Glossary

Below is a list of all the terms queer-gender-related. If you think a term is missing, or if we’ve defined something incorrectly, let us know and we’ll get on it ASAP!

Butch

Gayle Rubin, in “Of Catamites and Kings”, defines butch most simply as a “category of lesbian gender that is constituted through the deployment and manipulation of masculine gender codes and symbols”. However, the term encompasses a wide range of expressions–behaviours, traits, appearance, sexualities, investments in sex-change technology–of female masculinity. In this way, Butch is understood, not in opposition to Femme or Trans identities, but as an imperfect, dynamic and historical category of lesbian gender identity, and one that is also shaped by experiences of “class, race, ethnicity, religion, occupation, age, subculture, and individual personality” (Rubin, p.474).

Femme

“Femmes” are those who identify predominantly as feminine or are more comfortable with feminine gender codes or identities.

FTM

An acronym for “female to male.” FTM is commonly used to refer to folks who have transitioned, or are in the process of transitioning from the female to male gender.

Gender binary

Generally refers to the classification of sex and gender into two oppositional forms of masculine and feminine. It can also refer to the social boundaries that differentially prescribes particular gendered norms of behaviour for males and females. As such, there can be harsh punishments—ridicule, harassment, violence, intimidation, exclusion–for those who transgress the gender binary.

Genderqueer

An individual whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary of male and female. Genderqueer individuals can negotiate their gender (or lack thereof) in different ways, and some identify under the trans umbrella, while others do not.

MTF

An acronym for “male to female.” MTF is commonly used to refer to folks who have transitioned, or are in the process of transitioning from the male to female gender.

Queer

Often used as an umbrella term for all LGBTQ(etc.) individuals. Queer can serve as a gender, sexual, or political identity and functions as a term that can account for complex and fluid manifestations of identity and desire.

Transgender

Transgender refers to an individual whose gender identity does not align with their assigned gender at birth. Transgender is sometimes shortened to ‘trans’, and can be used by individuals with varying gender identities or representations.

Transsexual

Transsexual refers to individuals whose biological sex does not correspond with their psychological conception of their own sex. Transsexuals may undergo a variety of medical treatments in order to transition to their desired sex, including hormone therapy, and surgery, also not all transsexual individuals may chose this route.

Drag

This is a term used for applying make-up or clothing, typically for the purposes of performing or entertaining. It includes drag kings, which involves women doing male drag, drag queens, which involves men doing female drag, as well as faux queens, which involves women doing female drag.

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