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Terms-and-Definitions

Androgynous: is usually used to refer to a person who does not fit cleanly into the typical “gender roles” of their society.


Binary Gender System: A culturally defined code of acceptable behaviors which teach that there are men and women, who are masculine and feminine, and that there is nothing outside this system. The problem that occurs when we talk about gender is that everything is set in the binary system, but the gender issues that we are talking about exist in a multi-gender system and do not neatly fit into a binary system.


Binding: The process of flattening one’s breast tissue in order to create a male-appearing chest. The type of materials and methods used for binding will vary depending on the size of an individual’s chest and the overall build of his body. Some trans men don’t bind at all due to personal preference, comfort issues, or because they may have small chests. Some use different methods of layering clothing to help hide their chests. Some bind only on certain occasions; some bind all the time.


Bottom Surgery: “below the waist”, to either create a vagina (for a male-to-female, MTF) or a penis and testicles (for a female-to-male, FTM). There are many different issues that cause each person to make the decision to either have or not have the surgeries. Some factors include: desire, expense, physical health, age, and access to medical care and information. There are also many difficulties that can occur with these surgeries, which will factor into each individual’s decision-making.


Double incision: Also called “bilateral mastectomy.” A type of chest surgery procedure that is effective for individuals with a medium to large amount of breast tissue. In this method, large incisions are made horizontally across each breast, usually below the nipple. The skin is then peeled back so that the mammary glands and fatty tissue can be removed with a scalpel. The muscles of the chest are not touched. Certain areas of harder-to-reach fatty tissue may also be removed via liposuction (such as areas near the armpits). Once the extraneous tissue has been removed, the excess chest skin is trimmed and the incisions closed, leaving two seams/scars just below the line of the pectoral muscles. Nipples are usually re-sized and grafted into place.


Drag Kings: are mostly female-bodied or -identified performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes as part of their performance.


Drag Queen: a male-bodied individual who dresses (or “drags”) in female clothes and make-up for special occasions and usually because they are performing or entertaining as a hostess, stage artist or at an event.


Effeminate: Used to identify a person (usually male) who expresses and/or presents culturally/stereotypically feminine characteristics. This is often viewed as a culturally negative term.


F2M/FTM (Female to Male): Used to identify a person who was female bodied at birth and who identifies as male, lives as a man, or identifies as masculine.


Gender-Bender (also Gender-Blender): A person who merges characteristics of all genders in subtle ways or intentionally flaunts merged/blurred cultural/stereotypical gender nouns for the purpose of shocking others, without concern for passing.


Gender Dysphoria: Also body dysphoria. A term coined by psychologists and medical doctors that refers to the state of discomfort felt by transsexuals and some transgender people caused by the incongruity between one’s physical sex and one’s gender identity.


Gender Identity: A person’s internal self-awareness of being either male or female, masculine or feminine, or something in-between.


Gender Identity Disorder (GID): A condition identified by psychologists and medical doctors wherein a person who has been assigned one gender at birth identifies as belonging to another gender.


Genderqueer: a recent attempt to signify gendered experiences that do not fit into binary concepts, and refers to a combination of gender identities and sometimes sexual orientations.


Gender Reassignment Surgery–GRS (also Sex Reassignment Surgery–SRS): Permanent surgical refashioning of genitalia to resemble the genitalia of the desired gender. Sought to attain congruence between one’s body and one’s gender identity.


Gender-Variant (Gender Non-Conforming): Displaying gender traits that are not normatively associated with their biological sex. “Feminine” behavior or appearance in a male is gender-variant as is “masculine” behavior or appearance a female. Gender-variant behavior is culturally specific.


Getting Read (Clocked): Being detected as a person who is cross-dressed.


Hir: Used in place of him/her, a new pronoun for those folks who stand outside the binary system that we have in this society.


Hormone Therapy (also Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT, Hormonal Sex Reassignment): Administration of hormones to affect the development of secondary sex characteristics of the opposite assigned gender; this is a process, possibly lifelong, of using hormones to change the internal body chemistry. Androgens (testosterone) are used for female-to-males, and Estrogens are used for male-to-females.


