The Trans Language Primer

A guide to the language of gender, attraction, and acceptance.

Gender is complicated, and no one has it completely figured out. Acknowledging this complexity was once the norm; many cultures – before colonization – had terms and expressions far beyond what we have available today. Vocabulary, especially in and around the transgender community, has exploded with a variety of words to express a countless number of genders and facets of gender experience. This explosion is a combination of reclamation and creation. But we have to be wary of creation under colonization so we do not replicate the gender norms, ideas, and systems that oppress each other. That’s part of why this Primer was created, as an attempt to document the movement to express and identify the complexity of gender while acknowledging its history and intersections. Over the years, we have expanded significantly and now include some terms in this Primer that are not immediately recognizable as being related to gender in the hopes of helping to explain the context within which the rest of the Primer operates.  

Gender is extremely personal, and trying to express our understanding of gender is personal and complicated. We hope the Primer will help people express these things in ways that will help them understand each other and themselves.

  • Check out the index to view all 200-some terms in alphabetical order as well as their part(s) of speech, definition(s), example sentences, and links to further reading for expanded context.

  • Check out our Guided Tours Index to view curated lists of terms to help contextualize different aspects of the trans+ community.

  • You can learn more about us on the About page.

Connect with us!

Read updates and support the Primer on Patreon.

  • For as little as $2 a month, you can help support the Primer and move us towards future expansions!

  • For $5 a month, you can have your name and a link of your choosing acknowledged on the about page!

  • For $10 a month, you can get backstage access to our workspaces to make your voice heard!

  • For $15 a month, you can retain 30 minutes per month of consultation services from a member of the TLP staff, equivalent to a question or two about a relevant topic of your choice, redeemable via email or Discord.

All Patrons get a special role and recognition in our Discord server.


Follow us elsewhere!

Discord is a great place to give us immediate feedback. Found a typo? Need clarification on a certain term? Want to know what other keywords to search for or if maybe we know of a good article around a certain term? Join us on Discord and ask! This is the space where we are most responsive.

Bringing you Daily Shouts about the Transgender Language Primer. We’re pretty responsive on there if you @ us, but otherwise not heavily active.

While we abhor the way Facebook treats trans people (banning folks for using chosen names, not removing anti-trans hate speech, catering to bigots around trans pride), we do maintain a small presence there. We are less active and reachable on this platform, but we do make a point to check in.

Where is the TLP being used?

The majority of these resources are not affiliated with the Transgender Language Primer and do not necessarily endorse the TLP institutionally. We can’t guarantee accuracy, services, or products. Community accountability is important, so if there’s something we should know about a resource listed here or if you’d like to recommend a resource, please let us know.