Essential Terminology in theTransgender Community
A starting vocabulary for neophytes to the transgender community
If you visit another country and don’t know the native tongue? You often get lost in a hurry. Same holds true in the world of transsexualism.
As we just discussed in the last section, the primary difference between various transgender women is usually defined by two elements:
- Where we are in the process of transformation and;
- How far we intend to proceed with that evolution.
For some, this need is limited to a private quarterly sessions in the wife's pantyhose. For others, it requires sexual reassignment surgery. The rest? They find solace in-between these two boundaries.
Also, trans-girls often evolve through various phases in their gender journey and change the label associated with their gender expression accordingly.
With that precept in mind, here’s some of the most common terms you’ll hear regarding various people in the trans-community. Some labels apply generically to all trans-people - like “transgender”. Also, some girls fall under more than one label: For example? Some transsexuals also perform as DRAG Queens, etc.
As previously discussed, “transgender” - is an all-encompassing term used to describe any person with alternative genera expressive behavior. Within this broad sector is a wide variety of subsets like cross dressers, transsexuals, transvestites, DRAG Queens, etc. Thus Transgender could be likened to a generic term “automobile” - whereas a transsexual could be likened to a Porsche. Continuing with that analogy - you’ll find various makes and models for each brand of car / transsexual expression.
Other terms associated with this label are: TG - short for transgender.
Cisgender is the exact opposite of transgender. It represents a person whose completely happy and comfortable with the gender they were born. Most people on the planet identify as Cisgender. It’s not a commonly used term in the public domain. Rather, its used most often as a non-transgender marker in gender based clinical studies.
GRS is an acronym for Gender Reassignment Surgery. It’s also sometimes called SRS = Sexual Reassignment Surgery - but GRS is the current politically correct terminology. GRS is the surgery for creating a neo-vagina using the born male anatomy for vagina walls, clitoris, etch Nothing is wasted! It’s also known as final surgery and bottom surgery.
An Orchie is short for an Orchiectomy. This is essentially the procedure for castration - having the testicles removed. Since its irreversible, an orchid is often considered an acceptable alternative to legally be considered female in many US states. Also, an orchie costs much less than GRS.
MTF is an acronym for a male-to-female transgender person - meaning this person was born male but needs to present female - either on a part time or full-time basis.
FTM is an acronym for a female-to-male transgender person - meaning this person was born female but needs to present as male - either on a part time or full-time basis.
“T-girls" is another “all encompassing” term used to describe transgenders - but only includes the MTF variant = “girls”. This was my preferred self definition before I started transition vs. cross dresser, DRAG Queen or transvestite.
“T-girls" is another “all encompassing” term used to describe transgender women - but only includes the MTF variant = “girls”.
GG / Born-Woman
A GG is an acronym for a “Genetic Girl” - a woman naturally born as female. Other similar terms used to describe naturally-born females includes: Born-women, natal females and “natals”.
HRT therapy or as commonly called in trans-world - “taking hormones” - is a specialized hormone regimen for MTF transsexual women that includes much heavier doses than administered to post-menopausal women. The programs include a variant of female estrogen and a testosterone blocker. This process tends to soften male tissue - particularly noticeable in the facial area. It also creates breast tissue and nipple growth - although usually limited to a A-cup or small B-cup.
Transsexual women usually remain on an HRT regimen throughout their lives albeit with less dosage following GRS or an Orchiectomy.
“Transition” is a phase a transsexual person goes through in order to successfully change their gender. It can take many years to successfully complete. It usually starts with professional counseling regarding confirmation and severity of Gender Identity Disorder issues (GID) and progresses to the use of a hormone replacement therapy regimen along with testosterone blockers to help create a more feminine platform to develop. In the case of FTM transsexuals, testosterone shots are administered. Usually, sometime during or after this step, a transsexual woman starts trying to live “full time” as a woman in her work and personal life. If and when they can afford it? Transsexual women will often get specialized cosmetic surgery to enhance their new gender presentation including FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) and breast augmentation. There’s also the painful process of facial hair removal - usually with electrolysis but sometimes just with laser. For FTM transsexuals? Early cosmetic changes usually include breast reduction or removal. It’s during this phase that a transsexual learns to function in their new gender - often by trial and error. This period is often the most overwhelming aspect of transition since many old friends and family pull away as a symbol of protest. Additionally, lots of trans-people lose their jobs after going full-time…at the exact time transition related costs are increasing substantially. Eventually, most transsexual women seek GRS or an Orchie for their own gratification and to also satisfy the legal requirements for becoming female on various identifying documents.