Intersex: The condition of being born with genitalia or reproductive anatomy that is difficult to label as male or female, and/or developing secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex or which combine features of both sexes. The term “hermaphrodite” had been used in the past to refer to intersex persons, but that term is now considered by many to be negative and inaccurate.


Keyhole: A type of chest surgery procedure that is effective for individuals with small amounts of breast tissue. In the keyhole method, a small incision is made along the border of the areola (usually along the bottom), and the breast tissue is removed via a liposuction needle through the incision. The nipple is left attached to the body via a pedicle (a stalk of tissue) in an attempt to maintain sensation. Once the breast tissue has been removed, the incision is closed. The nipple is usually not resized or repositioned.


M2F, MTF, Male-to-Female: Used to identify a person who was male bodied at birth and who identifies as a female, lives as a woman, or identifies as feminine.


Metoidioplasty: Sometimes spelled “metaoidioplasty;” sometimes shortened to “meta.” The surgical process of “freeing up” the enlarged clitoris from its connective tissue (the clitoris is typically elongated and changed somewhat in appearance as a result of testosterone therapy) so that it is presented on the body in a more phallic or penis-like manner. Scrotal implants may or may not be added.


Non-Op:Individuals who have not attained and may not desire to attain gender reassignment surgery, and may or may not take hormone therapy. For many individuals, self-identification and self-expression, through cross-living or other methods of gender identity achieve harmony or congruence between one’s body and one’s gender identity and there is no need felt for surgical reconstruction.


Packing: The process of creating a male-looking and/or male-feeling bulge in one’s crotch. This can be accomplished through a home-made or store-bought pants stuffer, or through a realistic-looking prosthetic device. A packing device may be referred to as a “packer” or “packy,” or as an “STP packer” if it can also be used to pee through while standing up (STP= Stand To Pee). Some guys simply refer to their packer or prosthetic as a cock and balls, a dick, etc.


Passing: The ability for a person to present themselves in another gender than which they live full-time or in which they were assigned at birth.


Peri-areolar: Sometimes shortened to “peri.” A type of chest surgery procedure that is effective for individuals with small to medium amounts of breast tissue. In the peri-areolar method, an incision is made along the entire circumference of the areola. The nipple is usually left attached to the body via a pedicle in an attempt to maintain sensation. Breast tissue is then “scooped out” by scalpel, or with a combination of scalpel and liposuction. The areola may be trimmed somewhat to reduce its size. Excess skin on the chest may also be trimmed away along the circumference of the incision. The skin is then pulled taut toward the center of the opening and the nipple is reattached to cover the opening– much like pulling a drawstring bag closed. Thus, this procedure is also sometimes referred to as the drawstring or “purse string” technique. The nipple/areola may be repositioned slightly, depending on original chest size and the available skin.


 

Phalloplasty: Sometimes shortened to “phallo.” A type of genital reconstruction surgery in which a phallus/penis is constructed from an individual’s own donor tissue (usually taken from the forearm, leg, and/or abdomen) that has been shaped and grafted into place. Phalloplasty operations are usually done in stages requiring multiple surgeries. Scrotal implants may or may not be added.


Pre-Op (also Pre-Operative): Transsexual individuals who have not attained gender reassignment surgery, but who desire to and are seeking that as an option. They may or may not cross-live full time and may or may not take hormone therapy. They may also seek surgery to change secondary sex characteristics.


 

Post-Op (also Post-operative): Transsexual individuals who have attained gender reassignment surgery, and/or other surgeries to change secondary sex characteristics.


 

Presentation:The totality of one’s appearance when dressing, including voice, behavior, appropriateness of clothing for the situation, etc.


 

Real Life Test (also Life Test): A period of time required of individuals seeking gender reassignment surgery during which they must live full-time expressing and presenting the gender in which they identify. Many doctors require a Real-Life Test of two or more years before advancing to surgery.


