Frequently Asked Questions
This comprehensive FAQ brings visibility to the ways various departments throughout campus contribute to a climate that supports individuals to be themselves and live to their full potential. Our efforts received an overall 3/5 star rating by Campus Pride
, with policy inclusion and academic life receiving 4/5 stars.
Trans 101 Primer & Vocab
This list of short working definitions provide a basic understanding and common language for discussing gender identity and trans issues.
Agender: Some agender people would define their identity as being neither a man nor a woman while others would define agender as not having any gender.
Boi: This is a term used in a variety of ways by a variety of communities though it generally communicates a level of identification with maleness and/or masculinity.
Butch: A masculine gender expression which can be used to describe people of any gender. Butch can also be a gender identity to some.
Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth, someone who is not trans*. Cisgender is often shortened to cis.
Cross dresser: Someone who dresses as and presents themselves as a gender other than the one they typically identify with. Cross dressing can be purely aesthetic, sexual, a facet of someone's gender identity, or have other meanings.
Drag: Taking on the appearance and characteristics associated with a certain gender, usually for entertainment; often to expose humorous and performative elements of gender.
Femme: A feminine gender expression which can be used to describe people of any gender. Femme is also be a gender identity to some.
Gender: A complex combination of roles, expressions, identities, performances, and more that are assigned gendered meaning by a society. Gender is both self-defined and society-defined. How gender is embodied and defined varies from culture to culture and from person to person. Gender is a spectrum rather a binary.
Gender assignment: The gender we are assigned at birth, usually based on genitals alone. It is assumed that our identities should and will match this assignment but this isn't the case for most trans* people.
Gender binary: The pervasive social system that tells us there can only be masculine cis men and feminine cis women, and there can be no alternatives in terms of gender identity or expression.
Gender expression: How one expresses their gender outwardly and/or the facets of a person's expression which have gendered connotations in our culture. There is no right or wrong way to express your gender.
Gender identity: An individual's internal sense of what gender they are. One's gender identity may or may not align with their assigned gender, and one's gender identity is not visible to others.
Gender neutral pronouns: Pronouns other than the usually gendered he or she. Some examples are ze/hir/hirs, and they/them/their but there are many others.
Gender nonconforming (GNC): Not fully conforming to gendered social expectations, whether that be in terms of expression, roles, or performance.
Genderfluid: This term can be used as a specific identity or as a way of articulating the changing nature of one's gender identity or expression. People who are genderfluid may feel that their gender identity or expression is constantly changing, or that it switches back and forth.
Genderqueer: This term can be used as an umbrella term for all people who queer gender, as a somewhat similar term to gender nonconforming, or as a specific non-binary gender identity. As an umbrella term is can include gender nonconforming people, non-binary people, and much more. As a specific identity it can generally be understood as a gender that is neither man nor woman, possible in between the two or seen as a totally separate gender altogether.
Non-binary: Non-binary people are those who identify as a gender that is neither man nor woman or who are not men or women exclusively. Non-binary can refer to a specific gender identity or it can function as an umbrella term which can include (though not always) people who are genderqueer, agender, and others.
Personal pronouns: The pronouns that affirm an individual’s gender. Always ask someone their personal pronouns if possible, and try not to make assumptions. Always be sure to respect a person’s personal pronouns, use them, and apologize if you slip up.
Sex: A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances.
Stud: A term used by people of color, and primarily by African Americans, referring to people, often women, who are masculine or butch. Though many studs identify as women and with the lesbian community, not all do.
Trans*: This term has a similar meaning to transgender but the asterisk is meant to show a more inclusive attitude towards the multitude of people under the transgender umbrella.
Transexual: This term often refers to binary trans people (trans men and trans women), or to trans people who physically transition in any way. Some people dislike the term because of the focus it can put on physical transition.
Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression does not match the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender can include all those who defy what society tells them their gender should be.
Transition: Transition in an individual process. To transition can mean a lot of things but a broad definition is the process trans people may go through to become comfortable in terms of their gender.
Transphobia: The fear or hatred of trans people or those perceived as such.
Two spirit: A term specific to Native/First Nations cultures to refer to lesbian, gay, queer, pansexual, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming identities.