I thought I’d add a glossary for folks who might find their way here while still being kinda new to the topic, because we all know this shit can get complicated.  Feel free to use the ask page to let me know if you feel like there’s a term I should a add or a definition that needs clarification.

AFAB (also FAAB or DFAB): assigned female at birth (also “female assigned at birth” or “designated female at birth”); sometimes written as CAFAB meaning “coercively assigned female at birth”.

Agender: someone who doesn’t have a gender.

AMAB (also MAAB or DMAB): assigned male at birth (also male assigned at birth or designated male at birth); sometimes written as CAMAB meaning “coercively assigned male at birth”.

Androgyne: a person with a single gender that is a mix of masculinity and femininity.

Butch: An identity or presentation that leans towards masculinity. Although commonly associated with masculine queer/lesbian women, it’s used by many to describe a distinct gender identity and/or expression.

Cisgender: someone who identifies as their assigned gender; someone who is not transgender; often shortened to “cis”.

Dyadic: an adjective used as a value neutral way to refer to the two biological sexes “male” and “female”; sometimes also used to refer to non-intersex people. See “sexual dyadism”.

Femme: An identity or presentation that leans towards femininity. Although commonly associated with feminine lesbian/queer women, it’s used by many to describe a distinct gender identity and/or expression.

Genderqueer: used to mean a distinct gender that is neither man nor woman; also used as an adjective to refer to those who “queer” gender by expressing it non-normatively, in presentation or otherwise (this usage usually includes intentional, politically motivated acts); also used as an umbrella term for all genders other than man/woman, like “non-binary”. “Genderqueer” has a strong association with radical queer/political activism because of the origins of the term. For more on “genderqueer” go here or here.

Hijra: a South Asian gender identity describing people who are assigned male at birth, but dress and act in feminine ways and perform feminine gender roles. Hijras tend to be viewed and view themselves as a third gender, not male or female. If you are not South Asian then you shouldn’t be using this term to describe your gender.

Intersex:  a person with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that is physically ambiguous/doesn’t conform to medical standards for male or female genitalia.

Neutrois: people who have no gender or have a neutral gender. People who identify as neutrois usually desire to remove all physical sex characteristics to achieve as neutral a body as possible. For more on “neutrois” see Maddox’s definitions.

Non-binary: umbrella term for all genders other than man/woman. Non-binary people are trans*, but not all trans* people are non-binary.

Sexual Dyadism: the belief in two opposite sexes. For more info go here.

Transgender: an umbrella term for people who’s gender identity differs from the sex/gender they were assigned at birth. This is often abbreviated as “trans*”, with the asterisk being used to indicate that it is an umbrella term.

Two-Spirit: An English umbrella term used by LGBT Native Americans to refer to themselves. If you are not Native you  do not need to be using this term to describe your gender or sexuality. For more and better information about the term from Native people go here,  here and here.


Note: my definitions of the terms “Hijra” and “Two-Spirit” are extreme simplifications of very complex identities that have a lot of cultural significance to the people that use them. As a white person who doesn’t share in any of those cultures I can’t ever fully understand them and wouldn’t want to presume to know more than I actually do or attempt to define them any more precisely.


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