to one's affirmed gender. Variants
include trans, T*, trans person, and trans folk.
Transsexual (TS) people: Typically those taking
all available medical and legal steps to transition from
their assigned sex to their affirmed sex.
Transitioning across the sexual binary can go female
to male (FTM) or male to female (MTF). Some go
stealth, hiding their transsexual history.
Gender identity disorder (GID): Clinical term
for gender dysphoria, discomfort in one's assigned
gender. The "disorder" diagnosis is
Sex reassignment: Establishing one's
affirmed sex via legal and medical steps.
Genderqueer: Those rejecting binary roles and
language. Synonyms include androgynous.
Best to avoid: She-male, tranny, transie, sex
change, he-she, shim.