Current Trans Terminology

Originally posted on PhD Balance social media platforms on 11/17/2020.


It is Trans Awareness Week. Having the right words to start a conversation is important! To start a conversation about/with transgender people, check out these terms. Be sure to look for some outdated terms that are not used within the community anymore.


EDIT: to clarify, this is meant as a guide for allies, not a rigid set of rules to police language. Also, we support and honor self-identification. Please use the terms an individual trans person uses for themselves. We also acknowledge there are other people within this community who may not want those terms used to refer to them and we made this guide with that in mind.


EDIT 2: the more accurate current term to replace sex reassignment surgery(SRS) is genital reconfiguration surgery, which is a type of gender-confirming/affirming surgery. However, this can vary regionally.

The background has a pink-white-blue vertical gradient and the text is in a white rectangle aligned to the center. At the bottom of the white rectangle is the hashtag #TransAwarenessWeek2020. In bold letters it says: “Current Trans Terminology”. Under it it says, “Languages changes over time. While certain terms may have been commonly used years ago, they are now outdated and should be replaced with the current terminology. Here are some terms we will go over:”. In two columns it has the outdated terms and then the associated current terms (outdated term; current term) -a transgender/transgendered; transgender - female-to-male; Trans man - male-to-female; Trans woman - biologically female; assigned female at birth (AFAB) - biologically male; assigned male at birth (AMAB) - gender identity disorder (GID); gender dysphoria - preferred pronouns; personal pronouns - sex reassignment surgery (SRS); gender confirming surgery (GCS) #TransAwarenessWeek2020

Here are some outdated terms changed to current trans terminology:

Outdated Term - Current Term

  1. A Transgender/Transgendered - Transgender

  2. Female-to-Male - Trans Man

  3. Male-to-Female -Trans Woman

  4. Biologically Female - Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB)

  5. Biologically Male - Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB)

  6. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) - Gender Dysphoria

  7. Preferred Pronouns - Personal Pronouns

  8. Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) - Gender Confirming/Affirming Surgery (GCS/GAS)

A PDF titled "PhD Balance Transgender Terminology Definitions (Pdf Download)" of these outdated terms and current terms with explanations for why each is outdated or used is available from our Resources for LGBTQIA+ Grad Students page.