Transgender Woman (Trans Woman) – A person whose sex assigned at birth was male but whose gender identity is female. These identities can also refer to someone who was surgically assigned male at birth, in the case of intersex people, but whose gender identity is female. Many Trans women identify simply as women.
Transgender Man (Trans Man) – A person whose sex assigned at birth was female but whose gender identity is male. These identities can also refer to someone who was surgically assigned female at birth, in the case of intersex people, but whose gender identity is male. Many Trans men identify simply as men.
Transgender (sometimes shortened to Trans or Trans*) – A general term used to describe someone whose gender identity is different than the sex assigned at birth. Some people put an asterisk on the end of Trans to expand the word to include all people with nonconforming gender identities and expressions.
Intersex – A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male. Sometimes an intersex person is assigned a female or male sex at birth through surgery, if external genitals are not obviously male or female. Intersex babies are always assigned a legal sex, but sometimes when they grow up, their gender doesn’t match the sex selected for them. Some intersex people are transgender, but intersex does not necessarily mean transgender.
Genderqueer – A term for people who don’t identify as a man or a woman or whose identity lies outside the traditional gender binary of male and female. Some people use genderqueer, gender nonconforming, and non-binary interchangeably, but others don’t. Genderqueer has a political history, so many uses the term to identify their gender as non-normative in some way. For example, someone could identify as both cisgender female and genderqueer.
Gender non-binary – When a person’s gender identity doesn’t fit inside traditional male or female categories (sometimes called the gender binary).
Gender nonconforming – When a person’s gender expression doesn’t fit inside traditional male or female categories (sometimes called the gender binary).
Gender Fluidity – A sense that one’s gender identity or expression is not set in stone, and that it can change over time or even from day to day. For some people, gender fluid is a gender identity. A gender fluid person may feel male on some days, female on others, both male and female, or neither. A gender fluid person might also identify as genderqueer.
Gender Dysphoria – A diagnosis, often used by psychologists and doctors, to describe the distress, unhappiness, and anxiety that transgender people may feel about the mismatch between their bodies and their gender identity. A person may be formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria in order to receive medical treatment to help them transition.
Psychologists used to call this “gender identity disorder.” However, the mismatch between a person’s body and gender identity isn’t in itself a mental illness (but it can cause emotional distress), so the term was changed to reflect that.
Drag Queen – A male performer who exaggerates female behaviors and dress for the purposes of entertainment at bars, clubs, or events. Some drag queens might identify as transgender.