This glossary is a suggested guide for inclusive language regarding queer, transgender and Gender Non-binary language. Queer terminology is fluid and evolving; the appropriateness, meaning and impact of this language continually changes over time. It’s also acknowledged that power, privilege and oppression exist in the context of space and time and may be experienced differently by individuals.

AFAB / AMAB: Assigned Female at Birth / Assigned Male at Birth.

Androgyne: A person identifying and/or expressing gender outside of the gender binary. Other terms used include gender variant, gender queer, and gender non-conformist.

Butch: ‘Butch’ is a word that some queer people use to describe gender expression and/or social and relationship roles that are perceived by many as being masculine.

Cisgender: Identifying with the same gender that one was assigned at birth. A gender identity that society considers matching the biological sex assigned at birth. The prefix cis- means “on this side of” or “not across from.” A term used to call attention to the privilege of people who are not trans*.

Cissexism: The belief that cisgender and cissexual people represent the ‘norm’ and so are superior to trans* folk. This results in a systemic oppression that privileges cisgender and cissexual folk over transgender and trans* folk.

Butch: ‘Butch’ is a word that some queer people use to describe gender expression and/or social and relationship roles that are perceived by many as being masculine.

Dead Name: Using someone’s previous name.

Fag, faggot:  A gay man. This term can be used as an insult or reclaimed by gay men as a positive term. Derived from the word faggot (literally “small bundle of sticks”), an allusion to the Inquisition-era practice of burning people at the stake for suspected homosexual practices.

Gender Attribution / Gender Perception: The process of making assumptions about another person’s gender, based on factors such as choice of dress, voice modulation, body shape, etc. A related term is ‘reading,’ which refers to the process where factors such as someone’s body shape, voice, gender expression, etc. are used to make assumptions about that someone’s gender identity, sex assigned at birth, or sexual orientation. Making assumptions is a major cause of exclusion and disrespect towards others.

Gender Binary: The view that there are only two totally distinct, opposite and static genders (masculine and feminine) to identify with and express. While many societies view gender through this lens and consider this binary system to be universal, several societies recognise more than two genders. Across all societies there are also many folks who experience gender fluidly, identifying with different genders at different times.

Gender Expression: How one outwardly manifests gender; for example, through name and pronoun choice, style of dress, voice modulation, etc. How one expresses gender might not necessarily reflect one’s actual gender identity.

Gender Identity: One’s internal and psychological sense of oneself as male, female, both, in between, or neither. People who question their gender identity may feel unsure of their gender or believe they are not of the same gender as their physical body. Gender non-conforming, gender variant, or gender queer are some terms sometimes used to describe people who don’t feel they fit into the categories of male or female. ‘Bi-gender’ and ‘pan-gender’ are some terms that refer to people who identify with more than one gender. Often bi-gender and pan- gender people will spend some time presenting in one gender and sometime in the other. Some people choose to present androgynous in a conscious attempt to challenge and expand traditional gender roles even though they might not question their gender identity.

Gender Non-Conforming: This term refers to people who do

not conform to society’s expectations for their gender roles or gender expression. Some people prefer the term ‘gender- variant’ among other terms.

Gender Policing: The imposition or enforcement of normative gender expressions on an individual who is perceived as not adequately performing, through appearance or behaviour, the gender that was assigned to them at birth. Gender policing can be done by peers, family, media, educators, institutions and others. Gender policing may occur through ridicule, trivialization, exclusion or harassment of, or violence towards, gender non- conforming folk. It may also occur through social messages that privilege cisgender expression and gender roles.

Gender Roles: The socially constructed and culturally specific behaviours such as communication styles, careers, family roles, and more, imposed on people based on their biological sex assigned at birth. It is important to note that gender interpretations and expectations vary widely among cultures and often change over time. It is important to note that some cultures have more than two gender roles.

Gender queer: A term under the trans* umbrella which refers to people who identify outside of the male-female binary. Gender queer people may experience erasure if they are perceived as cisgender. Gender queer people who are perceived as gender queer are often subjected to gender policing. Related but not interchangeable terms include ‘gender outlaw’, ‘gender variant’, ‘gender non-conformist’, ‘third gender’, ‘bigender’, and ‘pangender’.

