By: Peter Buggert | Last Reviewed: 10/12/19 Last Updated: 10/12/19
Note: Just because a word is listed here does not mean that FtM Resource Center supports its use. The point of this glossary is to apply a simple definition to terms that you may see on our website or in other resources and discussions surrounding FtM people.
If there is a word pertaining to FtM people you feel is missing, or you notice an error, please leave a comment below.
- Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) – meaning a person’s sex is female or they were born with an intersex condition that caused them to be identified as female at birth. Usually this is determined by genitalia.
- Agender – a gender identity meaning that one feels they have no gender or are disconnected from the idea of gender.
- Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB) – meaning that the person’s sex is male, or they were born with an intersex condition that caused them to be identified as male at birth. Usually this is determined by genitalia.
- Ally – a person who is not trans or LGBT themselves but supports LGBT or trans rights.
- Areola – the colored area surrounding the nipple, usually much larger in females than in males.
- Aromantic (aro) – a person who experiences no romantic attraction to any gender or sex.
- Asexual (ace)– a person who experiences no sexual attraction to any gender or sex.
- Bigender – a gender identity meaning that a person identifies as two genders usually simultaneously.
- Binary – a system of two, in the case of LGBT arguments usually referencing male and female, man and woman. If someone is called a binary trans man that means that they identify purely as a man and not nonbinary.
- Binder – a compression garment worn on the chest to flatten fat or breast tissue.
- Biological Sex – a term referencing the sex or a person as determined by their chromosomes, genitalia, sex characteristics, and hormones.
- Biphobia – the fear or intolerance of bisexual people.
- Birth Sex – what a trans person might call the sex that they where assigned at birth, male or female, for FtM people this would be female. This term and language has been criticized by activists as inaccurate because trans people are born trans and therefor their identity is their “birth sex”.
- Bisexual (bi) – a sexuality meaning that a person is attracted to both men and women, depending on the individual this may include transgender and nonbinary people as well.
- Butch – a term for a masculine lesbian.
- Buttonhole – a type of top surgery that aims to keep full nipple sensation. The results look almost identical to double incision surgery, but can have a greater chance of wrinkles.
- Chaser – a term used to describe a person who seeks to date transgender people because of a fetish usually surrounding a transgender persons genitalia.
- Cisgender (cis) – meaning not transgender, a person who identifies with the sex that they were assigned at birth is cisgender. The root cis- means “on the same side of” referencing that their sex is the same as their gender identity.
- Cishet – a term that combines the prefixes of cisgender and heterosexual. A person would be considered cishet if they identify as their sex assigned at birth and are only attracted to the opposite sex.
- Cisnormativity – the idea or construct that relies on the assumption that everyone is cisgender and conforms to gender stereotypes.
- Cissexism – the idea that transgender people are inherently inferior to cisgender people or less capable because they are transgender.
- Cissexual – meaning not transsexual. A cissexual person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth match. This term is rarely used as transsexual has died out.
- Clocked – when someone looks at a transgender person and knows they are trans based on their physical appearance or other characteristics.
- Coming Out (of the Closet) – the act of telling people of ones LGBT identity. If one has told nobody or very few people about their identity then they would be considered “in the closet“.
- Cross Dresser – a person who wears the clothing of the opposite sex. While technically this would apply to most transgender people, the term cross dresser carries a negative connotation and is usually referencing people who do drag.
- Drag – the act of dressing as the opposite sex usually for a musical performance in a way that is highly stylized and often makes fun of gender stereotypes, most commonly done among the LGBT community. This is most commonly done by cisgender gay men, but can be done by anyone. Drag performers are rarely transgender. Most are happy with their sex at birth, and only dress as the opposite sex for fun.
- Drag King – a woman who dresses as a man for a performance, typically done by cisgender lesbians. Drag kings are much less common than drag queens.
- Drag Queen – a man who dresses as a woman for a performance, typically done by cisgender gay man. Drag queens make up the vast majority of the drag community.
- Double Incision – by far the most common top surgery technique that involves removing the excess skin, reshaping the areola and nipple, and then grafting them back onto the chest. This leaves two long scars under the pectoral muscles that may meet in the middle if the person has a particularly large bust before surgery.
- Dyke – a derogatory term for a lesbian.
