“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Odds are, you’ve heard that expression before. But have you ever really thought about what it means? While we may not always realize it, words have a lot of power, so it’s crucial that we use them correctly. Whether you’re talking to someone who is a part of the LGBT community or not, it’s incredibly important that we all understand terminology related to the transgende community, and to use that terminology correctly.

  • Ally: Someone who advocates and supports a community other than their own.
  • Bottom Surgery: Genital surgeries such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, or metoidioplasty.
  • Cis(gender): A person who identifies as their sex assigned at birth.
  • Gender: The social and cultural differences associated with men and women. Though one’s gender often matches their sex, gender and sex are not synonymous.
  • Gender Dysphoria: Anxiety and/or discomfort regarding the sex one was assigned at birth.
  • Gender Identity: A person’s internal feelings of being male, female, neither of these, both, or other gender(s).
  • Genderfluid: Someone whose gender is “fluid” and does not identify as having one fixed gender.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): The act of administering sex hormones and other hormonal medications to transgender individuals for the purpose of making their appearance reflect their gender identity.
  • Top Surgery: Chest surgery such as double mastectomy (typically had by transgender men) or breast augmentation or enhancement (typically had by transgender women).
  • Transitioning: To permanently adopt the physical and outward appearance of the gender one identifies with, rather than the one that corresponds with their assigned birth sex.
  • Transgender: An umbrella term that refers to people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Transgender man: Someone who was assigned “female” at birth but who lives and identifies as a man.
  • Transgender woman: Someone who was assigned “male” at birth but who lives and identifies as a woman.
  • Transphobia: The intense dislike, distrust of, or prejudice against someone solely because they are transgender.
  • Sex: The biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences.
  • Sexual orientation: The gender or sex that a person is physically or romantically attracted to. In America, people’s sexual orientation is usually defined as straight, bisexual, lesbian, gay, asexual, or pansexual.

For more information regarding LGBT and medical terminology, take a look at the Glossary of Medical Terms on our website. To learn more about CIRCLE CARE Center’s transgender health services, please visit our website’s Transgender Care section.