Female-to-Male Spectrum (FTM): Generally used to refer to anyone assigned female at birth, but who identifies or expresses their gender as male all or part of the time. Some people prefer the term ‘transitioning to male’, as this does not imply that they were once female identified.

LGBT: Acronym used to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people, interchangeable with GLBT, LGTB, etc. Additional letters are sometimes added to this acronym, such as LGBTIQQ2S to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and 2 Spirit folks. Making fun of the length of this acronym can have a trivializing or erasing effect on the group that longer acronyms seek to actively include.

Male-to-Female Spectrum (MTF): Generally used to refer to anyone assigned male at birth but who identifies or expresses their gender as a female all or part of the time. Some people prefer the term ‘transitioning to female’, as this does not imply that they were once male identified.

Pansexual: An individual who is attracted to and may form sexual and romantic relationships with men, women, and people who identify outside the gender binary. Omnisexual is another term that can be used.

Passing/To Pass: A term sometimes used to refer to the state of an LGBT person not being visibly recognizable as LGBT. This term is most commonly used in relation to trans* people. People who ‘pass’ may experience less queer-phobia and discrimination. Some LGBT people consider ‘passing’ to be very important for them, while others feel that choosing not to pass is an act of rejecting hetero sexism, cissexism and ciscentricism. ‘Passing’ is a contested term since it may connote ‘a passing grade’ or ‘passing something illegitimate off’, or it may imply external pressure to strive towards being ‘read’ a certain way (See: Gender attribution).

Queer: A term becoming more widely used among LGBT communities because of its inclusiveness. ‘Queer’ can be used to refer to the range of non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people and provides a convenient shorthand for ‘LGBT’. It is important to note that this is a reclaimed term that was once and is still used as a hate term and thus some people feel uncomfortable with it. Not all trans* people see trans* identities as being part of the term ‘queer’.

Queerphobia: A term used to include all forms of homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The term ‘LGBT- phobia’ is also used and may more clearly express the idea of transphobia.

Rainbow Flag / Colours: A symbol of queer presence, welcome, and pride which represents the diversity of queer communities.

Reclaimed Language: Language that has traditionally been used to hurt and degrade a community, but which community members have reclaimed and used as their own. Reclaimed language can be extremely important as a way of taking the negative power out of a word, claiming space, and empowering oneself. However, reclaimed language is also tricky and, depending on the context and the speaker, can be hurtful and dangerous. Some examples are ‘dyke’, ‘fag’, ‘homo’, ‘queen’, and ‘queer’. Although these terms can be used in a positive way by those reclaiming them, it is still offensive to hear them used by others whose intent is to hurt. Although many LGBT people have reclaimed these terms, there are still other LGBT people who consider any usage of these terms’ offensive, particularly by people who do not personally identify with those terms.

Sex: Refers to the biological characteristics chosen to assign humans as male, female or intersex. It is determined by characteristics such as sexual and reproductive anatomy and genetic make-up.

Transgender (Trans, Trans*): Transgender, frequently abbreviated to ‘trans’ or ‘trans*’ (the asterisk is intended to actively include non-binary and/or non-static gender identities such as gender queer and gender fluid) is an umbrella term that describes a wide range of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned biological birth sex. Some of the many people who may or may not identify as transgender, trans, or trans* include people on the male-to-female or female-to-male spectrum, people who identify and/or express their gender outside of the male/female binary, people whose gender identity and/or expression is fluid, people who explore gender for pleasure or performance, and many more. Identifying as transgender, trans, or trans* is something that can only be decided by an individual for themselves and does not depend on criteria such as surgery or hormone treatment status.

Transition: Refers to the process during which trans* people may change their gender expression and/or bodies to reflect their gender identity or sexual identity. Transition may involve a change in physical appearance (hairstyle, clothing), behavior (mannerisms, voice, gender roles), and/or identification (name, pronoun, legal details). It may be accompanied by changes to the body such as the use of hormones to change secondary sex characteristics (e.g. breasts, facial hair).

Trans Man: This term describes someone who identifies as trans* and whose gender identity is male.

Transmasculine: This term describes people who identify as trans* and who identify their gender expression as masculine.