- Egg – most commonly used by trans women in reference to a person who they think is trans, but the person themselves does not know they are trans. The term egg is used because an egg is a “chick who isn’t out yet”. Sometimes this is used in reference to trans men as well.
- En Travesti – meaning “cross-dressed”, this was the term for theatrical portrayal of women by male actors in drag. Up to the late 17th Century this was necessary because women were not allowed to act. Many of the greatest plays in history were performed by men in drag including Shakespeare’s most famous works.
- Estrogen – a groups of sex hormones that are in much higher concentration in females and causes the secondary sex characteristics we associate with women.
- Ey/Em – a set of gender neutral pronouns used by some trans people although it is unknown by almost all English speakers. If we used he/him/his/his/himself as an example this set would go ey/em/eir/eirs/emself (pronounced ay/em/air/airs/emself). This pronoun set is known as spivak.
- Faggot (fag) – a derogatory term for a man attracted to other men.
- Family of Choice (Chosen Family) – since many LGBT people lose their families once they come out, it is not uncommon for them to find a new close group of friends (commonly within the LGBT community) and make a new sort of family.
- Fishmouth Incision – an uncommon kind of top surgery that removes excess skin and tissue, but leave a scar running through the nipple where it is very obvious, however it does have better results when it comes to nipple sensation. You can learn more about fishmouth incision surgery here.
- FtM – an abbreviation for Female to Male, used by some transgender people to describe themselves. Most commonly this term is used to describe binary transgender men, but it may also be used by nonbinary people who were assigned female at birth and are transitioning to a more masculine gender.
- FtNB – an abbreviation for Female to Nonbinary, used by some nonbinary people who were assigned female at birth to describe themselves.
- FtX – an abbreviation for Female to X (with the X stranding for nonbinary) that is used by some nonbinary people who were assigned female at birth to describe themselves. The letter X is commonly used as the symbol for nonbinary people in place of an F or M on driver licenses.
- Gay – most commonly used in reference to a man attracted purely to other men, but it has become more of an umbrella term for anyone who experiences any level of same gender attraction.
- Gender – the term is used to talk about sex, but not in a purely biological way. Gender can be about one’s internal sense of identity whether it matches their biological sex or not. This can mean they are a man, woman, or nonbinary.
- Gender Confirmation Surgery – the medical term that is replacing “sex reassignment surgery” since not everyone is transitioning to the opposite sex, a wide variety of surgeries done to alter one’s genitals to look like the genitalia of the gender they identify with. Usually this means taking female genitalia and making a penis and balls, or taking male genitalia and making a vagina, labia, and other female external features.
- Gender Identity – the gender that someone feels they are internally, which may or may not match their sex.
- Gender Nonconforming – a person who may or may not be transgender that doesn’t conform to the gender role or stereotypes of their gender. Many LGBT people are gender nonconforming most notably butch lesbians and feminine gay men.
- Gender Unassignment Surgery – a term used for a bottom surgery that doesn’t aim to create genitalia that match either sex, most typically removing any sexual organs leaving only holes for urination and defecation. These types of surgeries, especially the removal of all sexual organs can cause a lot of debate in the medical community.
- Genderfluid – a gender identity for a person who feels their gender identity changes over random periods of time between man, woman, and nonbinary.
- Genderism – holding a person to the stereotypes surrounding their sex regardless of their gender identity, and being intolerant towards those who do not fit into established gender roles.
- Genderqueer – a gender identity for a person who feels they are not their their sex assigned at birth or the opposite sex.
- Gender and Sexual Minorities – commonly shortened to GSM, an acronym that is used in place of LGBT in acknowledgment that there are many genders identities and sexualities beyond lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual.
- Hermaphrodite – an outdated and offensive term used to refer to intersex people.
- Heterosexism – the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and usually perpetuating a bias against homosexual people.
- Heterosexual – sometimes shortened to hetero, a person attracted to only the opposite sex or gender.
- Homophobia – intolerant or fearful behavior towards people attracted to the same sex or gender.
- Homosexual – sometimes shortened to homo although that carries a negative connotation, a person attracted only to the same sex or gender.
- Hormones – chemicals in ones body that are produced by glands send signals across the body.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – commonly shortened to HRT, this is the medical term for when people are given hormones as a form of treatment for an illness. In the case of trans people this would mean cross sex hormones to treat gender dysphoria.
