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Trans is an umbrella term encompassing all those who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth,including but not limited to those who are transgender, transsexual and non-binary. The word ‘Trans’ can be used without offence to identify:

People are assigned a sex at birth based on their genitalia. For example, a person born with a penis will be assigned male at birth and will be expected to grow up to be a man.

Cisgender, often shortened to ‘cis’, is a word to describe people whose gender identity and expression matches the sex they were assigned at birth. ‘cis’ is Latin for ‘on the side of’, it is the antonym for ‘trans’ and is used as an equal term to ‘trans’

Gender Expression: External manisfestations of gender expressed though things such as: behaviour, bodily characteristics, dress, hair style, make-up, name, pronoun and voice.

Gender Identity: The internal deeply held sense of identity felt by an individual.  This is not the same as ‘sex’.  Most people will identify as ‘man’ or ‘woman’, but for some people it does not fit neatly into either of these choices.

Gender Marker: The male (M) or female (F) on a birth certificate, ID or passport that shows someone's biological sex at birth.

Genderqueer: people who do not identify within the male/female binary.  They may identify as neither male nor female, or with elements of both.

Intersex: An umbrella term describing people who are born with variations of internal or external sex anatomy.

Non-binary is a term for trans people whose gender does not fit with the expectation that people should be either men or women, also known as the gender binary. There are many different non-binary genders, including but not limited to genderqueer, genderfluid, agender and bi-gender.

Sex: The biological classification of being female or male usually assigned at birth. It includes an individual’s combination of bodily characteristics including chromosomes, hormones, reproductive organs and secondary sex characteristics.

Trans: an accepted umbrella term which describes the range of people whose gender identity and expression does not match with the sex they were assigned at birth.  This includes, but is not limited to, transgender, genderqueer, agender and non-binary.  For example, a trans man is a man who was assigned female sex at birth.

Transition refers to the steps that a trans person takes so that their presentation or body better reflects their gender. Transitioning can, but does not need to, include the following: using different pronouns, choosing a different name, wearing different clothes, using different gender facilities, changing gender or sex markers on official records, taking hormones or having surgery. Not all trans people choose to transition. Transitioning is referred to as ‘gender reassignment’ in law.

Transmisogyny is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny that is experienced by trans women and other trans people who were not assigned female at birth.

Transphobia is the system of oppression and discrimination towards trans people that exists in society and its institutions. The term transphobia is also used to refer to hatred, prejudice and acts of violence towards trans people by individuals.

When talking about gender identity there are many different terms which can be confusing to understand.  This image may also help to explain some other terminology:

Image of The Genderbread person

The Genderbread Person v4

(image courtesy of

This video on YouTube also offers a good expalnation of the different terminology: