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Trans Terminology


When one’s gender identity (internal sense of gender) does not align with one’s sex assigned at birth. As an example, if someone was assigned female at birth and identifies as a boy/man they would be a transgender man or a trans man. It’s important to note that trans is an adjective, such as “blonde”, so you wouldn’t say transman in the same way you wouldn’t say blondeman.


When one’s gender identity (internal sense of gender) aligns with their sex assigned at birth. As an example, if someone assigned male at birth identifies as a man, they are a cisgender man or cis man.


The umbrella term for gender identities which fall outside of traditional male/female and man/woman categories.

Gender Identity: 

One’s internal sense or experience of gender, regardless of their sex assigned at birth. Gender identity can be experienced as boy/man, girl/woman, a combination of both, or neither. There are many different labels for diverse gender identities.

Gender Expression:

The ways in which we externally present ourselves to the world through behaviour, mannerisms, clothing, hobbies, etc.

Sexual Orientation:

Who we are sexually attracted to. It is important to distinguish between sexual orientation (who someone goes to bed with) and gender identity (who someone goes to bed as).

Sex assigned at birth: 

The sex assigned to you at birth based on the appearance of your genitals and your biological profile, including hormonal profiles, internal & external sex organs, and chromosomes. This can be categorized as male, female, or intersex. There are many variations of intersex conditions.

For a more comprehensive list of key concepts and terms, please visit Trans Care BC's Glossary.

Let's Talk Transitioning


The unique process of living according to your gender identity rather than the gender you were assigned at birth (according to your sex). Transitioning may include social, legal, and/or medical transition. There is no right way to transition and everyone's transition is different. For example, some people may choose to socially transition but not legally transition, while others may choose to transition socially, legally, and medically.  


Social transition:

Coming out, gender expression

Legal transition:

Legal name change, legal gender marker change

Medical transition:

Hormone therapies, gender-affirming surgeries

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