- Intersex – a broad term encompassing a wide variety of medical conditions that cause a person to be born with reproduction or sexual anatomy of physiology that it not typical for their sex. These conditions vary in severity, some are easily treatable with hormones, some are purely cosmetic, and some such as Turner Syndrome can be devastating.
- Intramuscular Injection – a type of injection that is given in the muscle, commonly used for testosterone. You can learn more about intramuscular injections here.
- Inverted T Anchor – usually just called inverted T, this top surgery is very similar to double incision and buttonhole except it leaves a scar down from the nipple to the larger incision. The goal of this surgery is to flatten the chest while maintaining nipple sensation. You can read more about inverted t here.
- Invisible Minority – a minority group who is not easily identifiable by appearance or behavior or who is often silenced and kept out of the spotlight by the majorities bias.
- Keyhole – the simplest, least risky, and cheapest type of top surgery for FtM individuals that only involves a small incision to remove the breast tissue, no augmentation to the areolas occurs, sadly very few people qualify for this surgery. You can learn more about keyhole surgery here.
- Legal Sex – the sex marked on ones legal documents such as birth certificate, drivers license, and passport. Some places allow this gender marker to be changed and some don’t, some even allow an X for nonbinary instead of an M for male of an or F for female.
- Lesbian – a woman who loves women.
- LGBT(QQIAAP+) – An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, but has been critisized for excluding other genders and sexualities as well as other people who should be welcome in the community. Because of this some people have tried replacing it or adding letters, but LGBT has stuck around. The longest acronym one typically see is LGBTQQIAAP+ which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, Pansexual, and the + to include anyone else that doesn’t fit under the other labels.
- Liposuction – commonly referred to as lipo, a minor medical procedure which uses a small incision to insert suction and remove fat. Trans men may get this in their chest, hips, stomach, or butt to achieve a more masculine shape.
- Lollipop Incision – an uncommon type of top surgery that is very similar to peri, but instead of taking excess skin from around the reshaped areola, it takes it from below, causing a scar straight down from the nipple. You can learn more about lollipop incision surgery here.
- MLM – an abbreviation for Men (who love) Men, commonly used by trans men who are attracted to men either cis or trans, due to the debate as to whether phrases like homosexual include trans people. There is also a less common alternative MSM meaning Men (who have) Sex (with) Men.
- MtF – an abbreviation for Male to Female user by some transgender people to describe themselves. Most commonly this term is used to describe transgender women, but it may also be used by nonbinary people who were assigned male at birth.
- Nonbinary – a term used to describe a person who does not identify with either the sex they were assigned at birth or the opposite sex. Nonbinary is considered an umbrella term for any gender identity other than trans and cis men and women, while also being an identity all on its own. Nonbinary people usually also call themselves transgender because although they may not feel the need to undergo any type of physical or social transition they are changing their gender.
- Oophorectomy – an operation to have an ovary removed. The removal of an ovary together with the fallopian tube is called salpingo-oophorectomy or unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (USO). When both ovaries and both Fallopian tubes are removed, the term bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) is used. Most trans men will get their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed during a hysterectomy, not as a separate procedure. A person cannot get pregnant after a bilateral oophorectomy and it cannot be reversed. They will also be unable to produce their own estrogen which means they must be on hormones for the rest of their life.
- Outed – the act of someone, without a person’s permission, telling others of their LGBT identity. This can cause awkward or even dangerous situations.
- Packer – a variety of objects or prosthetics that can be worn in or over the underwear to give someone without a penis and/or balls the appearance of having them. Some are simply balled fabric that makes a bulge in the pants while others are highly realistic medical prosthetics that may allow the wearer to pee standing up or participate in penetrative sex.
- Pansexual – commonly shortened to pan, a sexuality that means sex and gender are not factors in ones attraction to people. Pansexual people are attracted to cis and trans men and women as well as nonbinary people.
- Passing – a term used by transgender people to reference their ability to be seen by strangers as the gender and not as their sex or as transgender.
- Periareolar – sometimes called peri, circumareolar, or donut incision, a type of top surgery that cuts a ring of skin around the areola to remove excess skin, a ring around the excess areola, and a ring to remove/resize the nipple. This surgery commonly comes with a high risk of rejection but minimal obvious scars. You can learn more about periareolar surgery here.
