transgender: 1 Article

Words Matter: Respectful and Accurate Vocabulary for Discussing Gender Identity With Your Teen

Understanding gender identity requires having the words to accurately describe it. Kathryn Gonzales and Dr. Karen Rayne included a comprehensive dictionary in their Magination Press book, TRANS+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You, a comprehensive, uncensored guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gender-fluid, or questioning their gender identity, and for cis-allies.  This excerpt from the book’s dictionary provides some of the language you and your teen will need to understand and talk about gender. Advocate—A person who is cisgender and works and campaigns for the rights of trans, gender nonconforming, and genderqueer people and others who identify as a gender minority. Agender—A person who identifies as not having a gender; or, being without a gender. Ally—A person who is cisgender and who works with and campaigns in alliance (note the connection to the word ally) with people who area in the gender minority. Androgynous—A balance of the feminine and the masculine that includes aspects of both. Bigender—A person who identifies as having two genders. Biological Sex—A complex group of physical factors that are assigned to male, female, and intersex. The preferred term for this is “sex assigned at birth” because many people consider “biological sex” to be an offensive term at this point. Cisgender—A person whose sex assigned at birth (typically “female” or “male”) is in alignment with their gender identity. Cissexism—Treating cisgender people as though they have more rights and moral authority compared to people who are gender minorities. Cis normative—The assumption that cisgender people are normal and those who are gender minorities are not.  Coming out—Commonly understood as the first time someone discloses their gender identity or sexual orientation, coming out is actually something that gender and sexual minorities do throughout their lifetimes. Gender—A social construct that is often assumed to be aligned with aspects of biological sex, but that is far broader than biological sex. Different cultures have understood gender in dramatically different ways, with some incorporating an understanding of three or more genders. Gender binary—A categorization of gender as being either male or female rather than a spectrum. This is a harmful understanding of gender for all people because it categorizes them in ways that they might not feel comfortable with. Gender confirmation surgery—A group of medical procedures that changes a person’s body to bring it into alignment with their gender identity. Also called gender reassignment surgery; most people prefer the language gender confirmation surgery. Gender dysphoria—When a person’s gender identity is in direct conflict with their physical body, causing mild to extreme psychological distress. “Gender dysphoria” is a classification of mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV). Gender expression—The way(s) that a person shares information about their gender through their hair, makeup, clothes, and other external aspects of their appearance that they have control over. Gender fluid—A person who is able to incorporate all genders into their identity and to flow easily between them. Gender identity—A person’s internal sense of how they relate or do

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Words Matter: Respectful and Accurate Vocabulary for Discussing Gender Identity With Your Teen 2019-10-28T14:24:51-05:00