Admirer is a term used to describe a man or a woman whose naturally attracted to transgender women. Some guys who are into tranny’s can’t stand the label but no new term has ever arisen. There’s both male and female admirer’s. There’s also Admirer’s that are part time cross dressers. That usually means they cross dress but are still into transsexual women.
Tranny chaser (AKA Chaser or TC) is a less endearing term used to describe men attracted to transgender women. The term was born from the gay male community during the earlier old days that specialized in trans patrons. These gay men would term straight guys that “cashed” after the transgender women as “tranny chasers”. In today’s trans culture? If a trans-woman calls a guy a “chaser” - it usually means they consider them completing fixated on the fact she’s transcend vs. knowing anything about her as a person. If you’re called a “tranny chaser” - it’s often not viewed as complementary.
The term top is used to describe a variety of sexual & relationship manifestations within alternative love unions. It was born from who “gravitates to being on top” when two people lay down in bed. Some people are more naturally inclined to be on the top - feeling trapped and out of sorts when underneath another. Others, only feel comfortable on the bottom - beneath their partner when prone. It’s also used to describe personality roles in a loving union: the top is most often the alpha, the person who defaults to decision making, etc. Sexually-speaking a top is the person whose doing the penetrating.
A “bottom” is the exact opposite, complimentary variant to the “top” just described above.
When someone says they are “versatile”? It means - sexually-speaking - they are comfortable performing as both top and bottom. In BDSM culture, this person is called a “switch”.
A transsexual is a transgender person - starting from either a male or female platform - that’s determined through therapy and/or their own reflection they were clearly born in the wrong body. They usually have plans to change their gender via “transition” - or have already done so.
A “pre op transsexual” is a transsexual whose usually already living full time in their new gender but who hasn’t yet had the final / bottom surgery = also known as GRS / SRS.
A Post-Op Transsexual is a transsexual whose already completed “bottom surgery” - GRS. 99.99% of the time she’s been living full-time as a woman for an extended period. Generally-speaking, post-op transsexual women are amongst the most well balanced & evolved transgender women - since they’re now past much of drama associated with being transgender. However, that’s not always the case.
A Non-Op Transsexual is a transsexual who hasn’t and doesn’t intend to finalize her journey with GRS / “bottom Surgery”.
Almost every transgender gal has been called a "She-Male" at some point in her trans-female journey. For me, it most often occurred back in the days of trans night clubbing - or any other time I was around relative newcomers to transgenderism. However, a shemale is a distinctive member of the transgender family. I define a "she-male" as a "full time" t-girl - usually with breast augmentation - that is preoperative (still has a penis) and works in the sex industry.
The term was created by the porn industry to market pre-op & non-op transsexuals as a new type of pornography. It’s proven very successful. “Tranny Porn” continues to be one of the few remaining thriving sectors in that industry. Lots of trans-women working as paid escorts also use the term to describe themselves in order to leverage interest by paid dates.
However, calling a transsexual woman a “she male” is considered a derogatory term - its akin to calling her a prostitute.
“Tranny” - is a slang used to describe a trans-woman. As with the “N-word”, it’s usually considered disrespectful to use this term unless you’re also a transgendered person.
Ladyboy is an Americanized slang used to describe Thai trans-women - but now its used universally for almost all Asian trans-women by american admirers.
Another “all encompassing” term used to describe transgender men. Only includes the FTM variant = “boys”.
A “crossdresser" (AKA - CD or CDer) is a man who fulfills a need for transgender expression through occasionally - or often - dressing and presenting as a woman. Some cross dressers share their craft publicly: shopping, socializing and going to dinner - often with other similarly evolved trans-women. Some only do it privately - either because they’re spouse or friends would no be supportive, they worry about life issues associated with if someone finds out or they feel they could never “pass” in public.
I've found very few men in the world who have not at least tried being a "one time CD" by donning a woman's panties. Why is this so widespread? Who knows! I'm pretty certain the fact female undergarments look and feel so much sexier than jockey shorts plays a minor role!