 

Standards of Care (SOC): When someone uses the term “Standards of Care,” they are often (but not always) referring to the WPATH SOC (formerly known as the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, or HBSOC)– a set of standards and guidelines used by professionals for the medical and mental health treatment of transsexuals. Certain health clinics and gender clinics have devised their own Standards of Care for transsexual and transgender people, which may differ from the WPATH SOC. See also “World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)” and “World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care (WPATH SOC).”


 

STP Device: Short for “Stand to Pee” device. A device designed to aid the user in standing to pee at a urinal or toilet. There are a few different types of STP devices, both homemade and store-bought.


 

Testosterone: Sometimes shortened to “T.” An androgenic hormone responsible for producing masculine secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair growth, deepening of the voice, increased body hair growth, and increased muscle development. Testosterone therapy is administered to trans men to induce and maintain the presence of masculine secondary sex characteristics.


 

Top Surgery: Surgery “above the waist,” usually breast augmentation for MTFs and breast reduction for FTMs. There are many different issues that cause each person to make the decision either to have or not have the surgeries, some factors include: desire, expense, physical health, age, and access to medical care and information. There are also many difficulties that can occur with these surgeries, which will factor into each individual’s decision-making process.


 

Trans: Sometimes short for “transsexual,” sometimes short for “transgender.” See individual listings for those terms. 


 

Transgender: Broadly speaking, transgender people are individuals whose gender expression and/or gender identity differs from conventional expectations based on the physical sex they were born into. The word transgender is an umbrella term which is often used to describe a wide range of identities and experiences, including: FTM transsexuals, MTF transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens, drag kings, genderqueers, and many more. Because transgender is an umbrella term, it is imprecise and does not adequately describe the particulars of specific identities and experiences. (For example, the identity/experience of a post-operative FTM transsexual will probably be very different from that of a female-identified drag king who performs on weekends, but both are often lumped together under the term “transgender.”)


 

Transgenderist:People who choose to cross-live full time, but who choose not to have Sex Reassignment Surgery/Gender Reassignment Surgery. They may or may not have some surgeries, and they may or may not use hormones.


 

Trans Man: Short for “female-to-male transsexual” or “transsexual man;” sometimes also used to refer to those who were assigned female at birth and identify along a masculine spectrum.


 

Trans Woman: Short for “male-to-female transsexual” or “transsexual woman;” sometimes also used to refer to those who were assigned male at birth and identify along a feminine spectrum.


 

Transition: The period during which a transgender individual (usually transsexual) begins to live a new life in their gender. Also, includes the period of full-time living (Real Life Test) required before gender reassignment surgery.


 

Transsexual: An individual whose gender identity does not match the sex that was assigned to them at birth. Many transsexual people will seek hormonal and/or surgical treatment in order to bring their body into alignment with their gender identity.


Transvestite: somebody who cross-dresses.


Tuck: The technique of hiding male genitals.


World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH): Formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, Inc. (HBIGDA), WPATH is a professional organization devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity disorders. WPATH is best known for developing and refining Standards of Care (SOC) for the treatment of gender identity disorders (formerly known as the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, or HBSOC). The WPATH SOC, currently in their sixth version, are periodically updated and revised as new information becomes available.


World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care (WPATH SOC): Formerly known as the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care (HBSOC), the WPATH SOC are the most widespread set of standards and guidelines used by professionals for the medical and mental health treatment of transsexuals. The WPATH SOC, currently in their sixth version, are periodically updated and revised as new scientific and medical information becomes available. See also “World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).”


Ze: Used in place of she/he, a new pronoun when you need to talk about an individual whose gender does not neatly fit into a particular box.


Zir: Gender-neutral pronoun that can be used instead of his/her.

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Link to LGBT health channel regarding Hormonal Replacement TherapyTRANGENDER HEALTH
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Transmen Health maintenance guide (Great for providers)
NYC Trans Adult Healthcare Rights.
NYC Trans Youth Healthcare Rights.
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