The A to Z: Gender Identity

Just like sexual orientation, gender identity exists on a spectrum. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to navigate through questions regarding gender and terminology, so here is a quick guide to some commonly used vocabulary.

Transgender  Firstly, the term transgender is an adjective and refers to people whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

FTM/trans man: female-to-male transgender person

MTF/trans woman: male-to-female transgender person

Not all transgender individuals choose to pursue hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or undergo procedural surgeries. This does not invalidate their identity in any way.

Genderqueer  Also known as “GQ,” this term refers to a person who may not identify within the gender binaries.

Cisgender  Often abbreviated as “cis,” this term is related to the type of gender identity in which an individual’s self-perceived gender matches the gender he or she was assigned to at birth.

Drag  Impersonating the opposite sex through gender expression; not all drag queens, drag kings, and other performers identify as transgender.

Gender non-conforming  Also known as “GNC, “gender-variance, or “GQ,” gender non-conforming individuals note that their behavior and/or gender expression does not conform to the gender binaries of male and female.

Preferred Pronouns  It’s a good rule of thumb to ask what pronoun someone prefers if you are unsure. Though the individual may outwardly appear to prefer he or she, pronouns such as ze, hir, and they are more gender neutral.

There are many terms that people may use to self-identify. Ask questions politely if you’re unsure, but avoid invasive questions about their body, their relationships, or their sexuality.

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