- Polyamory – the practice of engaging in intimate relationships with more than one partner at a time.
- Preferred Pronoun – the gendered pronouns that someone prefers to be used for them, which may or may not reflect the gender one would assume them to be based off of physical appearances.
- Pronoun – a grammatical term for a set of words in a language that are used as substitutes for nouns that have either been mentioned earlier or do not require clarification. Pronoun is short for proper noun, these words are extremely common in the english language. When talking about transgender topics this mostly is in reference to pronouns which imply a person’s gender such as she and he.
- Queer – a term commonly used in a derogatory fashion towards LGBT people. Some LGBT people have started using the term as their identity or even as a term to replace LGBT. The word queer on its own means weird, strange, or odd.
- Questioning – refers to people who are unsure of their gender or sexuality and are in the process of figuring that out.
- Romantic Attraction – the feeling of wanting an emotional and loving relationship with someone.
- Sex – (1) a biological term referring to a combination of chromosomes and physical characteristics used to categorize a person as male or female, although sometimes due to an intersex condition it may be hard to classify a person as either (2) the more common term for sexual intercourse or activities.
- Sex Reassignment Surgery – commonly abbreviated as SRS, sex reassignment surgery alters the genitalia of a person to look like the genitalia of the opposite sex.
- Split Attraction Model – sometimes called SAM, the split attraction model is a newer way to look at human sexuality in a way that aims to better encompass its complexities. The split attraction model separates the gender of people one is attracted to into five groups sexual, sensual, romantic, platonic, and aesthetic. The most commonly observed ones are sexual and romantic attraction. For example someone could have no desire for a sexual relationship no matter someone’s gender, but desire romantic relationships with men and women making them: asexual biromantic.
- Subcutaneous Injection – a type of injection that is given in the tissue layer between the skin and muscle starting to commonly be used for testosterone.
- Tranny – a derogatory term for transgender people, usually referencing a transgender woman.
- Transgender – an adjective used to describe a person who’s sex and internal sense of gender do not match, commonly shortened to trans.
- Transgender Man – a person who was assigned female at birth, but feels that psychologically they are a man. Usually these people choose to take testosterone, undergo surgery to remove breast tissue, possibly undergo gender confirmation surgery to remove female sex organs and give them male ones, and change their name legally in order to live their lives as men and relieve gender dysphoria.
- Transgender Woman – a person who was assigned male at birth, but feels that psychologically they are a woman. Usually these people choose to take medication that increases estrogen, undergo surgery to enhance the breasts, possibly undergo gender confirmation surgery to transform male sex organs into female sex organs, and change their name legally in order to live their lives as women and relieve gender dysphoria.
- Transmedicalist – commonly shortened to transmed, a person who believes that gender dysphoria is a requirement for being transgender and medically transitioning. Generally these people also believe that being transgender should be viewed more as a medical condition and not as a way of defying social constructs.
- Transmisogyny – the intersection of misogyny and transphobia. Transgender women face misogyny since they are perceived as women, and also face transphobia because they are trans, but it is different
- Transsexual – the old medical term that was used to describe trans people who felt that they were psychologically the opposite sex, most trans people will be offended by this words use, although some trans men and trans women prefer it. It is commonly misspelled as transexual.
- Transtrender – a derogatory term for someone one believes is saying they are trans, usually nonbinary, as a way to achieve social gains.
- Tucute – stands for to cute to be cis, a person who believes that one does not need gender dysphoria to be transgender, but may still experience gender dysphoria themselves.
- Unisex – something that society labels as not gendered and acceptable for both men and women.
- Uterus – a reproductive organ almost exclusively found in female animals, typically this sits attached to the back of the vagina by the cervix. When a human is pregnant this organ holds the embryo/fetus until it is ready for birth. When a human is not pregnant the uterus sheds its lining along with the unfertilized egg typically everything every month.
- Xe/Xem – a set of gender neutral pronouns used by some trans people although it is unknown by almost all english speakers. If we used he/him/his/his/himself as an example this set would go xe/xem/xyr/xyrs/xeself (pronounced zee/zem/zer/zers/zee-self).
- Ze/Hir – a set of gender neutral pronouns used by some trans people although it is unknown by almost all english speakers. If we used he/him/his/his/himself as an example this set would go ze/hir/hir/hirs/hirself (pronounced zee/here/heres/here-self).