There’s also the “fetish cross dresser” - whose primary motivation for cross dressing is the sexual stimulation associated with such activities. The internet is a boon for most cross dressers - allowing them to connect publicly and privately as never before.
Some of the healthiest and most balanced members of the trans-community are cross dressers.
However, that’s not always the case. One cross dresser variants - we call the “fantasy cross dresser” is notoriously problematic. These girls are usually closeted cross dressers with a strong sexual tie to being transformed. They’ll use photos and images of other transgender women - or born-women - and engage others on-line with their female persona’s. Both men and other trans-women have been fooled by these con’s. Fortunately, the trans-world is a rather small community and they always eventually get “found out” regardless how good the con.
(AKA TV) Although the Latin derivation for the word transvestite is basically "crossdressing”, it’s most commonly associated with the more “fetish-based” and “over the top” interpretations of womanhood in trans-world versus standard cross dressing. Transvestite style are rarely created to “pass” - but to explore and test the most exotic and erotic side of femininity. It also usually includes more make up, bigger hair and lots more trimming. I was certainly the poster child for this definition in the 1990’s but I personally never bonded with this “term”. The word itself sounded too much like some pervert, to me.
By classic definition, a prototypical DRAG Queen isn’t really a member of the transgender community. They’re more closely with the gay community - versus trans-world. Most DRAG Queen are gay guys that are simply too fabulous to remain a man “all the time”. Thus, some create female characters, costumes and persona’s for DRAG stage performances.
However…since many transsexuals also work as DRAG performers: it’s not so cut & dry.
DRAG Queens used to cause havoc for transgenders in the public domain. Why w’as that? Lots of people’s first direct encounter with trans expression was at a DRAG show. When some performers made playful and crude comments regarding being their sexuality - this caused confusion later when people always assumed trans-expression meant you’re gay. Nowadays, people are much more aware of the differences.
Also, there’s a big difference between doing DRAG...and being a DRAG Queen. DRAG and DRAG-themed nightclubs are at the essence of transgender evolution. It was once the only place for transgender women to find total acceptance & it remains a haven and source of income for some trans-gals to this day. I am now clearly a transsexual woman - but I still do DRAG as a part of my entertainment platform,
The acid test for a DRAG Queen vs. a transgender is what we want to wear and present during intimacy. A DRAG Queen? They’ll want to lose the get up and be a “guy” in a loving union. A trans-girl? She’ll want to remain feminine in appearance during love-making.
The easiest means of determining the difference? Simply ask. DRAG Queens and T-Girls have no confusion regarding who they are - and who they are not.
Gender Queers are sort of the transvestites of alternative gender expression. These are people who feel a need to express an alternative gender but usually not as completely as a transgender person. Thus, they’ll sometimes mix genders in their presentation.
A DRAG King as a woman who creates and presents a male character for stage amusement - often through costume, make up and choreography while lip-syncing a male voice to a song.
Some DRAG Kings are transitioning FTM transsexuals. Others, are heavy duty lesbian dyees with a strong masculine flair. There also a number of gender variant women who identify as Gender Queer who perform as DRAG Kings.
At present, DRAG King show are not as publicly popular as DRAG Queens acts - but interest continues to expand each year.
An androgynous person or persona is a person who represents equally between male and female: not fully identifying with either gender. Also, MTF & FTM transsexuals often go through a phase of androgyny through their outward appearance since during the beginning stages of transition - it can become difficult for the public to quickly determine which gender they are.
Intersex” is a broad term used to describe people born with reproductive or chromosomal anatomy variant from the norm of their born gender. For this reason, some interest people are perceived as transgender if they subsequently bond with certain in-born traits but its more complicated than that.
Klinefelter is a chromosomal disorder that affects only males. People with this condition are born with at least one extra X chromosome. It tends to cause a much more effeminate male presentation from the onset.
Additional Chapters in This Section Include:
Do You Already Know a Crossdresser?
What's Up with all these different labels?
Important Terminology in the Transgender Community
Additional Slangs and Terminology
Problems Associated with Transgender Labels
Telling Your Friends You're Transgender
Crossdressing in Public
Making Transgender Friends
Your Evolution as a Transgender Lady
Finding Happiness in a Dress